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How to Read Palms

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Reading Palms

Palmistry or chiromancy is the practice of foretelling a person’s future from looking at their entire hands and not just the palms. However, the palms contain very complex lines, whorls and creases in comparison to the rest of the hand. Take a look at your palm now. Spread your fingers out as wide as possible in order to accentuate the lines.

Why did fortune tellers begin studying human hands? Unlike crystal balls, flocks of birds or animal entrails, hands were something most people had – well – at hand. Crystal balls are too expensive and heavy for a fortune teller to lug around and poorer customers do not have access to animal entrails. Before the days of plastic surgery, people could not change the lines or shapes of their hands.

Are You Really Seeing the Future?

Even people who make their living reading palms will argue that reading lines on palm is not like reading blueprints. Peter Hazel, professional psychic and author of “Palmistry: Quick & Easy” (Llewellyn Worldwide; 2001) explains that the future is more like a map. It is still up to the individual to choose which route of future possibilities to take. A good palm reader is also a good possibility reader.

Palmistry has taken thousands of years to develop. But a good palm reader doesn’t just faithfully memorize what every other palm reader has written. A good palm reader is able to synthesize what she’s learned with what she instinctively feels. Seeing lines in a person’s hand is a like seeing shapes in the clouds – everyone is going to look at the exact same cloud and see something different.

The main steps to reading palms are as follows:

1. Take a look the overall shape of the hand 2. Check the three major lines (heart, head and life) 3. Check for any variations on these three lines 4. Check any minor lines you can see 5. Check the shapes of the mounts, or particular areas of the palm 6. If unsure about a reading, consult other divination methods like Tarot cards

Looking At the Hand Overall

Depending on which book you read, humans have anywhere from five to seven types of basic hand shapes. This hand shape is similar to a horoscope sign, cluing you in right away to what kind of person is at the other end of the arm.

Many modern Pagans and Wiccans prefer to use five categories of hand shapes and link them to the five magical elements or air, fire, water, earth and spirit or Akasha.

Wiccans and Pagans utilize these elements in other workings such as spellcraft. However, you do not have to be a Wiccan or Pagan in order to read palms. But placing a hand into a category does help give the palm reader that initial boost of confidence needed in order to continue a reading.

These are the main characteristics of hand shapes. If you think your client’s hand does not fall into any of these shapes, it will fall into a combination of two of these five:

The Air Hand

These are long-fingered, elegant hands, often with manicured or long nails. The skin feels dry to the touch. The palm itself may seem long in comparison to the fingers or arm. The air element is the element of the mind. Air hands often work or long to work in cerebral fields such as teaching or freelance accounting. Because their minds are so active, they can be easily distracted and hard for other people to understand.

The Fire Hand

These are short-fingered hands with a squarish palm shape. They often have wide knuckles. They tend to act without thinking. They can be very creative people or fluent in persuasion. Fire hands tend to be salesmen, web design and advertising. They are great at beginning projects but not so great at finishing them. They are often stubborn.

The Water Hand

These are long-fingered hands that feel moist and soft to the touch. The palm seems to have rounded corners rather than a box with fingers at one end and an arm at another. Fingertips and parts of the palm may appear pink, no matter what skin color the person is. Air hands are often tough on the outside but highly emotional on the inside. They tend to have long friendships but chronic health problems.

The Earth Hand

These hands are the largest of the categories, often feeling dry and chapped. Their fingers appear in proportion to their wide, often steady, palms. Earth hands are sensible people, not easily moved by emotion and tend to ignore their own instincts. Earth hands enjoy getting things done and often garden, camp, work with wood or make crafts.

The Spirit Hand

The spirit hand is similar to an Air hand, except the fingers seem a tad too long for the palm. The nails of female Air hands are often curved towards or away from the palm because they grow so long and so quickly. These are people who like to figure things out for themselves and yet have a strong interest in magic or the occult. This is the rarest type of hand to find.

The Major Lines

After noting the overall hand shape and feel, look for three major lines. Even from a distance of nearly two feet, these three prominent lines can usually be seen on the surface of the palm.

Heart line

This is the horizontal line closest to your fingers. If this line appears braided, like two or more strands intertwine to create the heart line, then there person will have more than one big love affair. A curved line indicates a true romantic, while a straight line indicates that a person is practical in the matters of love. If the heart line does not extend to the little finger, then the person will have problems with love, but not in getting sex.

Head line

This is the horizontal line in between your heart line and your wrist. If this line appears forked, then the person is not argument because he or she can see the logic in many points of view. Short lines (in comparison to the heart line) indicate stubbornness and unwillingness to change opinions. A curved head line, which can curve downwards, indicates a creative person.

Life line

This is a vertical line underneath the first finger closest to the thumb. It may intersect the head or heart lines. Life lines that appear braided have poor health. If this line is hard to see, then the person dislikes physical activities and prefers mental forms of entertainment and work. Lines very close to the thumb indicate a person who is sick of life.

Minor Lines

Not everyone will have all of these minor lines. They should be about as deep and dark as the three major lines. Do not worry about every single wrinkle and fold in the palm.

But Cherio, fortune-teller and author of the highly esteemed palmistry book “The Language of the Hand” (1894) notes that the meanings of some minor lines may be the exact opposite of the major lines or the person’s overall hand shape. Cherio advises that the darker and more prominent a line, the more accurate a palm reading will be.


Fate line

This is a vertical line that starts at the middle or ring finger and may proceed down to the wrist. If the line proceeds over the wrist, the person is going to have a rough life because the person will take thing to extremes. If the fate line stops at the heart line, then love will be very problematic for that person. If the line stops at the head, it means the person may be victim of someone else’s stupidity or the person may have a head injury. Braided lines indicate success in one or more careers. If a person lacks a fate line, Cherio notes that these are successful people.

