If you’re making your way through life feeling like you have all of the things under control, then go you. Seriously, keep riding that wave. But for the rest of us, there are likely at least one or two areas that feel a bit less than satisfactory, whether it’s a ho-hum job, love-life goings-on that skew a bit beyond “it’s complicated,” or something else that’s just… lacking.
That’s why, when any bit of insight comes our way that’s supposed to make navigating life a little easier, the intel can feel like a straight-up gift. Sometimes that comes in the form of advice from your BFF or celeb tips for multitasking, but other times, it’s more spiritual or metaphysical in nature. (See: How many times have you checked The Pattern today?) And all you need in order to reap the benefits is the ability to understand what’s already right under your nose. Say hello to palm reading.
While the roots of the practice can’t be traced to a specific period of time, research shows it has been used to shed light on a person’s unique story for quite a bit. (And really, it’s just plain-old fascinating, which is generally reason enough to learn more about it, right?)
Bonus: It turns out you don’t have to be a palmistry expert to learn a few of the basics that come along with palm reading, according to Helene Saucedo, an Atlanta-based palm reader who runs Handful of Stars palm readings out of a seriously cool renovated vintage camper.
So, light a candle and get comfortable. Below, Saucedo shares her secrets about what you need to know to start analyzing your own hand from the comfort of your own home (or camper).
Keep four major lines in mind
The most basic way to understand palm reading is through four main lines that every hand has. While a number of lines likely traverse your palms, it’s the following four that pro readers pay attention to the most:
- Heart line: Located at the top of the hand; indicates your emotional state
- Head line: Located below heart line, at the center of your hand; indicates mentality
- Life line: Located under heart line, goes around your thumb indicates vitality
- Line of stability (also known as your Fate line): Comes up through the center of the hand, starting at the bottom of your palm and running toward your middle finger; indicates how you feel about the life you create
“The overall shape of a line whether it’s curved or straight, says how flexible that part of you is,” says Saucedo, who also authored Handful of Stars: A Palmistry Guidebook and Hand-Printing Kit. For example, if you have a very curved heart line that looks like a half circle, Saucedo says that would indicate a very nurturing, open, and emotional nature. If your heart line is straight, then you might be a bit more guarded or self-preserved about your emotions.
There are also key differences to note between straight and curved head lines. A very curved head line indicates creativity, while a straight head line points to someone who is very rational and likes logistics—“black and white, yes or no,” says Saucedo.
But one common misconception Saucedo is quick to point out is that despite popular belief, the life line has nothing to do with your lifespan. Rather, it has more to do with how good you feel about your life. “If it fades out, it’s just a piece of your life where you might feel like the rug was pulled out from under you,” she says. “But it doesn’t mean you’re sick or anything like that.”
Yes, depth and length of lines matter, too
Saucedo says the deeper and darker the lines on your palm, the more stable that part of you is. For example, a person with a deep heart line indicates resilience or strength in emotions; if it’s lighter, then that person might be more sensitive or vulnerable.
The length of the lines on your palm tell a story, too. Saucedo says, for example, a person with a short head line doesn’t say anything about their intelligence, but, instead, that they might have trouble focusing.
Consider the shape of your hand
Palm reading intersects with astrology regarding the shape of your hand, says Saucedo. Hand shapes fall into one of the four elements—earth, water, fire and air—that help to inform zodiac signs. “[This] has to do with whether our palm is square or rectangular versus having short or long fingers,” Saucedo says.
Here are the four elements and their corresponding hand physicality:
- Earth: Broad, square palm and short fingers
- Water: Long or oval palm and long fingers
- Fire: Long palm and short fingers
- Air: Square palm and long fingers
Saucedo says the characteristics associated with each of the elements share properties with the elements in astrology.
- Earth: Grounded and practical
- Water: Sensitive and receptive
- Fire: Anxious or restless
- Air: Adaptable and intellectual
Look to your dominant hand for your present
While both palms play a role in adding details to your reading, Saucedo says your dominant hand more so represents who you are in the present moment. And on the other hand (see what I did there?), is your non-dominant one, which lends information to your destiny.
This isn’t to say your non-dominant hand holds crystal-ball-worthy, here’s-how-your-life-will-end-up powers. Rather, says Saucedo, your recessive hand shows “the wisdom of what you’ve come through.” So while your dominant hand might be a hot mess of “What am I doing? Where am I going?” you can count on your recessive hand to display the ways in which things are going to be okay once your journey pans out.
And, yes, the lines on your hand do shift along with the changes that come throughout life. To track the changes from year to year, take a photo of your palm in the daylight.
Don’t confuse palm reading with psychic abilities
Think of palm reading as a language in which you—and anyone else—can become fluent. This is important to remember, because Saucedo says palm reading is often conflated with psychic powers—and, really, one has nothing to do with the other. “Anyone can read palms—it’s all visual and tangible,” she says. “I’m not receiving information from spirits or anything. I’ve just learned the language from the lines on your hand.” And now, you’ve got the building blocks to start doing the same.
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