Handful of Stars: A Palmistry Guidebook and Hand-Printing Kit by Helene Saucedo
October is here, Halloween parties are incipient, and that means group activities will be in order — spooky card games, spine-chilling board games, and, yes, palmistry kits. Helene Saucedo’s Handful of Stars: A Palmistry Guidebook and Hand-Printing Kit (2019) declares itself to be “everything you need to read and create a print of the hand,” and I was curious to see how well the kit actually met that challenge.
The guidebook is slim, covering the major steps of palm-reading and touching lightly on the history of palmistry, or chiromancy, as it was once known. While the lines on a person’s palm were once thought to contain such portentous information as the number of successful romances or the limit of a person’s life span, current palmistry seems to be more of a self-reflection or self-assessment tool. Length and curvature of lines, and especially interruptions or deviations, are more indicative of personality traits or momentous events in one’s past. Saucedo includes flexibility of fingers and hands, size of palm and fingers, and thickness combined with texture of the sections of one’s palm — called “mounts,” short for mountains, and linked to celestial bodies such as Venus or Mars — to reveal hidden aspects of an individual’s nature.
Eight purple-toned worksheets are included in the back of Handful of Stars, and Saucedo recommends testing her method “on plain paper until you get the hang of it,” which I strongly recommend as well; I couldn’t manage inking my dominant hand and creating a legible palm print on my own, and required assistance in order to avoid inking everything within reach. Once a palm print is created and has dried, Saucedo’s instructions cover deciphering the significance of hand/finger shape and placement, major lines (Heart Line, Head Line, Life Line, and Line of Stability) and minor lines (Affection Lines, Line of Health, Past Lives, etc.), and the mounts, which represent dominant personality traits. I took a fair amount of time to go through each section, reading over what to look for and each aspect’s significance, and it was a pleasant way to spend a portion of an afternoon.
According to my extremely amateur palmistry reading, my palm indicates that I’m a person who needs balance and structure in life while holding logic and will in equal regard; my palm also shows that I am an “open introvert” with an emphasis on creativity, practical thinking, and who enjoys life’s beauty. Having engaged in a fair amount of self-reflection, this all sounds about right, and it was interesting if not particularly revelatory to see how Saucedo’s generalizations met up with my personal assessments. Saucedo provides no information as to how her evaluations come together, and I would have liked to know more about the chicken-and-egg nature of, for example, whether a person with a high “mount of Apollo” is more likely to be creative, as the prominence of that mount suggests, or whether the mount of Apollo is raised due to use of the hand in creative activities like writing or painting. The instructions are occasionally vague, not going into enough detail to make clear what aspects of, say, finger placement I was supposed to be focusing on in order to determine “the state of innate traits and strengths.”
I can see this palmistry kit as a decent party activity, or something fun done with a group of friends, but there are flaws preventing it from being a solid recommendation. The Handful of Stars box contains the guidebook, a silver gel pen, a non-toxic ink pad, and an ink roller; the pad and the roller are both black, making it nearly impossible to determine if enough ink is on the roller to provide a substantial transfer onto the palm in question. The guidebook’s illustrations are done up in a clear, easy-to-read black which contrasts beautifully with the silver gel pen, but my hand-printing experiments resulted in greyscale palm prints which were exactly the same color as the pen’s ink, making notations impossible to read. (I resorted to using a black fine-tip marker, with far better results.) The gel pen writes well, and it’s a shame that the palm-printing ink was so difficult to get a good print with, because the contrast of silver-on-black is quite impressive in the guidebook. Considering the projected retail cost of the kit, I rather expected more satisfaction and higher quality of materials.
Overall, Handful of Stars was an interesting diversion, and I’ll keep it with my collection of board games and cards for the next time I’m hosting a group activity, but I don’t foresee it receiving more attention than any of my other divination/self-reflection tools, most of which are far more portable and user-friendly.