Thoughts on Being an Esoteric Reader in an Exoteric World

I spoke with students at Bennington College about the esoteric science and art of palmistry one cold dreary evening a couple of weeks ago. Though the event was publicized, I had my smallest turnout of all time – only six people. You’d think a Gemini would learn not to schedule events on Mercury retrogrades. The six students who did show up were curious, diverse, and very smart. Fortunately for all of us, all four basic psychological types (intuitive, practical, thinking, and feeling) were represented. After briefly introducing the basic science of palmistry, I led a ‘hands on’ demonstration.

Everyone volunteered. I asked each person to come up with a question like ‘what can I do to…?’ or ‘how can I…?’ (NO yes or no answers). I digitally projected large high resolution images of their hands on a huge screen. Together, we examined the morphology and topography of each hand within the context of the questions asked and through the lens of the science of palmistry. I shared how I was looking, what I was seeing, thinking, and feeling, and how I was choosing what to say next. Insights were shared as we compared and contrasted current facts with past, present, and future possibilities. I demonstrated how no detail should be viewed in isolation and how combinations of details comprise myriad permutations, possibilities, and probabilities.

I asked for questions. Everyone wanted to know if, when, and how I read my own hands. They were curious whether other palmists and I read each other’s hands. I usually trade with bodyworkers and other practitioners in the healing arts. I told a cautionary tale of a bad trade with another reader. We debated how much of fate and destiny is genetic and how much is nurture and free will. In my experience, healthy genetics is important, but nurture and free will are powerful forces that can alter a destiny.

Most palmists are esoteric social workers. Palmistry is using knowledge of hands to help others. It’s easy to see other people’s problems. It’s not so easy to know what to say. In my practice, I blend psychology, astrology, numerology, tarot, and palmistry. Palmists sometimes point out markings in their hands and ask me what I think. I reply, “What does it mean to you? Let’s see how that fits first”. It’s not so easy to be objective about oneself. I choose the best possible outcome I can see in my personal mythology and project that on myself. I try to remain vigilant of often unforeseeable and unavoidable downsides. Few readers I’ve met are truly critical thinkers, though many think they are.

Sun sign astrology is superficial and yet tens of millions of people read their horoscopes daily in magazines and newspapers. Astrology has earned global respect because it has created ethical standards, educational opportunities, and certification programs. Astrology is shared at conferences, colleges, museums, bookstores, community centers, and online forums.

One huge obstacle for palmistry is that it lacks credibility. Palmistry is still relegated to the dark and nebulous world of red neon handed storefronts behind which gypsy scam artists beckon to remove your curses and money. There are very few good palmistry schools. The literature of palmistry is uninspiring at best. I’m one of very few spokespersons.

 

Palmistry students have often come to me to hear what I have to say about their hands. I require them to participate in their readings by answering whatever questions I have about what I see. I begin worrying when they want to impress me with their knowledge of palmistry and ask to see my hands. Not a single student has ever ‘gotten me’. Anyone can read a book, call him or herself palmist, and hang out a shingle. Lousy ingredients and flawed recipes will never create a nutritious meal. Some students tried to ‘type me’ by comparing me to some celebrity or other who I had no obvious connection to. When I disagreed, they attempted to persuade me that they were right. Others focused on interpreting a particular line or marking taken out of context of my basic character.

Many clients are impressionable, gullible, and oversensitive. They believe that if a reader has credibility, he must know what he’s talking about. When clients don’t disagree with something a reader has said that is not right, readers think they must be right. I frequently warn students to be cautious what they say to clients and not to say anything if they have nothing positive to say. I encourage them to look at a lot of hands, ask a lot of questions, and leave hopeful people in their wake.

In an earlier lifetime when I was an industrial designer, a palmist looked at my hands and blew my mind. She was reading my mind while seeing my truths in my hands. She described my character perfectly, kindled a burning curiosity in me, and catalyzed my passion to learn more. She became my teacher. I became her apprentice and best student. I was also studying astrology, numerology, tarot, and psychology at the time.

Over many years, I’ve observed two basic types of readers: head ruled and heart ruled. Extremists and fundamentalists populate the outer limits. The rest of us are, by degree, somewhere between extremes. Extreme head ruled types tend to be analytical, anal, and anti-social. Rationalization replaces reason. Compartmentalization contains compassion. Examination eradicates empathy. Head ruled people make up their minds quickly, fight ideological change, take pride in knowing a lot, and believe they have the answers to everything. They dispense advice authoritatively and act offended when their ideas are challenged. They rarely touch the people they read, within or without, but they do believe they know what’s best for them.

Alternative facts catalyze alternative fates. Pollyanna is alive and well in the esoteric healing arts. Pure heart types are empathic, oversensitive, and sentimental. Heart rules head. Feeling rules thinking. Love and trust are the only foundation for good health, financial security, emotional stability, and all other positive structures. Being helpful is prerequisite to achieving one’s own destiny. Giving is a path to grace, dignity, and wisdom, where healthy choices are made and manifested. Not feeling appreciated and being taken for granted is unhealthy and must always be addressed.

I began seeing the best palmists in NYC in the late 1970’s. My first palmist was still practicing in her mid-eighties. A student of William Benham (father of modern palmistry), she typed me “Saturn #1”. More head than heart, she carefully printed, measured, and charted every detail in my hands before saying a word. She was a bit premature in her assessment of my character. I wasn’t hard enough on myself yet. My strong middle fingers along with Saturn conjunct Pluto closely straddling my Leo Midheaven in my natal chart has impelled me to become more Saturnine over time. Once I realized I was actually a late bloomer, I began to see Saturn as the shortest and most challenging path to satisfaction and fulfillment. Structure, discipline, and focus were my prescriptions and eventual remedies. My job was to buckle down and do the work.

Experts don’t necessarily agree on what archetype is dominant, but can still give great readings. Everyone is a blend of twelve archetypes. Different types can be dominant at different developmental stages in life. My next two hand readings were very different from my first and from each other.

In my next reading I was “Venus #1”. My large pink balls of thumb, flexible spatulate tips, whorl finger prints, and discomfort at saying “No” revealed Venus as a strong influence, but not dominant. This head ruled palmist went straight for my empathy and sentiment. Realizing the strength of my Venus made me aware of how far I had to go to find balance between my desire for love, freedom, creativity, and my overdeveloped sense of responsibility, obligation, and guilt. I tried to balance shame and guilt with empathy and compassion by blending Saturn with Venus. Fortunately they’re sextile in my chart.

On my third reading I was dubbed “Mercury #1”. This palmist, astrologer, and tarot reader was closest to getting me. My long straight pinky fingers, stellium of Gemini planets including Sun Uranus and Venus North Node conjunctions in the 8th house, and my incorrigible need to be frank makes Hermes a dominant player in my story. “The lips of wisdom are closed, except to the ears of understanding.” I wasn’t ready for him then, but I am now. Hermes lived for three hundred years in the flesh. That makes me an adolescent at seventy and explains why I feel like a teenager.

I believed that all three readers were wrong because in my mind, I was “Apollo #1”. My long ring fingers, whorled spatulate tips, clear deep sun lines, curly brown hair, medium height, and my lean muscular build are Apollonian. I saw myself as combining my Mercury, Venus, and Saturn with Apollo as an artist, musician, and inventor.

Unexpectedly, I learned how many readers have many different ways of reading people. An astrology addict showed up one day for a hand reading. Over the years, she’d been to all of the reputable readers she could find. It was my turn. I had never really considered what other readers said before or how they counseled their clients. I couldn’t imagine my client didn’t know what I was going to talk about. She asked if she could record our session. I agreed, but urged her to listen and take notes.

I’m rational, practical, compassionate, empathic, and a good listener. I asked her why she was spending her hard earned money to hear what she already knew. What did she hope to learn? She told me that she was curious. I stretched myself inside out to think of things others may not have said, but realized that what I really needed to do was let go and be fully present with her. When we finished, I asked her if she had taped all or her other sessions and if I could borrow her collection and listen. I was surprised when she said yes. I pondered if I was unethical to spy on my peers (what if they found out), but borrowed her tapes anyway, to satisfy my nagging curiosity about what other readers had to say to her. I became ethically, morally, and instantly bound to secrecy at that moment.

