Miniature memory palaces - including your palm

Et viola, Lullian wheel visualised on a hand. Richard Saunders in his Art of Memory also includes information on palmestry as per your original question ;-). Not so much a palace but a memonic device based on loci positions for remembering.

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This is getting mroe and more intriguing. I would be fascinated to hear your analysis of Lull vs lukasa, Weekes138. I haven’t read into Lull’s system much because I have been focussed on those I thought translated well into contemporary use. Do you think Lull has much to offer there?

I have "The Memory Arts in Renaissance England: A Critical Anthology " which has the essay by Richard Saunders. I hadn’t noticed that aspect - I have only skimmed the chapters and had forgotten about it. Thank you so much for the reminder. I shall get it out and give it another go.

I finished the draft of the manuscript last night and can now join the real world again! Now to see what my publisher makes of it.

I look forward to your ongoing comments. Please don’t take my delays in replying as lack of interest. I get so caught up in things that I forget to check here. Do you know any way of getting notifications about comments?


Hi Lynne, to subscribe, under your initial thread comment there is an option ‘Subscribe to: This Thread’. Go through that option and you should receive updates when new comments are made in the thread.
Just finished The Memory Arts in Renaissance England: A Critical Anthology. The book is both great and overly broad in it’s interpretation of what constitutes relevance to the art of memory. My interest in it was from the perspective of mnemonic techniques throughout history but the book includes a very broad selection of writing making an argument about how deeply memory arts was integrated into medieval society.
This image of a Lullian wheel I posted in another thread (now posted here) has a complete set of connecting lines between the letters B through K. Mnemonic imagery and information could be stored at each point of intersection between the lines. This creates a sense of place which strikes me as very similar to how each shell or bead on the lukasa creates a sense of place for mnemonic storage. What I don’t currently understand is how the combinatory aspect of Lullian wheels are supposed to work.
What do you think? Could you see a similarity in the underlying principles? The biggest difference to my mind is the tactile sensation of the lukasa would not be present in a Lullian wheel and in a sense (PUN!) the lukasa would actually be better for recall purposes.


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I have tried in the past to make a loci map from a painting, finding key points in the painting, and the superimposing the information I want to learn. For instance now I want to memorize a map for a course, and I am searching for a painting with the same ratio of the map (height-width) so I can memorize many details and locations from the map. Sooner or later I will become familiar with the map and the loci will not be needed but it is a good beginning.
I do not know if this can be called “miniature memory palace”.


Im curious as to how the points of intersection are supposed to function as loci since they are all the same.
In the Lukasa, each shell or what have you would be unique visually as well as tactically, so that each one could function as a locus.

There’s a chapter about the Guidonian Hand in The Medieval Craft of Memory.

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Hi Celtic, My thoughts on this, by mentally walking the path from one letter to each other. Of course I am still researching this. I agree, an actual place associated with a linking sensation would be superior, but i don’t think necessary.

I am keen to attempt to implement the Guidonian system. Will be fun i think.

Sounds like a miniature memory palace to me :slight_smile: I see what you are going with, association of the place to point in the painting. Sounds like an interesting experiment and I would be keen to hear how you go. Historically people have created maps of what happened in a place. They would depict and associate the history to the geographic area in the map to better facilitate recal. Medieval cartographers would use maps as a place for cultural memory rather than just a pure Cartesian space.

Hi Weekes.
I must confess to knowing nothing about these particular diagrams. And I assumed that one would mentally walk along the line…but still I really can’t see the intersections working very well as loci.

Nevertheless, does it specify which origin belongs to which letter? In “B” for example is B represented by the origin to the left or to the right? I suppose you could just pick and be consistent. But I think the diagram would be better with each letter’s origin centered below the letter.

I have so much more to read about. Thank you for these responses.

Is the Lullian wheel some kind of link between whatever the words mean? Is each point in some way a unique image generator linking the words it connects? That doesn’t actually seem to work, but I can’t see how you could use each point uniquely to make a memory link. What are the words? I couldn’t find them in a Latin dictionary. I need to do more reading!!

Thank you for the pointers to the Guidonian Hand. Much appreciated.

