Throughout history, eyes have represented much more than just an individual’s ability to see. In fact, from the Far East to the Mediterranean to the Euro-American West, the Eye is a central icon – such as in mythology, folklore, currency (think the US one dollar bill), literature, art, national emblems, religion and even mathematics. Though the Eye has different connotations in different cultures, one thing remains the same – the eye is never just an eye.
But the one that started it all, the one that really set the precedent for future Eye iconography, comes from Ancient Egyptian mythology: the Eye of Horus, also known as the Wedjat or Wadjet.
So who was this Horus fellow? And why is his eye so powerful and mighty?
Horus was an ancient Egyptian sky god. To believers, this meant that he quite literally was the sky – the whole thing. It was believed that his eyes were the sun (right) and moon (left), always watching and protecting (aka the all seeing eye). When personified, Horus was depicted with the head of a falcon and the body of a pharaoh. He was also the god of hunting, vengeance and war.
The myth goes like this: The day Horus’ father, Osiris, died, Horus got in a bloody battle over the throne with another god, Set. Set proceeded to rip Horus’ left eye out (ouch). Horus survived the conflict though, and after the battle went to Hathor, goddess of motherhood, who successfully restored Horus’ mangled eye. Horus offered his newly repaired eye to his dead dad, Osiris, and hoped it would revive him. Because of Horus’ selflessness and sacrifice, the Eye symbol took on compassionate, restorative and heroic connotations.
The symbol accumulated a variety of other meanings, too, that ranged from protection, wisdom and prosperity to life, resurrection and healing.
The Eye of Horus also came to represent an understanding of the body as whole. It was believed that each line symbolized one of the senses: smell, sight, thought, hearing, taste and touch.
People in ancient Egypt loved the Eye and wanted to put it on everything.
And so they did. The Eye’s timeless, peering image could be found all over the early Egyptian world amongst hieroglyphics; embedded in home and jewelry designs; painted on the bows of ships; emblazoned on ceramics, dishes and amulets; plated in gold, earthenware, wine vases; and immortalized in a number of early Egyptian, Greek and Roman religious temples and the like.
Today, the Eye of Horus survives in ancient artifacts and as a familiar emblem of the Egyptian region. It is also commonly seen in jewelry, fashion and even as inspiration for eye makeup. To let the windows to your soul truly captivate and shine, cheaply purchase contacts online today.