I became confused and concerned as I listened to the tapes. There’s no shortage of reputable readers. What surprised me was how formulaic so many were. Their counsel was impersonal. I heard explanations of sun signs and planets, spoken in esoteric jargon, mostly unfamiliar to the client. Most clients don’t need to hear about their Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto. I listened to elaborate descriptions of moon signs, ascendants, aspects, and houses. Meanwhile, many readers were clueless to the gestalt of the client in the moment. There was a very specific reason the client was there, but few people (including the client) realized what that reason was. Everyone was too busy trying to figure her out by picking at symbols like leaves, and not seeing the forest from the trees. You can have a thorough knowledge of esoteric sciences and be oblivious to the arts and crafts of counseling. The essence of the reading should have been about abusive childhood family relationships that were still binding the client to her chronic fear of trust and intimacy and influencing her choices.

Peers who I’d respected for many years had made this client cry uselessly as they unleashed childhood pain and then failed to link it to current pain. Listening to other readers has reinforced my belief that people should learn to read themselves. Knowing hands has enabled me to clearly see and know myself and others better. My challenge has been to choose what to do with what I know. My mission has been to give everyone a helping hand, their own. So far, I’ve been mostly unsuccessful at reaching the masses. Any thoughts, ideas, and suggestions on ways to raise mass consciousness and popularize palmistry will be greatly appreciated and valued.

Taurus Hands

You don’t need a Taurus sun sign, planets, or planetary placements to be Taurean. Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo are practical types with square palms and short fingers. Pure Taurus hands have pink, firm, elastic skin, solid bulging percussion under pinkie finger, stiff jointed thumbs and fingers, and full rosy balls of thumb bounded by long clear deep life lines. Several long lines run parallel within the life line. Deep main lines and skin ridge patterns are boldly etched. Very few peripheral lines are found in Taurus hands. Long graceful heart lines end under the index finger. Horizontal head lines closely intertwine with life lines at their beginnings and gently slope downward toward the heel of the hand. Dominant loop and arch fingerprints, square tips, developed lower knots and strong middle and bottom phalanges confirm the type. You’d never guess the hand above belongs to a Pisces sun sign.

Taurus, Capricorn, and Virgo are feminine in gender. Driven by physical senses, Taurus are the most responsible, practical, pragmatic, objective, dependable, and reliable of all types. Taurus innately knows how the material world works. They understand what they see and feel, but resist trusting their ideas, intuitions, and inspirations. They get bogged down in mundane matters that limit their abstract abilities and imagination. As creatures of habit, they can easily become addicted to routine and order. They’re great at maintaining the status quo, but procrastinate at starts and finishes. Taurus must pay attention to their daily habits and patterns or become prisoners of their habitual choices. Fixed types (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius) must all learn to clearly see the handwriting on the wall.

Venus, Queen of Pentacles, covets wealth and power as she transforms her visions of comfort and beauty into reality. Her compelling needs for physical and emotional security drive her practical attitudes. Honest, dependable, and trustworthy, she’s valued for her natural warmth and good sense. She won’t bend the truth or perform a song and dance act for anyone. She’s loyal, affectionate, and charming, but can also be controlling, jealous, and possessive. She’s not the best salesperson because she takes rejection personally. Don’t ever take her for granted. She must learn to trust her gut, give up control, and let go of people, circumstances, and ideas that no longer make sense to hang on to. Venus can be extreme. Mother of Harmony, Fear, and Terror, Venus must remain vigilant not to overindulge in negative emotions and physical desires. She symbolizes the pleasure loving acquisitive nature of the bull who strives for constant satisfaction. She loves family, home, food, nature, art, and music and thrives in real estate, banking, insurance, food, and fashion.

Large ball of thumb folk are givers. Saying “No” is a huge challenge for them (especially those with flexible thumbs). Pink color is normal. Red adds passion and lust. One symptom of intimacy issues can be seen when no lines are parallel to the lifeline within the ball of the thumb. Even a partial line may indicate a significant intimacy for a certain length of time. It also reveals the ability to be intimate and vulnerable. Love and trust must be earned in order to fertilize our garden and harvest a bountiful crop. Time is our friend. People ask, “When will I die?” “How long is my lifeline?”  We all definitely die. Only God knows when. Life is about quality, not quantity.

My Taurus moon and mars symbolize my need for emotional and physical stability, along with my insatiable desire for quantity of quality. I never seem to get enough good food, nature, art, music, and loving. April 19 to May 20 is the best time to look through both telescope and microscope at what you truly love and value. We must all pay to play, but good health and happiness are free.

“The great mass of people will more easily fall victim to a big lie than a small one”                                                                                                                                 Adolf Hitler

Adolph Hitler (4/20/1889) was responsible for over thirty million deaths. Hitler transformed the world by harnessing the power of fear and terror and linking them to the power of symbolism to control and manipulate masses. The darkest depths of Taurus catalyzed a German dictator from 1933 to 1945. Taurus can be a cruel zealous fundamentalist in desperate need of spiritual intervention. Jim Jones (5/13/31), fanatic cult leader, led 1,000 people to mass suicide in 1978. Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh (4/23/68) showed no remorse for evil.  Saddam Hussein (4/28/37), a dictator, was humiliated and publicly slain by US.

Pope Francis was created for love and spirituality. Francis is a Sagittarian with a strong Taurus backup. Healthy values make the best religious sense. Notice the barely bottom phalange on his pinky finger. Francis could care less about stuff. He truly loves us and practices what he preaches.

Pope John Paul ll (5/8/20) radiated the heavenly light of Taurus when he asked the rich to share their wealth with the poor. As the first Pope to visit a synagogue, John Paul ll encouraged Catholics and Jews to love one another. He survived countless chaotic messes and reforms in the church along with an attempted assassination. In this picture, his hand looks Arian, adding abundant courage and initiative to his solid values.

William Randolph Hearst and Orson Welles (bulls) battled stubbornly over the making and release of ‘Citizen Kane’. Kane was a Midas who Welles irreverently modeled after Hearst. Despite his natural charisma, brilliant acting, and serious directing abilities, Welles was no match for Hearst’s fortune or power to influence masses. Hearst was stubborn, acquisitive, possessive, and controlling. Welles was determined and persistent in his righteous defiance of Hearst. Hearst tortured Welles with too many legal obstacles and bludgeoned him with bad publicity until Welles could not afford to practice his principles (values) or rise to his challenges (procrastination) or control his self-indulgences (peril).

Taurus exalts mountains (masters), fertilizes fields (purpose), and tends gardens (practicality).

Sigmund Freud (5/6/1856) was Father of Modern Psychoanalysis.

Karl Marx (5/5/1818) developed the theory of Socialism.

Krishnamurti (5/11/1895) shared Spiritual Good Sense with whoever would listen.

Martha Graham (5/11/1894) was Mother of Modern Dance.

Katherine Hepburn (5/12/1907) was Grande Dame of American Stage and Movies.

Queen Elizabeth (4/21/1926) and Prime Minister Tony Blair (5/6/1953) Anchor England.

As a palmist at corporate events for over thirty years, I always arrive early to set up and settle in. Meeting planners show up to introduce the top brass to me before the event starts. Everyone wants to hear what I have to say about them. I’ve read many hundreds of CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and COOs. I examine their hands as I hold them in mine, look into their eyes, and reflect on their personal issues.

Everything and nothing are equal; identical in nature, but different by degree. ‘Less is more’. King Midas wished for a touch of gold, got it, and transformed his beloved daughter into a hunk of metal. Food turned to gold as it touched his lips. Taurus is about values. She shows us how to be flexible and let go of wants by raising our awareness of what truly matters. She encourages us to be stable and secure so we can clearly see and know what we need. There are innumerable shades of gray between black and white. A dying billionaire will gladly trade wealth for youth or good health. A glamorous movie star will gratefully scrub toilets in Grand Central Station to cure her ailing child.

“Have you seen hands that freaked you out?” On a sweltering hot August day, an icy chill gripped my soul as I touched Manuel’s hands. His huge hot sweaty red balls of thumb had no lines within the life line, looking as if an extra-large egg had been stuffed into them. I simulated the enhancement on the left. Manuel’s tremendous desire and passion had no place to go. He had zero ability to be intimate with another human being. Manuel was a convicted child serial killer. Click here to read his story.

When a child becomes thirteen in Jewish tradition, he or she becomes a man or woman after performing a religious rite of passage. Rituals take place in synagogues and require terrified adolescents to read Hebrew from the Torah, sing, and earn their adulthood. I’ve read many thousands of hands at bar and bat mitzvah parties. I’ve worked at many hundreds of modest family gatherings and massive extravaganzas. I’ve performed alongside the world’s best mentalists, magicians, caricaturists, and esoteric readers. Costumed with my black velvet purple satin lined cape, crystal ball, and lighted magnifying glass, I’m a five-minute best friend and bull-shit detector. It’s amazing how much value can be given in five minutes.

