The ancient Egyptian symbol commonly known as the ‘Eye of Horus’ is one of the most widely recognized symbols on the planet.
hat does the eye of Horus mean?
Who is Horus and what happened to his eye?
According to ancient Egyptian mythology, the ‘sky god’ Horus lost his (left) eye in a fight for power with his Uncle Set, the god of the desert, and the murderer of Horus’s father, Osiris.
As legend has it, Horus’s eye was magically restored by the sky goddess Hathor. And ever after, the restoration of Horus’s eye came to symbolize both healing, and protection.
That’s condensed version, but in this article we’ll explore the full story, origin, the real meaning, common myths, and how to tell the Eye of Horus from the ‘Eye of Ra’.
Let’s Dive In.
Who Is The Ancient Egyptian God Known As Horus?
The (origin) Story Behind The Eye Of Horus
I’ve always been fascinated by the ancient Egyptians from the Old Kingdom and their astonishing sophistication . Ancient Egypt was a poly-theistic culture meaning they worshiped multiple gods. It’s mind-blowing to think that Egypt has a documented history dating back over 5,000 years ago to 3,150 BC.
Horus is the name of one of the ”original” and earliest Egyptian gods who has a written history dating back to the beginning of the civilization. Horus is usually depicted in hieroglyphics as either a falcon, or a man with a falcon head (because Horus was known as the god of the sky).
But as legend has it, Osiris’s brother Set (sometimes referred to as Seth) kills Osiris in an attempt to grab power and take control of the throne. This power grab leads Horus and his Uncle Set to ‘square off’ in many battles. Eventually, Set loses his testicles, and Horus loses his left eye.
However, Horus’s eye is eventually restored by his wife Hathor.
The Difference Between The Eye Of Horus Vs. The Eye Of Ra
Is The Eye Of Horus the Left Eye, Or Right Eye? –
The left eye (which has the ‘tail’ trailing off to the right side) is the Eye of Horus, which represents the moon.
The right eye (which has the ‘tail’ trailing off to the left side) is the Eye of Ra, which represents the sun.
In the Old Kingdom of Egypt, originally the right-eye and the left-eye were both associated with Horus. However, over time, the right eye became solely associated with Ra, the god of the sun.
The Eye Of Ra: A Symbol Of The Sun –
Although the timeline is unclear, many Egyptologists believe that the ‘Eye of Ra’ is a cultural expansion from the original ‘Eye of Horus’, and that it represents many of the same concepts.
For a more in depth look at the specifics behind the Eye of Ra – check out this article here
In the later years of the New Kingdom of the Egyptian civilization the eye-of-Ra became a symbolic extension of Ra’s power, and was equated with the “”disk of the sun””.
Who Is The Ancient Egyptian God Ra ?
The original (supreme OG) GOD of Egypt was named Atum. And as legend has it, Atum created himself, and then he spawned the gods, who then in-turn spawned the rest of the ancient Egyptian gods.
It is commonly understood by modern day archeologists and Egyptologists that the God Atum, and the sun god Ra, were one in the same.
Ancient hieroglyphs depict the two also identical with the exception that Ra has the head of a falcon (similar to Horus), and Ra is always shown with the sun disc on his head. While Horus is also depicted as a man with the head of a falcon, Horus does not sport the sun disc over his head.
The Symbolism & Meanings Behind the Eye Of Horus
After Hathor restored Horus’s eye, the classic ‘eye of Horus’ symbol took on the meaning of an incredibly powerful force of protection. Early on in the History of Egypt, the eye of Horus symbol was only permitted to be worn by Pharaohs.
But like many ancient symbols, they commonly have multiple meaning, and the Eye of Horus is no exception.
Is there a deeper hidden message behind the eye of Horus?
Where did the symbol come from? Who designed it?
The Eye Of Horus And The 3rd Eye Pineal Gland
Horus’s face has a unique shape that many experts agree resembles a human brain stem. And if his face is the brainstem, then Horus’s eye aligns directly with the ”control center” of the brain which contains the pineal gland, pituitary gland, and hypothalamus.
This region of the brain is also known as the ‘third eye’ in yoga or 3rd eye chakra in Buddhist and Indian cultures.
These glands, which are located in the center of the brain, are critically important to function as a fully conscious being, because they control everything we do (whether you’re consciously aware of it, or not).
The pineal gland is a small endocrine gland encased in the bone near the brain’s center. It takes the shape of a small pine cone, hence its name. The job of the pineal gland is to regulate melatonin production our sleep-wake cycle, AKA the circadian rhythm.
