Study of the Left Hand, a sketch of a left hand done by Leonardo da Vinci, a well known lefty. He was an Italian polymath, being a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the renaissance man, a man whose unquenchable curiosity was equaled only by his powers of invention.

The Left hand is opposite to the right hand, and is located on the left-arm, on the left side of the body. According the most studies, an estimated 90% of people in the world prefer to use there right hand for most everyday tasks, such as writing, drawing, using kitchen tools, and more minor tasks. Only roughly 10%-15% of people across the world prefer to use there left hand.

The word "left" in English comes from the Germen root word "Lyft", meaning weak.

Origin Edit

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Western SymbologyEdit


In her right hand is the sword, illustrating masculine discrimination and courage. In her left, the cupped scales, symbolizing feminine receptivity and duality.

The right is associated with action and the male, solar aspects of existence. The left is traditionally associated with weakness, passivity and the lunar, female principle. It’s important to note that these associations are from a Western viewpoint.

In the East, the symbolic values of left and right are much different. In Japan, the left is the side of the male, solar energy and also stands for nobility and wisdom. In contrast, it’s the right side that holds the female, lunar qualities. China’s yin-yang concept shows a philosophy of balance and interrelatedness between male-female/left-right/light-dark. The Cabala presents a neutral interpretation. The right hand of god is the hand of blessing and symbolizes mercy. The left hand stands for justice and is known as the the hand of the king.

From a psychological perspective, left and right take on added meaning. Jungian Marie-Louise Von Franz, wrote in Man and His Symbols, “. . . ‘right’ side — the side where things become conscious. Among other things ‘right’ often means, psychologically, the side of consciousness, of adaptation, of being ‘right,’ while ‘left’ signifies the sphere of the unadapted, unconscious reactions or sometimes even of something ’sinister.’ “ Additionally, Jung pointed out that the left side is also the side of the heart, and from it flows not only love, “but all the evil thoughts connected with it. ”

When reviewing dreams, some people tend to look at who is standing on their left or on their right? What is being held on the left or right hand? Which hand is being used to carry out what action? Does one side of the face or body look different from the other, etc.

Eastern SymbologyEdit

In Asian cultures, the left hand is symbolic of yin energy and the right yang energy. Hands folded together or clasped in Asian illustrations is iconic of allegiance and friendship. Hidden hands depicted in art indicates humility and offering respect where it is due.

Here are a few common left-hand, right-hand symbolic attributions:

Left Hand Right Hand
Passive Assertive
Justice Mercy
Lunar Solar
Emotion Logic
Receiving Giving
Unconscious Conscious

These brief and traditional attributions for hands can be considered meaningful in daily practices. Being mindful of which hand is used can convay feelings and interests. Such as placing whichever hand onto a person in a time of grief, sorrow, happiness, or joy. One can also give with their right/left hand, and receive with their opposite hand, or in some cases, the same hand.

In the Celtic language of symbolism there are references indicating hand meaning in connection to power, rulership, and authority. Reference to the experience of King Nuada who was dethroned from ruling his kingdom because he lost his right hand in battle.

Without the hand, a king could be considered incongruent and unbalanced as kings were also judges. Good and balanced judgment was symbolically portrayed by the two hands. Later however, King Nuada regained his command after one of his daughters gave him a silver hand which was animated by the help of Miach, a sage and healer. Also in the ancient Celtic way of thinking (and countless others), the hand was symbolic of spiritual power. Further, hands were thought to harbor energetic power, as in invocations by Celtic gods and goddesses, as well as Druids.

In Buddhism as well as Hinduism hand positions known as mudras were keenly important in expressing transference of divine powers. Hands shown in various positions held symbolism of inherent energy such as meditation, receptivity, unity, wisdom, etc.

The hand has long been thought as a conduit of power – transforming unseen energy into the world of form. Indeed, the Latin word for manifestation is formed around the world manus which is the Latin word for hand.

Consider these little bits about hand meaning as you go about your days, and travel on your Path. Furthermore, I invite you to be mindful of your hands, and how you use them to express yourself and your intent.

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