Is Your Spirit Rounded or Angular?

A round faceAn angular faceAs I was browsing headlines the other day, this title at caught my attention:

A Politician’s Name & Face: Why a Good Match May Win Votes

How does someone’s name match their face, I wondered?

As it turns out, studies show that people tend to think:

  • Names with “rounder-sounding” vowels such as “u” and “o,” that are pronounced with rounded lips, go better with people who have a rounder face, puffier lips, and so on.
  • Names with “sharper-sounding” vowels such as “e” and “I” go better with people who have a more angular face and thinner lips.

For further fascinating details on these findings, including how having a name that matches the face can help politicians win elections, see the linked article.

For me though, as a lifelong aficionado of the spiritual writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772), the story had yet another fascination. You see, two and a half centuries ago Swedenborg connected the “rounder” and “sharper” vowels to the character types of the two main types of angels.

Heavenly and spiritual angels

In ordinary conversation, when we talk about something being “heavenly” or “spiritual,” the two words often mean the same thing: something that is blessed, holy, and angelic as compared to ordinary, earthly, and physical things. And truth be told, Swedenborg sometimes uses these words in that rather loose way, as meaning things that are unearthly and exist at a higher level.

But Swedenborg also uses the words “heavenly” and “spiritual” to mean two distinct kinds of angels, and two distinct regions of the heaven where they live:

  • Heavenly angels are heart-centered They are angels who are all about love—especially love for God. Angels who live in the heavenly kingdom of heaven are warm, emotional, feeling-centered angels. And they are also the wisest of the angels.
  • Spiritual angels are head-centered These angels are all about truth—especially spiritual truth about God, heaven, spiritual growth, and so on. They also focus their attention less on God and more on other people. Angels who live in the spiritual kingdom of heaven are cooler, more intellectual, more about learning and scholarship and understanding how things work.

Of vowels and angels

Now back to the vowel connection.

Here is one of several places where Swedenborg makes the connection between the different types of vowels and the different types of angels:

The speech of heavenly angels is like a gentle stream, soft and virtually unbroken, while the speech of spiritual angels is a little more resonant and crisp. Then too, the vowels U and O tend to predominate in the speech of heavenly angels, while in the speech of spiritual angels it is the vowels E and I. The vowels stand for the sound and in the sound there is the affection. (Heaven and Hell #241, italics added)

Do you see why that article piqued my curiosity?

Isn’t it fascinating that scientific studies today are making some of the same connections, on their own level, that Swedenborg made several centuries ago?

There does seem to be a real connection between the “rounder” vowels and a “rounder” type of person, and between the “sharper” vowels and a more “angular” type of person.

However, the scientific studies are about a person’s physical characteristics, whereas Swedenborg connects those different types of vowels with our psychological or spiritual characteristics.

Are you an angular or rounded person?

What about you?

  • Are you all about warmth and feelings and love and relationships?
  • Or are you all about thoughts and ideas and concepts and how things work?

I can assure you that in heaven, whichever type of person you are, you’ll have both a name and a face to match!

For further reading:


Lee Woofenden is an ordained minister, writer, editor, translator, and teacher. He enjoys taking spiritual insights from the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and putting them into plain English as guides for everyday life.

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Posted in Science Philosophy and History, The Afterlife
4 comments on “Is Your Spirit Rounded or Angular?
  1. Brian says:

    I suppose I identify as angular much more than rounded, but often wish I was the reverse. I often feel that being more head strong vs. heart strong can make connections with many people difficult. I’ve recently been pondering the spiritual side of this. Here on Earth we simply don’t click with everybody that we interact with and that’s just the way it is. Being someone who’s’ perhaps more logical than emotional though, I often wonder if I’m at a disadvantage, spiritually speaking of course.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Brian,

      It takes all different types of people to make the world—and heaven—go ’round. And though we can wish we were someone else, and think the grass would be greener on the other side, we each have our own distinctive contribution to make to the whole. The emotional ones do keep the heart of humanity pumping, but without the logical ones, the machinery and organization on which we depend would break down. The same is true in the spiritual world. There’s a reason God created some of us more emotional and others more intellectual. Both are needed for the health and functioning of the whole.

  2. Foster says:

    Couldn’t people be combination of both?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Foster,

      Yes, of course we’re all combinations of head and heart. After all, each one of us does have both a head and a heart. It’s more a matter of which one predominates in our character. And yes, some people are fairly evenly balanced between the two.

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