It’s not what you see, but what you say and how you say it that matters. One evening, an entourage accompanied their friend to his reading. He was like a mini-CEO with his expensive designer suit and tie. His soft pudgy square palms and plump third phalanges on short fingers let me know that he’d never seen a lick of physical labor. His friends jokingly urged me, “Tell him he’s gay”. One asked, “Do you know who he is?” I saw a kid with lots of challenges ahead. I told his entourage’ to “back off” as I spoke to him about working harder to express his true feelings and behave naturally. His eyes and body language revealed that he could care less about whatever I had to say. When you’re one of the richest kids in the world, unearned power is not a blessing. It may actually be a curse. Later that evening, young Midas returned. He acted as though we’d never met. I gave him the same advice. When I finished, he chuckled and told me, “I fooled you. You already read my hands”.

I held his hands firmly in mine and looked directly into his eyes. “I know who you are, you’re the $$$ boy. I have some valuable free advice for you. Your money doesn’t make you better than anyone else. Your power is unearned. You’ll get old; have relationship problems, work struggles, and health challenges, along with life’s unforeseen plans for you. You must decide what you truly value and how you can make a positive difference with your abundant resources in a world that needs your help.” With eyes dropped and shoulders rounded he left, temporarily recognizing his hubris. I hope he realized his truth.

At another event, a shopping center magnate was competing with his Jewish neighbors, spending a $mall fortune for a sweet thirteen party @ a New Jersey country club. I had just finished reading 48 people in four hours. As I packed my bag to go to an evening party in Manhattan, Midas appeared and demanded, “Read my hands!” Politely, I told him, “I’m sorry, I’m done and in a hurry to get to another party”. “You don’t understand, I’m the one who’s paying you”. I let him know, “The planner already paid me”. He threatened, “I’ll stop payment on his balance!” “OK, hold up your hands”.

“Go ahead, tell me how fucked up I am”. His square palms, short fingers, and long crooked middle fingers with grilled lines beneath revealed a highly self-critical nature. Compulsively chewed nails added an argumentative quality. “I won’t tell you you’re fucked up, but I will tell you what is fucked up. You work unbelievably hard for everything and don’t have a clue how to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You’re a frustrated perfectionist, self-critical, and critical and judgmental of others. You need to lighten up and smell the roses!” He stood, “That’s enough. They told me you were good and they were right. Go to your party”.

When Uranus transited Taurus from 1935 to 1942, the USA went off the gold standard. People began focusing on values and questioning materialism. President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. Labor organized and formed unions that went on strike and engaged in sit-downs across the nation. President Roosevelt defended the Four Essential Freedoms: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. Partisan politics has steadily undermined those freedoms, including social and national security.

People born between 1935 and 1942 have Uranus in Taurus. Many have experienced sudden and unexpected gains and reversals. Uranus returns to Taurus after 84 years in 2019 for seven years. New York Stock Exchange and Federal Reserve are bulls. Expect extreme financial fluctuations.

Capitalism is ruled by Taurus. Fueled by supply, demand, innovation, and competition, capitalism raises our standard of living by heating, cooling, and lighting us. Capitalism enables us to travel freely, independently, and communicate on a grand scale. We can have many opportunities, products, and services when we can afford them. Capitalism is designed for and by individuals and businesses who agree to exercise financial freedom in whatever ways they see fit within the law. As capitalists, we must take responsibility to help those who can’t compete with or survive greed.

Capitalism is great in theory, but like Religion, the bright side of capitalism uplifts while the dark side breeds prejudice, pain, guilt, shame, and suffering. Capitalism is wealthy, but not wise. It fans the flames of larceny as it segregates haves from have-nots. Power corrupts from the top down as value and integrity are compromised. In practice, we must be responsible and vigilant. Too much temptation for too many greedy and dishonest humans makes too much trouble for too many complacent people.

If Capitalism’s heart is hard, its head is even harder. How easy it is to rationalize the most horrific of actions when they’re not happening to us. We’re closer to Armageddon than Eden. Where does the light of capitalism begin and the darkness end? The trappings of Capitalism are its failings.  Why must we learn to value what we have by losing it?

Many people apply formulas for success and yet few are truly successful. Success is a state of mind, heart, and spirit. Our problems are not physical, but philosophical and spiritual. Unhealthy values point us down a path of self-destruction. Our good health and the good health of our world is a reflection of our thoughts and feelings. We must believe in ourselves, have faith, cultivate right attitudes, think critically and positively, set realistic goals, and take appropriate action. We all need good sense and wise counsel. Taurus teaches honesty, responsibility, discipline, structure, focus, courage, determination, and persistence. We must be our own best friends and bull shit detectors.

Reaching Inward

Until my first Saturn return in my late twenties, I never thought about reaching inward. Making money, acquiring power, and having a good time was my calling. In my quest for worldly success, however, I managed to find myself fiscally devastated by fire; mentally and emotionally wrought by drug and gambling addictions of business partners; and psychologically and spiritually ravaged by the sudden unexpected death of my father.

Maybe I wasn’t meant to be doing what I thought I was supposed to be doing. I began pondering the concepts of fate, free will, and destiny. I moved from Pittsburgh to NYC, became an initiate in a mystical order, and began studying palmistry, astrology, tarot, numerology, and psychology. I lived in a fleabag residence hotel in Times Square and worked as a part-time machinist in wood and metal working shops to support my habits.

I meditated, practiced hatha yoga religiously, received regular bodywork, consulted a multitude of psychics and esoteric readers, studied Gestalt psychology, and consulted several psychotherapists. I devoured nearly everything written on the subject of palmistry, researching both western and eastern systems. Combining hand reading with astrology, tarot, and psychology enabled me to create my own eclectic system for understanding character. A life can be examined and reexamined through various lenses and illuminated by any circumstance or question. There’s no end to the amount of self-scrutiny possible.

I’ve been a self-appointed guidance counselor for nearly forty years. Within five minutes of examining a person’s hands, I can see their character, reflect on their current and major life issues and challenges, and offer constructive advice. Examining others has been the most effective method of reaching inward for me. I’ve learned to be more conscious of my own positive and negative potentials, to accept my limitations, to be more patient and tolerant, healthier, happier, and more fulfilled in my work and relationships.

People ask, “Do you read your own hands?” Yes, but it’s not easy to be objective about oneself. Reaching inward needs to become a ritual practice. I search for the best qualities in myself and try to maximize my assets and minimize my liabilities. Many people hope to learn something new by consulting an esoteric reader, but no reader can tell anyone anything they do not already know about themselves. I can say something completely wrong about a person and they may not contradict me because they think that my great reputation and specialized knowledge must make me right. People don’t realize how much they do know. I’ve counseled a lot of astrologers, tarot readers, numerologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and healers who came to affirm and confirm what they already knew. We must all learn to trust what we know about ourselves.

No matter how well we think we know ourselves, we still have to make decisions, create structures, cultivate relationships, maintain our health, and strive for personal happiness and fulfillment. We must take risks and participate in the world. If a person’s hands are hard and fingers stiff, they will fight change with every last molecule in their being. They’ll procrastinate at beginnings and endings, even when the all too familiar hand writing is on the wall. They need to learn to let go in order to make space for new beginnings. People with soft flexible hands will find myriad reasons and rationalizations not to focus their energies, or be disciplined and structured. Too many interests and distractions become handicaps. These folk need to focus, be disciplined, and structured, which is like taking bad tasting medicine for them. What are the best and worst consequences of choosing what we want? Not choosing is also a choice.

No matter what our hands say about us, the minute we begin to manifest anything that interferes with our current cycles, patterns, and habits, our demons will rise. We must learn to examine our lives subjectively, objectively, and act appropriately to catalyze the changes we need to make happen. We must learn to exercise our free will to transform our thinking, feelings, and circumstances while reaching inward and accessing our most positive inner resources. The morphology and topography of our hands will reveal the corresponding transformation over time.

The Greening of Our Psyche

Humanity needs to open its eyes, minds, and psyches and realize that our physical problems and challenges are symptoms of ideological, philosophical, and spiritual disease. The human race has become a race against bad shit happening.

