Manicure & Nail Readings In Palmistry

In palm reading, also called chiromancy, we analyze the lines of the palm, hand shape, finger shape, and nails. Reading the nails is an ancient form of divination known as onychomancy.

If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram you’ve probably seen at least a couple of the hundreds of free public nail readings I’ve offered this year. If you invited me to read for you, thank you! It’s been so fun, and an honor.
I haven’t seen any literature that dives this deep into nails – specifically manicures and nail art – so I put together this epic guide so you can be an onychomancer too.
In this post you will find:
  • The Meaning of Nails in Palmistry
  • Nail Anatomy: The Meaning of Cuticles, Lunulas, Nail Plate, Quicks, and the Free Edge
  • Natural Nail Shape & Personality
  • The Meaning of Short, Medium, and Long Nails
  • The Meaning of Breaking a Nail
  • The Meaning of Each of the 10 Fingernails
  • And 10 Sample Nail Readings
I’ll keep doing the free public nail readings on social media whenever possible.  Make sure to check out my books, The Ancient Art of Onychomancy In the Modern World, a 10,000+ word illustrated guide to the divination of nails & manicures, the sequel, Explorations In Onychomancy, or my quick guide to broken nails, Ever Wonder What It Means When You Break a Nail?



The Meaning of Nails in Palmistry: The Basics


You’re familiar with the 7 chakras right? Our hands and feet contain their own chakras that are organized similarly to our central chakra system.
The bottom of the palm corresponds to the root chakra. This is why in reflexology, the reproductive organs are stimulated via meridians at the base of the palm. The fingertips correspond to the crown chakra. And in reflexology, the various parts of the skull are stimulated by the top phalange of each finger, including the nails.
And then, since our energy bodies are fractal forms, the individual nail also has its own chakra system as well. So the cuticle corresponds to root chakra energy, and the free edge corresponds to the crown chakra.
Each fingernail expresses themes of that finger’s planetary ruler. On the right hand these themes are expressed in the outside world, through action. On the left hand these themes are experienced internally.
The thumb is ruled by Mars. The phalanges correspond to Mars (yang) of the left brain, and the base of the thumb in the palm corresponds to Venus (yin) of the right brain, forming our holistic consciousness. This is why I say the thumb rules the higher self.
The index finger is ruled by Jupiter, reflecting the expansion of consciousness via philosophy, religion, intellect, law, global affairs, and travel. Jupiter also rules individuation – the independent explorer at the edge of the unknown.
The middle finger is ruled by Saturn, reflecting the restriction of consciousness through boundaries, deprivation, and discipline.
The ring finger is ruled by Apollo, the sun god – reflecting the illumination of consciousness through pleasure, creativity – both artistic and reproductive, and fun. It is how we shine our light.
The pinky finger is ruled by Mercury, reflecting the articulation of consciousness through communication, mental activity, and the exchange of ideas. Mercury is “street smarts” versus Jupiter’s “book smarts.”
We’ll go more into detail later on when we discuss the meaning of each nail and the differences between the left and right nails.


Nail Anatomy: The Meaning of Cuticles, Lunulas, Nail Plate, Quicks, and the Free Edge



You know how in cartoons, magical beings will emit electric bolts from their fingertips? Not far from the truth.
Nails carry energy just like hair. The nail is like an antenna dish, whereas hair is more like antennas/wire. They receive and transmit energy from the surrounding environment.
You can read each part of the nail. In this section I’ll explain the nail anatomy, what each part means metaphysically, and offer some examples of how to read each part.
As I mentioned in the previous section, the nail has its own chakra system that reflects our central chakra system.
The matrix is the root of the nail, and the cuticle is its protective seal. They correspond with the root chakra, which rules survival and security.
For example, a dry, cracked left thumb cuticle shows a need for more receptivity (water element), flow, and surrender to messages from your guides regarding how to meet your survival needs in a way that is aligned with your higher self.
The lunula is the visible part of the matrix that looks like a half moon. It corresponds with the sacral chakra, which rules emotions, pleasure, and creativity. Lunula is Latin for “little moon” – in astrology, the moon rules the emotions (learn astrology basics with me here).
The nail plate makes up most of the nail. The lower half closer to the cuticle corresponds with the solar plexus chakra, ruling personal power. The upper half corresponds with the heart chakra.
The hyponychium, or quick, is the border or seal separating your nail from your environment. It corresponds to the throat chakra. As the boundaries of your nails, both the hyponychium and cuticle reflect the state of your metaphysical boundaries.
Irregular quicks have to do with expressing boundaries. Versus irregular or busted cuticles, which correspond to meeting basic needs like eating enough and feeling safe in your environment.
For example, if the Mercury (pinky) nail quick is irregular, you may want to consider examining your inner dialogue. Is it 100% supportive? Pointed quicks can indicate hypersensitivity and fear around expressing oneself.
The free edge is the white part that grows out. It corresponds to the third eye chakra and – when quite long – the crown chakra.
This is why I say long nails enhance the intuition. (Fun fact: In Bali, palm readers grow their nails SUPER long). We will get into the free edge manicure shapes and breaks in depth below.