The pituitary gland is the ‘main hub’ located in the hypothalamus region of the brain and it controls both your endocrine systems and your nervous system. The two most important bodily systems for us to understand and interact with our world.
Our endocrine system is interesting, because it, seemingly through intuition, responds to our body’s needs (often subconsciously). Our endocrine systems do this by secreting different hormones into our bloodstream which carry information to distant cells all over your body, managing and regulating their activity.
The Eye Of Horus And The Connection To The Anatomy of the Human Brain
What’s really mind-blowing about the Eye of Horus, is its near precise representation of the core parts of the anatomy of the human brain.
When you look at the actual physical design and depiction of the eye of Horus symbol, it can be broken down into 6 core components. Each piece of the symbol is said to have its own value and meaning. Each of the 6 core components represents one of the human senses (taste, touch, sight, smell, hearing, and thought).
1. Smell –
The sense of smell represents the fraction of ½, and closely matches the location of the olfactory tubercle which is a multi-sensory processing center involved in merging information across all the senses.
2. Sight –
The sense of sight represents the fraction ¼ and directly corresponds with an area of the brain known as the ‘inter-thalamic adhesion’. Although this area physically resembles the pupil of an eye, the interthalamic adhesion is not directly correlated with sight.
In fact the job of the inter-thalamic adhesion region of the brain is to link (or bridge) the left and right halves of the thalamus together. Similar to how the pupil symbolically bridges both sides of the eye.
3. Thought / Wisdom –
Thought is known as the ‘6th sense’ in the modern world, but in the ancient world thoughts and wisdom were commonly accepted as one of the fundamental human senses.
When it comes to the Eye of Horus, human thought is represented mathematically by the fraction 1/8 and directly corresponds tot the brain region known as the corpus callosum.
The corpus callosum acts as the main connecting tissue in the brain that ties the right side of the brain together with the left side. According to modern medica experts, both ‘physical coordination’ and ‘taking in complex information’ requires both sides of the brain to work together, thus utilizing the corpus callosum as an information bridge.
4. Hearing –
With-in the eye of Horus the sense of hearing is represented by the fraction 1/16 and directly corresponds to the ‘primary auditory cortex’ region of the brain.
The primary auditory cortex is to ‘tune-in to’ and process sound frequencies. Recent studies have found that humans can use this part of the brain to selectively hear and ids-regard certain sound frequencies.
5. Taste –
The sense of taste is represented in the eye of Horus with the fraction 1/32 and directly corresponds to the primary gustatory nerves which tie directly into the thalamus.
The primary gustatory cortex region of the brain is responsible for the perception of both taste and flavor.
6. Touch –
Last but certainly not least, the sense of touch is represented in the eye of Horus by the fraction 1/64, and directly corresponds to the sensory system which is controlled by the hypothalamus.
The job of the hypothalamus is to link the nervous system (touch and feel) with the endocrine system (hormones and emotion) through the pituitary gland.
The Eye Of Horus As A Symbol Of The Moon
Ancient Egyptians believed that Horus’ right eye represented the sun, and his left eye represented the moon. Since Horus was the god of the sky, it makes sense that one eye was the sun, and the other eye the moon.
Because it was Horus’ left eye which was gouged out in his fight with his evil uncle Set, the Eye of Horus is said to symbolically represent both the waxing moon and waning moon. When there is a new moon (no moon) in the sky, it represents the time when Horus’ eye was ripped out. And when there is a full moon in the sky, it represents Horus’s eye after it was restored by his wife Hathor.
How Is the Eye of Horus Used Today?
Amulets shaped into the Eye of Horus first appeared in the late Old Kingdom and were originally only used by the Pharaohs. But as time progressed into the age of the New Kingdom, eye of Horus amulets became more popular and were used as a symbol of protection on a wide range of mummified bodies.
The Eye Of Horus In Jewelry And Fashion –
Today the eye of Horus has fallen quote a bit from its original status of “pharaohs only”. Although, the symbol is still widely recognized and seen as both ancient and mysterious.
While the original significance may be lost, as the eye of Horus symbol is sold at bohemian stores and shopping malls everywhere (which is where I got mine), the symbol still hold a certain mysterious power as it naturally draws in the human eye even 5,000 years after it was first depicted.
Conclusion: The Symbolism of the Eye of Horus
A sign of protection – A symbol of the Pharaohs – A symbol of the control center of the brain – A symbol for the moon – A symbol for the sun.
The Eye of Horus symbol has a few different meanings, and may have even been one of the first ‘status symbols’ in history, millenniums’ before Gianni Versace or Gucci were even thought to be born.
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