The Eye of Horus

the eye of horus

JAMILA - falcon

This is kind of my life’s work, Eye of Horus and I. It is a protective amulet seen throughout the Middle East. The story of this eye—where it comes from, how it came to be, what is its source of power–is an exciting process of uncovering ancient human history. Let it be known that I do not view the story of “myth” as fable; rather, I consider all of humanity’s stories as part of the greater tapestry of this Earthly existence. Whether fact or fiction is not the point of any story. More important is the meaning we derive from it.

The Ancient Egyptians tell the story. It began as an eye of Horus, a falcon-headed deity associated with the sky and divine power. Horus’ right eye was the Sun (Masculine) and his left eye the Moon (Feminine). It is not clear which eye was torn out by Set, though this is an interesting question.  In any case, Horus lost one of his two eyes in battle with his brother Set, associated with the desert, storm and destruction. Thoth, inventor of language, writing and keeper of the records of all things, reconstituted the eye and it became known as the “uninjured eye.” Horus then offered this eye to his dead brother, Osiris, and its power was so strong that it brought him back to life.

The Eye of Horus’ power is unique to its reconstituted state. The process of being restored imbued the eye with a power it did not possess when originally intact. To begin understanding the power of the Eye of Horus, we must understand the power of Thoth. Egyptian “gods” are best comprehended as incarnations of their energies. What we know about them now is a slim trickle of information from a truly vast spring of wisdom. Thoth, according to the most sacred sources, was not just a god, but the first Earthly being who learned how to be immortal. Death to the body is a result of accumulated toxicity, whether via an acute illness or more general “wear and tear” of the organism. To master immortality, Thoth learned how to transmute all toxicity in the body. Thoth applied the same transmutational energy he utilized in achieving immortality as he did in another resurrection story of Osiris: when brother Set struck another time, killing Osiris, their sister, the Great Earth Mother, Isis (also Osiris’ wife), reassembled him with Thoth’s help. Thoth’s power to heal and immortalize restored the Eye of Horus, birthing an amulet that channels the power of Thoth. Thus the sound eye is imbued with the power to transmute, to recreate, to reconstruct, to rebirth. It is this ability to transmute energy that enables the amulet to “protect.” Any negative energy surrounding the amulet bearer is transmuted.

Also known as the wadjet or wedjat eye: “wadjet” can be translated as “the eye which is whole or sound” or “the sound one.” Wedja produces the same sound as the word for “well-being.” And so the wedjat eye symbolized normality, continuity and a healthy state of affairs for the Ancient Egyptians; it was seen as a sign of strength, perfection and completeness. A wedjat amulet supplied protection from any kind of evil or destruction, and is still used for this purpose. Egyptians used the wedjat eye as an amulet, worn as a necklace or ring, or bundled with other amulets. For funerary purposes they sometimes used it in amulet bundles tucked in mummies. Typically a wedjat or bundle was placed over the incision cut on the left side of the abdomen—the incision for removal of the internal organs during the mummification process.

In design, the Eye of Horus consists of four main components: the brow, pupil, left and right whites and two marks beneath. The lines below the eye mirror the feather pattern around the eye of a lanner falcon. The wedjat took on an interesting mathematical significance for the Egyptians. Its component parts were divided into fractions which were used for measuring the standard Egyptian capacity for grain: the left, or outer white, was 1/2, and each subsequent component was a half of that white: pupil – 1/4, brow – 1/8, other white: 1/16, curling line: 1/32, line below pupil: 1/64. Curiously, these fractions add up to 63/64 rather than a whole number. The Egyptians considered the physical plane to be one of many aspects of existence; perhaps the mathematical significance of the Eye of Horus is connected somehow to this idea of a multidimensional universe. The remaining 1/64 is not missing, but rather, something to seek, something beyond… something left to be created. The Eye of Horus began as just an eye of Horus. It was not just reconstructed after deconstruction; it was elevated in power via a Phoenix-like transition. The 1/64 remainder is a metaphor for creative potential, which is infinite.