In this era of scientific advancements, there are certain aspects of human lives that have not been influenced by science and scientific knowledge. Astrology and palmistry are some of such arts. Fortune telling is still practiced in the modern societies. These have obvious impacts on the psychology and living of people throughout the world.
Astrology corresponds to human meaning in the sky. Babylonian astrology was the first organized system of astrology, arising in second millennium BC. By the 3rd millennium BC, extensive civilizations had developed sophisticated awareness of celestial cycles, and are believed to have deliberately oriented their temples to create configuration with the heliacal risings of the stars.
Astrology was taken up ardently by Islamic academics following the downfall of Alexandria to the Arabs in the 7th century, and the founding of the Abbasid Empire in the 8th century. The second Abbasid caliph, Al Mansur (754-775) founded the city of Baghdad to act as a center of learning, and incorporated in its project a library-translation center known as Bayt al-Hikma ‘Storehouse of Wisdom’, which continued to receive development from his successors and was to provide a major motivation for Arabic-Persian translations of Hellenistic astrological texts.
Palmistry, or chiromancy, is the art of description and foretelling the future through the study of the palm, also known as palm reading or chirology. The practice is found all over the world, with frequenttraditionaldiscrepancies. According to some, it had its origins in Hindu Astrology (known in Sanskrit as Jyotish), Chinese Yijing (I Ching), and Roma (Gypsy) fortune tellers. Several thousand years ago, the Hindu sage Valmiki is thought to have written a book comprising 567 stanzas, titled as “The Teachings of Valmiki Maharshi on Male Palmistry“. From India, the art of palmistry spread to China, Tibet, Egypt, Persia and to other countries in Europe. From China, palmistry progressed to Greece where Anaxagoras practiced it. Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.) discovered anexposition on the subject of palmistry on an altar of Hermes, which he then offered to Alexander the Great (356–323 B.C.E.), who took great interest in examining the personality of his officers by examining the lines on their hands. Aristotle stated that
“Lines are not written into the human hand without reason. They emanate from heavenly influences and man’s own individuality.”
Criticism of palmistry often rests with the lack of pragmatic proof supporting its effectiveness. Scientific literature usually regards palmistry as a pseudoscientific or superstitious and irrational belief. But still, people do believe this knowledge to be true and many of them do not start their day before reading their horoscopes. It is not about the correctness of a thing, but about the belief you have in it. Believe and you’ll be shown that what you believe is the ultimate truth.
By: Aimon Malghani