Palmistry for All by Cheiro was a game changer in the 20th century. He wrote a book that made its way into every hobby palmist’s bookshelf and inspired many new hand readers as well. But the book is full of off-color facts and incorrect material. Cheiro did the best he could in his era, but there are some things that need updating.

In this commentary, I will be doing the following:

  1. Highlighting truth that resonates through the ages about palm reading
  2. Making corrections to Cheiro’s work with updates in hand analysis from the last 30 years of research by the IIHA


Without further a due, here are all the pertinent snippets from his book:


But hands cannot change as the result of a mere effort to please; the character they express is the real nature of the individual–the true character that has been formed by heredity or that has grown up with the person by long years of habit.

The characteristics alluded to below are those which may be easily observed and which are aids to a rapid judgment of character and which I have never before been able to give to the public in such a concise way.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 2

TRUE: These statements absolutely ring true, even to today. This book was published in 1916, over 100 years ago in a different time and age. Hand analysis and non-predicitive palm reading have grown up since then.


Short Fingers

Observe the fingers. If they look short and stumpy in proportion to the rest of the palm–one may be sure that the individual to whom they belong is of an animal nature, possessing coarse instincts, devoid of real intellectuality, and belonging to the lower order of humanity.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 2-3

MOSTLY FALSE: Common language of the era, his judgements towards the short fingered person is not merited. Shorter fingers are less intellectual, I’ll give him that, but that is only because the fingers when short represent someone who spends less time pondering and more time doing or taking action.

For animal nature/course instincts/non-intellectual to be accurate the person would also need a very wide palm, few lines, large Venus and Mars, coarse skin texture and a short head line. Nonetheless, such a person could be very bright in terms of hunting and fishing techniques and how to start a fire from scratch, but they wouldn’t be the type to write a masters degree on thermodynamics.


Long Fingers

If the fingers look unusually long and thin, and in this way out of proportion to the palm, the man or woman will err on the side of too much ideality and refinement and is not suited to business or work requiring “level headedness” and practicality. It would be useless, for example, to put such a person in charge of work-people or over work-rooms. His ideality and refinement would be thrown away in such positions, and even with the best will in the world he would be completely out of harmony with his surroundings.

Such a man, however, could be depended upon in all positions requiring personal mental work, research, science, literature, philosophy, educational work or, in fact, anything relating to the higher qualities of the mind.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 3

MOSTLY TRUE: He is probably describing Water or Air fingers here. It is true that they aren’t the most practical but that’s not to say that they can’t handle people. How well someone can handle other people is a thumb/Jupiter question, not something that long fingers can answer alone.

I agree that mental work is best suited to the Water or Air fingers person. The “higher qualities” of the mind he speaks of are the ability to reflect and consider, which is what the long fingered person often has. Imagine the author or artist, who uses their mental energies to create works of art that exhibit a mental or emotional caliber. These types of activities, as well as those mentioned by Cheiro, are indeed good matches for the Water or Air fingers person.


If his fingers, in addition to their length, were also knotty or jointed (joints much pronounced), he could be depended on to a still greater extent for all work requiring great thoughtfulness, detail, and concentration of mind.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 3

TRUE: This is a requirement for the Philosopher type, which is an overly large air hand with pronounced knuckles. I completely agree with Cheiro, mental work requiring thoroughness and concentration are part of the knotty fingered person.


If, on the other hand, these long fingers were smooth jointed, he would, while having the same desire for ideality and for everything intellectual, be impulsive and inspirational, would lack a sense of detail and a love for detail in his own work, would be visionary, artistic, emotional. Such a person would be suited to artistic work, such as painting, making designs, models, etc., but could not be trusted to perform anything requiring detail, research or science, and would be utterly useless in any position where discipline or control of others were required.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 3-4

TRUE: The smooth jointed Water or Air fingers are very artistic and emotional, as well as inspirational and have a visionary bend. This is because the smoothness of the knuckles alludes to a mind that skips nitty-gritty details and has a focus on more big picture thinking.

Control of others is a thumb/Jupiter thing, not a long fingers thing.


The Index Finger/ Jupiter

The first finger is considered the Dictator, the Lawgiver, the finger of Ambition, the Indicator, the Pointer, etc.


Therefore, if your employee has this finger long, you can safely entrust him with control over, and charge of others. You will be amazed how well he or she will make rules and regulations and see that they are obeyed; but beware, Mr. Employer, lest your first finger is short in proportion as that of your employee is long, for, if such be the case, you too will have “to toe the line” and you may find yourself in a very disagreeable position.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 4

TRUE: Commonly referred to as the Jupiter finger, it is associated with ambition and achiever types. They take to command and authority well if they have the self confidence and self esteem to handle such a position. But there are plenty of persons who have long index fingers who don’t own their power due to upbringing and conditioning to play and be small. Nonetheless, they’re suited, as Cheiro says, to being a boss or manager of some sort, even if it is only being a manager of themselves. This is seen in the self-directed high achiever.


