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Horus was the ancient Egyptian sky god who was usually depicted as a falcon , most likely a lanner or peregrine falcon. The eye symbol represents the marking around the eye of the falcon, including the " teardrop " marking sometimes found below the eye.
The mirror image, or left eye, sometimes represented the moon and the god Djehuti Thoth. It was believed by the Greeks and Romans that an evil heart could get to the eye.
The thought to be powerful effects of eyes and optics created the myth that the energy-producing power of the eye had the ability to cast evil spells with just a glance.
Because the ancients believed the evil eye could be counteracted with a 'good eye', myths about Horus arose. In one myth, when Set and Horus were fighting for the throne after Osiris 's death, Set gouged out Horus's left eye.
The majority of the eye was restored by either Hathor or Thoth. When Horus's eye was recovered, he offered it to his father, Osiris , in hopes of restoring his life.
Hence, the eye of Horus was often used to symbolise sacrifice, healing, restoration, and protection. There are seven different hieroglyphs used to represent the eye, most commonly "ir.
The Eye of Horus was represented as a hieroglyph, designated D10 in Gardiner's sign list. Faience vessel, Bes holding Eyes.
Collection of amulets in the British Museum Room Earthenware Wedjat amulet on display at the Louvre , c. The Walters Art Museum.
Painting of Horus in the Temple of Hatshepsut. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Ancient Egyptian symbol of protection, royal power and good health.
This article is about the ancient Egyptian symbol. For the video game, see Eye of Horus video game. False door of Senenmut.
Two mirror-image Eyes of Horus appear. Neues Museum. Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur. Beiheft Hamburg: Helmut Buske Verlag. Art History.
Volume 1 3rd ed. One of the plagues carried locusts to the land of Egypt. There were so many locusts in this plague that they blotted out the sun.
Ra was seen by the Egyptian people as the sun-god and with the sky darkened, Ra was powerless to do anything He could not even use his eye to stop the locusts from destroying the land.
It is possible that God Horus has a biblical connection as well. The plague against the cattle is seen as a destruction against the goddess Hathor.
The name Hathor means the house of Horus. Since Ra was the sun god, his eye represented the sun. More About Ancient Symbols.
The issue for most Egyptologists is that the ancient records do not clearly state if it is the right or the left eye that Horus lost.
Outside of ancient Egypt, the Eye of Ra seems to have lost popularity and modern use. It is not used as widely, if at all, for different secret organizations or other purposes.
On the other hand, the eye of Horus is seen throughout history outside of Egyptian purposes. Different eyes are seen on coffins and are used to help the deceased to see in the afterlife.
The Americans use the Eye of Providence on the back of their dollar bill. Credit: Wikipedia. In their minds, when the eye symbol appears, it means that the people are going to be subjugated, dumbed down, manipulated and more.
The time of the ancient Egyptians has long passed. How they believed and what purpose they attached to different eye symbols or which god had the best eye is left in history.
Myths and legends can only give us a partial picture of what these symbols stood for. Bible and Spade, 4 1 , Ancient Egypt Online.
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The red light of dawn therefore signifies the blood produced by this slaughter. He sends the Eye—Hathor, in her aggressive manifestation as the lioness goddess Sekhmet —to massacre them.
She does so, but after the first day of her rampage, Ra decides to prevent her from killing all humanity. He orders that beer be dyed red and poured out over the land.
The Eye goddess drinks the beer, mistaking it for blood, and in her inebriated state returns to Ra without noticing her intended victims. Through her drunkenness she has been returned to a harmless form.
The red beer might then refer to the red silt that accompanied the subsequent Nile flood, which was believed to end the period of misfortune.
The solar Eye's volatile nature can make her difficult even for her master to control. In the myth of the "Distant Goddess", a motif with several variants, the Eye goddess becomes upset with Ra and runs away from him.
In some versions the provocation for her anger seems to be her replacement with a new eye after the search for Shu and Tefnut, but in others her rebellion seems to take place after the world is fully formed.
