Handwriting Analysis and Symbolism of Space: The Mythology of Right and Left

There is rich symbolism in the four directions: right, left, up and down. There are meanings associated with each, that is applied to handwriting, be it letters, word, body of writing, or envelopes.

It is likely that the predominance of right-handedness among people accounts for the association of might with the right as the side of action. The somatic sensations of handedness are not doubt the source for the manifold symbolic meanings that have become attached to the duality of right and left, and that have found expression in all cultures and in all ages. They are reflected in law and ritual, in magic and superstition, in language and literature; and they are perpetuated not only in folklore but also in modern everyday usages.

In the cultural tradition of the Chinese, the mystical opposites yang and yin, which anciently meant merely light and dark, have ultimately come to embrace all the associational aspects of a fundamental polarity. Yang is the male principle, heaven, the creative, the active, the positive, the straight, the undivided, the favorable; yin is the female principle, earth, the receptive, the submissive, the negative, the crooked, the divided, the unfavorable.

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In early Hindu and Egyptian religious cults, the right side of the body symbolized strength and aggressive action; the left side, feeling and receptivity. The goddess Isis was pictured with a sword in her right hand and a flower in the left. Primitive tribes interpret right and left in much the same animistic and symbolic terms: the body of man is conceived of as possessing male characteristics on the right side and female characteristics on the left. A Swiss cultural anthropologist, J.J. Bachofen, has described an interesting reversal of this symbolism in certain matriarchal societies.

The antithesis of right and left extends beyond al physical implications into the domain of moral, social, and religious values as well. In the Old Testament story, King Solomon places his mother in the seat of honor at his right side; and early Christian theologians designated the right side in heaven as the superior sphere, while the left side was given a lower evaluation. The Gospel of Matthew, in explaining how the good are to be separated from the evil on the Day of Judgment says, “And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.”

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It is not unnatural that the right and left developed similar meanings on mundane levels asa well, and that these have taken on an endless accretions in popular attitudes no less than in superstitions. To start off on the left foot brings back luck; a buzzing in the right ear is a good omen, and a twitch of the right eye is believed to bring praise and money. Thus we find the “honorable” right and the “evil” left becoming the “lucky” right and the “unlucky” left.

These associations of right and left provide information for handwriting analysts.

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by Lisa Schuetz