The Eye of Horus
There is more to ancient wonders than meets the eye.
Only recently have modern science and technology reached the point where we are discovering – to our utter astonishment – that similar or greater knowledge was fully incorporated into many works of antiquity. How the ancients possessed such advanced learning is a mystery of the highest order – but possess it they did. The record is written in stone.
The Egyptian Eye of Horus or wadjat, a symbol of prosperity, protection and healing, is among the most famous and revered of ancient symbols. It is related to other powerful depictions of the human eye: The Eye of Providence, also known as the All-Seeing Eye of God, which appears above a 13-step pyramid on the US one-dollar bill (and is also associated with Freemasonry and the Illuminati); Christian and Hindu imagery and belief in the Third Eye; European coats of arms; and university/fraternity insignia. Some even claim the “Rx” prescription symbol is an adaptation of the Eye of Horus (more on that shortly).
Egyptian mythology famously recounts the ultimate tale of good vs. evil in which the valiant god Horus avenges the murder of his father Osiris by vanquishing Set, the god of chaos. Horus loses his left eye in battle – it is broken into six parts – but the god Thoth magically heals it. Horus’ left eye is associated with the moon and the restoration of that eye is sometimes offered as a mythical explanation for the phases of the moon.
Oh, those funny Egyptians with their wacky myths and eye-shaped hieroglyphs, we thought. What a quaint, backward ancient culture, we thought. And then learned experts in the fields of modern medicine and neuroanatomy came upon an astounding discovery.
The below illustration, from a fascinating article linking art, medicine, and ancient Egyptian mythology, shows a cross-section of the human brain. The mid-saggital portion (which translates all incoming signals from the human senses and comprises the corpus callosum, metathalamus, olfactory tract, and brain stem) is highlighted in color. Notice anything?
No, this is not just a coincidence or an example of pareidolia (seeing imaginary faces in clouds or rock formations). The Eye of Horus is a dead-accurate depiction of a critical section of the human brain. How in the world did the ancient Egyptians possess this level of neuroanatomical knowledge?
In the myth, Horus’ left eye is broken into six pieces. These correspond to the six senses ancient Egyptians believed were processed within the brain’s mid-sagittal portion – smell, sight, thought (wisdom, consciousness, the soul, the third eye, etc.), hearing, taste, and touch. Similarly, the Egyptians divided the Eye of Horus symbol into six component parts corresponding to different fractions within their Heqat measuring system:
You guessed it – each of these component parts corresponds precisely to the actual mid-sagittal subpart governing the sense it symbolizes.
Ancient manuscripts describe the Heqat as a measure of volume utilized for grains and flour. Some believe it was also used for measuring pharmaceuticals. And since the Eye of Horus is associated with healing, they believe the “Rx” prescription symbol is adapted from the Eye of Horus.
It looks like the Eye of Horus, doesn’t it? Sort of?