The all-seeing eye is an ancient symbol that today has found itself on everything from the US one dollar bill to network television logos. Its origin and meaning remains shrouded in mystery for a great number of people who come across it daily in their lives. Some like to believe that ‘the eye’ has hidden symbols and clues associated with the occult, satan and world domination. Others believe that not every picture or image of an eye has to do with some sort of conspiracy, just like not every picture of an ear is a reference to Van Goth. The eye is simply just sometimes a symbol of sight, looking, viewing or art. Nevertheless, we will attempt to explore the history of ‘the all seeing eye’ over a few parts.
The earliest known history of the All-Seeing Eye dates back to Ancient Egypt. Three powerful gods are associated with ‘the eye’ of Egyptian mythology and we know them as Ra, Horus and Sekhmet. The first of these deities is Ra, who was considered to be the “king of the Gods’ and creator of mankind. You will find that most of the stories about Egyptian mythology are relate to him or those gods in his blood line. The following story below is the most consisted version related to the stories about ‘the eye’ and its origins.
Ra has the head of a falcon and the sun disk resting on his head. On top sits Sekhmet, often referred to as Wadjet in the form of a Cobra.
According to legend, Egyptian god Shu and goddess Tefnut, went out into the waters of chaos. Fearing that they were lost, Ra sent out his daughter Sekhmet to act as his ‘eye’ to find them. When they all returned safely, he was so happy that he cried. (His tears created the first humans.) As a honour and reward, Ra placed her upon his head in the form of a cobra so that she may be close to him at all times and act as his protector. Upon receiving this honour she is given the title “Eye of Ra”. In fact the symbol of the “Eye of Ra” is often called “the wadjet”.
In this form she was later sent out to avenge her father. Mankind had come to disrespect and mock the ageing god Ra and as the wedjet she burst out of the heavens in a murderous rage almost causing the destruction of mankind. Humanity was saved only when she was deceived with beer which had been dyed red with pomegranate juice to resemble blood and quench her blood thirst in killing.
The Wadjet Eye, similar to the Eye of Horus, is a powerful symbol of protection. It was frequently used in jewellery to ensure the safety and protection of the bearer and to also provide them with wisdom and prosperity. The distintive feature here above is the cobra to the right of the eye, which represents the goddess Wadjet. The vulture to the left is Nekhbet, her sister, the patron goddess of Upper Egypt.
Sekhmet with the head of a lioness and a solar disk and a cobra on her head.
For all her vengeance, Sekhmet (Wadjet) also had a gentler side. It was said that she did more than any other god in protecting Horus (our third god in this story) during his younger years and later as an adult from his Uncle (Set) and his followers. Horus had many great battles with his Uncle Set (who had killed his father) and in pursuit of his enemy he received the protection of wedjet and her sister Nekhbet in the form of crowned snakes. In his battle with Set for the throne of Egypt, Set tore out one of Horus eyes. The ‘eye of Horus’ was later restored to Horus and it became a symbol of healing and protection. Some doubt exists as to whether it was his right or left eye, some say it was his right eye that was torn out. Horus was associated as a Sky deity. His right eye represented the sun and all its forms such as a solar eclipse (in which the sun is blotted from view in the sky from time to time). Interesting enough, his left eye is associated by the moon and its characteristics of waxing and waning.
There are also a number of different versions of the myths above and a number of goddesses are given the title of Eye of Ra too. Wadjet it seems, is the most likely to be linked to Ra and the Eye of Horus.
After the fall of the great Egpytian civilization the all seeing eye finds itself associated with many other religions and groups.