From: winters_diana
Date: Thu Jan 22, 2004 1:21 pm
Subject: Left-handedness

Here's a few links for anyone interested in the lore of left-handedness. I'll do two posts.

I don't vouch for the accuracy of any of this, and in most cases, there's not much indication where the writer found the information. It could be largely wrong for all I know. But there seems little doubt that superstition, fear, and religious hysteria about left-handedness go back a long way, and Steiner's "karmic weakness" theory is just another version of an old prejudice.

The following is from:

Left Handedness and the association with Devilry
Being Left Handed has, for some reason, become associated with devilry and bad luck. Superstitions that differentiate between left and right always consider the left to be bad, unfortunate, cursed, poisonous and satanic.

The Catholic Church at one point declared that being Left Handed made you a servant of the Devil. The word 'left' in many languages is associated with evil, trouble or the devil. In Latin 'left' comes from 'sinister'.

[Diana notes here that Michaela Glockler cites this fact explicitly in support of making left-handed children write with their right hands.]

The same pattern repeats in many cultures and societies not only those who were oppressed by the Christian Church. African tribes and ancient pre-Christian superstition also equate left with bad! There may well be some deeply social or biological instinctive reason why left handedness has traditionally disturbed us. Perhaps it is merely a form of xenophobia, a kind of fear based on subconsciously offputting physical movement of those that are left handed. Prehistoric body language that has been lost, but once was important to early Humans.

The following is from:

Prejudices against left-handers abound, for throughout history, lefties have been considered inferior. Centuries ago, the Catholic Church declared left-handed people to be servants of the Devil. For generations, left-handers who attended Catholic schools were forced to become right-handed. Only a few decades ago in Japan, left-handedness in a wife was sufficient grounds for divorce. The wedding ring is placed on the left hand in order to chase away evil spirits that may haunt the marriage. In Arab nations, the right hand is used to touch parts of the body above the waist, while the left hand is used for below the navel. Bedouins segregate the women to the left side of the tent to keep the right side free for the men. (Making it fairly obvious to determine which gender is considered more important.) Natives on the Guinea coast never touch their left thumbs to their beer mugs, in the belief that it would poison the beverage. Maori women weave ceremonial cloth with the right hand, because to use the left hand would profane and curse the cloth - the penalty for using the left hand is death. African tribes along the Niger river do not allow their women to prepare food with the left hand for fear of poisonous sorcery.

Religion has played an important part in oppressing the image of the left hand. In Matthew 6:3 of the Bible, Jesus instructed his followers that when they do charitable things, to "not let thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth." Jesus also expressed the following sentiments regarding the Judgment Day. "And before Him shall be gathered all nations; and He shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, 'Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world...' Then shall He say into them on the left hand, 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels...' In the Old Testament, God told Jonah the wicked city of Nineveh contained people so sinful they "cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand," leaving us to infer that they cannot discern between good or evil. Greeks, in their worship of Zeus, posted sentries to watch people entering the holy temples and make sure they entered with their right foot, because entrance with the left foot was thought to curse the building. Also, the Greeks took care to never put their left leg over the right while crossing their legs. In Hindu rituals, followers are required at times to circle people and/or objects three times, from left to right to cleanse them. Even languages from around the world show how civilizations prefer the right over the left. The word "left" comes from an Old English word meaning "weak" or "worthless" The Italian word "mancino" is translated to "deceitful"...as well as "left". "No ser zurdo" is a Spanish phrase meaning "to be very clever", which is literally translated to mean "not to be left-handed". In English, the word "adroit" is commonly used to mean "proper" or "correct". In French, the word "adroit" means "right". The English usage of the word "gauche" is accepted as meaning "clumsy", or "awkward". In French, it is translated to mean "left". Our word "dexterous" comes from the Roman word "dexter", which in turn means "right". The Roman word for "left" is "sinister", and the phrase meaning "masturbation" is translated to "left-handed whore". "Linkisch" is German for "awkward" and "left".

The following is from:

For thousands of years, the Devil has been associated with the left hand in various ways and is normally portrayed as being left-handed in pictures and other images. In the seventeenth century it was thought that the Devil baptised his followers with his left-hand and there are many references in superstitions to the "left-hand side" being associated with evil. As an example, in France it was held that witches greet Satan "avec le bras gauche" or with the left hand. It is also considered that we can only see ghosts if we look over our left shoulder and that the Devil watches us over the left shoulder.

Christianity is strongly based towards the right hand. It is the right had that gives the blessing and make the sign of the cross.

On one count, the bible contains over 100 favourable reference to the right-hand and 25 unfavourable references to the left-hand. E.g.: The right hand of the lord doeth valiantly, the right hand of the lord is exalted (Psalm 118 vv15,16)

The left hand does worst in the parable of the sheep and goats. The sheep are set on Christ's right hand and the goats on the left. Those on the right inherit the kingdom of god while those on the let depart into everlasting fire.

The situation is much the same in Judaism and Islam. In Islam, the left hand and everything associated with it is seen as unclean. This stems from the Middle Eastern custom of using the left-hand and water instead of toilet paper.