‘Psychic Pollution’ is the mother of all pollution. It’s the most insidious, contagious, and pandemic of all contaminations, infecting the immune systems of our souls and the spirit of our planet. We must wake up and smell the ‘Psychic Garbage’. Our negative ideas and beliefs are catalyzing the fear and terror that is endangering our good health and the good health of our world. Terror and wrath boil and bubble in a cauldron of trouble. Our personal health and the health of our planet is a consequence of our thinking and feelings. We need to observe our thoughts objectively and realize that all physical manifestation is a result of our thinking. We can close landfills, but what can we do with malignant mind-fills and toxic emotional-spills?

It’s time to look in the mirror. Walls divide, boundaries detach, censorship destroys, and lies deceive. How many gilded towers, glitzy gambling casinos, graven images, beauty queens, shark tanks, and celebrity idols do we need?  Must we prostrate ourselves before an over-clothed self-appointed emperor on a polished brass pedestal? Being financially wealthy and spiritually bankrupt is a strain of spiritual cancer. Preaching love and faith and practicing hatred and fear is not a good idea. Vengeance is not a solution to violence. Enough minds focusing on toxic thought creates self-fulfilling prophecies.

Fortunately, truth disinfects. Hindsight catalyzes foresight. Our present and future is in our hands. Our mother is immune deficient. She suffers from tumor’s we call towns and cities, varicose veins we call roads and highways, cancerous lungs we call air and sky, and polluted arteries we call streams and rivers that are turning our reservoirs, lakes, and oceans into toxic waste sites. Why must everything be bright white, squeaky clean and lemon fresh? We consume massive amounts of highly toxic chemicals every day in our wars with insects, rodents, weeds, dirt, stains, odors, germs, bacteria, pathogens, viruses and other potential and invisible enemies. We’re marinating in the chemicals that heat and cool us; power transportation; provide us with products; color, flavor, and preserve our foods; and enable us to communicate on a grand scale. We eat, drink, breathe, wash, brush, and apply risky chemicals to our scalps, armpits, toes, and crotches.

What has happened to good sense? Why are we debating climate change? Must we always lose to learn to value? Why is pollution profitable? Fossil fuels are finite. Hundreds of horses gallop under the hoods of gas guzzling vehicles that can go twice as fast as our highest speed limits. Screening ourselves from the sun has become a way of life. We will all need air and water purifiers. Oxygen will be marketed over the counter like bottled water. We’ll be able to purchase “a breath of fresh air” at oxygen bars. Designer oxygen masks and lemon scented oxygen will become fashionable. Pharmaceutical, apparel, and cosmetics industries will create new chemicals and products to protect us from their past, present, and future chemicals and products.

In ancient Egypt, Hermes explained that anyone can connect with anyone at any time. As father of the cell-phone, Hermes taught that everything is made up of cells and our brains are the hardware. Our job is to put our minds where we want them to be and then tune our links. Hermes said, “The All is in all and all is in The All”. We create value out of thin air.

By observing our plant world, we can better understand the life cycles of our human world. In order to cultivate a healthy world it is essential to select healthful concepts for planting.  We must clear away destructive and unproductive thoughts and plant positive ideas in our minds. Healthy attitudes and circumstances will enable new hope to sprout. A healthy society must have healthy nutrients and a natural, supportive environment in which to create strong roots. It’s our responsibility to show the world by example that we truly care. We need to pull the weeds of greed and prune the branches of waste in order to serve mankind wherever and in whatever ways we can. We must nurture relationships and conditions that fortify our world. In time, our gardens will bud and blossom. We can fertilize our crop by promoting diversity and achieving unity with other nations that will enrich our garden and prepare us to bear fruit. Many varieties of fruits and vegetables can thrive together in a garden. Many types of people can thrive together in our world. Thinking of humanity as a flourishing garden ensures a bountiful harvest for the soul, an abundance of good health, happiness, prosperity, and peace of mind.

The Future of Hands ~ Books

Your character and corresponding destiny is incarnate in your hands. You don’t need to be an expert palmist or know millions of details to learn what you need to know about yourself from your hands. Asking the right questions and interpreting what you see in your hands is the challenge. As a palmist, I mostly address questions about relationships, career, health, children, and whether anything can done to be more fulfilled and happy.

Palmistry is not about ‘this detail means this and that detail means that’. A series of five workbooks should be created to address what matters. The content must be compelling; crafted with fascinating narrative and straightforward illustrations, handy diagrams, and blank pages where readers can participate in interpreting their own hands and issues.

I printed 500 copies of “Your Life is in Your Hands” before my child was born, almost a quarter of a century ago. I gave most of them away. I hoped to make palmistry more real for people by sharing my knowledge and experience as a serious professional palmist in NYC. I created ‘Real Palmistry’ (e-book), and ‘Hand Book’ (paperback) to inspire people to want to learn more. Very few people have read any of my books, despite my best efforts to market them. Perhaps I should have named them ‘Sun Sign Palmistry’ or Palmistry 101’. I’m not sure that would have made a difference. I have several books ready for publishing, but I’ve decided to wait until I’ve figured out the best way to do it. Meanwhile, here’s my latest book concept.

Five Volumes: 25,000 words each

Delivery: Book One: April 1, 2017

Other four: Every six months following.

Ideal Format: Workbook ~ 8 1/2 X 11 to allow full size hand prints and charts.

BOOK ONE

WHAT’S IN A HAND?

 Your life is in your hands

The key to knowing and unlocking your potentials is in your hands. Reading hands (palmistry) helps you know and understand your character. Gain insight into your physical, mental, and emotional attributes, major influences which affect your life, and degrees to which you are fulfilling your potentials. Hands disclose information about your basic character, values, intelligence, emotions, health and healing abilities, career aptitudes, relationship capabilities and limitations, spirituality, creativity, and intuition. Your hands are topographical maps of your past and present and furnish valuable information and insights into possible future events and trends.

While other symbolic systems such as astrology and numerology show a person’s potentials, palmistry shows what a person is actually doing with those potentials. The value of reading hands lies in the capacity to objectify our personality traits and internal struggles. Knowing our natural strengths and weaknesses can help us avoid the hazards of our negative personality patterns. We can embrace our positive potentials. The beauty of hand analysis is our hands change as our thinking and circumstances change. As we exercise our free will and alter our thinking, our changes will manifest themselves in our hands over time. As we influence our destiny, we get to observe our successes and failures reflected in the mirrors of our hands. I’ve observed noticeable changes in hands in a matter of weeks.

My ultimate goal is to turn everyone on to palmistry. I hope to shed the light of day on hands and transform the paradigm of palmistry as a gypsy fortune telling scam. I want to share my unique methods for observing the essence of a person before getting caught up in superfluous details. I want to address frequently asked questions including: Will I be happy? Will I find my soul mate? Can you tell me about past lives? What career should I be in? Do you ever read yourself? What can and cannot be seen in the hands?” I want to share stories of people who transformed their lives, incorporating `before and after’ hand prints and interpretations. I’ll include examples of celebrities including actors, musicians, sports figures, politicians, religious figures, business people, and maybe a terrorist or two.

People can benefit by learning to observe and understand themselves, their talents, positive potentials, and limitations. Most people can learn to read hands.

                                                              BOOK TWO

                                                             HOLDING HANDS

                                 A Guide to Hand Analysis and Palmistry for Lovers

Relationship compatibility is my all-time favorite application of palmistry. Examining the hands of two people together reveals the strengths and weaknesses of that relationship. Healthy compromises can be unveiled within minutes of observing both sets of hands. By examining hands of couples, I can instantly see ways of improving their relationships.

We don’t have to look any farther than the ends of our arms to identify our relationship potentials. While examining our hands, we can gain insight into our sexuality, ability to trust and have real intimacy, and our emotionality. We often experience challenges because of conflicts within ourselves. Why do we choose insecurity over security? Why abuse over nurturing? Why guilt and obligation over freedom and fun-loving?

Who are you attracted to and why? What kind of person are you likely to marry? What kinds of relationships will you have with your families, friends, and neighbors? Examine your hands and your partner’s hands and see where compromise is possible and where it’s not.

BOOK THREE

TAKE MY HAND

A Look at your Child’s Future through Palmistry

Children’s hands change dramatically during the first five years of life. It’s no surprise they’re called “formative years”. Reading your child’s hands puts your own needs under the microscope. By knowing your children’s natural potentials, talents, and abilities, you can encourage and guide them in their natural directions. No matter what age, your child’s hands can help you understand his or her real needs and concerns. Knowing children’s hands helps them choose an educational plan, career direction, and ultimately a life direction. Learning to read hands will teach you to be more patient and tolerant.

