When in an interview at Pacifica Graduate Institute-where I eventually came to teach-I was asked a seemingly innocent question by the hiring committee in the Academic Dean’s office. Did I have any counseling experience? I hesitated. My eyes shifted from face to face around the room. I looked into the eyes of those who I knew were practicing psychoanalysts and therapists.

Had I counseled before? Yes. But how much, I thought to myself, should I reveal to them?

Palmistry is a form of counseling, as is Tarot (which I also do).

But what could I say in an academic setting? The stakes were very high-a full time job and health insurance.

So, cautiously, I related my experience using folk methods in the field, as part of my participant observation research in my ethnography (Islands of Woman and Amazons: Representations and Realities, University of Texas Press, 2000).

Some writers will go so far as to go for divination with an indigenous healer when they are writing about another culture. Few go as far as to learn the indigenous art themselves.

When I was doing fieldwork in Isla Mujeres, Mexico locals thought that as a reader of cards, I should also learn palms. So I did.

An Independent reader sent me Xeroxes of her palms, and I will use them to explain what I mean.

The left palm shows what you are born with, what you bring into this world, your blessings, your gifts, your talents, and your potentials. The left palm also shows your shortcomings, which throughout your life you will be blessed with the struggle to overcome.

The right palm shows what you are actually doing.

When you compare the left to the right, you get a tool for seeing how you are living up to your potential, and how you are meeting the challenges you were given.

A close look at the Xeroxed left palm I was sent shows a strong line cutting between the mounds of Mars and Venus. These are situated below the lifeline-the curving line that starts mid-way between the fold where the thumb takes off from the palm and the beginning of the first knuckle of the index finger. Specifically, I looked between that line and the lines running across at the wrist.

See the two fleshy areas? One is the Mound of Mars Mound of Mars; the other, the Mound of Venus.

If you have a strong line running straight across between these two fleshy areas, this might indicate that you feel conflict between the masculine and the feminine. This could indicate conflict between the masculine and feminine within yourself, or between you and the opposite sex. If on either side of this line you also see squares, formed by perpendicular and parallel lines, this means that in relationships you tend to get boxed in, you box yourself in, or your masculine or feminine energies are blocked in; as the person who sent me her palms did.

On the right palm, however, this deep demarcation line between Mars and Venus was lost. She wasn’t as boxed in. The lines going up and down across those two mounds were wavy. She had softened, mellowed, learned to get around those boxes she used to find herself trapped in. Perhaps she did this on her own; perhaps she did it with counseling, meditating, tai chi, or training. Whatever she did, it worked.

By the way, you can mail me your Xeroxes. In the column I will refer to one item at a time, like this. If you include a thirty-dollar check made out to me, I will write out and mail you a full reading, comparing left and right hands like this. If you mail me a check for fifty dollars, and a Xerox of your palm and the palm of a significant other, I can send you a compatibility reading. You can also send me the Xerox of some one you are thinking of getting involved with, or some one you are thinking of hiring.

The address for the Xeroxes and checks is Batya Weinbaum, 4902 Sandyland Road, #140, Carpinteria, CA, 93013. Please enclose a SASE.


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