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Graphology at Home – Lesson 3 – The Zones
The authoritative Swiss graphologist Max Pulver (1889-1952) composed the chart below, showing many of the points discussed in the previous chapter. But in addition to demonstrating slant, it also demonstrates the zones.
If we were to superimpose a written word with a t in it on the spot marked I (Ego) Present, and the t coincided with the straight up-and-down line, we would be talking about a vertical writer. If the t veered to the right, we see from the chart that it would point toward the future. Were it to veer to the left, it would point toward the past. But this same word-say, the word “height”-also reaches into an upper and lower dimension. Upper, middle, and lower areas are called dimension zones, and they make up the zonal area.
Think of a child’s drawing-a boy standing on a piece of land, the sun shining and some clouds above. Zones are something like that picture. The upper zone represents sky, clouds, the sun-by extension what is high, spiritual, religious, lofty. Conversely, the lower zone represents earth, solidness, what is underfoot-things that are basic, common, earthy, materialistic, sexual. The middle zone is the person, the ego, the me.
When handwriting is predominantly in one zone, we see a powerful key to personality. Handwriting confined to the middle zone demonstrates the social person, the today person, the one concerned with Number One and lacking spiritual as well as physical drive.
Picture the word “height” laid out on a zonal chart; each zone is 3 millimeters in height, which is the norm.
If the rest of the writing is consistently in the same zones, we say there is balance in this writer. Where the zones fluctuate, the graphologist looks to see what the changes are and analyzes them. If the writer constantly changes the angle of his writing, we see a moody individual, unreliable in his reactions. Where the zones vary, it indicates a shift in motivation.
Take, for instance, the case of a man whose upper-zone writing ordinarily averages three millimeters in height-the norm. Suddenly, the upper zone dwindles to an average of one millimeter. This represents a shifting away from aspirations, spirituality as motivating factors. Usually such a change is accompanied by increased size in one of the other two zones, as if the energy normally expended in the spiritual zone has been shifted to the ego or sexual zones.
In addition to writing that consistently covers all zones and writing where there is no consistency whatsoever, we have six other combinations of zonal areas:
The upper zone as the largest. This reveals a person with high aspirations but too little interest in social life, because he has a relatively small lower zone. Although he strives toward high goals, it is doubtful if he will achieve them, because he lacks stamina.
High aspiration coupled with physical stamina is evidenced by both the upper and lower zones being large. However, since his middle zone is quite shrunk, his handling of everyday affairs may be off, and consequently the two positive aspects of his character may not take their proper effect.
A small upper zone shows that the writer probably has little spirituality and few aspirations. His middle zone is average, which reveals a normal social life, but because the accent in this writer’s script is on the lower zone, we see someone who is preoccupied with physical pleasures. If the lower zone loop is long and straight down, it is the sign of sexual pleasure; if the lower zone loop is inflated, it shows money, materialism.
One of the greatest of all heavyweight boxers, the “champion among champions,” Jack Dempsey shows by his signature great physical pleasure and much physical interest. His long, heavy, lower-zone structures-this kind of writing is usually found among super athletes.
The saddest picture is perhaps that of a writer whose script seems to have everything but an upper zone, and who therefore has neither imagination nor ideals, neither intellectual interests nor ambitions, no real pride, no ethics and, I dare to say, no brains.
There seems to be no such thing as a well-developed single zone. If one zone is clearly more strongly developed than the other two, it is usually overdeveloped. Overdevelopment of one zone always occurs at the expense of one or both of the other.
Then we have a large middle zone, a large lower zone, and a small upper zone. This person is a social butterfly. He has strong physical desires, but whether these are material or sexual depends on the shape of the lower zone loop. The small upper zone implies that he has little aspiration.
At first glance, a praiseworthy sort of person will write the upper zone large (strong aspiration), middle zone large (doing well socially) but the problem is if hardly any lower zone exists. This is not healthy: the individual needs a proper sexual outlet, and this writer does not seem to have a normal one. Where there is strong sexual repression, sadism, masochism, or other unlovely outlets for desire tend to appear.
Picture the middle zone that predominates. The upper and lower zones are small, showing little spirituality and little desire for material pleasure. The large middle zone hints that social life preoccupies the writer. This is found more often among women than among men, who usually have a small middle zone. In general, women are more interested in social affairs than men are.
A small middle zone, on the other hand, represents strong powers of concentration. People who have small middle-zone letters (a, c, e, and any letter that does not have an upper or lower loop) show great ability at doing work requiring attention to detail. Many scientists, Einstein among them, have very small or even microscopic middle zone letters. Notice the writing in Polish of Marie Curie:
In addition to the tiny middle zone, note the curly Greek d’s, showing culture. Some g’s and y’s are made without return strokes showing good judgment and mathematical ability. And to top it off, the t-bars are bowed, showing well-controlled basic instincts, a personality less emotional and more objective than most. Thus, the fine qualities that made this woman a great scientist are plain to read in her handwriting.
Now that we have covered both the slants and the zones, you will frequently notice that zones have different slants.
Let us take an example. Sometimes handwriting will be dominantly right-slanted or upright, but the astute observer can detect a regularly occurring pattern of left tending strokes, particularly with the end strokes.
These must generally be interpreted as left-slanted writing with the additional understanding that the father-protest is more deeply repressed in these cases.
Similar left-tending strokes in generally right-tending or upright hands may appear in the upper zone as t-strokes or in the middle zone, for instance, as left-slanted r’s. Their very inharmonious suddenness is ominous: an unrepressed, clearly conscious and guiding protest amid what looks like, peace and acceptance, characteristic of very difficult and unpredictable personalities (Hitler).
