Lesson 9) Physiognomy
Professor Cattercorn was waiting when the students arrived. On her desk were a stack of exam papers that would be passed out to the fourth year students shortly. On each student desk was a goblet of pumpkin juice and a small platter of fruits. The professor stood at the front of the class, hands clasped behind her back, and surveyed the room. The end of another year had already arrived and as with all good things, this journey must come to an end. A gentle breeze blew in from an open window and rustled the stack of papers behind her.
I was right about the weather, wasn’t I? It’s certainly warmer than usual, especially for this time of the year. Today, dear students, you will sit your final for Year Four. I am so proud of how far you have come. The calibre of work that has been submitted to date has been quite phenomenal and it is quite easy to spot the Inner Eye working among so many of you!
But, let’s kick off! We have a fair amount of ground to cover on this topic before I release you for the year! Today we will be speaking about physiognomy, a method of divining characteristics of an individual based on their physical appearance. To save a tremendous amount of time, we will only be learning physiognomy of one area of the body, as to go over the entire body would take entirely too long and overload you with too much information. I do not wish to overwhelm you, after all.
The way this art works is very abstract, much like many of the forms of divination we’ve covered thus far this year (and less like tarot and runecasting which we studied previously). It requires you to rely on your intuition, your Inner Eye, and your inherent magical ability without the aid of any tools. This often means that only those with a significant amount of skill or study get consistently accurate readings, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hit it just right once in a while, even as beginners!
With this in mind, let us continue our journey into physiognomy. Now, as I’m sure you will remember, we’ve already covered moleosophy. Moleosophy is actually an offshoot of physiognomy. Like with our study of moleosophy, we will be focusing on the face today. The reading of facial expressions is something that you learn over time, and is usually practiced by experienced seers, so unfortunately we won’t be going over those. However, we will be able to study various facial features. This mainly includes, but certainly is not limited to: the forehead, ears, teeth, mouth, chin, earlobes, eyes, eyebrows, along with other features. Please keep in mind that we may not cover each of this in detail, but it is good to have an outline as to what each part of the face reveals about a person.
But what does it actually mean? Is it as easy as looking at an individual and picking, say, four key features and deducing the personality or future of an individual based on these four features? Well, not quite. As with hands and feet, there is more to it than that, and what you read requires a fair bit of interpretation. However, identifying the meanings of individual features are a necessary first step towards correctly divining the future. As noted earlier, even when we limit our study to the face, there are a host of options to study. In order to split up the rather mountainous amount of information, I have broken our study into chunks. In class, we are going to go over the two features to use as a solid starting point or foundation -- the hair and the shape of the face. The rest of it is not less important, just so detailed that you may not have the time or interest, so I will be including it here in this supplementary handout. You may keep this for a reference and practice the finer points at your leisure, if you like. Remember, I’m always happy for any student to stop by for more information or practice on one of our topics, but for now, let’s get to our two key features!
The shape of the face is a common first identifier for any physiognomic reading. In brief, the possible face shapes are square, round, triangular, oblong, oval, diamond, and heart.
Above, you can see a selection of the most common shapes one’s face can have. There are, of course, other shapes, but this is more than enough to chew on for now. Unfortunately, rarely do faces on real people look exactly like these, but you should hopefully be able to get a sort of “benchmark”, or general idea of how they all compare. For now, let us take a look at each shape’s characteristics:
Those with a square face are analytically-minded and often dominant in nature. They can come off as a little stoic and may indeed prefer to keep their emotions in check.
Individuals exhibiting a round shape are said to be ‘water’-faced, aligning with the element. Round-faced people are typically sensitive, good at relationships, and may have quite an active imagination.
Usually seen in individuals with a voracious appetite for knowledge. Additionally, triangular-faced individuals are hot-tempered, but creative individuals.
A long and thin shape, those with an oblong face typically exhibit a muscular or athletic physique. Sometimes narcissistic, oblong-faced people are not very good at personal relationships.
Charming individuals, those with an oval face are considered “weaker” in some aspects of life, which can manifest a more docile, easy-going temperament, or a lack of physical strength. Women with this facial shape are often brilliant artists.
Those with diamond-shaped faces lean towards authority, though they carry it well with an easy confidence and charm. They have a tendency to be perfectionists and can even have hot tempers, particularly when they are unable to attain said perfection for one reason or another.
People with heart-shaped faces are loaded with contradictions. They often have lofty goals or ambitions, yet understand their limitations and are, in general, realists. They tend to be quite timid, though have endearingly odd quirks.
Another trait that is immediately identifiable -- unless of course your subject has charmed their hair a few shades lighter or darker, or to a completely unnatural hue! -- and the next thing to consider, is hair color. It is important to note that with the high use of highlighting charms and haircolor potions these days, your subject’s hair may not match up with your original assessment, so be sure to compare it against the rest of your later analysis to try to discover if this is the case. If something doesn’t match up, this may be why.
Those with blonde hair are renowned for their indifference. Often, they have an amazing memory and are quite obedient.
Straight black hair suggests a pessimistic or melancholic soul whilst curly black hair shows an affectionate nature.
Responsible and independent individuals with brown hair are quite hard working.
