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Book Reviews



by Jon Saint-Germain
Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, Minn 55164

Reviewed by Richard Unger

Hand readers can be said to fall into one of two main categories: those who focus on character analysis (the more scientific approach), and those that focus on the future (the intuitive approach). Jon Saint-Germain has his feet firmly planted in both worlds and his interesting new book, Runic Palmistry, speaks to each.

Saint-Germain was introduced to palmistry early on by his grandmother, about whom he says, "She had a way of sugarcoating bad news and putting such a positive spin on people's negative traits that people didn't know when they were being chewed out!" Mamaw's approach was based upon Scandinavian mythology and Runic Palmistry is laced with Viking tales, Norse gods and goddesses and bits of folk wisdom passed down through a rich oral tradition.

The first half of Runic Palmistry offers a system of character analysis both familiar and brand new. Instead of the Greco-Roman pantheon of gods as names for the fingers and parts of the palm, we are introduced to Odin, Thor, and their extended family. Upon close inspection, it turns out to be not all that different from the more traditional approach found in most palmistry books. For instance, Odin is the chief deity in charge of Valhalla and the index finger carries his name. If your Odin finger is longer than expected, you are loaded with Odin-like qualities and it will be your challenge in life to make good use of your power and authority.

Likewise, other parts of the hand bear new names, have new myths associated with them and, blended together, you have an entire map that yields useful info about all aspects of a person's life. Cool.

Runic Palmistry reads easily and any new student of hands will have fun applying this system to their own hands and the hands of friends. Advanced students of hands can find useful tidbits scattered about. I particularly enjoyed Saint-Germain's comments on how to present information to different types of people. "Imagine how tough it is to feel the entire weight of all those expectations placed upon you and you will be better able to relate to the Odin archetype." [paraphrased] This is good advice, often overlooked in other palmistry books.

The second half of Runic Palmistry is another matter. Having played with the runes myself, enjoying them as an oracular device, I am not dead set against their use. That being said, it is hard to imagine that the runes actually appear in different parts of the hands and that the location of their appearance would have significance. This entire section of Saint-Germain's book seems fanciful to me.

Still, I liked the stories, the grounded folk wisdom, the overall coherence and tone of Runic Palmistry. I recommend it to beginners or those further down the palmistry trail.