From: Tarjei Straume
Date: Thu Jan 22, 2004 3:53 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Left-handedness

At 22:21 22.01.2004, Diana wrote:

Being Left Handed has, for some reason, become associated with devilry and bad luck. Superstitions that differentiate between left and right always consider the left to be bad, unfortunate, cursed, poisonous and satanic.

"A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left."
- Ecclesiastes 10:2

Personally, I believe the Bible is filled with wisdom and that superstition is only something that has been added later when the sacred Hebrew texts were no longer understood. The quote above obviously has a common origin with the previously mentioned techincal expressions used by Rudolf Steiner when describing occult practices.

I also understand why those who stand on the ground of atheism, agnosticism, and skepticism, see no difference between ancient wisdom and old superstitions. But when this is matched with an agenda to speculatively and vindictively seek out arguments against Anthroposophy and against Rudolf Steiner by alleging that anything "strange" taught or practiced in Waldorf schools must have a superstitious origin whenever it is theoretically possible to trace it to the confusion described above, such argumentation lacks credibility in the eyes of those who have had some success with their effort to understand anthroposophically oriented occultism and its history. And this is why it is ludicrous to suggest that hand-switching practiced in Waldorf schools should be traced back to Moses in the Book of Ecclesiastes, or to a similar origin of a later date - especially when it is all written off as superstition.




From: winters_diana
Date: Thu Jan 22, 2004 1:35 pm
Subject: More on left-handedness

The following is from:



Devils are often associated with the left. One common superstition, still quite commonly exists today, is that it is unlucky to spill salt. However, one is supposed to take a bit of the spilled salt with one's right hand and throw it over his/her left shoulder to "offset" the bad luck. The reason, as many of you should know, is to try to throw the salt in the devil's face who is lurking over the left side of the body.

Why is left related to devils and the evil? Although the common name for devil, Satan, has no relation with "left" in Hebrew, the Talmud (a collection of oral laws of the Jews with explanations) says that there was a chief adversary (or "Chief of Satans") who ultimately became the Prince of Demons. Samael, the name of the adversary, is clearly related to se'mol, the Hebrew word for "the left side". This is believed to be the origin of referring "left" as evil. Interestingly, since people believe that the left side is evil, they would logically conclude that all evil acts are done with the left hand as well -- hence the Devil and the Chief of Satans must be left-handed. One should have noticed that all of Christian rituals are done with the right hand.

Some examples and outcomes of this "Devil must be a lefty" belief:

Eskimos believe that all left-handed people are potential sorcerer.

In Morocco left-handers are considered as a devil or a cursed person.

In Europe and colonial America the witch hunters trialed accused witches with a public examination of their naked body. The purpose of this was to find "proofs" of witchcraft -- blemish or mole on the left side of their body. This "evidence" was sufficient enough to put a woman to execution. It is believed that Joan d'Arc, the patriotic heroine of France, was executed based on this kind of trial. In sketches kept in the Franch National Archives in Paris, Joan is shown to be holding her sword in her left hand.

[Diana notes: I read elsewhere that Joan of Arc was probably not left-handed, but just depicted as such to make her seem evil.]

In the past (maybe it's still the case today), all Jewish priests had to be free of any of the "hundred bodily defects" listed by Maimonides. Included on the list are a blind man, a lame, anything too long, broken-handed, a dwarf, and left-handed.

In the United States and most other countries, the right hand is raised while making an oath in courts and other occasions. No exceptions!

Many artists represent devils by showing them to be lefthanders.

In classic tarot cards, Justice is depicted as right-handed and the Devil as left-handed. (Burdel tarot classic cards, 1751)

Here the Devil, with his left hand, baptises his followers. (Guazzo, Compendium Maleficarum, 1626)



In ancient Egyptian religion, the god Set is very similar to "Satan" in Christianity. Set is labeled with "evil" and "destructive", and he is named "The Left Eye of the Sun." Horus, the god of life, is named "The Right Eye of the Sun."

In Buddhism, the Buddha describes that the path to Nirvana (the state of enlightenment and salvation) divides into two paths. The one on the left-hand-side is the wrong way of life, and people should avoid it and follow the path on the right-hand-side because it is the "eightfold path" to enlightenment.

Ancient Mayan and Aztec (Central/South America) rituals use the middle finger of the right hand to first tip into the soil then to the lips in order to bring protection and blessing.

In Islamic countries and India, people are forbidden to eat with their left hand becuse it is unclean -- literally. People in these countries once used their left hand to clean the body after defecation. This restriction is an easy way to distinguish the unclean hand from the eating hand (they eat bare-handed) for hygienic purpose.


From: dottie zold
Date: Fri Jan 23, 2004 2:23 pm
Subject: Re: Left-handedness


Left hand denotes the power of the Queen.



From: golden3000997
Date: Fri Jan 23, 2004 4:35 pm
Subject: Re: [anthroposophy_tomorrow] Re: Left-handedness

OOOO Cool! where from, this??


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