A Beginner's Guide To Reading Palms

Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Palm reading is often dismissed as a parlor trick or a fortune-teller's cash cow. But palmistry, to use the practice's official term, is actually a very old form of divination. More personal than tarot reading or rune casting, and more variable than one's birth chart, a thorough palm reading can reveal what you've possessed within you since birth and what may lie ahead for you.

Like any esoteric practice, palmistry has many different forms and can be very complicated — more so than your average reading might let on. A longer, more in-depth palm reading might address finger proportions and lengths, which can tell the reader about specific facets of your personality, and the mounts of the hand, which are an entire subsection of palmistry on their own.

For our purposes today, we're sticking to the basics, which means the palm's major and minor lines. If even that feels daunting, don't worry — Christine Lenihan, who practices palmistry in Salem, MA, tells Refinery29 that anybody can learn to read the lines in your friends' hands, but you'll have to rely more on your intuition the deeper you get into palmistry. As palm reader and psychic Fahrusha tells Refinery29, "It helps to be psychic."

Whether your psychic abilities are strong or could use some honing, click through for a beginner's guide to reading palms.