Crooked Index Finger

But let me give you a further warning: Should this man or woman have a first finger that is long and crooked, you will assuredly find out to your cost that the personal ambitions of such an individual are “crooked.” Such an employee would be perfectly unscrupulous in finding out your secrets and getting you into his power.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 4

FALSE: The crooked long index finger depends on the crook. Most commonly it is the top phalange which kinks away from the thumb, showing someone with a micro-managing tendency. It does not indicate a secretive opportunist bent on dominating others.


The Middle Finger/ Saturn

If the second finger is straight and well shaped, its owner will be very serious, a little inclined to melancholy, but will pay due regard to whatever responsibilities with which he may be entrusted, but again beware if this finger is crooked. In this case the owner would be, however, more subject to what may be called “a crooked fate” than willfully “wrong.” Such people are, as a rule, the children of strange circumstances over which they seem to have no control. They are continually getting themselves into trouble and into false positions, but, I must admit, more by a strange fatality of things than by their own willful actions. Nevertheless, such infelicities might be very unpleasant for their employer, especially if he has more heart than brains.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 4

MOSTLY FALSE: The first part is accurate about serious, inclined to melancholy and responsible. But the crooked middle finger is totally incorrect. A crooked or bent middle finger means challenged with completion skills and following rules. They potentially have a rebel side.


The Ring Finger/ Apollo

The third finger, if extremely long and straight, indicates an extraordinary desire for glory, celebrity, publicity and the like; and although this might be an extremely good quality in the case of an actor, preacher, politician or public man, it may be most undesirable if such a person is to occupy the position of a private secretary, or the confidential clerk to some family lawyer.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 4-5

MOSTLY TRUE: The need for being noticed is part of having a long ring finger. Being in the public eye is a good idea for long ringer finger individuals. As for a private secretary having this trait, imagine if they did presentations on bookkeeping at business conferences. Then it would be just right. But I see Cheiro’s point, which brings to light the important “be your type” rule in hand analysis: whatever your personality psychology indicates, match your life to fit your nature.


Crooked Ring Finger

If this finger is crooked as well as very long, all the above qualities will be intensified and exaggerated. The love of spending money and fondness for show will also be more marked, the gambling tendencies very pronounced. No position involving the handling of money, should be entrusted to the possessor of such a finger.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 5

FALSE: When the long ring finger bends towards the thumb (more common) it indicates someone who tried to control their reputation and how others perceive them.

Spending money/fondness for show/gambling only gets noted if the ring finger is nearly the same height as the middle finger, which shows someone who might put on a show of appearances to deceive someone into thinking they’re something that they’re not. An example of this is someone who leases an expensive Audi, takes pictures of himself with the car and posts them to Facebook stating that he’s wealthy when he isn’t. It is when someone puts on a show for a certain reputation to be earned.


The Pinky Finger/ Mercury

The fourth, or little finger, if long (passing the nail joint of the third) is indicative of power of speech and subtlety in choice of language–the saying “to twist a person round one’s little finger” originated from this very sign. Such people have a marvellous gift of speech, eloquence and flow of language, valuable gifts, of course, for orators and public persons, but not desirable qualities in a wife if a man is fond of sleep.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 5

TRUE: Language, speech, eloquence…these can be honed by a master of communications if the long pinky finger person speaks up. A long pinky individual could very well be a “say a little, know a lot” type or more of a detective personality depending on the rest of the hand.


Short or Crooked Pinky Finger

A short “little finger” denotes the reverse of the above. Such persons find the greatest difficulty in expressing what they want to say, but they can write better than speak and should be encouraged to do so.

These individuals have, however, not much power over others and the shorter the “little finger” is, the more timid and sensitive they are in the presence of strangers. If this finger is crooked, then these weaknesses are all the more emphasised, but if formed crooked and long the power of eloquence is also crooked. Such people will tell any “fairy tale” to suit their purpose–they are natural born liars and the position of President of the Ananias Club is their rightful inheritance.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 5

MOSTLY FALSE: Short pinky fingers have a challenge with their self concept. And when it crooks, depending on whether away from the thumb or towards the thumb means different things. They are not outright liars because of this. They “bend the truth” if they aren’t careful, which may lead to deception. So lying and truth bending may be clumped together in Chero’s eyes, but in mine, they are different.


Flexible, Outward Curving Fingers

When the fingers are very supple in the joints and turn backwards or outwards from the palm, it is an indication of a quick wit and clever brain; but such persons lack continuity of purpose. They have no “hold,” as it were, on any one thing.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 5-6

FALSE: Such fingers represent intellectual malleability,  being adept at changing their perspective quickly to understand new perspectives. A flexible mind as it were. Quick wit and cleverness are a Mercury finger trait.


Fingers Curl In

Fingers slightly curved inwards towards the palm, denote persons slow to grasp an idea, or a subject, but such people have retentive memories and “hold” or grip, as it were, any one thing they may take up.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 6

MOSTLY TRUE: There is some truth to this if the slightly curved in fingers are also stiff. It is more a type of mental stubbornness when the stiffness of fingers is found. Retentiveness of knowledge is found when the upper joint knuckles are pronounced.



