Julius Spier - Psycho-Analytic Chirologist
Julius Spier made a long and cautious study of chirology, spending thirty years studying hands before he committed anything to writing. He had a medical and psychiatric training and then trained as an Analytical Psychologist under Jung. By the 1930's was teaching and promoting his psycho-chirology amongst physicians and psychologists in Berlin and Zurich. Through his lectures, he convinced Jung of the validity of his study of the hand and though he was most serious and systematic in his written work, Jung nonetheless thought that his approach in actually reading hands was predominantly intuitive.
Needless to say, Spier's approach to the study of the hand draws heavily on his psycho-analytic background and he places much emphasis on the continuing influence of our family and early life on our development as individuals. He sees the purpose of hand analysis as a means of freeing the individual from social and environmental influences that have inhibited or suppressed our true development. His only book, 'The Hands of Children' published posthumously in 1944, thus almost wholly concentrates on the analysis of the hand for signs of suppression or abnormal psycho-sexual development in the child in order that neurosis, stress and internal conflict can be avoided in later adult life. Much of his interpretation of the hand has this emotional/sexual overlay and he has some particularly revealing insights regarding the Air finger and sexual expression as well as some interesting observations about line formations that are indicative of psychological repression in early childhood life. He even identifies line formations indicative of adverse conditions in the foetal life of the individual! Given his stress on the balance of the individual with the environment around him, his comments on the Earth line (Saturn/fate line) are also both valuable and insightful. Spier thus mainly concerns himself with developmental problems as they are reflected in the patterns of the hands of children, for by detecting such problems in the young it may prove possible to ameliorate or overcome them before they establish themselves as rigid and destructive habit patterns in adult life.
Despite the limitations of a purely psychologistic approach to the hand and the rather wayout interpretation he has for some chirological features, there is much in Spier's work which is stimulating and thought-provoking. He is not content merely to resuscitate old-fashioned palmistry, nor indeed to repeat the findings of D'Arpentigny, Desbarolles and the other devotees of the 'new chirology' of the nineteenth century. His is a serious and scientific approach which owes everything to his psychoanalytic background and his own innovation. Spier is one of the most original contributors to the study of the hand and is also one of the most important for the scientific validation of the psychological interpretation of the patterns of the hand. His work was unfinished however, for he died before even his first book had been published. The 'Hands of Children' was but the first part of an intended trilogy, with two other volumes also on the psychology of the hand to include work on the study of the hands of the mentally ill.
Julius Spier 'The Hands of Children' (RKP 1955)
Published posthumously, Spier's only book was intended as part of a trilogy. In this work, he explains his approach to hand analysis and explores many of the philosophical implications involved in the marriage of psycho-analysis and cheirology. Some of his approaches to the study of the hand are quite unique to him (and are not generally considered accurate today) though he made several significant discoveries especially in the area of psycho-sexual development and the diagnosis of imbalances and problems in this area from the patterns of the hands. His intention in writing about the hands of children was primarily prophylactic so that accurate diagnosis of psychological maladjustments could be made at the point of their inception, thereby avoiding the arising of neuroses that would come to affect the adult personality and hence the necessity of extensive analytical counselling to resolve these.