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In the background (black) is an auto-traced outline of a raster image.
In the foreground (red) I'm trying to replicate that kind of helix/hourglass style Bézier curve. How can I get the second handle to automatically mirror the manual adjustments I'm making to the first handle? I've seen it done before, but can't seem to do it myself.

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Draw 1/4.. flip horizontal, connect, flip (both) vertical, connect again.

This is quick, loose, and dirty, but ends up slightly more symmetrical than the original when flipping one part repeatedly.

enter image description here

You can also use the Convert Anchor Tool on that center node and it will inherently mirror both handles.

There may be third-party plug-ins for this, but there's nothing inherently within Illustrator to mirror handles after they are already established. You sort of have to do it while you are drawing.

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  • As @Billy Kerr mentions in their comment on the OP question, you can set up a Transform Effect / Reflect X in the appearance palette, and in fact could stack this with another reflect in Y and get a quad from one source object - so you draw it in one quadrant and the other quadrants are created by the Transform Effect - this does require some care in setting up horizontal and vertical transforms to get the right reflections, but I've just tested with the hourglass figure and it works well. Dec 11, 2019 at 16:38
  • True, that certainly works. I don't intend to discredit that method. However, I'm prefer things more, well, "tactile" I suppose (for lack of a better term). I'd rather reflect and join than add an effect with the need to expand. Not really an issue either way -- more of a desired workflow than anything.
    – Scott
    Dec 11, 2019 at 18:48

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