A large well-made thumb is the outward and visible sign of a strong-willed, determined person, be he man or woman.

The longer the thumb, the more the power of will rules the actions; the shorter the thumb, the more brute force and obstinacy sways the nature.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 6

MOSTLY TRUE: Long, large, well-made thumbs have to do with willpower. Action and results are expected from thumbs like these. When the thumb gets short, accomplishing things becomes more and more challenging. “Brutish” obstinacy comes from very wide thumbs, as they show their willpower to all.


The shorter and more thick-set the nail phalange is, giving the appearance of a club, the more ungovernable is the person in his or her temper. Such people have no control over themselves and under the least opposition will fly into a blind rage of fury. This curious formation has been called the “Murderer’s Thumb” because so many who have committed murder in a mad fit of passion have been found with this curious formation.

An employee with this class of thumb should never be given any position of authority over others, for he could not curb his ungovernable temper. He would also be absolutely unbalanced in his jealousy, and no woman who has the ambition to live to the usual “threescore-years-and-ten” should risk marriage to a man with one of these thumbs. But as “love is blind” it is useless, I know, to give advice in such a case.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 6-7

FALSE: A “murder’s thumb” is a personality that has force to be reckoned with. When on a regular hand, it denotes a will that can accomplish anything they set their mind on. The capacity to do impossible tasks is right up their alley. Nothing can stop a “murderer’s thumb” person who has a mission.

The only time a temper/fury/fit of passion description would fit is if the hand were to have an over-developed Mars that was red in colour on a hand with an extreme Fire heart line. Even then, going to the myth of murder associated with this thumb shape is most ridiculous.


Waist Like Middle Section of the Thumb

The second joint, if delicately shaped, almost “waist like,” indicates tact, diplomacy, and gentleness, also subtlety in argument; but if this part of the thumb be full looking or equal in size to that of the nail phalange, it denotes the person who cares nothing for tact but who, on all occasions, will speak his mind plainly, and with brutal frankness.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 7

FALSE: Known as the second phalange, or Third Eye Chakra in the IIHA, when “waist like” it represents someone who is lacking discernment and strong choice-making skills. Likely to be someone to go with the flow, they are challenged to make the big, tough choices on their own in life.

The full second phalange of the thumb is the “know-it-all”.


Tied In Thumb

When the thumb looks as if it were “tied in” close to the hand, the person is timid, easily frightened by both people and circumstances, narrow-minded in his views, and miserly in his habits. It is a well-established fact that the thumbs of all misers are “tied in” and cramped-looking. It is perhaps this very fear of things and people that in the end makes them misers with their gold.

One need never waste one’s time asking a person with one of these cramped-looking thumbs to do a favour, and may God help the business man or woman who ever gets into such a person’s clutches!

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 7

SOMEWHAT FALSE: The small angle of the thumb denotes a person who is lacking initiative and is more inward focused and yin natured. Timid perhaps in starting expeditions and being challenged to be productive, but not narrow-minded or miserly.

A miserly, narrow minded person may have tightly closed fingers to one each, other all lined up, and a Saturn ring, but the thumb does’t show such things.


Supple Jointed “Willow”

A thumb with the nail joint supple (bending backwards or as it is also called “double jointed”) indicates a character the exact opposite of that associated with the “tied in” thumb. Possessors of such a thumb are generous, adaptable to others, extravagant, and impetuous in their actions and decisions. They promise things quickly and are more often heard to say “Yes” than “No”; but if they have time for reflection, they very often go back on their promises.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 7

MOSTLY TRUE: Adaptable and easy going, the supple thumb jointed person is likely to bend to others will and accommodate rather than resist.


Stiff Jointed Thumbs “Oak”

Individuals having a “stiff-jointed” thumb, on the contrary, cannot easily adapt themselves to others. They are distant and more reserved with strangers. When asked to do a thing, they generally first say “No,” but on reflection or when reasoned with, they often give in to the other and generally regret having done so. It is useless to oppose such people–if one cannot lead them, it is no use attempting to force them against their will.

This type has more self-control than the type of people with the “supple jointed” formation, and is not so generous or extravagant. Individuals of this group, however, make more reliable friends, so their friendship, though difficult to obtain, is generally worth having.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 7-8

MOSTLY TRUE: These people have strong wills that resist and oppose. They do not cave into the demands of others so easily.

Distant/reserved – inaccurate. Those traits are found in the tight fingers person with a earth/air/saturn combination and earth heart line.

As for friendship, that is something a hand can not determine.


Thumb at 90 Degrees from the Hand

A thumb standing very far out from the hand (almost at right angles to the palm) is not a good sign for ordinary success. Such people go to extremes in everything they do and are generally fanatics in religion, social reform, or whatever line of thought occupies their attention.

~ Cheiro. Palmistry for All, Chapter 1, pg 8

SOMEWHAT TRUE: Fanatical in the positive sense of the word means driven and unwilling to compromise or let failure and defeat stop them. The wide angle thumb shows initiative to a great degree.

Categories: Old Palmistry Books

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