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  • Writer's pictureMandira Antar

Tattoo symbols / The eye

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

The symbol of the eye is not just about vision. It is a symbol of a "door", a symbol of inner sight, wisdom and understanding. What we see is not all that is, of course. It is also what we feel even though we cannot see. We are not just physical creatures but also part of an energetic field from which we are affected and which we do affect. Thoughts, feelings, intentions, motivations create waves of energy that affect everything that we are connected to. So the eye as symbol is the "organ" that perceives all, that comprehends beyond our five senses.

It might create fear in us, thinking that there is a power that knows all, and therefore decides what is good or not, punishes or rewards us. Sounds like the Christian way of perceiving the eye symbol.

The truth is though that the eye is a part of us all. We all have this ability to sense the true essence of whatever is. We just have to clear our inner vision from our beliefs and conditions. It sounds simple but it is not.

In Greek folklore there is the meaning of the "evil eye" that someone can "give" to you and make you ache or suffer, just by looking at you with a bad intention or jealousy. The same stands in Islam ( aka al-'ayn), India, Jews and many more religions and cultures.

In other occasions we say that the eyes are the "door of the soul", that can mirror our true psyche. The one that can perceive beyond the obvious feels like magic to us.

I wonder sometimes where do faith comes from if not from the belief that we can believe in that which we cannot see.



Eye Symbol Myths and Facts

The basic myth behind the eye symbol comes of course from Egypt.

Horus was the Egyptian God, depicted with the head of a falcon, son of Osiris and Isis. He was conceived in a magical way after his father was murdered by his evil brother Seth.

Horus fought with his uncle to take revenge for the death of his father Osiris. During the fight he lost his left eye which was shattered into 64 pieces.

The 63 pieces where gathered by Goddess Hathor or God Thoth (the God of wisdom). The eye of Horus represents protection, rejuvenation, healing and royal power. It also represents the moon and its phases.

The eye of Horus is a very well known protection sign until today and has been used as an amulet from the beginning of its conception.


Israelits and Mesopotamians both believed in the eye as a strong symbol, either an auspicious or an evil one.

For almost every ancient civilization the myth of creation stands on the battle between the two opposites, the good and evil, the chaos and order. Through this battle / collision everything is created. This duality dwells in every human being, in nature and all around us.


  • The Eye of Providence (or All-Seeing-Eye) often depicted in a triangle/pyramid or above it, with rays of light surrounding it. This symbol is very much associated with the American Dollar, Freemasonry or the Illuminati and is a very powerful and ambiguous symbol. Many myths have gathered around it causing awe and fear that it has magical powers and symbolizes enormous strength.

  • Argos Panoptes was a giant with a hundred eyes according to Greek mythology, serving Goddess Hera as a guardian of Io who was Zeus's lover. Argos was killed by Hermes after Zeus send him to rescue his lover, and as a gift for his sacrifice Hera spread his eyes to her loving sacred birds, the peacocks!!

  • Cyclopes the three giants with one single eye on their forehead, sons of Gaea and Uranus, were sent to imprisonment to Ades until Zeus freed them in order to win the war with his father and the Titans. As a gift the Cyclopes gave him his thunder, his basic weapon and symbol of his strength. They also are the creators of Poseidon's trident.

  • The Eye of Shiva - his third eye - was created when Goddess Parvatti closed both his eyes as a play, which caused darkness and chaos. After that, the creation of his third eye restored the light and order around the world while being a powerful weapon that nobody could defeat.

All the aforementioned, are some examples of the symbol of the eye through ages and cultures. There are thousands more, but I chose some that i believe could assist you in perceiving the basic energy that comes with the eye symbol.


Illustration card with meanings of the symbol of the eye, mandala design by Mandira
Eye Symbolism Illustration by Mandira Antar

The Inner Eye (6th Chakra / Ajna chakra)

“Chakra” is a Sanskrit word literally meaning "wheel."

The chakra energy system has seven basic energy centres, or energy wheels on the human body. Each of them is represented as a lotus flower with different number of petals and is also associated with the energy of an animal, a color, a shape, as well as a natural element.

The 6th chakra based between our eyebrows is also the energy centre of the 3th eye. The 3rd eye (Ajna = command) is where we "know/see" whatever is happening and translating it into feelings, emotions, understanding. Opening the 3rd eye - expanding our awareness - is the ultimate goal of every spiritual practitioner.



Did you know?

There is a planetary Nebula nicknamed the "Eye of God" after a shot that was published in 2002. The Nebula's scientific official name is Helix Nebula (also known as NGC 7293 or Caldwell 63), and is in fact, a star like the sun that is slowly dying. The same shall happen to our sun after approximately 5 million years or so!

The eye, as an organ, or a depiction is still an inspiration for artists, lovers, all of us, it calls us to dive deeply into it, understand it, wear it or admire it, get in touch with its mystery. It is the door to our souls, it speaks the things that cannot be spoken, just a "look" is beyond any verbal communication, and as many keep quoting...

Eyes always speak the truth!

Eye tattoo / placement

The eye is a tattoo choice that can be depicted in any form and style. Choosing an eye or an eye of Horus can change it's basic meaning according to aforementioned facts, but one thing is in common between all eye tattoo designs. The eye represents the inner sight. It is the amulet of our truth and our protection. Causes those who can really see to be protected rising above of whatever life brings in their path.

A female upper arm with a mandala Eye of horus symbol design , black and white
Eye of Horus mandala by Mandira

Choose an eye of Horus if you feel connection to ancient Egypt culture and you find it fascinating to feel this powerful symbol on your body. Hands, back placement are ideal, choose a placement as close as you can to your head.

Some choose an eye as a behind ear tattoo enhancing the passive hearing and understanding, while healing the wounds that were created through this energy center.

Every sense is a door to understanding, a door that can lead to your true essence. Placed in your hands the eye will help your creativity and good deeds. Upper neck position will keep you centered and help you with decision making. The eye is always a way to see whatever is, the hidden reality behind everything that surrounds us. It is a divine symbol of protection and clairvoyance in the best of ways.



Never forget that every tattoo and symbol takes it's meaning from the wearer !!

Sources: Seawright, Helen L., "The symbolism of the eye in Mesopotamia and Israel" (1988). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 94.

Check out my tattoo page and message me for a custom design that we co-create with love and enthusiasm! Like my facebook page to stay in touch! About Mandira Antar

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