The “All-Seeing Eye” has appeared in popular culture for many years. It inevitably reminds us of groups such as the Illuminati, allegedly a secret society that rules the lives and destinies of people through their political, economic and cultural connections.
But the history of this symbol goes back much further back in time. Researcher David Percival has traced a detailed history of the origins of this symbol, which, like many others (the cross, without going any further) has undergone important historical changes regarding its original meaning.
Ancient Egypt: The Eye of Horus 𓂀
The Eye of Horus (also known as the Eye of Ra) is linked to the solar deities. Horus’s left eye was said to be the Moon while his right eye was the Sun. It represented the sacrifice made by Horus when Set gouged his eye out, and the subsequent healing of the eye made it a symbol of sacrifice and resurrection. Egyptians wore it as a protection against evil spirits.
According to a more modern interpretation, the Eye of Horus would be a kind of map of the cerebral cortex, with the thalamus and the pineal and pituitary glands represented by the edges, eyebrows and eyelashes around his eye.
The Third Eye in Hinduism
The Rigveda (one of the oldest texts of humanity, dating from the year 3000 BC) refers to the Sun and other “ocular” deities through the gaze. Shiva has three eyes, the third one in the middle of his forehead, in reference to unlimited knowledge, which would destroy everything he saw when opened.
However, Shiva’s eye is also linked to divine wisdom, which sweeps away evil and ignorance.
The Divine Eye in Buddhism
Buddhists regard the third eye as the “eye of consciousness,” representing the vantage point beyond one’s physical sight that is achieved through enlightenment.
The iconography in Nepalese texts and temples often features the symbol of a being facing forward with a golden eye in the center of the forehead.
Buddha statues across Asia also show him with a third eye open, symbol of the final awakening.
Middle East: Hamsa and the Evil Eye
In Judaism and other Middle Eastern religions, the All-Seeing Eye appears in the form of a symbol called Hamsa, Khamsa, or Hamesh.
It is an eye on the palm of a hand, which is usually placed in houses or worn as a protection amulet against the “evil eye” (diseases caused by envy of the enemy’s eyes.)
Its origins go back to Mesopotamia, where Ishtar’s hand was a powerful sign of divine protection. It is also known as “the hand of Fatima” in Islam.
In Greece and Turkey there is a similar symbol, the Nazar: these are concentric blue and white glass circles that give the appearance of a beady eye. The Nazar and Hamsa are both worn to protect against the Evil Eye.
Christianity: The Eye of Providence
Starting in the 16th century, Christian iconography shows an eye often surrounded by rays of light.
The eye is located within a triangle, representing the ubiquity of the Holy Trinity, as well as the eye of God watching over humanity (the concept of divine providence).
In the modern era, a notable depiction of the eye is the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States, which appears on the United States one-dollar bill.
⋅⋆⊱╌╌╍╌⋇❬ ⋆ ┊ ⋆ ┊ ⋆ ❭⋇╌╌╍╌⊰⋆⋅
Personally I like to light a purple candle and meditate while focusing on the third eye and breathing in white light through it.
Do you use the symbolism of the eye in your personal practice? Do you attach any meaning to the eye?