Girdle of Venus

This is a curved line above the heart line underneath one or more fingers. People having a Girdle of Venus are emotional and subject to mood swings. If it touches the union line, then relationships will be problematic due to the person’s moods.

Union line

Also known as the line of marriage, this is a very short horizontal line that starts under the third or little finger and goes off of the palm. But if it curves down like a frown, then the person will outlive his or her significant other. But if it curves upward like a smile, the person will never willingly get married. If the line seems full of braids, then relationships will be troubled.

Ring of Saturn

This is a bad sign, but rare. It’s located under the middle finger. It could make the middle finger’s base appear much darker than the bases of other fingers. It also appears as a semicircle under the finger. The person is impulsive and has trouble sticking to a job.

Apollo line

Also called the sun line, this is another rare line, but a good sign. It’s a vertical line starting beneath the ring finger or in between the ring and little finger. It indicates the person will be famous or will have a time in the spotlight.

Three bracelets

These appear as three horizontal lines on the wrist, appearing like skin-tight bracelets. Cherio notes that if the first bracelet curves up to touch the base of the palm, the person needs regular medical check ups of major internal organs and women have difficulty in childbirth. But if the three are relatively straight or slants slightly downwards, then the person will have a healthy life.

Magic M

The palm appears to have an M through the interaction of heart, life, head and fate lines. You probably will not see this often because people with the magic M are usually too successful to go to fortune tellers.

The Mounts

Mounts on the palm are specific areas ruled by major planets, the sun and the moon. Not everyone will have all of these mounds. Why bother learning the mounts? Because if a major line appears in these mounts, this indicates where a person’s strengths and weaknesses are. From the ring finger, the mounds form a circle around the palm, with the Plain of Mars in the very center.

Mount of Jupiter

A prominent oval located at the base of the ring finger, it helps show how successful you will be in your career. This mount may appear to have lines making a triangle or star. These indicate good luck. If there appears to be a square, then the person will need to overcome obstacles to succeed. If the mound seems tilted to the middle finger, then the person needs to make decisions with a level head.

Mount of Saturn

A prominent oval or circle under the middle finger. Most people do not have one. People with one tend to not like other people very much. Someone with a very firm Mount of Saturn hates people passionately. But a soft one has hope that the human race will eventually get its act together. If the Mount seems to lean towards another Mount, then that Mount will rule over the Mount of Jupiter. A lucky sign is a star on the Mount of Saturn area.

Mount of Apollo

A prominent patch or oval under the ring finger indicating how creative or artistic a person is. Many people have this, but if a person doesn’t, they need not despair. They not only have a strong imagination but a great appreciation of the arts. A triangle mark here means success in artistic endeavors while a # mark (crosshatch) means a person will have to work very hard for success in the arts.

Mount of Mercury

A pad or oval under the little finger, this indicates how well one communicates with others. A firm Mount here is a good sign while a soft one means the person needs to develop his or her communication skills in order to succeed in life. A star indicates that the person will be financially well off. A cross or X indicates that the person is dishonest, so reader beware!

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Mars Negative

Mars is a greedy planet and rules over three mounts. Mars negative is located under the Mount of Mercury and often under the heart line. The person with a prominent one often is chronically tired due to emotional outbursts. But Cherio notes they often possess great courage and determination, despite any physical problems.

Mount of Luna

Also called the Mount of a Moon, it rules over a person’s ability to imagine. A firm one means that a person can generate many original thoughts. A star on this mounds means the person is an inventor or will make a great discovery. A cross, X or a head line curving down into this Mount means the person needs to balance real world needs with fantasy.

Mount of Neptune

Neptune gets a small space at the center of the palm’s base. Many people do not have one. It means a person’s past will always shadow his or her present and future. Warn this person that present actions may strongly affect future days.

Mount of Venus

This is the largest mound next to the thumb and most people have one. A firm one shows that a person will get and receive both sex and friendship. A soft one indicates the opposite. If it’s hard to see, then person will have troubles in romance. Stars or triangle markings indicate success in romance and friendships while cross-hatches or X indicates the reverse.

Mars Positive

Located above the Mount of Venus in between or about the head line and the heart line, this indicates the person is dogmatic and has unbending opinions. However, they are also generous and fair-minded. Cherio notes that anyone with a Mars Positive Mount needs to stay far away from alcohol or they will become alcoholics.

Plain of Mars

Located in the center of the palm, this area tends to be intersected by several lines. If it is flat, the person is outgoing. If it appears like a little dip in the hand, the person is secretive and shy. If this is difficult to spot, do not worry about finding it.

Checking with Other Divination Methods

Learning the meanings of hand shapes, major lines, minor lines and Mounts is a lot of information for you to take in. Imagine how your client will feel if you try to explain everything to him or her. Do not find to try every single line on a palm. Note the major lines, shapes and any strong flashes of intuition that come upon you.

Inevitably, you will feel a bit confused about part of a person’s reading. Perhaps the person has both a Ring of Saturn (indicating problems with jobs and decision-making) and yet sports a Magic M (indicating success.) It’s best to look at another divination method to help clear up the contradiction.

This also gives you something to do while you try to decide what to say to a client. It makes you look smarter. However, there’s nothing wrong in stating that the person’s palm seems to contradict itself. Some clients find this very humorous.


Other forms of divination that palm readers like to use include using Tarot cards, crystal gazing or tasseography (reading tea leaves.) You could also ask the client if he or she had any dreams that address the issue and help the client interpret the symbols sent from the subconscious.

Include the client in interpreting palm readings. Show them what lines and shapes they have. They may see not only their inner selves in a new way, but gain a new appreciation for their outer selves. Helping a person help themselves is the best thing a palm reader can do.

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This page was last modified on 3 August 2013, at 17:53.
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