I lent a helping hand to deliver my child at birth. I pulled her body from my wife’s womb and cut her umbilical cord. Joanna was blown away that I was reading our baby’s hands before knowing what sex she was. Her beautiful little hands already had a story to tell with tales that lie ahead, her character, strengths, weaknesses, talents, goals, and dreams. On closer scrutiny of her tiny hands, I felt confused and disturbed. Joanna and I have long heart lines (romantic, sentimental, and needing to express our feelings). Our daughter’s was short (serious, untrusting, and unable to verbalize feelings). Her index finger was also short which symbolized future problems with self-esteem. Her first two years of life were characterized by fear, lack of trust, and clinginess. Joanna and I imagined she must have had horrible role models in a past life and we were determined to transform that. Armed with foresight, we loved, respected, nurtured, and helped her unfold as who she wanted and needed to be. Our decision and commitment empowered her to lengthen her index finger and grow her heart line longer during her formative years. Self-assured, fiercely independent, healthy, and happy, she no longer has problems expressing herself.

Did you ever hear or say “I don’t want to make the same mistakes on my kids as my parents made on me”. The best way to avoid that is to learn to read your child’s hands.

BOOK FOUR

SHAKE HANDS

A Hand Analyst’s Guide to Business and Career

I’ve seen headlines and advertisements in newspapers such as the National Enquirer like “YOUR HAND HOLDS THE SECRET TO LOTTERY MILLIONS”, or “A FORTUNE MAY BE HIDING IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND”. These are sensational scams. Your fortune truly is no farther than the end of your arms. That’s the irony. Our hands carry out the messages of ours mind. They also reveal our nature. Career choices, work styles, and even success and failure are natural predispositions to specific types. Understand the type and you will understand the corresponding career capabilities and challenges.

We will cover work and career issues for all twelve types. An examination of fingers is key to pinpointing a person’s profession or work. Case histories and illustrations are essential to understanding how myriad details affect the whole picture.

BOOK FIVE

HEALTHY HANDS

Healing Yourself and Others through Palmistry

People are naturally predisposed to specific health problems. Understand the character and you’ll understand the potential health problems. Readily identify character through the shape and proportions of hands. Fingers, their lengths, proportions, shapes of tips, knots, and nails reveal how we relate to our world. The consistency of our hands, along with the color, texture, and elasticity of our skin shows the kind of energies we have to work with. Lines provide insight into the directions, qualities, and details of our life choices and circumstances. Gestures reveal attitudes in the moment. All factors help us to know our physical, mental, and emotional selves, and how we are fulfilling our potentials.

In the days before computerized medical diagnosis, doctors used their intuition, tasted a patient’s urine, looked into their eyes, and examined the tongue, skin, and especially the hands to diagnose illness. Dozens of illnesses can be diagnosed from fingernails, which are considered windows to health. Some health problems which can be diagnosed by studying nails are: anemia, thyroid disease, malnutrition, carpal tunnel syndrome, psoriasis and eczema, disease of the liver, heart, lungs, or colon, chronic respiratory disease, lymph system problems, diabetes, Raynaud’s disease, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers, Hodgkin’s disease, and sickle-cell anemia. Diseases such as stress related problems and some types of cancer can be seen in finger prints and skin ridge patterns (dermatoglyphics). Lines in hands can indicate conditions of the heart, brain, kidneys, liver, stomach, and male and female systems.

My Declaration of Independence

At the exact moment I publish this, a super full moon is conjoining my natal lunar north node in Gemini. I’m using that power to launch my declaration of independence. Donald Trump and I share that same node. Our karmic responsibility is to communicate higher knowledge to the multitudes. Bill Clinton and George Bush also share that node, but blew their chances. Donald Trump may have already fulfilled his karmic destiny by exposing the dark underbelly of democracy. Donald Trump’s hubris will be his legacy.

I’ve had an epiphany.  If Donald Trump can become president, I can shift the paradigm of ‘palmistry as a gypsy fortune- telling scam’ to ‘palmistry as a potent path to knowing oneself and other’. By ignoring palmistry’s history and making up my own rules, I’ll drag hand reading, kicking and screaming if necessary, out of the dark ages and into the light of the sun. My mission is to give everyone a helping hand, their own. Once you realize the true value of palmistry, you’ll be looking at your hands with reverence.

I’ve been an astrologer, palmist, and tarot card reader for forty years. As an astrologer, having an exact date, time, and place of birth empowers me to recognize character types, observe behavioral patterns, and understand life cycles, habits, and timing. As a palmist, I observe body language and examine the morphology and topography of hands to interpret a person’s actual potentials. Our hands reveal what we’ve done, are doing, and are likely do with those potentials. Tarot cards unveil unconscious and subconscious minds and answer questions ~ like about other people’s stuff.

linda-goodmans-sun-signsAstrology had been quietly knocking at our door for thousands of years. In 1968, we opened wide and asked “What’s your sun sign?”  Linda Goodman wrote and Bantam Books published the simple and entertaining ‘Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs’. Suddenly, astrology became fun. The popular astrology movement was catalyzed. Horoscopes magically appeared in newspapers and magazines everywhere. Astrological organizations, schools, books, and clubs sprouted, thrived, and continue to flourish. Over one hundred million copies of Linda’s books were sold with no Amazon.com or e-social networking.

In my attempt to understand how Linda Goodman transformed astrology, I reached out to her literary agent, Arthur Klebanoff. After reading his autobiography, ‘The Agent’, I was convinced he would be a good catalyst for launching palmistry. I hoped to persuade him that I could become the ‘Linda Goodman of palmistry’ with his help. Too bad for me, because Arthur had retired from agenting and was wary of esoteric authors. Linda had been a royal pain in the butt as a client. I assured him the only relationship between Linda and me was a metaphor between charts and hands. His answer was still ‘No’. I needed to find another way to gain credibility with publishers. If you’ve read my recent personal publicity series, you know how hard I’ve tried.

Here’s my paradox ~ hands are more potent than astrology for seeing basic behavior. There’s no need for accurate birth info, computers, software, or hindsight. While natal astrology charts remain static, hands change as thinking and circumstances change. We get to observe our changes in the mirrors of our hands over time. I use astrology and palmistry together. Viewing hands through the lens of the twelve signs and houses of astrology instantly reveals our basic characters, values, thinking, feelings, will power, health, relationships, creativity, philosophy, purpose, hopes, fears, and spirituality.

Palmistry has not had a champion since Cheiro (hand) in the early 1900’s. Cheiro (Count Louis Hamon) was a self-appointed, self-promoting seer, showman, gossip, and indisputably the most fascinating palmist of all time. He was a bit like Donald Trump in that he made up his own rules as he went along. He’d be a superstar these days with reality TV. You can read more about him in my blog post, ‘Your Palmistry Education’.

It’s time for palmistry to be reborn, but palmistry needs a spokesperson. I’ll be happy to support anyone who is qualified and wants the job. If I’m forced to become a face for palmistry, I’ll rise to the task, but I’m not Cheiro (except for having amazing clients and stories). I have reservations about going public. I cherish my anonymity. I must always remain discreet about my clients’ private lives and secrets. I’ll be seventy next June.

I hope to inspire expert palmists and sincere seekers to take responsibility for what they know and need to know. Knowledge and wisdom are keys to unlocking the magic of hands, but you don’t need to know about hands, or millions of details, or be an expert at anything, to see what you need to see. You must learn how to look and ask the right questions. Hands can be seen and heard by whoever chooses to look and listen.

If you’re a professional palmist and have a legitimate service, product, or school, you should be part of this. Once the public is turned on to palmistry, masses of people will be searching for sources for all things hands. I will promote you when you’re ready, but I’ll require a lot of help from you. First you need to have your act together.

Why aren’t we asking, “May I see your hands?”  My intention is to catalyze a popular palmistry movement as soon as possible. Everyone is seeking spiritual insight and better understanding of oneself and other. There’s no competition for being you. Open your mind, stretch your awareness, and cultivate your ideas ~ be creative. Let me know what you’re planning. Ask for my advice. What I know isn’t proprietary. I have no trade secrets. I will freely share any ideas and ideals that make good sense for the future of palmistry.

