Cheirological Society of Great Britain
The original Cheirological Society of Great Britain, the
most prominent British organization promoting the art of
palmistry, was founded in 1889 by Katherine St. Hill and continued
to be active through the early decades of the twentieth
century. The society began to lose strength during the 1930s
and appears to have dissolved by the end of the decade. In the
decades after World War II (1939–45), its place was taken by
the Society for the Study of Physiological Patterns. In the
1970s, a new Cheirological Society of Great Britain emerged
around the person of Terence Dukes. Dukes is the author of
Chinese Hand Analysis (1987), a popular textbook on palmistry.
The society has prepared a course of study for palmists and
offers classes to students who reside in the London area. The
introductory class lasts for six to ten weeks. Nonresident students
may work with a personal tutor via correspondence.
Those who complete the several phases of the course of study
Chartres Cathedral Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
may be awarded a Foundation, Intermediate, or Advanced diploma
as appropriate.
According to Dukes, during the St. Hill era—although she
and the other leaders of the society concentrated on Western
palmistry techniques—they also initiated the study of Eastern
techniques, beginning with their meeting and conversations
with two Chinese diplomats, Li Wen Tien and Li Tsu Cheng,
who were working out of the Chinese embassy in London. Additional
Chinese teachings were introduced through the Theosophical
Society and by students who had resided in China
while working in the tea business. These Chinese teachings
have been restated by Dukes in Chinese Hand Analysis, which is
now the fundamental text of the society.
The position assumed by Dukes concerning the history of
the society and of its appropriation of Chinese hand reading
techniques have been challenged by Andrew Fitzherbert, the
noted historian of palmistry. He suggests that Dukes has been
unable to establish any organizational continuity between the
society he heads and the St. Hill organization. He has also
charged that Dukes has deliberately falsified much of the account
of his own appropriation of the Chinese hand reading
tradition, including his use of a photo of an unidentified Chinese
individual found in a collection of photos at the Smithsonian
Institute as the Master Ching Kang Szu, the head of the
Wu Hsing (Five Elements) method of hand reading which
Dukes advocates. Fitzherbert also notes that Dukes’ teachings
are unlike those found in other books of Chinese palmistry;
rather they appear to draw heavily from the ideas of several
Western texts, especially Fred Gettings’ 1965 publication The
Book of the Hand.
The Cheirological Society may be contacted through its library
at 29 London Rd., East Dereham, Norfolk, NR19 1AS,
United Kingdom. It has a website at httpx-stream.
fortunecity.commelrose102. It is affiliated with a set of related
structures, including the General Council and Register of
Cheirology (which regulates awards and licenses in cheirology),
the Society of Hand Analysts, the British College of Cheirology,
and the Faculty of Cheirological Practitioners.
Campbell, Edward D. The Encyclopedia of Palmistry. New
York Perigee, 1996.
Dukers, Terence. Chinese Hand Analysis. York Beach, Maine
Samuel Weiser, 1987.
Fitzherbert, Andrew. ‘‘Terry Dukes and the Cheirological
Society.’’ httpwww.angelfire.commtterrydupescha.htm.
May 26, 2000.

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