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The Eye of Horus: The History Behind this Ancient Egyptian Symbol of Protection

Learn about the origins of the Eye of Horus and the reason it was considered to be a symbol of protection

The Eye of Horus
The Eye of Horus: The History Behind this Ancient Egyptian Symbol of Protection

Ever since ancient Egypt, the Eye of Horus has been used as a protective amulet against evil spirits and bad luck. Its divine power comes from Horus, the Egyptian god usually represented as a falcon. According to Egyptian mythology, he faced Seth in a battle in an attempt to recover his father's throne and lost an eye in said battle. Thoth, the god of wisdom, replaced his eye for him.

If you'd like to find out what the Eye of Horus symbolises, where its magical powers come from and how it's still used as an amulet nowadays, then read on, reader!


What is the Eye of Horus? Its significance

The Eye of Horus, also known as Wadjet or Udjat, is one of Ancient Egypt's most famous artefacts, this is due to the magical powers the Egyptians had attributed to it. This famous symbol is represented by an eye and a strange type of tear and was used not just by the living, but also by the dead, to repel evil.

This means this amulet falls into the apotropaic category, apotropaic is an anthropological term used to define a type of magic or superstition intended to turn away harm or evil influences. Its supernatural powers can be deduced by simply looking at the name, Udyat (that which is whole), carrying a similar meaning to imperturbable for the Egyptians.

The Egyptians' beliefs in the beyond were based on one central aspect: the preservation of the body guaranteed that the soul would journey to the beyond, towards the doors to the netherworld, where after passing Maat's trial (he weighed the heart of the person in question), Osiris would allow the person to be reincarnated in the beyond.

That's why embalming and mummification was so important to them, as one of the traits of the Eye of Horus was being able to guarantee that the body would not be corrupted and would perdure in its natural state. This is why the Eye of Horus is one of Ancient Egypt's most important symbols, it represents cosmic balance.

Ever since its origins, the Eye of Horus was used as a protective amulet to strengthen eyesight, treat visual illnesses, deflect evil eye, keep away evil spirits and in the preparations of a dead person's journey to the netherworld. It also symbolized health, prosperity, survival and rebirth.

Its status as a protective amulet and all the superstition surrounding it has been accumulating ever since it began to be used and still perdures nowadays, independently from any specific religion or culture.

The myth of Osiris: death and superstition in Egyptian mythology

Where did the protective power of the Eye of Horus originate? In order to understand this, we must travel back to relive the myth of Osiris, as this is fundamental if we are to grasp the Ancient Egyptian's beliefs about death and superstition.

According to Egyptian mythology, Geb (the god of Earth), gave Egypt's fertile grounds to Osiris, while giving the desert to Seth. When faced with such an injustice, Seth decided to get his revenge by fighting his brother Osiris in order to keep Egypt for himself. This battle ended with Osiris' death at the hands of Seth.

However, with a favour from the gods and the help of Anubis and Neftis, Isis (Osiris' wife) managed to resuscitate Osiris, and through their carnal union, Horus was born. Osiris was now the god of the netherworld and left to reside in the beyond so he could guide the spirits of the dead to reincarnation, while Isis cared for the little Horus.

When Horus grew up, he was still hungry for revenge. He fought Seth in an attempt to recover his father's throne and according to Egyptian mythology, he lost an eye in the battle. Later on, his eye was restored by Thoth, the god of wisdom.

The Egyptians were very superstitious people, and were massive fans of the myth of Osiris, as their culture was centred on death. That's why the Eye of Horus, having been restored by Thoth through the use of magic, concentrated supernatural powers they desired.

The Eye of Horus as a tattoo, a timeless protective amulet

The Eye of Horus has ventured beyond the borders of Egypt, extending its influence to all cultures and religions and perduring up to this day with a very superstitious background. Its attraction for people nowadays is understandable, the fact that it's a protective amulet combined with its powerful symbolic identity and its history has made it very popular.

It's no secret that Ancient Egyptian aesthetics, full of symbols and hieroglyphics, are what inspires many tattoos. Out of all of them, the Eye of Horus is a favourite not only for its attractive aesthetics but also because of all it symbolises. Many people get the Eye of Horus tattooed on themselves because of its sense of perseverance and perdurance.

For many others, the Eye of Horus is a protective amulet which invokes divine forces in order to keep away evil spirits, deflect evil eye and repel bad luck. This symbol of Ancient Egypt is also a door to the beyond and to our souls. What more could you want!

On our arm, on our back, on our ankle or even our neck, many people, especially those who have a difficult job requiring perseverance and constant effort, get this tattoo. Others do it for superstitious reasons, especially because of the magical traits attributed to the Eye of Horus.

3 fun facts about the Eye of Horus

Apart from the healing properties attributed to the Eye of Horus, a series of coincidences and mysteries have converted this symbol in a desirable object for fans of dark magic. One of these facts is that the Eye of Horus isn't only a magical symbol but also an example of mathematical knowledge left behind by our best buddies, the ancient Egyptians. Pay close attention!

1. The Eye of Horus and mathematics

According to Egyptian mythology, the Eye of Horus was ripped from its socket by Seth and split into six pieces, each one of these pieces was assigned a fraction as a unit of measurement. The right part was 1/2, the iris was 1/4, the eyebrow was 1/8, the left part was 1/16, the spiral curve was 1/32 and the tear was 1/64. All these fractions add up to 63/64.

The missing part was Thoth's magical powers, and all this represents the virtue of imperfection.

2. The symbolism of the fractions of the Eye of Horus

Each part of the Eye of Horus corresponds to one of our senses. The right part is associated to our sense of smell, as it's closer to our nose, while the left side represents our hearing (it points towards our ear and has the shape of a musical instrument). The iris represents the meaning of life, and the brow represents our thoughts and ideas.

The tear represents our sense of touch, as this part of the eye is similar to a stem being planted in the Earth (physical contact). The curved stroke looks like a wheat stem, so it's linked to our sense of taste.

3. The Eye of Horus, a symbol of the Illuminati?

For the fans of conspiracy theories and everything dark, Horus is the Egyptian equivalent of Lucifer,  and the Eye of Horus can be used to substitute the "all-seeing eye" which rests on the peak of the pyramid.

The pyramid has 13 layers which represent the 13 Illuminati levels, unknown by most masons. Furthermore, in the upper part of the eye, there is this strange deist symbol which symbolizes the culmination of the Masonic works and Illuminati. Many have attempted to find similarities between the Eye of creation and the Eye of Horus