I’ve spoken about hands at local venues to mostly uniformed audiences. I’ve shared my knowledge, experience, and creative ideas at colleges, universities, museums, new-age bookstores, community centers, churches, and cafes’. I’ve consulted with psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers about fast forwarding diagnosis, to salesmen about improving sales quotas, and human resource professionals about seeing and knowing whether a person is right for a job. Sounds like a lot, but it’s not. Unless you’re waving what you’ve done or are doing in someone’s face while it’s still hot, it’s quickly forgotten.

I’ve shared my personal publicity experiences with newspapers, magazines, books, radio, TV, volunteering, and public speaking. The workshop flier below was from one of my favorite events. Working with small communities is very satisfying. By participating in local events, you can give people a taste of what you do and let them know you plan to share what you know with the community. With digital camera in hand I ask,

“May I photograph your hands?”

“What will you do with the photos?”

“I’ll blow them up huge on a screen and talk about you with you in front of everyone.”

I’d be terrified if someone asked me. I have too many secrets. I’m always surprised how many people are ‘up for it’. I assure them I would never say anything hurtful or harmful. Being constructive, helpful, and leaving people feeling hopeful is the name of the game. Workshop volunteers sign a model release. I use their photos in limited ways. I choose twenty people for my poster while instantly creating a captive audience expecting an interesting experience. I place fliers online and in local village stores a couple of weeks ahead of time. This event worked especially well because people were turned on, the workshop was inexpensive, and the proceeds were donated to the café cinema series.

If you go into palmistry for money, you’re in the wrong profession. You can have a happy and healthy life as a palmist without being rich. I work as much as I choose, but will never make big bucks. Corporate speaking is profitable, but it’s a hard sell and the least satisfying work in the end. Your real wealth is in recognizing hands as powerful tools for healing mind, body, and spirit. In the process, you meet a diversity of amazing individuals, cultivate quality private clients, and attract fascinating special event work.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll post my ideas for popularizing palmistry on my blog. Feel free to question, comment, suggest, advise, imagine, or whatever you choose. If you have a better idea or know how to make an idea better, share your thoughts and insights. Let go of palmistry’s past. Take a leap of faith. Figure out what works for you. All of humanity must know and understand self and others better for a better future. Precious treasure wants and waits to be discovered at the ends of our arms.

“The lips of wisdom are closed, except to the ears of understanding”   Hermes

beanheads-flier

Publicity Stories #5 ~ Radio & TV

I was first interviewed on radio in 1986, a few years prior to the Village Voice feature. WNYC Radio asked me to explain palmistry to their listeners for thirty minutes. I was nervous, but knowing I wouldn’t be seen alleviated my biggest fears. As an NPR affiliate, WNYC generated interest in Boston, Chicago, Albuquerque, Houston, and other cities.

frankie-boyerI’ve had many radio interviews since WNYC. One challenge is that if you have nothing to sell, there’s no way to make $. Even if you have something of value, a lot of people must see it and recognize you. I was interviewed by Frankie Boyer numerous times. Frankie promoted my book during the show. It didn’t translate into book sales. I believed Frankie was the perfect venue for me: syndicated in thirty major cities, Frankie interviewed Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dwyer, John Gray, Dr. Oz, Suzanne Somers, and other thought leaders. Her listeners seemed perfect for palmistry and me. I was wrong. I mostly got inquiries from other media looking for stories. My publicist friend who introduced me to Frankie told me it can take as many as fifty radio interviews before listeners respond.

patti-canovaI prefer smaller venues. My all-time favorite tarot teacher and friend, Patti Canova, hosts a radio show she calls ‘Got a Lite’. How many people are actually listening is hard to know, but shows are recorded and archived online, so fans and friends can hear them anytime. I’ve been on Patti’s show several times. She’s got a loyal following. When Patti says, “Mark is great” or “You need to go see this man”, listeners listen. I got friend requests, likes, follows, links, shares, and a few readings from being on her show. Link to my first show.

anthony-piccoI was interviewed for ninety minutes on a show called ‘Cosmic Tuesdays’ that airs on Monday nights. Anthony Picco, a knowledgeable astrologer with a personable interviewing style, blends the esoteric with the practical in the electronic ether for an earful. Link

bliem-kernTV intimidates me. Appearing on screens has its drawbacks. Viewers can see your awkwardness and self-consciousness. Mistakes are permanent and not easily forgotten (mostly by you). Watching yourself afterwards is sobering. “If only I had done or not done…” I spent my first hour on TV with Bliem Kern on ‘Satellite Psychic’. Bliem’s quirky humor and casual informative style made it easy for me to be myself. We joyfully shared our metaphysical ideas and experience on the air.

 

patti-davisBack in 1994, I read Patti Davis on Lifetime TV, on the same day she came out on the cover of Playboy magazine. We sat apart in ‘the green room’, waiting to go on the show. A frustrated stylist was unsuccessfully trying to put makeup on me while Patti was ignoring me. When the producer walked in, she introduced us. “Patti, I want you to meet Mark. He’ll be reading your hands on the show.” Instantly, Patti was kneeling beside me with her hands in my face. “My family loves this stuff!” We talked about what it was like living with Ron and Nancy Reagan. The first thing the two chatty hosts asked me, “Well Mark, what’s in Patti’s hands that we haven’t already seen?” They made jokes about everything I said. By the middle of the show, I regretted doing it, though I was glad to have met and read Patti.

guru-of-garbageI’d never merged design with metaphysics before now. Combining them turned out better than expected. I was the “Guru of Garbage” on Fox ‘Good Day New York’ and a successful industrial eco-designer who creates new products from recycled materials on Japanese WOWOW TV. My esoteric and environmental worlds were beginning to morph into a new physical and metaphysical awareness.

mark-martha

Martha Stewart threw an exclusive millennium party at the ‘Four Seasons’ in NYC for celebrities, super stars, and other notables. The theme was metaphysics and Martha’s guests could have quickie counseling sessions with master astrologers, palmists, and tarot readers. I got to read the hands of some of my favorite personal heroes. The other palmist and several other readers had published many more books than me, but I had the longest line of celebrities waiting for their reflections.

Martha’s producer called me later to schedule a palmistry segment for CBS ‘Martha Stewart Living’ for April 2001. Martha’s TV studio had state of the art technology, great food, and a lot of hip well paid young professionals running around making sure all things are perfect at all times. I’d heard Martha was a cold task-master, but in person, she was charming and gracious. She has high expectations and truly wants to offer her viewers the most elegant and sensible solutions to whatever crafts, activities, and challenges she’s choosing to illuminate at the moment. In hindsight, I wished I’d done a better job explaining palmistry to her viewers. You can read more about my reading of Martha’s hands here and watch my favorite minute of my segment on her show here.

mark-meredith-joy-debbie-and-star

After appearing on Martha’s show, I was nervous that people would recognize me on the street. Fortunately, I don’t think many New Yorkers watch her show. The next call I got was from the producer of ABC ‘The View’. She was planning ‘The View from Beyond’ and was lining up a week’s worth of the best esoteric readers she could find. She wanted me to be the guest palmist and promised that I could present palmistry in whatever way I chose. My problem was that while Martha Stewart’s show was taped and edited, ‘The View’ was live. I could be put on the defensive or get stuck with an awkward question I couldn’t answer and be embarrassed. She assured me the show would go smoothly. It actually went really well until Star Jones inadvertently put me on the defensive. “Well Mark; tell me something the audience doesn’t know about me.” Click here to see the look in her eyes as I respond to her question.

I’d never watched ‘Martha Stewart Living’ or ‘The View’ before they called me. I had no idea how many people watched those shows, but assumed the largest audiences for daytime network TV were suburban housewives and unemployed people. Many more strangers recognized me from my appearance on ‘The View’ than from Martha’s show.

mark-joanna-and-cassie-as-a-newborn2The next call I received was from a producer at AOL in collaboration with Huffington Post. They produced a popular video series called ‘You’ve Got’ which was promoted on AOL. A substantial crew of videographers, lighting experts, and stylists showed up at our little east village apartment with a ton of video equipment. A whole afternoon was spent shooting a 2 ½ minute segment entitled ‘You’ve Got Mark Seltman and Joanna Brotman’. The video was all about how I chose to marry Joanna because of her hands and how reading hands has affected our marriage. This short segment got well over a million views within hours of posting.

