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Home > Books & Reviews > Pagan > Runic Palmistry Search

Book Review:
Runic Palmistry

Author: Jon Saint-Germain
Trade Paperback, 240 pages Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: July 2001
ISBN: 1567185770
Price & More Info: Click Here


Although it may not be obvious, palmistry is traditionally based on Greco-Roman mythology. Many of the mounds and lines are named after Greek and Roman deities and their interpretations are generally related to those deities. I'd never given this much thought until I picked up Jon Saint-Germain's Runic Palmistry. This book describes a system of palmistry based on the runes and Northern European ("Norse") mythology.

In his introduction, the author says that the system has been handed down in his family for four generations. His great-great-grandmother learned it from a Scandinavian. Just another "granny story"? There's no way to tell, but it doesn't really matter. The system holds up well on its own, whether it was passed down for generations or created just for this book.

The first part of Runic Palmistry describes how to read a hand. The actual procedure is very much like standard palmistry. The difference is in the interpretation. The mounds, lines (branches in this system), and areas of the hand have their names and characteristics drawn from Northern European mythology. For example, instead of the mounds of Jupiter, Saturn, Apollo, and Mercury, the Runic system has the mounds of Odin, Hoenir, Bragi, and Loki. Often the interpretations aren't that different from standard palmistry, but some of the subtle shades of meaning are different even where the general interpretation is quite similar. While this section is clear and has some illustrations, like most palmistry books, it could benefit from many more illustrations.

The second part of the book, while shorter, is far more interesting. The author begins with a description of the runes and their basic interpretation. Then he goes into what truly makes this system of palmistry unique, how to interpret the runes one might find formed by lines on the hand. The interpretation comes from the rune's traditional meaning combined with where it appears on the hand and the importance of the branches (lines) that form it. Runic Palmistry concludes with three case history which demonstrate the system in use, an appendix loosely retelling one of the stories of Thor and Loki from mythology, a cheat sheet on runes, and a bibliography.

Runic Palmistry presents one of the few truly different systems of palmistry I've heard of. It does so in a readable and interesting manner. The only major problem with this book is the lack of sufficent illustrations for this very visual subject, but this is a fault unfortunately found in many books on palmistry. If you are interested in applying the Runes to palmistry (which is a very interesting idea which could be used in standard palmistry), reading this book will give you an excellent start.

Reviewed by Randall

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