This color often suggests a quarrelsome nature. Individuals with red hair typically have energy to spare.
To show you how this might all come together -- you’ll want to have that handout in view so you can refer to it and follow along -- I will wrap up the new material of this class with a reading.
In the name of actually allowing divination to do the work I will only provide you with the very basic information for this lovely lady. Her name is Heidi Hapschatt, she is 34 years old, and she resides in Greater London. First impressions are important, and the first impression I get of Heidi, before I attempt a reading using the various physiognomy features, is that Heidi is a giving soul that cares greatly for her family. Her eyes and the area directly underneath display some signs of wrinkles and general ‘caring wear and tear’, a surefire sign of many late nights staying up with young children and tending to sick family members.
Next, as addressed in the lesson, the facial shape of Ms. Hapschatt would be best described as square, due to her strong, wide forehead and slightly tapered jaw. As described within the supplementary material, those with square faces are known for their intelligence and sometimes dominant nature. Moving towards Ms. Hapschatt’s hair, we can see that her natural colouring is brown, which indicates a reliable and hardworking soul. As was discussed in the supplementary material, we can continue on to the forehead. Ms. Hapschatt exhibits a square forehead, identifying her honesty and sincerity in all matters. Finally, the blueish-grey eye colour of Ms. Hapschatt allows us to identify her observant nature and the obvious inner strength required to be a loving, caring mother.
Before moving on to our next topic, I will remind you once more of the extensive list of physiognomy descriptors included in this lesson as a supplement. Please, if this form of divination strikes interest into your heart, seek out further information as it may just be your calling!
Been There, Done That
We will spend the last few moments of class reviewing the year that was. Rather than completely rehashing each and every lesson, I will mention only a few key points as I do hope the majority of you have studied adequately for the final.
Professor Ornitier began the year with a brief introduction into the various methods of body divination he was planning on studying this year. Body divination, also known by the ‘umbrella’ term of somatomancy, requires a seer to read a person’s past, present, and future simply based upon certain physical attributes. It can also tell us about an individual’s personal characteristics. A bit of theory was also provided to explain how this year fits into the continuum of topics that divination covers.
Oh look, palmistry! Also known as chiromancy, palmistry requires the seer to read the lines and features upon the palm of a questioning individual. Often used to divine the future or decide a path to take in the present, palmistry has been practiced since ancient times, when a rather gifted individual named Valmiki first composed a book of no less than 567 stanzas detailing how to read a palm. Surprisingly, Muggles can be educated in the art of palmistry and have in fact been known to read palms, though with questionable authenticity. Also during this lesson, the three major lines and the difference between reading the dominant and nondominant hands was discussed.
During Lesson Three, we turned our attention to the various rings and mounts present on the palm, then focused on the secondary lines, identifying features, and their meanings. Of course, rather extensive notes are contained within the lesson. Be warned, however, as the essay is not open-book. Be sure to give yourself ample study and practice time!
Although we continued chiromancy, we changed our focus and addressed the hand as a whole during this lesson. Looking at the four hand types (earth, fire, water, and air) and the length of the fingers, we attempted a more thorough reading for the questioning individual. Of course, each of the hand types corresponds to an astrological star sign as they are believed to express the same personal qualities. Finally, the size of the hand is also taken into account when attempting a chiromancy reading.
Midterm week, so long ago! The lesson this week discussed the divinatory technique known as onychomancy, or colloquially, the study of the fingernails. Rooted in the history of studying the oiled fingernails of a child, onychomancy looks at the shape, size, width, texture, and (natural) colour of the fingernails.
Changing our focus, we began to look at other body parts during this week. Our focus was placed upon metoposcopy (the study of lines in the forehead) and moleosophy (the study of moles on the face). First practiced by the ancient Chinese, metoposcopy is one of the few forms of physical body divination that would change over time; as a person grows older, more and more lines and wrinkles appear on the forehead. Of course, as with all divinatory techniques, interpretation of the various lines and wrinkles on the forehead is subjective and dependent on the personal experience and skill of the seer.
Our second topic of study for the week looked at moleosophy, also known as moleomancy. An extremely detailed form of divination, moleosophy looks at the placement of a mole upon a person’s face. Considering that there are twenty five possible locations on the face, interpretation of the location of the mole is often challenging due to the need to be absolutely precise in order to obtain the most authentic and accurate reading.
Together we investigated cephalonomancy (the study of a skull to divine guilt or innocence) and phrenology, which is a less gruesome method which looks at the bumps and indentations on the skull in order to divine the future.
Ahhh yes, the week I asked you all to remove your shoes and regretted it instantly! In all seriousness, we discussed podomancy -- the study of the feet and lines or features of the sole; I subjected you to the soles of two different professors as well, allowing you to witness the various lines and identifiers there. Finally, we also discussed the eyes as a method of divining a person’s future and characteristics.
Now, this is where I leave the lesson and in turn, Year Four. I wish you all the best of luck in your final exam, as it will be over soon enough! I do hope to see you next year where I plan on advancing our studies by looking at more abstract methods of divination. I look forward to grading the majority of final papers. If I am correct, over 85% of you will pass with flying colours!