A Guide to Palm Reading for Beginners, from Someone Who Does It for a Living

Reading palms is an ancient art that, honestly, most of us know nothing about. But before you write off reading palms as just another semester of Harry Potter’s divination class, let’s learn more about how it all started. And you’ll definitely be curious to know what it can tell you about yourself—everything from your health and love life to success in business and personality.

As New York palm reader Fahrusha explains it, no two palms are the same and they can change and evolve with us over time—that means our fortunes in our twenties might not be the same as they are in our forties. The palmistry professional breaks down the basics of reading palms for us below.

What exactly is palmistry?

Palmistry (aka reading palms) is one of the most impressive practices that a psychic reader can master because it’s one of the hardest to learn. No one knows its exact origins, but as Fahrusha tells us, its roots trace back to India. It was then brought to the West by Greek conqueror Alexander the Great.

On a basic level, reading palms means taking a super-close look at the lines on our hands—all of which are connected to different aspects of our lives, like what might be waiting for us in the future (*please let it be a meet-cute with Bradley Cooper*). While some pros will look only at the lines on our palms, others, like Fahrusha, take the entire hand into consideration. She says that our palms are like our fingerprints. Yours are specific to you and only you—and to get a really in-depth view into who you are, your reader should look at how skinny or thick your whole hand is, the length of your fingers and the size of the mounds (the lumps and bumps) on the surface of your palms.

“Without looking at the whole palm and keeping each detail in mind, you risk making blanket statements,” she says. “Doing so is a disservice because the reading is then just a generalization. You really have to look at an individual’s palm and hand and take everything in equally.”

But for our beginner purposes, let’s focus on the six lines of our palms that tell us the most about ourselves—life, head, heart, soulmate, fate and fortune—without requiring decades of palmistry study under our belts.

Which of these lines am I even looking at?

We know it looks like there’s a web of a couple dozen lines (and those lines have lines, and those have lines...) on your palm. But with Fahrusha’s help, we’re going to make sense of at least some of them. A quick note: Your left palm won’t look exactly like your right, so use your dominant hand, as it’s more closely linked to who you are.

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reading palms life line
McKenzie Cordell

Life Line

To find your life line, look at the space between your pointer finger and your thumb on your palm. There will be a few lines there, but try and find the two really noticeable lines that start somewhere near the halfway point between those two fingers—each line will follow the curve of your palm from that area downward, toward the heel of your hand. Try not to focus on the one closer to your thumb—this one is probably a little short. But don’t worry, the longer line immediately beside this one is your life line (phew!).

Your life line is most closely connected to your health, but it can also tell you a lot about your general physical disposition. Some think that the life line is going to tell you how long you’ll live, but Fahrusha says that the life line is an indicator of overall health. By taking a look at how “deep” or “thin” your life line is as opposed to the length (does it make a heavier, more indented crease in your hand or is it lighter?), you can learn more about your health. For instance, Fahrusha explains, if your line is deeper and more noticeably ingrained in your palm, this means that you have a lot of energy, or chi, and that you’re likely naturally healthy (lucky you). If your line is on the thinner side, you might be that person who’s always catching a cold, or who deals with an illness that affects your energy levels, like anemia.

“The deepness or thinness indicates health, so you have to take better care of yourself more with thin lines,” Fahrusha says.

reading palms head line
McKenzie Cordell

Head Line

Now that we know the life line, go back to where it starts in between your pointer finger and thumb. There will be another line that starts really close to your life line, but instead of taking a hard curve downward, it travels more on an angle toward the pinkie side of your palm. This is your head line. The head line lies just between the life and heart lines.

The more pragmatic you are (do you prefer to read memoirs over fantasy novels?), the straighter this line will be. People with a straighter head line are those “meat and potatoes, nuts-and-bolts people” in your life, Fahrusha says. If you have a head line that curves a bit, you are probably more creative—and the more pronounced the curve, the more important it is for you to have a creative outlet. She says that this doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone with an arched head line will be a writer or a painter. Instead, maybe your curved head line means that you’re a lawyer who sings at jazz clubs on the weekends.

reading palms heart line
McKenzie Cordell

Heart Line

Back to that heart line we mentioned—it’s located immediately above the head line. This one will be curved and will look almost like an upside-down crescent moon stretching across the top of your palm with the arched part reaching up toward the base of your fingers, between the pointer and pinkie.

But despite the name, the heart line isn’t a “love” line. “It does encompass the idea of love, but it’s more about emotions in general—the good, bad or indifferent,” Fahrusha tells us. Women, being the emotionally superior sex that we are, have a heart line that arches much more dramatically—an indication of a more emotionally-driven point of view. On the other hand (ha), most men have a heart line with a less obvious curve. It might even go straight across the palm. Fahrusha says that some people will have heart and head lines that connect at some point. Those people, “try to control their emotions with their head.” Others might have heart lines fray at the edges like your favorite jeans. These people “take things to heart and may experience emotional turmoil in their lives,” she says.

reading palms soulmate line
McKenzie Cordell

Soulmate Line

Also known as the “marriage” line in some cultures, Fahrusha likes to call it the “soulmate” line. She believes that although not everyone will get married, everyone has at least one soulmate out there. This line—or even lines! The possibilities!—is a shorter dash than the other lines we’ve looked at so far. You can find it right below your pinkie. If you do have more than one line there, this means that you will have more than one great love (as Charlotte on Sex and the City would say).

“These lines don’t mean you have to get married or get divorced, it just means that you have several possibilities,” Fahrusha says. “You might have more than one soulmate and end up with one of them, but not everyone who ends up married is in a relationship with their soulmate.”

reading palms fate line
McKenzie Cordell

Fate Line

Here’s a curveball for you: Not everyone has a fate line. But, if you do, it will run somewhere down the middle of your palm as a straight or slightly curved vertical crease. Some people who read palms say that this line can change over the course of your lifetime and that it could be linked to any major part of your life, from having a wildly successful career to raising truly amazing kids. But it can also be an early indicator of something great on the horizon. “A person with a strong fate line at age eight probably already knows what they want to be when they grow up,” Fahrusha says.

reading palms fortune line
McKenzie Cordell

Fortune Line

Sometimes called the “money line,” the fortune line also runs vertically instead of horizontally and is another line that we’re not all blessed with. If you’ve got it, it’s located near the outer portion of your palm near the pinkie finger. Now, don’t get too hyped if you do have it—the fortune line doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get rich. Sometimes, the fortune line will run into the head line. That’s a sign that you’ll have a successful career, Fahrusha says.

But wait, let’s go back to the life line. Mine is short. Does this mean I’m going to die early?

Not necessarily. Fahrusha believes that a person’s palm—and therefore, their future—can change over time. (Not all palmistry experts share this way of thinking, she says. Others do think your future is set in stone.) Let’s say you got a reading at 32 years old and your palm reader advised you to get your act together health-wise because your life line looked a little short. So you started exercising and eating salads, and went back for another reading on your 40th birthday. You may have changed your fate. Sometimes, she says, our life lines—or any of the other lines in our palms—can grow branches or helping lines as people age, too.

“Indian culture is one that’s steeped in the religions of Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, and I respect them greatly, but those folks are largely fatalists,” Fahrusha says, referring to palmistry’s birthplace. “But here in the West, we believe largely that you do have some control over your fate. There may be some things that are fated, but many, many things are more in our own hands, so to say. This is our philosophy.”

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From 2019-2020 Ariel Scotti held the role of Editor at PureWow covering trends, wellness and more.