Eyes are powerful symbols in many cultures. They are thought to be the seat of beauty by many and the house of the soul by others. The slightest crinkle at their edges indicates joy while a narrowing conveys rage. People have also attributed mystical powers to them over the years. Just think of the powers of the basilisk, cockatrice, and Medusa. There are also two eye-based symbols commonly featured in jewelry around the world, the Eye of Horus and the Evil Eye. This article will walk you through the similarities and differences between the two.
WHAT IS THE EVIL EYE AND WHY DO WE SEE IT SO MUCH?
You’ve likely seen somebody wearing an eye-shaped amulet and wondered what it meant. Or, perhaps, you picked one up yourself. The Evil Eye is both a malevolent gaze thought to bring about misfortune and a powerful amulet meant to protect oneself from it. To give someone the Evil Eye is to wish suffering and pain upon them. The belief in this accursed stare dates back over 3,000 years. Its symbolism, however, stretches far beyond the former Roman Empire and touches nearly every country in the world. A belief in the Evil Eye also transcends the boundaries of major religions and is referenced in a surprising number of religious texts.
The earliest evidence of a belief in the Evil Eye goes back to the times of Rome and ancient Greece. It was believed that this stare fell upon anyone who received undue praise. Their resulting swollen pride would then bring them doom. Death via Evil Eye was a common diagnosis in those days and was thought to be the god’s way of reminding the prideful of their mortality. But, the Greek and Roman perspective is just one of many:
- India and Hinduism: Hindus belief that the eye gives off more energy than any other part of the body. Thus, even the most glancing of evil, or even admirable, looks can hold tremendous powers. Hindus believe that people are most susceptible to the power of the Evil Eye at times of great change. In addition to wearing Evil Eye amulets, people in India will often paint their eyelids black or offer milk to someone offering undue praise.
- Europe: Many Europeans also believe that malicious looks can bring bad luck. But, it was often thought that such power was the product of witches. It also has a strong association with those with eye ailments and rare eye colors. To defend against it, many Europeans make a gesture with their pointer finger and thumb. You can also, sometimes, find Europeans sporting Evil Eye amulets.
- The United States: For some reason, the deep-seated beliefs about the Evil Eye held by many Europeans did not make it across the Atlantic. Many Americans, unless recently immigrated, think of the Evil Eye as nothing more than a metaphor. However, it is still a common sight in fashion, accessories, and jewelry.
To protect themselves against the supposed power of the Evil Eye, people took to burning incense and wearing amulets around their necks. These pendants were thought to reflect the power of the wicked gaze. The most basic design featured in Evil Eye talismans and Evil Eye jewelry is a simple a set of concentric blue and white circles. Another popular Evil Eye amulet is the Hamsa, also known as the “Hand of Fatima.”
THE EYE OF HORUS
The Eye of Horus, or the ‘all-seeing eye’, is a powerful symbol in Egyptian mythology and commonly associated with protection, strong health, and royal power. Its markings somewhat resemble that of the Tanner Falcon, which is rather fitting when you consider that Horus is the falcon-headed god. To better understand its symbolism, we must first understand its origins. What follows is an abridged version of one of the most important battles in all of Egyptian mythology.
Jealousy drove of Seth to kill his brother, Osiris, and scatter his body across the land. Horus, Osiris’ son, sought vengeance against his wicked uncle Seth. In the midst of this battle, Horus lost his eye. While it was later restored to him by Thoth, the young deity laId his healed eye upon his father’s corpse as a sign of gratitude. The residual magic in the eye brought Osiris back to life and led to him being crowned King of the Underworld. The gods continued on and the world returned to balance.
As the result of this myth, the Eye of Horus came to represent many things. In addition to becoming a symbol of royal protection and a surefire way to defeat jealousy, it also served as a measurement tool for doctors, and a symbol of healing. The six parts of the eye correspond to smell, sight, thought, hearing, taste, and touch. In time, it would gain enough power to be personified in the goddess Wadjet.
This symbol can now be found spread throughout the world and amulets depicting it are thought to bestow strength and ward off jealousy.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE EYE OF HORUS AND THE EVIL EYE
Though both are represented by the eye, the two symbols are distinct. Here are four differences between the two:
- The Evil Eye is only meant to ward off one type of negative energy, while the Eye of Horus provides both protection and promotes prosperity
- The Eye of Horus arose in ancient Egypt while the Evil Eye originated in the empires of the Mediterranean
- The Eye of Horus is a religious symbol with its roots in a concrete mythology. The Evil Eye, however, has less certain roots and is mentioned in a wide variety of religions.
- Evil eye amulets include the khamsa and a series of blue and white concentric rings. The specific style of these images differs widely depending on culture. The Eye of Horus, on the other hand, is a well-established icon.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM MALEVOLENT GAZES AND PROMOTE PROSPERITY WITH OUR EVIL EYE AMULETS AND EYE OF HORUS ACCESSORIES
The world is a place full of jealousy and malevolency. It is our belief that such things pose a real danger to ourselves and others. Therefore, we are proud to offer a variety of stylish Eye of Horus jewelry and Evil Eye accessories to our customers. While our beautiful accessories are sure to bring about even more jealousy, you can rest easy knowing that you’re embracing imagery that dates back centuries. Enter Nefertari’s Vault to discover our other eye-ravishing products and explore in the symbolism that powered ancient Egypt.