Natural Nail Shape & Personality

The natural nail shapes refer to the shape of the nail plate (not the free edge) and include square nails, wide nails, rectangle nails, oval nails, and spatulate nails. Each nail shape reflects a different personality type. Here is what each one means.
Square nails are pragmatic “building” and getting it done energy. Square nails reveal a balanced, stable personality, very pragmatic.
Wide nails are also practical, but more volatile than stable. Wide, short nails can be very energetic and also have a tendency to repress their emotions or any sensitive aspect of themselves. This can manifest as anxiety or fits and bursts of emotion. Super short, wide nails reveal impatience and reactivity.
Spatulate nails are wider at the quick then at the cuticle. Spatulate nails NEED to create – anything – and be hands on.
Rectangle nails are both sensible and sensitive, blending pragmatism with intuition. The proportions of width to length reveal which side of the spectrum you lean toward.
Oval nails are sensitive, yin, artistic and intuitive – possibly psychic. The narrower the oval, the more sensitive – even delicate – the personality.
Round nails are also sensitive and intuitive, but more emotionally stable than oval nails. Circular nails value harmony and diplomacy.

Different Nail Shapes and Combination Shapes

Many people have different nail shapes on each finger, as well as combination nail shapes. Here are some popular combinations.
Slightly rounded/square nails reveal a big picture thinker, practical and pragmatic but still appreciative of nuance.
Rectangular/spatulate nails are intuitive, sensible, and creative. A physical creative outlet balances and grounds the sensitivity.
Circular Jupiter (index) nail with spatulate Apollo (ring) nail is a sensitive idealist who loves to make the world more beautiful and harmonious via a creative practice. Probably also has a great sense of humor and charm.
A mix of round, rectangle, and spatulate nail shapes is eccentric and dynamic: a blend of sensitive, practical, and creative.
Square and slightly spatulate nails are pragmatic with a creative streak that needs a physical outlet and/or creative practice to decompress.



Nail Lengths

The longer the nails, the closer to Goddess.


It’s cute but it’s true. Here’s why.
As we discussed in the Nail Anatomy section above, the free edge of the nail corresponds to the third eye and crown chakras, depending on the length. Basically, the longer your nails, the more they enhance your intuition, receptivity, and personal magnetism. Long nails enhance your yin energy.
Part of it is as simple as – when your nails are at a certain length, manual labor is inhibited. So if you want something, you HAVE to be open to receiving it. To magnetizing.
To break it down further, let’s take a look at a mini diagram I made with this adorable Totoro-themed manicure (artist unknown):

Short nails are anything between the quick and the longest point of the fingertip. Medium length nails are anything between the longest point of the fingertip and the bottom of the equilateral triangle, which you can form in your mind’s eye to bring your fingertips to a perfect point. Anywhere within the range of this triangle corresponds with the third eye chakra.
Long nails are anything beyond that bottom point of the equilateral triangle. Long nails enhance the crown chakra, which has to do with connecting to divinity and collective consciousness.
Growing your nails out is like getting a bigger antenna dish for better reception. They literally pick up on the vibrations around you. Plus, the further from your body your nails extend, the more your aura – your energy field – is expanded, drawing more of the world around you into your field. This is why I say the longer the nails, the closer to Goddess.
I love short nails too by the way! There are benefits to all nail lengths. If you have boundary issues or empath issues or you’re highly sensitive, cutting your nails back can be a great way to get grounded.

Nail Length Consistency

There is also significance to the consistency of your nail lengths.
If your nails are even and flourishing, you are balanced and in alignment. If your nail lengths are irregular, take a look first at why – do they naturally grow at different rates or are they jagged and unkempt from neglect?
If the latter, filing the nails is a wonderful form of mindfulness meditation and self care.
If they naturally grow at different rates, take a look at which nails are shorter to identify any energetic blockages to the corresponding planetary energies.
For example, many people have shorter Jupiter (index) fingernails. The modern world demands constant growth,constant acuiqiring of more, constant expansion – all Jupiterian themes. “Overdoing” your Jupiter can lead to burnout.