The Eye's absence and Ra's weakened state may be a mythological reference to solar eclipses. This motif also applies to the Eye of Horus, which in the Osiris myth is torn out and must be returned or healed so that Horus may regain his strength.
Meanwhile, the Eye wanders in a distant land— Nubia , Libya , or Punt. To restore order, one of the gods goes out to retrieve her. In one version, known from scattered allusions, the warrior god Anhur searches for the Eye, which takes the form of the goddess Mehit , using his skills as a hunter.
In other accounts, it is Shu who searches for Tefnut, who in this case represents the Eye rather than an independent deity.
His efforts are not uniformly successful; at one point, the goddess is so enraged by Thoth's words that she transforms from a relatively benign cat into a fire-breathing lioness, making Thoth jump.
When the goddess is at last placated, the retrieving god escorts her back to Egypt. Her return marks the beginning of the inundation and the new year.
Mehit becomes the consort of Anhur, Tefnut is paired with Shu, and Thoth's spouse is sometimes Nehemtawy , a minor goddess associated with this pacified form of the Eye.
The goddess' transformation from hostile to peaceful is a key step in the renewal of the sun god and the kingship that he represents.
The dual nature of the Eye goddess shows, as Graves-Brown puts it, that "the Egyptians saw a double nature to the feminine, which encompassed both extreme passions of fury and love.
The characteristics of the Eye of Ra were an important part of the Egyptian conception of female divinity in general,  and the Eye was equated with many goddesses, ranging from very prominent deities like Hathor to obscure ones like Mestjet, a lion goddess who appears in only one known inscription.
The Egyptians associated many gods who took felid form with the sun, and many lioness deities, like Sekhmet, Menhit, and Tefnut, were equated with the Eye.
Bastet was depicted as both a domestic cat and a lioness, and with these two forms she could represent both the peaceful and violent aspects of the Eye.
Mut was first called the Eye of Ra in the late New Kingdom, and the aspects of her character that were related to the Eye grew increasingly prominent over time.
Likewise, cobra goddesses often represented the Eye. Among them was Wadjet , a tutelary deity of Lower Egypt who was closely associated with royal crowns and the protection of the king.
The deities associated with the Eye were not restricted to feline and serpent forms. Hathor's usual animal form is a cow, as is that of the closely linked Eye goddess Mehet-Weret.
Frequently, two Eye-related goddesses appear together, representing different aspects of the Eye.
The juxtaposed deities often stand for the procreative and aggressive sides of the Eye's character,  as Hathor and Sekhmet sometimes do.
Similarly, Mut, whose main cult center was in Thebes, sometimes served as an Upper Egyptian counterpart of Sekhmet, who was worshipped in Memphis in Lower Egypt.
These goddesses and their iconographies frequently mingled. The Eye of Ra was invoked in many areas of Egyptian religion,  and its mythology was incorporated into the worship of many of the goddesses identified with it.
The Eye's flight from and return to Egypt was a common feature of temple ritual in the Ptolemaic and Roman periods BC — AD ,  when the new year and the Nile flood that came along with it were celebrated as the return of the Eye after her wanderings in foreign lands.
One of the oldest examples is Mut's return to her home temple in Thebes, which was celebrated there annually as early as the New Kingdom.
In another temple ritual, the pharaoh played a ceremonial game in honor of the Eye goddesses Hathor, Sekhmet, or Tefnut, in which he struck a ball symbolizing the Eye of Apep with a club made from a type of wood that was said to have sprung from the Eye of Ra.
The ritual represents, in a playful form, the battle of Ra's Eye with its greatest foe. The concept of the solar Eye as mother, consort, and daughter of a god was incorporated into royal ideology.
Pharaohs took on the role of Ra, and their consorts were associated with the Eye and the goddesses equated with it.
The sun disks and uraei that were incorporated into queens' headdresses during the New Kingdom reflect this mythological tie. The priestesses who acted as ceremonial "wives" of particular gods during the Third Intermediate Period c.
The violent form of the Eye was also invoked in religious ritual and symbolism as an agent of protection. The uraeus on royal and divine headdresses alludes to the role of the Eye goddesses as protectors of gods and kings.
