Tim Matheson (Animal House, West Wing) sports
a double life line. Some call the second line the “general” or
“warrior” line. Napoleon also had one. Peter Riegert (Crossing
) on his right hand has a flexible thumb. It bends
easily open away from the rest of his hand, showing his flexibility
in decision-making. His rounded finger tips indicate a practical
nature. Peter’s fingers separate widely into a creative spread. A
sign of a true artist. These celebrities were opening their palms
for me on the Red Carpet at the opening of the Santa Barbara
International Film Festival last night. They seemed to enjoy the
pause between grilling questions.

I only had one.

“Would you let me have a look at your palm?”

Staff in the Press Office initially discouraged me. “Aren’t you
focusing on women?” Alana asked. I had applied for the pass through
Femspec, a popular culture journal I edit about gender. Yes, but
the art of palmistry is a lost women’s art. All right. I learned
from two men. My first teacher was a Czech gypsy in Tepotzlan. The
second, a Hindu palmist, behind the Golden Temple of Annapurna in
Varannassi, India. But that’s my point. The ancient women’s art
needs to be revived. Slowly, it is. Erich Neumann wrote about the
great mother archetype and inspired a women’s spirituality
movement. After Neumann and his wife escaped Nazi Germany, they
went to Tel Aviv. There, his wife gained notoriety as an
international palmist. Visitors flocked to her from around the

Still hesitant to dive in, I swung the pendulum once in line.
With support from a journalist from Vancouver on my right, I
charged ahead.

Tim Matheson was my first victim.

After that, emboldened by Tim’s willing response, I became more
assertive. Lack of strong arming by festival staff trying to deport
me also made me feel more relaxed. I screwed up my nerve and
explained to the luminaries’ handlers that I was starting off a
palmistry column for the Independent.

I was hot. I was on.

Tara Sommers, next. She was on the way in as supporting cast in
the film of the night, Factory Girl, in which she played one of
Warhol’s girls. She sported boxes on her mound of Venus. I peered
more closely. Ah hah, I said, seeing she was also boxed in on her
mound of Mars. Indications of conflict in relationships. How much
should I say? “What is it? Am I going to die?” Before I had time to
answer, she was wisked on.

Sienna Miller starred as Edie Sedgwick in the film we were
waiting to see. I could see in Sienna’s hands that travel was
important. She also had many lines, what we call “watery lines.”
Her destiny line up the center of her palm was wavering. Well, I
explained to the journalist on my left, after Sienna had moved on,
you can’t stay a young beautiful starlet forever. Makes sense.

Guy Pierce played Andy. He wanted to know if his long life line
meant a long life in the physical plane, or in the sense that his
presence would live on forever in celluloid. He had a very strong
destiny line, so could be. I gave him my card and said, email me
your question. We can talk about it. Saying he found it soothing
and relaxing to be read this far into the line, he moved on.

Jonathan Sedgwick, Edie’s brother, had a curving index finger.
An Aquarian finger. Meaning he was ahead of his times. Just like
his sister.

When I got inside, not having read all the palms I could but
being too cold, I was surprised to hear Edie’s character in
voice-over telling a therapist in rehab at Cottage Hospital about
what a palmist had told her, close to the first scene. The palmist
had taken a look at her hand and frozen. Yes, Edie had told her, I
know. My life line stops in the middle. I won’t live to be thirty.
She didn’t. She died tragically of an overdose at 28.

Batya Weinbaum reads palms through the Enchanting Cottage in


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