Weekes - by ‘should receive updates’, do you mean by email? I do subscribe but don’t receive anything. I really want to, because I don’t want to miss such interesting comments as on this thread.


Hi Lynne,

The wheels in Llull’s work correspond to permutations & combinations of divine attributes or truths.
You can find the words in a Latin dictionary.

He wanted to use the wheels to not quote a book, I.E. Bible, Koran, Torah but use the logic wheels as such to come to a conclusion about spiritual matters. He used the wheels when evangelizing both Jews & Muslims actually.

Eric Bonner has some works on Llull’s work you can find online…Papers mostly…The more complete books/works will cost you.

BTW insofar as microsystems are concerned,
In India the Sandhyavandhanam is done mapping the mantras to the parts of the each digit of the right hand and moving in a clockwise fashion on the hand.

In Tibetan Buddhism, mantras are counted & repeated on the left hand using each digit as a count, using the thumb
only once in that counting from pinky to index, then skipping the index finger back to the pinky again.


Sorry about that. Auto-subscribe isn’t working yet,* but if you click the “Subscribe to this thread” link under the top post it should send an email for each new comment. If that link doesn’t result in emails, let me know. [Update: auto-subscribe now works.]

(* I wasn’t able to do that yet, since the fix depended on some other things, but I’m working on it again now.)

Thank you for your comments and explanations, Stefos. I really appreciate them. I will look into Lull mroe when I get a chance. What you say make more sense than my understanding to date.

I am really keen to know more about this. It is exactly what I expect some cultures will have done, but I can’t find references. I have looked online but not found anything using your keywords. Can you point me to any resource which might explain this to me and give an image?

The counting you describe is very similar to that explained to me by the local Aboriginal elder. That’s not surprising. Hands and fingers are very good for counting!

Thank you again,


Thank you! That is all I need to know. That works! I don’t need auto-subscribe because that works.

Love this forum! Everyone is so well behaved and nice to each other! Not always the case online. :slight_smile:

Lynne Lynne, I have been getting emails from the thread, thank you Josh for fixing the glitch in the matrix :wink:
I found this resource on Lull
And found it most useful. It seems Lull was more interested in permutations of logic than using the sites of the nonagram (is that the right word) as loci. The article ‘What Was Lull Up To’ explains a lot. I purchased Four Works on Lull by Giordano Bruno translated by Scott Gosnell as it seems Giordano is the one who then took Lull’s combinatric logic and applied it to memory. Which was also then applied to memonics for the hand.

Lull was combining goodness, greatness and other aspects of what he interpreted God to be with questions and characteristics. It becomes nearly mantra like when one gets into it. A flowing stream of permutations on the aspects of God.

Sandhyavandhanam sounds interesting. I would like to know about this because I see linkages between combinatory questioning and the mantras used in Sandhyavandhanam. Stefos do you have a resource you could share?

I am excited to find out more about Giordano Bruno and Lull. I think my next purchase is obvious. Frances Yates Bruno and Lull. Unless your new book comes out first Lynne :slight_smile:

Hi Lynne,

So…Giri (an Indian company) sells Sandhyvandhanam books & booklets actually.
I bought them for personal use and found it fascinating as well.

Please look up Giri.

In India, Nyas or Nyasa is done chanting the mantras and “implanting” them onto different parts of the body by the will.


Hi Weekes138,

So…Giri (an Indian company) sells Sandhyvandhanam books & booklets actually.
I bought them for personal use and found it fascinating as well.

Please look up Giri.

In India, Nyas or Nyasa is done chanting the mantras and “implanting” them onto different parts of the body by the will.


In regards to Sandhyavandhanam & Nyasa,

The fingers are used as placement points & and conveyers of mantric energy.

There are “generic” mantras for anyone to use and then there are mantras that a person must receive
initiation into per se.

Without initiation, the mantras are meaningless in regards to finger placement.

An important lesson to learn is: If you don’t remember things to begin with, All the memory systems in the world won’t work! LOL


P.S. Mantras and mantric placement on an idol and on a human body are interesting topics.

Great, after the next major update, forum notifications will have several customizable options that I think will make keeping track of threads much easier.