The Meaning of Each of the 10 Fingernails

As I mentioned in the Basics section earlier, each nail expresses themes of that finger’s planetary ruler.
On the right hand these are expressed in the outer world, via action and our plans for the future. On the left hand, these themes are internalized, in the realm of the subconscious, our private lives, and our memory recall and personal history. This is because each hemisphere of the brain rules the opposite side of the body – the right side of the brain rules the left side of the body and vice versa.

The Meaning of the Thumbnails

Thumbs are ruled by Mars and represent your higher self.
The right thumbnail reflects the physical manifestation of our personal will power and ego. It represents the yang aspects of our higher self – decision making, how we take action and shape the world around us.
The left thumbnail reflects the spiritual manifestation of divine will as expressed through our connection to collective consciousness, ancestors and guides. It reflects the yin aspects of our higher self — our subconscious, inspiration, and intuition.

The Meaning of the Index Fingernails

The index finger is ruled by Jupiter, reflecting the expansion of consciousness via philosophy, religion, intellect, law, global affairs, and travel. Jupiter also rules individuation – the independent explorer at the edge of the unknown.
The right Jupiter nail reveals practical moves like going back to school and traveling.
The left Jupiter nail reveals personal philosophy, personal growth, and other consciousness-expanding solitary or private activities.

The Meaning of the Middle Fingernails

The middle finger is ruled by Saturn, reflecting the restriction of consciousness through boundaries, deprivation, and discipline.
The right Saturn nail reflects your work, career, and finances.
The left Saturn nail reflects one’s sense of discipline, restriction, and issues around self worth.

The Meaning of the Ring Fingernails

The ring finger is ruled by Apollo, the sun god – reflecting the illumination of consciousness through pleasure, creativity – both artistic and reproductive, and fun. It is how we shine our light.
The right Apollo nail shows how you have fun, the children in your life, and express your inner light and creativity now and in the outer world.
The left Apollo nail shows your relationship to private creative pursuits, happiness, pleasure, fertility, and the inner child.
(Fun fact: Considering this, the practice of wearing wedding rings on the left Apollo finger is beautifully aligned from a palmistry and reflexology perspective. The heart reflexology point is halfway down the palm below the left ring finger.)

The Meaning of the Pinky Fingernails

The pinky finger is ruled by Mercury, reflecting the articulation of consciousness through communication, mental activity, and the exchange of ideas. Mercury is “street smarts” versus Jupiter’s “book smarts.”
The right Mercury nail reveals our communication style with others and our daily business endeavors (how we hustle, more so than long term career themes which is Saturn).
The left Mercury nail reveals mental patterns, like how we focus, process, and analyze, as well as inner dialogue.

The Meaning of Breaking a Nail

Broken nails are a message. The deeper and messier the break, the more urgent the message. Which finger it’s on and the shape of the break tells you the theme.
Sometimes when they break it doesn’t mean anything is wrong, it’s just you naturally releasing energy. A new cycle. Especially if it’s a bunch of them, the breaks are clean, and it doesn’t hurt. A clean painless break represents alignment with a new cycle.
The location of the break has various meanings. Just the tip off is like a slight nudge to make a change.
If your nails are long, in the crown chakra length (see the diagram in the nail length section) and crack or break into the third eye chakra zone or shorter, it’s a sign that you need to tighten up your energetic boundaries.
Which finger it’s on tells you the planetary/astrological theme – for example, a break to the right middle (Saturn) finger is about having better boundaries with your work life.
If the break hurt, you need to meditate on this urgently and do some conscious healing. If not, it’s more of a natural cycle completing.
I recently cracked my left thumbnail 3 entire millimeters BELOW the quick, into the nail bed. This is a love note from my guides and ancestors reading ABORT MISSION DO NOT PASS GO. It’s time to pause any plans that feel out of alignment, meditate and rest until I experience clarity.
A repeated break is a repeated message – it shows a pattern of pushing yourself too hard or needing to release a habit regarding the issues ruled by that finger.
Breaks to both nails – both thumbnails, both index nails,etc – mean you’re going through some growing pains, but whatever realization or healing you’ve been processing the last couple weeks is leading to change in your physical reality. A turning point.
Here’s a quick cheat sheet for the different nail breaks:
Thumb (Mars/Higher Self):You need to commune with higher self, ancestors
Index (Jupiter): Pushing too hard for progress and growth, too much “figuring it all out” on your own
Middle (Saturn): Boundary issues, money or work problems, misguided rebellion
Ring (Apollo): You need more creative self expression, fun, inner child nurturing
Pinky (Mercury): Slow down, be mindful, and mind your own business
We’ll get deeper into the metaphysics of broken nails, including explanations of the differences between left and right hand broken nails, in Part 2 of this nail reading guide. Make sure you’re subscribed to get it in your inbox as soon as I hit publish.

