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Metopomancy is a form of divination character analysis based upon the reading of the wrinkle lines of an individual's forehead. The use of the forehead wrinkles would appear to be but another one of the many items assigned some divinatory significance in the ancient world, and in fact it was one aspect of the ancient art of face reading or physiognomy in China. However, early in the sixteenth century, renowned mathematician, physician, and astrologer Gerolomo Cardano (1501-1576) proposed metopomancy as a new art. In his book, Metoposcopia, he covered some 800 wrinkle configurations and related each wrinkle on the forehead to a particular astrological sign. By this method, he claimed to be able, for example, to identify adulterous women and thieves.

Cardano divided the area of the forehead into seven positions, each assigned to one of the then-known heavenly bodies. Beginning at the top, the areas were assigned in order to Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon. The assignment allows the forehead reading to be aligned with the horoscope.

Reading the forehead began with an assessment of the length, depth, and prominence of the lines. Long unbroken lines indicate an honest person while x-shaped lines indicate a deceptive personality. A slight curve in the lines indicate a balanced personality, while wavy lines suggest that the person likes to travel (physically and/or mentally). A diagonal line that reaches downward to the eyebrow indicates that obstacles, possibly misfortune, lie in the person's future.

Cardano's book was republished on several occasions, but his ideas never caught on and he is basically remembered as an odd figure in occult history, seemingly the victim of suicide. He starved himself to death so as to confirm his horoscope reading.


Shaw, Eva. Divining the Future: Prognostication from Astrology to Zoomancy. New York: Facts on File, 1995.