Since ancient times, the Eye of Horus, which is also referred to as the “all seeing eye,” is one of the most recognized symbols of ancient Egypt. The Egyptian symbol for the goddess Wedjat was used for protection, for healing, as well as for mathematical and medicinal calculations. The word Wedjat means sound, and it is the name of a cobra goddess often depicted as a rearing cobra. The all seeing eye continued in Egyptian civilization and was in use for thousands of years and still continues to be used today.1
According to Egyptian mythology, the god Horus lost his left eye in one of his struggles with the god Set, the brother of Osiris, for the right to rule Egypt, and to avenge the death of his father Osiris. The eye was later restored by the god Hathor, and his restoration came to symbolize the process of making whole and healing. Some other versions of the story indicate that the god Thoth restored the eye and not Hathor. The story states that the restored eye became a symbol of light, and represented protection, strength, and perfection. Although another version of the myth states that it was in fact the right eye and not his left, and that it represented the sun that was torn out again by Set during one of their battles.1
Thoth then restored all of the eye except a small piece that became the origin of the Horus-eye fractions. The right side of the eye equaled 1/2, the pupil 1/4, the eyebrow 1/8, the left side of the eye 1/16, the curved tail 1/32, and the teardrop 1/64. Once these fractions were added, they total 63/64, known in mathematical circles as the reciprocal 2N series and a complementary fraction. The Horus eye fractions were used for measuring grains and medicines.3
The right eye is said to be symbolic of the sun, the day, and its power. The left eye represents the waxing and waning properties of the moon–the Horus or light of the night. The two-winged eyes represent the two divisions of heaven: north and south, and sun and moon. The image uraeus was a symbol of kingship and power and said to be worn on top of the forehead. The Wedjat was also depicted as a leonine form known as the Eye of Ra. The Eye of Horus survived beyond ancient Egypt in various cultural, mystic, esoteric, and, more recently, neo-Egyptian traditions. The masonic symbol of the eye of Providence, which appears on U.S. currency, is said to derive from the Eye of Horus, as does the Rx symbol used by the pharmaceutical industry. Although some people believe the evil eye is part of the Wedjat tradition, it’s not, even though some sources may link the two. Therefore, the Wedjat is still popular as both a symbol and an amulet, either for protection or for its association with ancient Egyptian culture.4
Egyptian religious beliefs
The Eye of Horus
Hi Elizabeth, I have heard about the eye of Horus but never in such detail like you put it, I do wish there was one verifiable account about how he lost his eye though because the many theories are quiet confusing. The many things the eye was trusted for by the Egyptians is very impressive, the presence of this all seeing eye in the present world like in American money also shows that it still does holds great significance. Great research on this.
This article was very interesting because I was not aware that the Eye of Horus was also referred to as the, “all seeing eye”. I also found it interesting how it was used for mathematical calculations and for medicinal purposes. The fractions of the eye was something I also learned. I was not very familiar with the Eye of Horus and this article was very detailed and well written. Knowing that the significance is still acknowledged today is amazing! Great job and well done!