So what do you do?
    An ongoing series exploring unusual careers in the inner-west of Melbourne.

    by Belle Hann

     It started with a childhood fascination with hands.

    “I’ve always loved looking at people’s hands, especially old people’s with the wrinkles and bumps,” says Ruth Gale, palm reader.

    Sensing that there was deeper meaning inside our fingers and palms, Ruth read everything she could about the ancient tradition of palmistry. She also studied with various experts, leading to certification as a professional hand analyst

    Think again, however, if you are expecting Ruth to predict the future.

    While palm reading has traditionally been quite fate-heavy, Ruth defines her work as a “soul companion” engaging in non-predictive modern palmistry. “I don’t do ‘tall dark handsome stranger’ readings,” she says.

    Instead, Ruth conducts hand analysis to learn all about a person’s true self. As well as describing their emotional system, she can also read “how their minds works and how they move through the world.” This can help people discover their true calling in life.

    “It helps people see if they are in the right lane in life, and that they are not a ‘round peg in a square hole.’”

    Ruth can often tell a person’s profession from reading their hand shape. At various festivals, she loves to do public demonstrations of this skill, which can lead to surprising stories.

    At one festival, she was leading a “What profession is this person?” palm reading workshop where she encountered a skeptical guest.

    “There was a guy who you could tell was dragged along by his wife,” she says. She read his hands, and told him she could see that he was handy and had “very detailed work with his hands that required prevision and passion.” The guy couldn’t believe the accuracy – he restores vintage cars. Even during the phone interview for this column (where she could not see my hands, nor have we met in person) Ruth said to me: “I bet you have really square palms” And she’s right. I do.

    Ruth is careful to always be responsible during palm readings, and cautions that there are plenty of “snake oil salesmen” in the profession. “That’s one of the key issues in working in this field,” she says. “Sometimes, people try to make a quick buck off people, and it can be cheap and nasty.”

    “Being with people, hearing their stories, and even simply ‘holding their hands’ can be a very healing process,” she says. “I always try to put their future right back into their hands – literally.”

    Curious? Ruth Gale offers palmistry services at The Body Voice Centre in Footscray. She can be contacted at

    Our content is a labour of love, crafted by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the west. We encourage submissions from our community, particularly stories about your own experiences, family history, local issues, your suburb, community events, local history, human interest stories, food, the arts, and environmental matters. Below are articles created by community contributors. You can find their names in the bylines.

    Your feedback

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here



    Latest Articles

    Latest edition

    #96 May 2024

    Recent editions



    Become a supporter

    The Westsider is run on the power of volunteers. Your contribution directly contributes to ensuring we can continue serving and celebrating our community.

    Related articles