Our physical bodies have acted as a roadmap to our innser selves and our souls for thousands of years. Today there are a number of systems like Reflexology, shiatsu, iridology (reading the eye), acupunture, phrenology (reading bumps on the head) and the Chakra System, that provide some useful maps for healing arts practitioners. And there are all kinds of systems that have  used parts of the body for reading the past, present and future of the individual… palmistry is one of the most well-known of these, but we have many others less formal – for example, finger length is said to predict athletic or musical ability; many women say that can tell whether a pregnant woman is carrying a boy or a girl, just by the way the mother is carrying the baby in her body.

The Body as a Sacred Map

from The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Signs and Symbols

In an attempt to comprehend the deeper mysteries of the Universe, Ancient man understandable started with the most accessible and easily definable thang that he knew – himself.  This means that the human body, with its head in the stars and its feel on the ground, is the most universal of all sacred symbols.Our ancestors believed that man held all the secrets of the Universe within his physical body, bith inside and out.

 The Arm

Arms convey the idea of strength and protection. They also stand for safety and justice, as in “the strong arm of the law.” Some deities have more than the usual two arms. Brahma, for example, is depicted with four arms to show his omnipotence. Shiva, too, shows innumerable arms as a symbol of his action, energy, and accomplishment. This idea – that the arms signify activy – was shared by the Egyptians, and they used the arm to convey this concept in their hieroglyphs.

The Hand

The Latin word for hand is “manus”, which carries the same root as the word, among others, “manifestation;” a clear indication that to be “manifest” is to be held in the hand or created by hand.

The hand is possibly one of the most accessible and expressive parts of the human body. We shake hands as a sign of greeting; we can use our hands to make signs and symbols, to gesticulate and to communicate. In the Kabbalah, the left hand of God signifies justice, and His right hand, mercy. Blessings and benedictions are given with the right hand. To give someone your hand is to imply trust, for example when we speak of giving someone’s hand in marriage. When we meet someone we shake each other’s right hand, this is a sign of friendship and also shows that neither person is wielding a sword.

This right-left symbolism of the hand occurs frequently. The right hand is associated with cleanliness and the left, with dirt, and in some countries to offer something with the left hand is seem as an insult.

Hands, as an extension of the will and of the intention, carry a great power. In the practice of “laying on of hands” they are used as agents of healing energies.

Editor’s note: Palm readers look not only at the lines on the hand, but at its shape, the bumps, the mounds, the “hills and valleys;” and each of the thumbs, and each finger has its own unique energy and meaning…

 From the book : The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Signs and Symbols by Adele Nozedar

The universal principle “as above, so below” affirms the body’s sacredness and tells us to look within, to understand our inner workings so we can make sense of our outer worlds. 

The bible teaches that we are created in God’s image, so it seems to me that one of the ways we can begin to understand God and how S/He works, is by looking inside ourselves, noticing how we work.

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