Archeology Culture Spirituality

The All-Seeing Eye: Sacred Origins Of Ancient Symbol

The All-Seeing Eye: Sacred Origins Of A Hijacked Symbol Used In Ancient Cultures

The all-seeing eye or ‘Eye of Providence’ is a powerful esoteric symbol which is often misunderstood and misused today; few only know what it originally stood for. It symbolised a higher spiritual power or God, a watchful caretaker of humanity or an awakened spiritual part within. However these days it has quite different associations.

The history of the all-seeing eye goes all the way back to ancient times. Many cultures have a version of the all-seeing eye, and it has been studied a great deal by scholars and historians alike. There are many different ideas as to where it came from and why it still is here today.

All-Seeing Eye in Ancient Cultures

1 – India

We perhaps find the precursor to what eventually became known as the all-seeing eye in the Rig Veda, a sanskrit text thought to have been written over 3,000 years ago and one of the oldest known texts. In it there are many references to the sun and to other deities as being an eye in heaven, as an eye which reveals creation, or an eye which never closes.

One can liken this to being symbolic of a high level of awakened consciousness that advanced spiritual beings have and which an ordinary person can potentially attain.

The Hindu god Shiva has three eyes. The third eye or brow chakra eye is known as the eye of Shiva, (it can be found in some modern Lord Shiva artworks and paintings) possessor of all knowledge, which when opened will destroy anything it sees. Thus it is a symbol of knowledge which destroys evil and ignorance.

lord shiva artworkLord Shiva, Hindu deity

This again can be likened to an awakened higher spiritual part of a person which sees the truth of things and can then eliminate within a person’s psyche that which is opposite to and blocks divine consciousness from manifesting more. In this way it is a “creative destruction” of evil to transform it into higher consciousness.

Even in modern times, the eye of Shiva is used in jewellery to give protection against evil to its wearer and to gain wisdom and understanding fromPreview Changes (opens in a new window) the world, from life events and from the self, for positive transformation.

2 – Nepal

In Buddhism, Buddha is referred to as the Eye of the World. It is typical for temples in Nepal to display a graphic of the “Eyes of Buddha” as shown on the picture below – notice it includes a mark for the “third eye” as well. The eyes are also known as the eyes of wisdom and compassion.

Buddha statues typically show a dot in the mid-brow to represent the third eye.

main buddhist symbolEyes of Buddha, depiction on the rock (Image Source)

3 – Ancient Egypt

Eye of Osiris

It is interesting to find that the Egyptian hieroglyph for their god Osiris contains an eye as shown below. So as with  Hinduism and Buddhism we find a spiritual deity being represented in ancient times as an eye.

Eye of Horus

In ancient Egypt, the all-seeing eye was known as the Eye of Horus or the Eye of Ra and also formed part of the symbology of Wad-jet. Through various myths they were symbols of protection, healing and restoration. The left eye of Horus was said to be the moon and his right eye the sun.

Horus was a falcon-headed sun god and it could be said the Eye of Horus was styled like an eye of a lanner falcon with its marking beneath the eye.

egyptian figuresAmulet with the Eye of Horus. Earthenware, Achaemenid artwork, late 6th–4th centuries BC. From the Tell of the Apadana in Susa. ©Marie-Lan Nguyen (2005) (Image Source)

It is also very interesting to note that the drawing of the Eye of Horus very much matches the cross section of the mid brain where the thalamus, the pineal and pituitary glands are situated. The pineal gland is often said to be the “third eye” and a centre of spirituality and of spiritual insight, which can be developed in a person.

It’s as if the Eye of Horus could be a depiction of the thalamus as the eye ball with the corpus callosum the eye brow above and the medulla oblongata (brain stem) and the hypothalamus being the two markings below. If this is what they were drawing but calling it the Eye of Horus, does it suggest they considered the mid brain to be the seat of consciousness or even of divine consciousness or “Horus consciousness”? Horus being a sun god and symbolic of the universal Christ, a spiritual force which a suitably prepared person can merge with.

4 – Middle East/Asia


The all seeing eye in this culture has been known as the hand-eye symbol usually right hand, called either Hamsa, Khamsa or Hamesh. It is apparently a lucky charm, as it stands for protection from evil eye and dangers. Known as Fatima in Islam, the hand of Miriam in Judaism, and Humsa Hand in India, it has been used for thousands of years and is still in use today as amulets, charms or wall hangings.


In Greece and Turkey a thing similar to the Hamsa is called ‘Nazar’ – an eye without the hand but it is used in the same way and has the same meaning as the Hamsa, made from blue glass usually. Aztec, Mayan cultures and, Native American artworks also have the symbol of an eye.

5 – Ancient Ecuador

Amongst 300 artefacts found in La Mana, there was also a black pyramid made from black stone with an eye at the apex. The stone has gold inlays forming 13 levels of bricks, and these inlays glow when under black light. It looks like a representation of the great pyramid of Giza. In the artefacts, there was one of a cobra, which is associated with the Eye of Horus/Ra and Wad-jet in their protective aspects with it being worn on the foreheads of Pharaohs at the mid-brow right where the third eye is located.

6 – Ancient Greece

“In the Hymns of Orpheus, the hymn To The Sun describes it variously as thus;

as an “eternal eye with broad survey” ;

and compares it to being the “Father of ages” ;

and as “Immortal Jove, all searching, bearing light” ;

then later as the “Great eye of Nature and the starry skies” ;

followed by “Faithful defender, and the eye of right”

So here we see in an ancient text of the western world similar representation of the sun like that presented in the ancient text of the east, the Rig Veda, as being an eye of the creator and an all-seeing never closing eye watching over and protecting the good.” – as found in

Arzu All-seeing eye on the gate of Cathedral of Aix-la-Chapelle, Roman Catholic church in Aachen, western Germany

7 – Christianity

The first use of the all-seeing eye symbol in Judeo-Christianity is the so-called “Jesus tomb” from 1st century AD discovered in 1980, where a similar symbol at the entrance of the tomb can be seen. In the painting, which depicts a scene from Luke 24: 13-32 where after his resurrection, Jesus has supper with two disciples, an eye is inside a triangle, and surrounded by rays of light, with the triangle representing the holy trinity and the whole symbol meaning God’s omnipresence and all-seeing eye watching over creation, can be seen.

Similarly in Alsace, France, the fresco painted in a Church shows a large example of the eye-in-pyramid symbol, while another example is on the Aachen cathedral in Germany.  Another eye-in-pyramid symbol also features prominently on the front facade of the Hartegbrugkerk Church in Leiden, the Netherlands.


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