People say the eyes are the window to the soul, but it’s the hands that tell the story of your life. “Your palm is changing all the time,” says palmist Izaskun Zabala. “If you were to look at it carefully every day, you would notice small differences that reflect what’s going on with your health and mind, as well as external factors that are affecting you.” Every line in the palm is tied to different areas of the body. How they look reveals details about your well-being, deeply ingrained personality traits, and your fate. Palmistry is considered to be more reliable than tarot readings, and it’s closely aligned with astrology. It takes years of studying and mentorship to learn all the ins and outs of palm reading — in addition to studying the lines, pros also look at hand size, shape, and mounts; skin patterns; and characteristics of the fingers among other things — but this is a good place to start.

The Hand Does Matter

Each hand tells its own story. Zabala says your dominant (or writing) hand deals with your present state — what’s going on right now and what may happen based on recent patterns. The other details events from your childhood and subconscious — who you are in your most natural state. Most 30-minute sessions focus on the dominant hand, since that’s what most people want to know about (the present and future), and because it also reflects previous things that may be influencing the now. For a more in-depth reading, palmists look at both hands to understand how the person’s life has evolved and to spot patterns.

Reading Between the Lines

Most introductory palmistry articles definitively state that certain lengths and depths of lines correspond to specific findings, but Zabala says there are intricacies that need to be considered. For example, there are secondary lines that could interact with each other to influence the reading, and certain characteristics like splits and gaps can carry their own meanings. “Just because you have a short life line does not mean that you are going to die soon,” she explains. “Some people don’t have a fate line, and that doesn’t mean they don’t have a fate.”

That being said, there are four lines the majority of the population has and details for each that hold true for most people. This could be useful if, for example, you’re dating a new boo and want to see how committed and cool-headed they might be before you get in too deep. (Just saying.)

Heart Line: Everyone wants to know about their love life, so the heart line tends to be the star of the show. But the heart line is more about you than it is about finding out if your ex will come back or when you’ll meet the one. “It shows the range of emotions and how passionate someone is,” Zabala shares. If the line is thin, it probably means the person is more cold and practical. Idealistic, passionate people have a thick, deep marking. The heart line can reflect if there is turmoil or satisfaction in your relationship. Look for feathery lines branching out from the main line — up means things are going well; down can mean there is trouble. Breaks or islands along the heart line are interpreted as separations or heartbreak. “Palm reading is about seeing where we are now and how that can impact our near-future,” reminds Zabala. “If we see something is coming, we can take a more active, conscious role in the situation.”

Head Line: “This is the most important, because the palm is formed by your mental patterns,” Zabala tells us. The head line can reveal how strong someone is mentally in terms of how grounded they are, whether they are prone to depression, and if they are cerebral with an ability to memorize lots of things or if they are more into abstract thought and big ideas. Zabala says the longer the line, the stronger the mind. People with a thin line tend to be easily influenced.

Life Line: The life line is about vitality. More than showing how long you will live, it represents your zest for life and overall well-being. “It tends to be deepest when you are 15 to 35,” she says. A deep line that is reddish in color means the person is in great health, has lots of energy, and is fully living their life. If the line is more faint, it can mean they are working through some health issues, have lost their spunk, or, yes, they could be approaching the end. This line also reflects chronic health issues or past injuries that had a lasting impact (look for breaks along the line).

Fate Line: According to Zabala, “The fate line is the only subjective line in your hand.” It reflects how lucky and secure you feel in life. Everything could be going great, but if you feel shaky, the line will reveal what you think rather than what is actually going on. “I ask a lot of questions when it comes to reading this one,” she reveals. “I ask about their jobs and how empowered they feel in life.” The fate line is most associated with financial and career success. Deep lines attest to someone who is crushing it at their job and has a nice cushion in their bank account, while a faint line could mean the person is floundering. But because the mind has such a strong influence, a millionaire in her early 30s who’s feeling powerless over a breakup or family issue could have a faint or nonexistent fate line. Zabala recommends reading this last, so you have more contextual information. Overall though, if this line is strong and deep, it means the universe has the person’s back and they pretty much know it.

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(Design via Sarah Tate)