Since that time, I’ve been approached by a variety of Cable TV producers with reality TV show ideas. I haven’t said ‘yes’ to anything. I do believe the timing is right for the right metaphysical show. Everyone is searching for answers and many people are turning to metaphysics with questions.  I’d love to participate in something meaningful, but everything I’ve seen so far has been more like a ‘circus’ or ‘dog and pony show’. I have no desire to become the Jerry Springer or Maury Povich of metaphysics.

Publicity Stories #4 ~ Books

Since I began practicing palmistry professionally in the late ‘70’s, people have asked, “Have you written a book?” or “Why haven’t you written a book?” or “When are you going to write your book?” or “How can I learn to read hands?” I’d reply, “I’m working on it”. I had no interest in writing another palmistry cookbook, wasting trees, or ending up on some obscure bottom shelf in bookstores along with the worst selling astrology, tarot, and occult divination books. In my opinion, the literature of palmistry is the number one reason palmistry is misunderstood and unpopular. I’ve read almost everything ever written on the subject. I can think of one palmistry book that was actually fun to read ‘Confessions: Memoirs of a Modern Seer’ (collection of sensational personal palmistry stories). Not a ‘how to’ book, Cheiro’s melodramatic content and theatrical writing style made it impossible to navigate the blurry boundaries between truth and fiction.

your-life-is-in-your-hands-copy

Reading Cheiro inspired me to write ‘Your Life is in Your Hands’ in 1990. I decided to share my personal experience as an expert palmist and throw in enough ‘how to’ to inspire readers to want to learn more. I printed a few hundred copies and gave them to friends, family, and peers in the metaphysical world. My creation received plenty of praise, along with a healthy dose of criticism. Readers were excited to learn more about their hands, but confused about what to do next. I know from personal experience that it’s easier to learn from teachers than books. I had no desire to teach again. I decided to let go of writing books until I could figure out how to do it better.

Most palmistry books are cookbooks full of unrelated ingredients and unreliable recipes passed down for generations. The illustrations and the content are an unappetizing smorgasbord of poorly mixed details. This detail means this and that detail means that. The truth is that every detail must be examined in the context of the whole and all other details at the same time. All questions are in every detail and all details are in every answer. The danger in interpreting details out of context is in substituting one form of pre-determinism for another by reducing individuality to formulas. Sadly, that’s why so many palmistry books are like junk food for the mind.

In fairness to some modern palmistry authors, there are a few books I recommend. I devoted this blog post to the subject. I’m adding the science of fingerprints. ‘Life Prints’ by Richard Unger and other books by dermatoglyphic protégé’s are among the only original palmistry thinking in the past century. The most recent book I read was ‘The Art and Science of Hand Reading’ by Ellen Goldberg & Dorian Bergen. It’s the best “William Benham” upgrade I’ve come across. It’s fun to read if you love reading encyclopedias. As a textbook, it should be required reading for all western palmistry students.

Over the years, free-lance authors asked me to co-author esoteric books with them. I declined because I never felt the right chemistry with anyone. I’m happy to contribute to someone’s effort, but not to their speculation. I take my own calculated risks. When I examined Maurice Sendak’s hands, I asked him if he’d like to collaborate with me on a children’s palmistry book. I knew it would be an automatic winner. I visualized palmistry as finally out of the closet and seen as a valid portal to self and other. He declined, saying it was an interesting idea, but he was too old to work on anyone else’s project.

I’d been in books before like “Who’s who in the East” (for my industrial design work) where publishers honor you, and then encourage you to purchase expensive beautifully bound books and give them to your family, friends, and for promotional purposes. It’s risk free for them and very profitable when you pay to play.

psychic-ny

It wasn’t until 1995 when I met Patricia Collins that I decided to be featured in a book again. Patricia was searching for the best esoteric readers in NYC. I was one of them. I recommended several friends, peers, and colleagues who are also in the book. Most major players know each other as metaphysics is a small world. Local books are best for local business, like newspapers and magazines. They generally have a shelf life of a year or two. You’ll find them on Amazon after that. If the content and artwork is laudable, you can increase your shelf life by speaking and promoting yourself on social networks.

I got a lot of calls from ‘Psychic New York’ the first year and still get occasional calls twenty years later. Although my prices have doubled, no one questions my cost.
esoteric-guide-to-ny

In 2002, I was interviewed by another New York author. ‘Esoteric Guide to New York’ was similar to ‘Psychic New York’ with more new age practitioners and shorter blurbs. I liked my write-up. They called me “The Mozart of palm readers”. I got a lot of business from that venue and still get sporadic readings from infrequent queries, although I get more from ‘Psychic New York’, even though it’s even more dated.

The 100 Top Psychics and Astrolgers in America

Many authors self-appoint themselves as experts and talented researchers. We assume that if it looks valid in print, it probably is. That’s not true. I believe the goal of this author was to find 100 popular readers with enough of a following that the author could sell an additional 10,000 books. She assumed readers would buy a bunch for family, friends, and to promote themselves. I told her that I was a counselor who uses symbolism, not ‘a psychic’.  She promised to give me my own category. My interview felt shallow.

It should be a big deal to be one of 100 in America, right? When the book came out, I wasn’t pleased with the quality of the printing or the content. I ended up not buying any books and only owning the free copy she promised with the interview. I think the other readers may have felt similarly. If you don’t promote the venue you’re in, it won’t fly. I didn’t. My one percent is sitting on a shelf somewhere gathering dust at the moment.

Real Palmistry

Around June of 2012, I decided to try again. Everyone was writing e-books. That made a lot of sense to me. I created ‘Real Palmistry’. I included content from ‘Your Life is in Your Hands’ (subtitle of all my books), plus I added over twenty years’ experience to the mix. It would be full color, provide plenty of thought-provoking links, and cost consumers only $4. I could promote it on social networks, pay for e-releases, and do radio interviews. I spent a few hundred dollars sending out press releases and was amazed at the stunning lack of response. Markets for e-books seemed saturated. A burgeoning glut of authors was ‘out there’ touting their book as the next best thing since the bible.

Hand Book

I tried selling ‘Real Palmistry’ to the metaphysical community. Many people wrote back and asked ‘when I was going to create a real book?’ Many esoteric people are living in an earlier era. They needed a paperback. I created a print version of ‘Real Palmistry’ and called it ‘Hand Book’. It was black and white, didn’t have links, artwork was straight from the e-book at 72 dpi (poor print quality), and cost $10.95 (three times as much as the e-book). I printed several hundred copies to give away and sell at the back of the room at my speaking engagements. I placed them in local bookstores and cafes on consignment.

Everyone was saying how important reviews were. In a short time, ‘Hand Book’ had more legitimate five-star reviews than any other palmistry book on Amazon. My best reviews were unsolicited. Here’s one of my favorites from someone who really got me. Reviews haven’t produced sales. I’ve sold around a thousand books. Writing has been a satisfying avocation, but not a profitable vocation. I’ve written other books I’d like to publish, but am holding off until I can figure out a better way of putting them out.

round self portrait

On another note, many years ago, I spent two days a week for two years getting to know over 150 serial killers, murderers, and violent criminals in a forensic psychiatric hospital. I examined their hands, cast their astrology, and threw the tarot for them. I decided to transform my incredible experience into a novel. There are eight episodes of ‘How I Lost my Sanity’ on my blog. Here’s the first episode. Click forward for the other seven. I stopped writing when my tale became too dark to publish alongside my non-fiction work.

Publicity Stories #3 ~ New York Magazine

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Wealthy people and tourists look to New York Magazine to recommend NYC places, happenings, and people. No press to date has matched the publicity power of New York Magazine for my long term business. The Village Voice article was a wonderful introduction to the public. The New York Times feature was great for short term business. My little New York Magazine segment, ‘A Hands-On Approach’ has generated tens of thousands of dollars in private clients and special events over the years. New York Magazine archives articles online so whoever can search whenever for whatever.

nyt-millenium2One thing I didn’t mention in my previous publicity posts is that once you’ve been featured in a venue, they tend to return for various reasons. I’ve been featured in articles in the New York Times on several occasions. At the turn of the Millennium when everyone was panicking about Y2K and Armageddon, the Times ‘Week in Review’ called various ‘prognosticators’ to prognosticate about what was about to happen. I was the only one who was 100% accurate. I forecast that when we crossed the threshold to the year 2000, people would wake up, brush their teeth, and go to work.

the-cutNew York Magazine’s online venue ‘The Cut’, asked me to be their expert palmist for a sixteen page feature they called ‘16 Celeb Palm Readings, Annotated and Explained’. From the President to the Prince to the Pope to Angelina Joli and Justin Beiber, I analyzed hands of various celebrities (from photos).