Many temple rituals called upon Eye goddesses to defend the temple precinct or the resident deity. Often, the texts of such rituals specifically mention a set of four defensive uraei.
These uraei are sometimes identified with various combinations of goddesses associated with the Eye, but they can also be seen as manifestations of "Hathor of the Four Faces", whose protection of the solar barque is extended in these rituals to specific places on earth.
The Eye of Ra could also be invoked to defend ordinary people. Some apotropaic amulets in the shape of the Eye of Horus bear the figure of a goddess on one side.
These amulets are most likely an allusion to the connection between the Eye of Horus and the Eye of Ra, invoking their power for personal protection.
These uraei are intended to ward off evil spirits and the nightmares that they were believed to cause, or other enemies of the house's occupant.
Models like those in the spells have been found in the remains of ancient Egyptian towns, and they include bowls in front of their mouths where fuel could be burnt, although the known examples do not show signs of burning.
The Eye's importance extends to the afterlife as well. Egyptian funerary texts associate deceased souls with Ra in his nightly travels through the Duat , the realm of the dead, and with his rebirth at dawn.
In these texts the Eye and its various manifestations often appear, protecting and giving birth to the deceased as they do for Ra.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Borghouts, J. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur. Journal of Ancient Near Eastern Religions.
Griffith Institute. Dancing for Hathor: Women in Ancient Egypt. In Dieleman, Jacco; Wendrich, Willeke eds. In Shafer, Byron E ed.
Cornell University Press. Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods. Translated by Goshgarian, G. In Fisher, Marjorie M. Ancient Nubia: African Kingdoms on the Nile.
The American University in Cairo Press. Oxford University Press. Basically, they are the same symbol, yet they have different purposes behind them.
Also, the eye symbol has been attached to Sekhmet , Wadjet, and Bast and the first used her eye to try to destroy the human race. She was stopped by God Ra.
When ancient gods get symbols attached to their name, it is because the ancient worshippers see their god in certain ways.
Unlike other Egyptian gods, Ra started out as a real Pharaoh. Exactly where he fit into the different Egyptian rulers is unknown and he may have been one of the original rulers of Egypt.
The Egyptian sun god Ra was said to sail his boat across the sky by day and carry it back through the underworld by night. Credit: Public Domain.
One myth has that the human Ra was old and very weak. Because he was vulnerable, his people started to ignore his laws and instructions. He sent his daughter, the Eye of Ra in the form of a lion to punish his people.
Another myth has the eye of Ra used to obtain information. Sometimes that purpose is used in conjunction with the previous one and he administers his from justice with the information gathered by his eye.
A more benign purpose for the Eye can be seen when Ra acts like a loving father and sends his eye out to search for his two lost children.
There is a way to determine the difference between the Eye of Horus and the Eye of Ra. The problem with this symbol is that it is also used to depict the goddess Wadjet.
She also has a relationship with the eye as her symbol. An Eye of Horus or Wedjat pendant. Credit: Jon Bodsworth, Wikipedia.
During the absence of the original eye, Ra grew another one. When the first eye successfully returned with the children, it grew jealous and very upset.
To solve his problem, Ra simply appeased the first eye by turning it into a uraeus and put it above the other eyes on his forehead.
This cat was often used to protect Ra from a serpent called Apep. This depiction can get confusing as well since the cat is linked to at least 7 other Egyptian gods.
The most detailed information we get about Egypt can be found in the account of the biblical plagues. Scholars have determined that the different plagues showed the inferior status and inability of the Egyptian gods to protect the Egyptian people.
Relief from the sanctuary of Khonsu Temple at Karnak. The Eye of Ra can be equated with the disk of the sun, with the cobras coiled around the disk, and with the white and red crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt.
One of the plagues carried locusts to the land of Egypt. There were so many locusts in this plague that they blotted out the sun. Ra was seen by the Egyptian people as the sun-god and with the sky darkened, Ra was powerless to do anything He could not even use his eye to stop the locusts from destroying the land.
It is possible that God Horus has a biblical connection as well. The plague against the cattle is seen as a destruction against the goddess Hathor.
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