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a beginner’s guide to palm reading

the future’s at your fingertips.

If there's anything we loved as kids, it was predicting our future. Sure, those games of MASH that we played as wee ones may not have actually come true (seeing as how we do not currently live in a shack with Orlando Bloom and our 17 children), but that never stopped us for taking part in games and activities that made an effort to foretell our fate—and to this day, we can't resist getting our fortune told. Luckily we can still get our future-predicting fix today through an art that anyone can learn themselves: palmistry.

Reading your hands might not actually tell you everything that the universe has destined for you, nor will it show you that your hands have condemned you to some sort of cruel fate. Instead, palm reading gives you a fun glimpse at your personality and the way you interact with the world around you. It may not tell you if you will eventually become the CEO of your own company or get together with your celebrity crush, but it can show you a little more about yourself. We spoke to the experts about which major lines and markings you should keep an eye out for in your beginner palmistry endeavors. 

Head Line

The head line stretches diagonally in the center of your hand, ending between your thumb and index finger. According to Donnie Tash and Adrienne Silverman of Psychic Library, "This line is also known as the wisdom line, and it can indicate an individual’s psychological makeup, intellectual development, and intuitive abilities." However, examining this line can also help you to achieve your goals by making you aware of your own intellectual tendencies. Looking at exactly how long your head line is can be revealing. "Those people with with long lines that stretch all the way across the palm are those who may be prone to over thinking things and this may lead to procrastination," says professional palm reader Raven Maples, who has read for celebrities like Leighton Meester and Vera Wang. "The people with short head lines that barely reach the middle of the palm are the folks that rush into projects without much thought of how demanding it will be." So before taking on another project, give your head line a look—it could prevent some bad decisions.

Heart Line

According to professional palm reader Mark Seltman, "The heart line crosses the top of the hand from under the pinkie finger to the middle or index finger. It describes the quality and direction of a person's feelings." This is the distinctive line closest to your fingers, and it can be analyzed depending on how straight or curvy it may be. "The curvy line people are those that outwardly express their emotions easily, and are willing to initiate those heart to heart discussions," says Maples. "The folks with a straight line are more comfortable working things out in their own mind on their own time." When examining other people's hands, this line can tell you a lot about how they connect with you emotionally. If a friend seems more withdrawn when they're having troubles, you wouldn't be surprised to see that they have a straight heart line, while a talkative extrovert's heart line will likely be curved.

Life Line

You can breathe easy now—this line isn't telling you what you think it is. "Most people think the life line is going to tell you how long you’re going to live," says Maples. "As a professional palm reader, this where I can bust a myth perpetrated by TV and movies: The big news is that it doesn't. Actually, there’s nothing on your hand that can tell you the date, time, and cause of your demise." That being said, finding your life line will give you some clues about your energy and quality of living. The line starts "between the base of the index finger and thumb and continues in a downward arc toward the connection of the wrist to the base of the thumb," according to Tash and Silverman, and lets you know just how much you should be focusing on self-care, depending on how many breaks and notches you may find in the line. "A moderate amount of breaks may indicate someone’s burning the candle at both ends and it’s a good idea to actively seek better rest at night and pay more attention to your self care," says Maples.

Fate Line

Not everyone has a fate line, but if you do, it can be quite revealing. The line "runs from the base of the palm toward the middle finger," according to Seltman, and shows different hints about a person's career. Lori Reid, author of The Art of Hand Reading, explains, "The fate line tells us about duty and responsibility. Here we can trace major events that happen through the individual’s working life." If there are many breaks in your fate line, that may mean that you can expect many changes in your working life. 


Besides lines that can be easily found on everyone's hands, markings and notches also serve as another indicator for palm readers to analyze. For begginners, Maples advises focusing on two different types of marks: the teacher's square and nurse's lines. The teacher's square is a hashtag or box shape found below the index finger and it "shows someone that can be good in any coaching, teaching or mentoring capacity." Similarly, nurse's lines can also give you a look at some's people skills. These lines are short, vertical lines found on the fingers, and can be found on people who tend to be sources of comfort and support for others. However, being so emotionally connected to others can also be dangerous. "Unfortunately, they usually get caught in the drama of what everyone around them is experiencing," Maples says. "It’s important that these people take the best care of themselves when people around them are going through challenging times because it can be so emotionally draining."

Hand Shape

Some palmists focus more on hand shape rather than lines. "I think markings are less important than the morphology of the hands," says Seltman. "When a finger sticks out independently or is very long or short or twisted, that can be very significant." As you become more experienced with palmistry, you may wish to learn about more visual cues that you can examine. Reid suggests looking into different aspects of hand shape. "Get to recognize and understand the fingerprints and what each type means. The same for the type and shape of the nails," she says. "Learn about the thumbs—very important drivers of motivation."

How to Become an Expert

With any art, the key to getting more skilled is simple: practice, practice, practice. "Start with family and friends—learn to take hand prints, and to make accurate measurements," says Reid. "Beg and borrow anybody’s hand print and build up knowledge. Keep reading, keep learning, keep practicing. Keep the prints with meticulous notes, dates, and follow up with events, matching these to the prints." Reading the books and blogs of the experts provides you with new information on physical marks to look out for—and what they mean.

However, above all, it's most important to remember that no matter what you see in your own hands or on someone else's hands, that doesn't mean that their destiny is sealed. Palmistry may help you to make life decisions and better understand yourself and the people around you, but it doesn't change your fate. "A common mistake some people make is believing their actions follow the lines on their hand and that the lines have some predictive quality," says Maples. "The real secret is that the lines on your hand follow you; you don’t follow them. As Abraham Lincoln said, 'The best way to predict your future is to create it.' The lines will follow."