Author’s note: no matter what I write, the editor always has the last word. The content I create is recrafted in the context, style, and language of a venue’s demographic.

downtown-magazineLocal press is the most financially productive publicity. ‘Time Out New York’ has featured me on several occasions. The most recent article was entitled ‘The best psychics in NYC’.

‘Downtown Magazine’ published a feature they entitled ‘Downtown’s Psychic Scene: A Promising Future’. I was very pleased with the article. It’s great when a journalist ‘gets it right’.

 

refinery-29My all-time favorite interview is five pages long and published by an online magazine ~ ‘Refinery 29’. They called it ‘Meet the Real-Deals of NYC Fortune Telling’.  The writer, Annie Greenberg, asked great questions, had a wonderful sense of humor, and totally got what I was saying. Unfortunately, the story came out near the end of August 2011 at the exact same time that Hurricane Irene struck NYC and the Northeast coast. Palmistry was the last thing on anyone’s mind. Fortunately ~ it’s always online. I’m still getting calls from searches. I also refer potential clients to the link when they inquire about what to expect from a consultation with me.

family-circleNational magazine coverage has been good for my ego, but hasn’t done a lot for my pocket book. I was thrilled when ‘Family Circle’ magazine called to interview me. Being featured in a two page article entitled ‘Palmistry’ seemed like a great opportunity to become recognized in the consumer mass market. It wasn’t.

modern-bride-3‘Modern Bride Magazine’ approached me with a unique four page feature they entitled ‘Hand in Hand’ ~ I read the hands of couples who were engaged and advised them about their partnership. Couples were able to critique my reading of them. It wasn’t all roses, but it was realistic and I was fine with that. That feature generated a few wedding showers and other party business.

kathy-najimyThe most productive national magazine for me was Instyle Magazine. I was asked to be their expert palmist for the first major national palmistry column that they entitled ‘high five’. At the time, all the major magazines and newspapers had astrology. No one had palmistry. Instyle wanted to separate themselves from their competition. They assigned me the last page of each issue to analyze a new celebrity hand each month. Check out these issues ~ Kathy Najimy (I got a warm thank you note from Kathy) and Joey Lawrence. Time Inc. publishes Instyle, along with ninety different magazines. I figured it was my golden opportunity to be a player in the magazine world. I loved working with my editor, Leah Rozen. We often joked about my initial analysis ~ especially about what we weren’t able to print. We worked closely to craft what we would say. People Magazine asked Leah to be their film critic and she jumped at the opportunity. That was the beginning of the end for me and ‘high five’.

instyleInstyle’s new editor and I didn’t see eye to eye. She told me that it was really hard to get celebrities to participate because they feared I was going to see things in their hands that they didn’t want anyone to see. I assured her that my interpretations would always be positive and constructive, but she cut the column from the magazine. I was hired on occasion to comment on celebrity hands and to work at celebrity parties for People Magazine.

Conde Nast has been one of my favorite clients for special events. I’ve worked at plenty of parties for Vogue, Glamour, Traveler, Architectural Digest, and others. I’ve read many of their top executives privately and am sometimes hired for their personal parties. I’ve pitched several column ideas to editors. Most recently I proposed a ‘Hands around the World’ column for Conde Nast Traveler after dazzling Glamour’s top advertisers at a private party at the publisher’s home.

There are many magazines dedicated to specific audiences. I’ve experimented with a variety of exclusive markets and am sharing my experiences here.

astrogirl2‘Astrogirl Magazine’ is a very superficial look at combining astrology and young celebrities for teens. Astrogirl hired me to analyze the hands and describe the personalities of the hottest young celebrity idols. They called it ‘Celeb Palm Readings’.

 

sharing-ideasI was trying to expand my speaking business and wrote an article for a national speaking magazine, ‘Sharing Ideas’, called ‘The Sale is in Your Hands’. I figured it would help me promote my speaking business, but it did nothing on its own. I included it in my press materials when I queried meeting planners and speaker bureaus and it gave me a little added credibility.

 

crush-fanzine‘CRUSH fanzine’ hired me to write a feature entitled ‘Palm Analysis’ about hands of well-known modern conceptual, visual, fashion, and performance artists. The editor emailed digital photos and scans (awful quality, no detail). I felt upset that I never got to review how my notes were edited before the article was published. The opening night party was a formal celebration. I got to read some of the people I had read remotely in the issue in person and found them different than my interpretation. I much prefer reading hands in person.

carnegie-mellon-magazineMy alma-mater, Carnegie Mellon University, is always searching for bragging rights for alumni. I think it was my first New York Times article that came across their search engines. In 1998, they contacted me and asked if they could feature me in the alumni magazine. I agreed. They sent a journalist from New York City, Judith Trojan, to interview me. Judith was thorough and professional. She wrote a three page feature they called, ‘Mark Seltman ~ A Work in Progress’ (my mate, Joanna, calls me ‘a piece of work in progress’) that appeared in Carnegie Mellon Magazine. The primary benefit of the article seemed to be that it reunited me with old college friends. I also discovered several alumni who had become friends over the years, but we never realized we shared the same college.

Publicity Stories #2 ~ The New York Times

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I’d had plenty of press as ‘Guru of Garbage’, but never experienced the ‘power of publicity’ until I was featured on the front page of the ‘City Section’ of the NY Times. The Village Voice article had produced a lot of inquiries, but a small amount of actual business. I realized that today’s news truly is tomorrow’s fish wrap unless you’re waving it in someone else’s face. The significance of the Voice was that other publications and journalists were fishing in my pond for thought-provoking content for their venues.

Manhattan User’s Guide’ interviewed me and created a flow of new clients and parties. Too bad I was selling my time for so much less then. ‘Where NY Magazine’ dubbed me “Weatherman of the psyche”. I liked ‘Whetherman’, but the editor didn’t. Some writers were looking for a free reading. Pitching the article was their excuse. I quickly learned to separate the wheat from the chaff and to avoid questionable press and advertising.

Having fresh publicity facilitated my speaking business. I spoke about the history of palmistry in New York City at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. The National Design Museum asked me to create a workshop / lecture series on the symbolism of the sun to complement a major solar design exhibition (testimonial). I’d given previous talks at the museum about designing products with recycled materials.

I was a faculty member of the NYC chapter of NCGR (National Council for Geocosmic Research) for nearly 20 years. I spoke at astrological conferences about combining hands and horoscopes. I offered hand reading workshops at the New York Open Center, Learning Annex, Theosophical Society, and East West Books.

As the eighties came to a close, I was switching back and forth between environmental and metaphysical work. I’d designed and fabricated an ‘all natural’ architectural loft for an artist and award winning film editor in Tribeca. When I completed the project, she celebrated by transforming the space into a salon and inviting a unique collection of notable individuals. She was my Gertrude Stein. That’s where I met Robert Lipsyte.

Bob was a celebrated journalist and novelist. As a 25 year old sports writer for the NY Times, Bob wrote about a boxing match between little known Cassius Clay and Sonny Liston, ‘The Champ’. Destiny united Ali with Bob and marked the beginning of two illustrious careers. Ali became king of the ring, while Bob became a famous sports journalist, Ali’s biographer, and friend. Bob met the Beatles on their first American tour with Ali. Bob also won prestigious literary awards for his YA novels and was the Emmy- winning host of the nightly public affairs show on WNET~ The Eleventh Hour.

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When Bob found out what I did (besides designing and building lofts), his curiosity was roused. A natural skeptic and cynic, he couldn’t wait to challenge my esoteric mind and ideas. Bob hungered for answers to unanswerable questions. My ambiguous responses made him even more inquisitive. He enrolled in my ‘Metaphysics 101’ class at the Cooper Union. That’s when he jokingly started calling me ‘his guru’.

I think Bob wanted to help me become the ‘champ’ of metaphysics. He asked if he could feature me in the weekend edition of the Times. He also asked me to be a guest on The Eleventh Hour. I said ‘yes’ to both. Unfortunately, the TV show was discontinued before my time. PBS gave his spot to Charlie Rose. I’ve lost touch with Bob, but know I can call on him anytime for any reason and he’ll be happy to hear from me.

Newspapers are good for short term publicity. My big surprise was receiving thousands of inquiries within a few weeks. Momentum from Bob’s article expanded my speaking and party businesses and generated even more free publicity.