Nail Reading Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does the nail shape you get reflect the current energy of your life or do you use nails to manifest and attract the type of energy/lifestyle you want?
A: Both! Most people do it unconsciously but you can definitely use it as a manifestation tool.



Q: Is it weird that my index fingernails are so round in comparison to the rest? Is that common?
A: Not weird at all, mine are very similar actually. Many people have nails that are a different shape or size than the others, some have all the nails a different shape.



Q: What does it mean when you dream about breaking your nails or nails falling off?
A: The same as when you experience it in waking life, except maybe less urgent – like your astral guides are giving you a chance to heed the message without breaking your real nails first.


I dreamt in between these last 2 eclipses that I broke all the nails down to the quick on my right hand. I interpret that to mean I’m being encouraged to treat this next phase of my life as a totally new energetic cycle and to plan accordingly. Très Eclipse. (Learn more about the meaning of eclipses)
Q: What does it mean when you dream of biting your nails?
A: It can mean a lot of things, depending on your mood in the dream, your feelings when you wake up, which fingernails you’re biting, whether it hurts, etc.
Most people bite their nails in waking life out of anxiety. So naturally it would symbolize something similar in the astral. I’ll go deeper into the metaphysics of biting your nails in Part 2 of this nail reading guide.



Q: How can I strengthen my nails?
A: Fermented rice water. Trust me on this one. I’ve tried biotin, collagen, nail growth serums, sticking my nails in garlic, everything. Rice water is the ONLY thing that has helped me grow out my formerly weak, splitty, brittle nails to what they are today.
If you’re on Twitter, check out my rice water thread. You can also read my rice water blog post which explains how to use it for hair, eyelash, eyebrow, and nail growth.



Q: How did you learn how to do nail and palm readings?
A: I’ve been reading palms since I was 10. So I picked it up over the years, through experience. As for the in depth manicure readings, this is my own method that I have developed over the years through combining my knowledge of palm reading, color chakra theory, numerology and astrology.
Check out my beginner numerology guide and beginner astrology posts.



Q: How do I book a more in depth session with you?
A: All private readings can be booked through periodic offerings announced through my email list.



Q: How can I learn more about nail readings?
A: Read my books!
I haven’t seen a resource besides my own content that goes super deep into nail and manicure readings specifically. This is my favorite palmistry book for beginners. You may be interested in looking into Ayurvedic medical nail readings – not my area of expertise (yet) but it’s fascinating.

If you’d like to support my blog and leave a tip, you can do so here:


10 Nail Reading Examples

Stilettos increase magnetism, receptivity, getting what you want by attraction (versus building, pursuing which is square tips).
These babies are long, extending the electromagnetic field of your hands into the crown chakra zone, facilitating tuning into collective consciousness.
Yellow, green, and blue activate the solar plexus, heart, and throat chakras. This color combination supports speaking ones truth from an empowered and loving frequency.
The ring (Apollo) accent nail actually reinforces this message, but from a different angle. Apollo is creativity, self expression, inner child – solar plexus themes. Blue and purple aids in communicating from a place of spiritual integrity and wisdom.


(We’ll get more into nail polish color theory in Part 2 of this nail reading guide.)
This would be a great set for public speaking or otherwise engaging with the public on a large scale.

(The client sent me this during the Mercury Retrograde in March.) A broken right pinky nail is THE classic Mercury retrograde nail look, because the pinky is ruled by Mercury.
This is a message to follow Mercury Retro Protocol: slow down, listen carefully, change your passwords and double check any binding agreements. With the blue throat chakra color, the emphasis here is on being mindful about all communications.
You definitely benefited from that moment of peace back in the nail salon getting it fixed. As Mystic Medusa always says about Mercury Retrograde: Delays work in your favor.
Your natural nail shape is equally long as wide – you’re naturally practical, reliable, about your business.
Your manicure is long, projecting and inviting an energy of luxury, idealism, and lofty aspirations.



Your natural nail shape is much longer than wide – you’re sensitive, perceptive, artistic, possibly psychic. Your manicure length and shape says you like luxury and to be perceived as very grounded, pragmatic, able to make things happen on the material plane.
Your thumb represents your higher self and isn’t featured in the picture, which means you may be very introverted, private, or just guarded about what you share of yourself with the public.



