Popular beliefs around the eye
The image of the eye is constantly taken up, its meanings are multiple and evoke the soul, observation, judgment, condemnation, power … Suffice to say that in popular beliefs , we gave it a very special symbolism.
The eye, as an organ, is sometimes confusingly complex. It allows to distinguish colors, sometimes fails, and we want to protect it at all costs, and rightly so. As an object, image, representation, it fascinates us. One can easily admit that it has subjugated all civilizations and that it continues to evolve into a first-rate artistic metaphor .
Popular beliefs around the eye: good or bad?
Religion is synonymous with spirituality . Also, when you are a very religious person, you have to see everything under the specter of your god or gods. For many centuries, it was believed that human behavior was dictated by the will of God or the devil.
This good-evil duality is found in many stories in the holy books , on the Tables of the Law, but also in everyday life. We can only admit that fiction also revolves around this axis, with the good on one side, the bad on the other.
Many polytheistic and especially monotheistic religions have started from this principle in an attempt to decipher the duality of our gaze . In times when it was considered evil to perform an autopsy, we had to rely on the divine to find out what was hidden deep within us.
So the eye is indeed in the first position to fulfill this role. This is how, under the aegis of the Church, we realize that the eye has a very particular symbolism . It becomes good or bad because it is a reflection of our personality.
In popular belief, this is called the evil eye . It is, by definition, the supposed power that the gaze of one person would have on another. As inequalities rage and success provokes envy and jealousy, we come to believe that a man can decide the fate of another with a simple glance.
Therefore, it becomes essential to protect yourself from it. Talisman, Amulet, Khamsa are all shields against the evil eye. They are worn around the neck, placed at the entrance of houses or on the hulls of boats.
A particularly cruel symbolism
The eyes, ultimately similar but so different from one individual to another, would therefore serve to give us a precise indication of who we would be. A hasty judgment that will cause a lot of damage, amplified by good morals and the inquisition .
Different colors, malformations and pathologies, without benefiting from any scientific support , give rise to very cruel conclusions against those who disturb.
Elderly women were thus easily treated as witches, and they were punished because, in menopause, they could not no longer "expel their impurities by natural means" but through the gaze .
A damaged eye which could make think of a reptile had only one explanation : it was the look of the devil, the very one who, changed into a snake, had deceived the first Men.
The one who sees everything
But the eye is not just the hiding place that encloses our personality. He also has the power to see everything, and to see better. Here again, religions are not left out in using the eye as a symbol of divine power . Because if a god is able to protect us, but also to submit us to judgment on the day of our death, it is because he has unlimited visual power.
This symbol is the omniscient eye or eye of providence . This belief, again, is found in countless civilizations.
This absolute eye is often attributed to the most famous and powerful gods, like Zeus (Ancient Greece), Odin (Nordic Mythology), Indra (Hinduism), Ahura Mazda (Mazdaism) and we will also find it on the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen or on banknotes and coins. This symbol is also lent to many secret societies such as Freemasonry.
And today ?
In the contemporary world, the eye continues to fascinate. It is used in a very symbolic way precisely in art and fiction (delve into our dossier on the symbolism of the eye in art .) We will of course quote the eye of Sauron which combines evil eye and omniscience , proof that we always draw from these popular beliefs.
This fascination is also expressed by the fact that the eye, if it ages like our entire body, does not lose its shine or its color over the years, reinforcing this idea that it serves as a link between our soul and our body.
Today, many companies around the world use the eye for their graphic identity , especially on their logos . While it is true that this is the case, logically, for a good number of optical players , we find them in many other sectors, to associate this symbolism of power, omniscience, vision and anticipation, which can be considered as essential values for professionals.
Nowadays it is also a pledge of observation and attention and it rarely disappoints. Indeed, the evil eye has, in our modern civilizations at least, a tendency to disappear, superstition giving more room to knowledge.
Nevertheless, the eye will certainly continue to feed certain fantasies in popular cultures and, from our side, we will certainly have other stories to tell you!