Are you interested in the differences between the Eye of Ra and the Eye of Horus? Then this guide is for you!
Have you ever heard of the ‘all-seeing eye’ of Egypt? This is the name given by the ancient Egyptians to the Eye of Ra and the Eye of Horus.
In the ancient Egyptian belief system, the Eye of Ra and the Eye of Horus bore much significance.
Although most people use these two interchangeably, the two are as different as the legends they stand for.
Both the Eye of Ra and the Eye of Horus provide protection for the people. However, their approach differs.
The Eye of Ra is associated with aggressiveness, hatred, and annihilation. As such the protection it offers is a product of violence, anger, and raw power.
On the other hand, the Eye of Horus is closely linked with healing and growth. It provides the kind of protection associated with divine promises.
The Eye of Horus is synonymous with divine intervention – or care from the gods.
What’s the Meaning of the Eye of Ra?
Ra, or Amon-Ra, is the sun god of the ancient Egyptians. She is also habitually referred to as the ‘Creator God’.
This deity is also said to be the Illuminator, Supreme Protector, Mother, Daughter, and Seductress.
She is responsible for bringing into existence many of the personal gods that were worshipped by the ancient Egyptians.
Ra was a wrathful god. Egyptian mythology speaks of the many times she violently expressed her displeasure with what mortals were doing – or not doing!
She was quick to teach painful lessons when the mortals failed to heed her commands.
Indeed, Ra was so powerful that her impact was felt by the other gods – some of whom she had created.
This means that everyone – mortals, royalty, and the other gods – was always on the lookout not to be caught by her eye.
This is how the legend of the Eye of Ra was borne.
At one point, Ra’s children disappeared and she sent her eye to look for them. While this eye was out searching for the lost children, another eye grew in its place.
When the original Eye of Ra returned with the children, it was filled with envy and rage for having been replaced.
Ra had no choice but to place the first eye on her forehead to quiet her down. Here, the Eye of Ra stood guard, watching over Amon-Ra’s children like a hawk-eyed cobra.
Symbolic Meaning of the Eye of Ra
Symbol of Fertility and Birth
The Eye of Ra stands for fertility and birth. This eye was the constant companion of Ra and helped her in her life-giving duties.
This symbol is depicted in many religious arts and rituals across the world.
Symbol of Protection
The Eye of Ra stood with Ra as she offered protection to her people. Because of the keen gaze of this eye, the mortals often saw Ra as an overprotective and overbearing mother.
She was seen to be an absolute authority that one wouldn’t want to mess around with.
The Eye of Ra was pained on the headgears, amulets, and clothing of the Pharaoh to protect him against evil forces.
Symbol of Strength and Power
The Eye of Ra accentuated Amon-Ra’s power to control her environment. Indeed, her power and influence went beyond mortals to touch on the deities.
She was equated to the loving yet burning heat of the sun. In the ancient Egyptian desert environment, the sun was seen be both a friend and an enemy.
The Meaning of the Eye of Horus
The Eye of Horus is depicted as the left eye in Egyptian mythology. This eye is closely associated with healing, wisdom, and protection.
According to mythology, Horus (god of the sky) was involved in a nasty fight with his uncle Set (god of the desert).
This fight stemmed from the fact that Set wanted to usurp the throne of Horus’ father, Osiris. After Set dethroned Osiris, he dismembered his body and scattered the parts all over the land.
Set did this to prevent Osiris from passing to the underworld. Horus set out with his mother Isis, the goddess of the moon, to recover the Osiris’ body parts.
The two managed to reconstitute Osiris and he eventually passed on to the land of the dead, where he became its ruler.
On learning this, Set started another fight with Horus. In the process, Horus lost his eye, and Set lost his testicles.
That’s why deserts are barren: the god of the desert is himself barren!
Horus’ eye was restored to perfect health by Hathor, goddess of the sky and beauty.
From that moment, the Eye of Horus became known as wedjat, wadjet, udjat, or wedjoyet eye meaning healthy, whole, and complete eye.
It became synonymous with sacrifice, healing, wholeness, regeneration, and divine protection.
Symbolic Meaning of the Eye of Horus
Symbol of Protection
The Eye of Horus is carved into jewelry and amulets because it is believed to offer divine protection to the wearer.
Symbol of Prosperity
The symbol of the Eye of Horus is carved onto items made of expensive materials such as gold, silver, carnelian, wood, lapis, and porcelain. It is believed to attract more growth and prosperity.
Symbol of Good Health
From ancient times, the Eye of Horus has been used to invoke good health. Practitioners of modern magic rely on this symbol to predict good health and growth for their clients.
In modern times, the Rx symbol used in pharmacies has its roots in the Eye of Horus.
Symbol of the Afterlife
This symbol is used in funeral processions to indicate a safe passage to the world of the dead.
People from different cultures carve the Eye of Horus on funerary furniture and monuments to invoke divine protection upon the dead.
What’s the Difference Between the Eye of Ra and the Eye of Horus?
While the two eyes stand for divine protection, there’s a distinct difference between them.
For example, the Eye of Ra is shown to be more aggressive than the Eye of Horus. The Eye of Ra is linked to the harsh sun while the Eye of Horus is associated with the soft, demure moon.
Ordinarily, the Eye of Ra is said to be the right eye while the Eye of Horus is the left one. However, the two eyes are used interchangeably in some quarters.
A quick look at some museums across the globe indicates the Eye of Horus in either right or left-eye position.
The Eye of Ra belongs to the goddess Ra, and it is depicted to have a red iris. On the other hand, the Eye of Horus belongs to Horus and is shown with a blue iris.
While the Eye of Ra stands for fertility, birth, and femininity; the Eye of Horus stands for wellbeing and health.
The Eye of Ra represents danger when provoked while the Eye of Horus is used to put danger and evil at bay.
While the Eye of Ra stands for aggression, the Eye of Horus represents sacrifice.
Both the Eye of Ra and the Eye of Horus are extensively used for protection. They feature a lot in protective amulets.
These symbols are also engraved on family totems and jewelry to offer an additional shield against evil.
Both the Eye of Ra and the Eye of Horus are believed to bring about peaceful co-existence.
While the Eye of Ra is associated with aggressiveness, the Eye of Horus is related to healing, recovery, and wholeness.
This means that one can keep both symbols close to them for the charm and good luck they bring.