The long rectangular nail shape is very sensitive, intuitive, possibly psychic, but the square tips show that you know how to keep it grounded. The nails are healthy and grown out evenly, which shows that your energy is balanced.
(The client shared that the chip in the nail started as an infection that came out of nowhere, and the nail chipped as a result.)
The ring finger rules creativity, how you shine your light in the world, and on the left hand (which is the past/subconscious) also shows ones relationship to the inner child.
An infection/wound here speaks to processing something major from your childhood. You’ve already made it through the peak of the resurfacing emotions but definitely still processing. There is a need to provide this part of the psyche a lot of space and nurturing in the form of creativity and play.



The left thumbnail represents messages from your higher self, ancestors, and/or guides. The shadow is ego. Your higher self is trying to get your attention. You need to get back to basics and spend some quality time with self and create space to rest your soul.
The fact that it’s both thumb nails, and at least in the pic you sent me it’s down to the quick, means that you need to get grounded and find balance within your self urgently. You’re processing something major that affects your past, present, future – a turning point.
(The client replied that she was about to quit a job that had been tormenting her.)



Your natural nail shape is rectangle- you’re balanced between pragmatic and intuitive/sensitive, and the pointed tips show that lately you’re tuning into your more intuition.
The black polish shows you’ve been conserving your energy and turned inward the past couple weeks. The chips show you are ready for a new cycle specifically around pursuing growth or putting yourself out there more, as the index (Jupiter) nail is totally chipped off. The black polish helps you get grounded and prioritize before making expansion moves.



Your natural and chosen nail shape are very square – grounded, practical Earth energy. There is a slight spatulate shape as well, adding a physicality, athleticism, and/or hands-on creative streak. Combined with the medium length this manicure says “work hard, play hard.”
The mauve color shows that you like to project as sensible, sensual, yet inscrutable.



Irregular nail tips on the right hand are an invitation to be more intentional about your plans. The middle nail is Saturn, so having to do with work, authority, boundaries. Thumb is higher self, that one looks irregular too. Are you bringing your full spiritual self into your work?
Dry skin is literally and energetically a need for more water element. With the thumb cuticle it shows a need for more receptivity, flow, surrender to messages from your higher self. You may be guarded against your own power or trying to force an external logic onto your life.



Spatulate nail shape means you’re creative and hands on. Your pinky (Mercury) nails are longest and get progressively shorter toward the thumb – you may feel limited about what’s possible right now, doing too much solo without support, or repressing your spiritual self expression.




(You can also read a series of manicures. For example this client shared these two sets that were back to back. Here’s our exchange.)
Kiki: The pink details in the tips help you call in warmth, optimism, fun. It’s a subtle almost concealed detail. You invite this energy – but not loudly, especially since the right hand is matte.
Matte absorbs light and the right hand has to do with the future. So you’re working on or visualizing something but still keeping it behind the scenes, feeling good but on the more introverted side.
The second pic is where you claim it loudly! The metallic catches the eye, deep fuchsia is passionate, very warm and energetic. How much time between each of these sets? Which one was first?
Client: Wow! This is amazing. The metallic is the set before the matte. It also has the confetti underneath.
Kiki: Yeah these definitely read as phases of a creative cycle – a very extroverted phase followed by a more restful phase.


Congratulations, if you made it this far you are now ready to start your own onychomanchy practice. Just kidding, this is just the beginning. We’ll go more in depth in my new e-book, The Ancient Art of Onychomancy In the Modern World, illustrated by Kalaéja Emaun. The book covers the following topics in much more depth than this post:
✦ The Meaning of Nails in Palmistry
✦ Nail Anatomy: The Meaning of Cuticles, Lunulas, Nail Plate, Quicks, and the Free Edge
✦ The Meaning of Each of the 10 Fingernails, Breaks to Each Nail, & Tarot-Nail Correspondences
✦ Natural Nail Shape & Personality
✦ The Meaning of Short, Medium, and Long Nails
✦ The Meaning of Long (Acrylic) Nail Shapes
✦ Manicure Colors & Chakra Correspondences
✦ The Meaning of Manicure Problems
✦ The Meaning of Soft, Splitting, Peeling Nails And How to Grow Super Long Nails Naturally
✦ Nail Reading Frequently Asked Questions

If you’d like to support my blog and leave a tip, you can do so here:

Thank you for reading!
– Kiki

14 thoughts on “Manicure & Nail Readings In Palmistry”

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  4. I would say this is one of the best article I’ve read.
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    King regards,
    Thompson Henneberg

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