If you can put aside the thinking brain and just observe, a person’s face can reveal far more than you normally pick up.
And you don’t need a university degree to do it. We’ve known instinctively how to do this all our lives. It is hard wired into us. We are all expert face readers.
The key is to perceive with the receptive and uncritical eyes of a child.
There are many books available on face reading. Some get very technical and if you get caught up in the details you will lose sight of the essential simplicity of contemplating a face. That being said, it is often the small nuances in someone’s face which tell you the most.
First it is helpful to know about the left and right brain hemispheres. The left brain has a typically masculine, analytical, logical and planned way of thinking. The right brain has a feminine, creative, imaginative and spontaneous orientation. Check out the chart below.
There are some important principles to remember: The masculine left brain controls the right side of the body. The feminine right brain controls the left side of the body. So, your right side of your face indicates how you project in the world. Your left side shows who you really are.
Knowing this we can look at someone’s face with a new appreciation.
Below is a very well known photo of Jim Morrison, the charismatic lead singer of the legendary rock group The Doors. Breaking onto the music scene in 1967, The Doors had a meteoric rise to fame and then crashed in 1971 when Jim died at age 27 of a drug overdose.
Below I’ve edited Jim’s face by splitting it into right and left halves.
Next I’ve recreated Jim’s face using only the right side. Remember the right side (controlled by the left brain) is how Jim would project in the world.
Face Re-created Using 2 Right Sides
Notice the child-like innocence in the above photo. It’s the look of a boy who feels he has done something wrong, but there is also a quality of determination, resentment and petulance.
Face Re-created Using 2 Left Sides
This is Jim’s left side controlled by the right brain. This is who he really was. The words that come to me are extreme rage, revenge and destructiveness.
Although he had a very short career Jimi Hendrix is widely considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time and one of the most important musicians of the 20th century. He was found dead, possibly of a sleeping pill overdose, also at the age of 27.
His face is quite balanced and both sides are very similar. Especially on his left side we see the face of someone who has a very penetrating intelligence. This bohemian is a wise and keen observer. There is a note of sadness and the dark circles under his eyes indicate he is beginning to “run on empty”.
Joseph Stalin was the de facto dictator of the Soviet Union for almost 30 years after Lenin’s death in 1924. During this period the Soviet Union emerged as a world superpower. Countless millions of political prisoners were sent to slave labour camps or were executed during Stalin’s purges. Bungled government policy caused a famine in 1932 in which an estimated 5-10 million people died. Almost 25 million Russians died during the devastation of World War II. It was a brutal time and he was a brutal leader.
Here we see someone who outwardly appears fatherly. He is watchful, exacting and severe, a “no nonsense” kind of a guy. Not necessarily compassionate.
His true nature? This man is devil. He is wiley, calculating, ruthless and cruel. Tolerance is not his forte.
Chief Sitting Bull
A Sioux holy man who led his people during its resistance to the US government, Sitting Bull is best known for being the head of a combined force of Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho during its decisive victory over General George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.
Before the battle Sitting Bull reportedly had a vision in which he saw the defeat of the 7th Cavalry under Custer. The photo below was taken in 1885, five years before his death. In his lifetime he had seen his people lose their lands, their freedom and their way of life.
Here we have the face of a chief who has responsibilities in the external world. Look at the deep sadness expressed in his eyes. It speaks volumes. Those eyes also have a quality of focused engagement and a struggling to understand. His life experience has been bitter.
Who he was. Here is the face of the shaman, medicine man and visionary, one who travels to unknown worlds and dimensions.
The Mona Lisa
Here we have one of the most famous faces and one of the most mysterious smiles in history. The woman in the Mona Lisa has been positively identified as Lisa del Giocondo, a woman from an old aristocratic Florentine family. Her portrait was commissioned in 1503 by her husband, a moderately successful cloth and silk merchant, and was painted by Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest painters of the Italian Renaissance.
How she interacts in the world. Look at her almost tearful eye. There is an ever-so-slight downward turn and pout, in her mouth, a sort of child-like and victimized sadness. This gal is not a happy camper.
The most famous smile in history? Do you notice the slight upward curve in the corner of her mouth and see how plastic it is? It is a sly and confident smirk. With her subtly calculating glance she could be saying, “I’ve got you wrapped around my little finger”.
I am grateful for your comments and feedback.
May there be peace in our hearts.
May there be peace for all humanity.