The Evil Eye
We all know that jealousy has never helped anyone, so be careful next time you find yourself envying someone (or vice versa). The evil eye is a curse believed to be caused by the jealous/envious feeling someone can have toward someone else and could bring a series of bad luck to the cursed one such as poor health, depression, financial difficulties and love dramas, etc. By a simple look, you could be cursed or curse someone else even without consciously meaning to. This evil eye curse has in fact been mentioned in sacred texts like the Talmud, the Old Testament or the Koran and is strongly feared by certain cultures around the globe.
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In the Middle Ages, witches were believed to be the source of this evil eye curse due to their inability to “expel impurities“. This last point weirdly refers to menstruations and menopause. Since witches were believed to not be able to get rid of those « impurities » through the natural way, they would apparently use their eyes instead and curse people with the evil eye…
In Turkey and Greece there is a very popular eye-shaped amulet used to counter this curse:
The Nazar Boncuk or Blue Eye
Often referred to as The Turkish Eye or Greek Eye, the “Nazar Boncuk“ literally means “Evil Eye Amulet“ and is used as a pendant or house protection. In Greece, it is also called “Matiasma“ or “Mati“ literally meaning “Evil Eye“. (This last etymological translation seems a little odd to me though, why would it be called by the name of the exact thing that it’s supposed to protect you from?). This amulet, used since the Antiquity, has the shape of an eyeball and was originally made out of blue, white and black tinted glass. People still commonly use them in their homes, workplaces, and cars to protect their families and belongings. It is a very common pendant to wear and can often be seen on newborns who are believed to be vulnerable targets of the Evil eye. It is said that if a Matiasma breaks, it has done its job and should, therefore, be replaced.
The Eye of Horus or “Irt Oudjat“
One of the most famous eye protections in the world, it is an Ancient Egyptian symbol which represents the left eye of Horus, the Falcon-headed god. In fact, both of Horus’s eyes had a specific meaning to Ancient Egyptians. The left eye represents femininity, the moon, and the past whereas the right eye symbolizes masculinity, the sun, and the future. Together they represent the all-seeing power of Horus.
In the legend, Horus loses his left eye during a battle with an evil god called Seth, who then decides to cut the eye into 6 pieces and disperses it into the depths of the Nile. Another God named Thot saves and recomposes the eye which then created the new symbol of victory of good against evil.
For the ancient Egyptians, the “Irt Oudjat“ (ety.: the “preserved“/“completed“ eye) is not only a protection against evil and bad luck but also a lucky charm beneficial for fertility, knowledge, clairvoyance and of course good health in general. It was commonly worn as an amulet or found on decorative objects.
Apart from being an ancient Egyptian symbol, the eye of Horus has an interestingly odd link with our next eye symbol on this list.
4- The Third Eye
The third eye is a metaphorical eye called “Jnana Chakshus“ in India and meaning “the eye of knowledge”. The commonly worn “Bindi” dots for example or the “Urna” dot which can be seen on Buddha statues are both linked to this third eye belief. The third eye is in fact related to many religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism and a famous spiritual practice: Kundalini Yoga.
The purpose of Kundalini Yoga is to help open the 7 spiritual doors called chakras which if opened properly should lead to an ultimate level of consciousness also called the 6th human sense. Two of these Chakras are what we’re interested in here because they’re directly linked with our third eye.
The 6th Chakra « Ajna » (“ literally meaning « the command center ») and the 7th chakra « Sahasrara » (“The Thousand-Petaled Lotus“). These chakra “doors“ have specific “focal points“ located between the eyes and on the center top of our skull for a very specific reason. If you look at a brain diagram you’ll see that following these focal points, directly leads you to the pituitary gland and pineal gland which are very important parts of our brains since they produce and control most of our hormones. They literally are the “control center“ of our body.
The pineal gland in particular is and has often been compared to the third eye in many cultures and religions. Scientists sometimes describe it as a dormant eye due to some of its similarities with a normal eye and potential capabilities. Descartes also mentioned the pineal gland as the third eye in his work. The parietal eye or pineal eye is a shared evolutionary trait between species, dinosaurs had them and most reptiles nowadays still do as well as certain fishes and birds. On some of them, the gland has developed so much that an actual eye organ with a tiny lens and retina can actually be seen on top of their heads! Its photoreceptive capacity enables them to use this third eye to regulate their temperature or detect the temperature of predators for example. The pituitary gland could also be a dormant eye, some fish species have in fact a fourth inner eye developed from their pituitary gland!
But enough about biology lets now go back to cultural beliefs. It is also thought that the Ancient Egyptians might have known about the potential enlightening power of the pineal gland and that the Eye of Horus might have been their own special representation of it. Some people have pointed at the resemblance you can find between the area of the brain where the gland is located and the shape of the eye of Horus. Interesting, right?
I wish you all very Happy Holidays! And a very Happy New Year!!