Not only do the various slants and zones interrelate, the inflation and deflation of the letters within play a prime role.
For example, this is Palmer’s copybook a:
but this writer has deflated it to:
without adding anything: a conventional, unimaginative businessman;
while I believe the writer of this initial o:
suffers from social timidity. Deflation may progress to the point where the two strokes meet each other. We then speak of concealing strokes:
Inflation, on the other hand, is an opportunity the hand of the imaginative (or sometimes merely fanciful) writer never will miss: widening his circles, “grasping and accepting” a new era, so to speak, comparable to the pretensions of his intellectual horizon and the broadness of his imagination.
The handwritten P covers much more territory than Palmer’s, and the same holds true of the b. (both letters are from the hand of a professional journalist and author; the inflation is therefore in the upper zone.)
Most inflated letters may be interpreted according to the zone in which they stand. In the upper zone, the inflated letter indicates intellectual imagination, in the middle zone, it bespeaks the writer’s self-confidence.
The height of the two t’s being approximately the same, the writer (female) has inflated and widened her o; she also has widened the connecting link between the t and the o; and she has split the t. She is receptive and aware of her values, with a pet idea hidden within the purposely split t.
In the lower zone are the circular gestures that betray our unconscious drives and urges. As is always the case with pressure, they speak for our instinctual, sexual anxieties and hopes; without pressure, for our (unconscious) preoccupation with a person’s deep, instinctual, yet somewhat socialized, needs for security, financial and otherwise. The former is exemplified by the signature; the latter by the f.
Pulver described these highly inflated lower loops as “money bags,” originating in a “money complex.” The crass disproportion between this hand’s upper (intellectual) zone and the inflated lower zone loop seems to confirm Pulver’s view.
Sometimes, inflated letters give a hint as to their meaning because they are “deformed” and the deformation “points” in certain directions.
The most frequent case in the lower zone is the unconscious mother fixation.
It is, of course, no accident that three out of the four samples of mother fixation are taken from left-slanted handwritings; left slant and mother fixation goes together.
Returning to the complete circular stroke, it may be recalled that one meaning of the circle is that of defense. Neurotic writers sometimes use the circle to “protect” themselves against the “outside forces” that cause their neurotic f ears and anxieties, and in such cases they draw a circle or circles around their name. Experience shows that these “magic circles” not only protect their deep neurotic fearfulness, but may also contain anti-social impulses, which lurk within the hidden recesses. Increasing Right Slant at the end of words: Writer’s interest in a thing grows the more he studies it; inability to hide his true intentions; optimism overpowers his original reserve; hot¬ headedness; when excited, writer loses self-control; quick temper.
Diminishing Right Slant at the end of words:
Writer’s interest in a thing diminishes the more he studies it; pessimism overcomes his original enthusiasm; skepticism is stronger than confidence; he backs out or asks for additional security just when everything seems settled; incurable pessimism.
Middle Zone Left-slanted
(upper zone and lower zone upright or right slanted):
Intellectually and emotionally drawn to fellow men, but has difficulty in bringing himself to be one of them; sacrifices himself for a family claim (his mother or sister)
Lower Zone Left-slanted (upper zone and middle zone upright or right¬ slanted):
Sexual inadequacy or resignation to an incomplete sexual life.
Increasing Left Slant (at the end of words in upright handwriting):
Pessimism overpowers initial interest in a thing.
Sporadic Left traits
(in upright or right slanted handwriting):
Skepticism; distrust; victim of inner conflicts; (together with split letters) schizophrenic disposition.
Left-Slanted End Strokes (m upright or right slanted handwriting, with pressure):
Unresolved father-protest, obstinacy, stubbornness.
Examination for Lesson 3
1. What are the names of the three zones?
2. Handwriting confined exclusively to the middle zone reflects what traits?
3. When writing shows the upper zone to be the largest, the lower zone relatively small, what character traits are indicated?
4. Which zone is emphasized in Jack Dempsey’s script?
5. Describe Marie Curie’s middle zone and its meaning
6. Which zone is dominant in the following script… what is indicated?
7. A handwriting can be dominantly right-slanted or upright, when there is a regular occurring pattern of left tending (end) strokes, (as in the sample below) these (left tending end strokes) are to be interpreted as left slanted strokes.
8. Which type of writing slant is called not ‘natural’?
9. When one deflates his writing, is he more apt to exhibit social timidity or imagination?
A. Social timidity___ B. Imagination___
10. An inflated letter in which zone indicates intellectual imagination? Which zone ‘betrays’ unconscious drives and urges?
11. How is the unconscious mother fixation detected from one’s writing?
12. “Magic circles” enclosing one’s name contain exemplary or anti-social impulses?
A Exemplary___ B. Antisocial impulses___
Answers for Lesson 3
1. The upper, middle and lower zones
2. Handwriting confined to the middle zone demonstrates the social person, the today person, the one concerned with Number One and lacking spiritual as well as physical drive.
3. Strong aspiration; where there is strong sexual repression, as is the case here, sadism, masochism, or other unlovely outlets for desire tend to appear.
4. The lower zone.
5. Small middle zone; strong powers of concentration.
6. The middle zone; the social person, the today person, the one concerned with Number One and lacking spiritual as well as physical drive.
8. Left (reclined)
9. Social timidity
10. The upper zone
11. The lower zone
12. Writing that has inflated lower loops ‘pointing’ leftward
13. Antisocial impulses
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