WEATHER »
Palm diagram

Palm diagram


The Female Touch

Women in the History of Palmistry


The nineteenth century saw women emerge nationally as trusted palmists to the nobility in France. One such was Marie-Anne le Normand, born September 16, 1768, at Alencon. Her memoir, Souvenirs Prophetiues, relates how she became the cartomancer to the fashionable young widow Josephine de Beauharnais.

When Josephine married a short little man named Napoleon, Marie-Anne was well on her way to becoming the most important fortune-teller in the Court. Her memoirs relate her prophetic powers, Napoleon’s interest in astrology and chiromancy, and her own relationship with the emperor.

Napoleon used to consult le Normand about his future between battles, and on his way to and from sieges, even before his rise to fame. She made far-reaching prophecies that kept the little man returning. She would take his hand impression in ashes, and predict great futures for his commands. Her last advice to him was to beware of his pride, which apparently greatly unnerved him.

The left hands of both Josephine and Napoleon are reproduced in le Normand’s Memoires Historiques et Secrets de L’Imperatrice Josephine. She analyzes both outlines of the hands with great detail, including that Napoleon’s Jupiter finger revealed an inferiority complex that many others attributed to his height. He also claimed that Josephine’s Mercury finger indicated difficulty in relationships. Outside accounts verify both these reports.

Le Normand trained other women, who went on to practice in her footsteps, even in the very cubicle she used to use. One such was Madame Moreau, who published L’Avenir Devoile-Chiromancie Nouvelle in 1869.

This volume has fascinated many for shedding light on the social and intellectual demands made on early nineteenth century palmists, as intimate accounts of clients are revealed including their needs, reactions, and outcomes of her predictions. Her lively, fresh approach laid the basis for one that Cheiro was later to pursue.

Batya Weinbaum is a contemporary palmist and writer.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

City College Ranked #1 by Value Colleges

High graduation rate, community service, and online degree programs made SBCC a 'flawless investment.'

News Commentary: Ribbon Cutting Is Not as Easy as It Looks

Grand opening for new Eastside bridge conveys a tingle of progress.

Santa Barbara Rental Prices Have Skyrocketed Over the Last Five Years

The average rent for a South Coast studio is $1,553.

Trio Stops the Show at Board of Education

More than a dozen appeal to Santa Barbara Unified School District to maintain music classes and programs.

Santa Barbara District Attorney Endorses Villaraigosa for Governor

Joyce Dudley preferred the former Los Angeles mayor’s positions on crime and education.