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Eye of Ra

Eye of Ra is one of the popular ancient Egyptian symbols that is used as amulets, tattoos, etc. This article will provide you with some information about this symbol.
You might have come across ancient Egyptian symbols in the forms of tattoos, amulets, lucky charms etc. While, these symbols are increasing used in many different ways, there are very few people, who know about their meanings. There are many such symbols like the Egyptian scarab beetle, amenta, shenu, ouroborus, eye of Ra, etc. Eye of Ra is one of the most popular ancient Egyptian symbols and this article will provide you more details about it.

What is Eye of Ra

Eye of Ra, which is otherwise known as eye of Horus is the ancient Egyptian symbol that is depicted as a human eye and eyebrow, along with the cheek markings of falcon. The symbol that represents the ancient Egyptian god Horus, also has a teardrop, which is found below the eye. Eye of Ra is also known as wedjat, udjat, etc. According to Egyptian mythology, the right eye of the falcon god Horus represents the sun god Ra and its mirror image (left eye) represents the moon and the god of magic called god Tehuti or Thoth. As per legends, Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, lost his right eye, during a fight with this wicked brother Seth. Horus fought with his brother to avenge his father's death and Seth lost the fight. The god of magic, called Thoth, restored the lost eye. It is believed that the eye that was torn into pieces by Seth, was found by Thoth, who assembled the pieces. It is also believed that Horus used this eye for the rebirth of his father. Since then, the eye of Ra or eye or Horus has been used as a symbol of healing, resurrection, health, safety and protection. This symbol has been used in Egypt for a very long time. It has been used as a protective amulet, lucky charm, etc. It was also used as funeral amulets, which were meant to protect the dead in the afterlife. Even the sailors used to paint this symbol on their boats, so as to ensure safe travel. Let us now take a look at the use of the eye of Ra symbol in the ancient Egyptian measuring system.

Eye of Ra and Arithmetic

The eye of Ra symbol is also used as a notation of measurement, especially for measuring medicines. According to legends, the eye was torn into six pieces and so, as per this ancient Egyptian measurement system, the symbol was divided into six parts, each representing a specific sense and a particular fraction. According to this measurement system, 1/2 represented the sense of smell, 1/4 was for sight, 1/8 for thought, 1/16 for hearing, 1/32 for taste and 1/64 denoted touch. These fractions when added together resulted in 63/64 and not 1. It is believed that the left out fraction represented the magic of Thoth.

Now, you have a basic idea about the eye of Ra or eye of Horus meaning and its significance in Egyptian mythology. It is not just a symbol, but, is also linked to Egyptian Gods and Goddesses and Egyptian mythology. Even today, this symbol is very widely used in amulets, jewelry, artifacts, etc. Nowadays, one of the most popular uses of this symbol is in the form of the eye of Ra tattoo. While, some people wear it for protection, others are merely attracted by its charm, without any knowledge about Egyptian symbols and their meanings. In short, most of the ancient Egyptian symbols have a meaning like in the case of the eye of Ra. So, if you are interested in using such mythological symbols as tattoos, amulets or in other forms, it will be better to understand their meaning and significance.
By Sonia Nair
Last Updated: 9/21/2011
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