The Hands of David Bowie

Posted June 4th, 2024

David Bowie’s hands exhibit a couple of striking features that are worth commenting on.  As can seen from the images below, he has a long ring finger (Fire finger) in both hands and he also has a bendy top phalange to his thumbs.  We can also see that he has a long Air finger and a long Air line.

Long Fire Finger
The strength of the ring finger shows someone for whom self-expression is important.  It is found in the hands of artists, actors, performers and musicians equally and therefore it is not at all surprising to discover that this finger is long in Bowie’s hands!  He was a consummate performer and musician for some sixty years from c1965 through to his death in 2016.  The exaggerated personas that he developed through the course of his career were dramatic and theatrical musical expressions – all extreme manifestations of a long Fire finger.

What is interesting to note, of course, is that if the Fire finger is long, usually this means that the Water (index) finger is correspondingly shorter.  The index finger is do with one’s sense of self- confidence and, as Bowie explained later in his life, the reason he created the Ziggy Stardust character was because he felt shy and awkward, lacking confidence in himself.  Creating an alternate persona allowed him to freely express his artistic and creative urges.

Flexible Thumb
What we can also see from these images is that there is some considerable flexibility to be seen in the top phalange of his thumbs.  A bendy thumb shows someone who seeks to express themselves in various different ways.  The flexibility he has in his thumbs is the chirological feature that shows why he chose so many varied ways of expressing his creativity, re-inventing himself every couple of years as the Thin White Duke, Aladdin Sane etc.  It is a hand feature that you expect to see in the hands of actors – because they have to have the flexibility to present themselves to the world in a myriad of different ways as different characters.  Bowie was, of course, also an actor and starred in a number of films such as ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence’, ‘Labyrinth’ and ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’, for which he won an award for Best Actor.

Long Air Finger and Long Air line
There is a fantastic interview that can be found on line where Bowie is taking with the BBC Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman, dating from around 1999, where Paxman is expressing somewhat naïve views about the internet.  Bowie’s response shows that he is an intelligent and far-thinking person, as is indicated by the long Major Air line, ending under the Air (little) finger.  His eloquence is shown by the long Air finger, a hand feature frequently seen in those with an intelligent and perceptive way of thinking and in the hands of those who have something interesting to say.

It seems reasonable to infer that Bowie’s life philosophy was that of performative communication, that his extraordinary creative expression was to convey a message, a message based on his own life story:  that, if you can overcome your personal shyness and inhibition, you can be whoever or whatever you want to be. 

So get out there, get creative and become the most expressive being you can!