The Eye of Horus is one of the most distinct and recognizable hieroglyphs found in Ancient Egyptian art, mythology, architecture and jewellery.
It’s also a hugely popular contemporary tattoo design linked to regeneration and healing, protection from evil spirits, spiritual guidance and good luck, with those drawn to Ancient Egypt, antiquity, and the occult making it a much-discussed design.
The following story will describe different meanings relating to the symbol, and will also look to answer questions relating to style, technical application, and tattoo placement.
This will enable you to take these tattoo ideas for your piece to a tattoo artist who can create the design most important to you.
Eye of Horus Tattoo Meaning
The Eye of Horus in Ancient Egyptian Mythology
According to scholars throughout history, the falcon god Horus – a popular, positive god who represented power, foresight, and the sun – lost his left eye in battle against his fellow god Set, a composite figure that served as Egypt’s god of war.
Horus’ eye was magically restored by Hathor, the goddess of the sky, women, love, and femininity. The loss and subsequent return of Horus’ eye is a magic symbol used to symbolize regeneration and healing, but also introduces sacrifice as a powerful method of spiritual health,
The powerful tale of Horus provides the basis for the Eye’s sigil becoming the most common amulet worn by Egyptians looking to keep themselves out of physical and spiritual harm, which has since extended to eye tattoo designs.
Superstition and Wider Symbolic Meaning
There is a wide ranging symbolic meaning ascribed to Eye of Horus tattoo art in addition to the origin story.
Also referred to as the Eye of Ra tattoo, some scholars claim the original design of the Eye in Ancient Egyptian mythology was a way to represent fractions that run from the right hand side to the left, in halves (the eyebrow) through to 1/64th (the teardrop).
Because hieroglyphs are a visual language pattern, this explanation can help explain why the Eye pops up everywhere, from temples and businesses through to funeral sites, households, and buildings.
Protection and Eye Tattoo Meaning
The Eye sigil is also considered a preeminent Egyptian symbol of protection against the Evil Eye, a curse in which the eye’s regard brings bad luck to the person it’s been focussed on.
The Eye of Ra tattoo shows similarities to the Hamsa Hand or the Christian Eye of Providence (think of the illuminati). A hamsa is a Middle Eastern protective symbol that wards against the eye. By showing an eye within the Hamsa Hand (or Horus eye) tattoo, amulet, or image, the cast Evil Eye moves onwards as it believes that bad luck already possesses the person.
This type of superstition has its roots in some of the oldest contemporary tattoos seafarers got to protect themselves on the ocean.
Black Ink Egyptian Tattoos
Magic symbol Egyptian tattoos such as the Ankh, the Crook, the Scarab, and Horus tattoos are often etched very simply.
Tattoo artists will apply very simple black ink tattoos – either deft lines or solid black shapes – to bring tattoo meanings to life. They are the type of tattoo ideas that can be found in areas close to the subject’s eyeline or in a visible space, in order to become part warding symbol, part affirmation
For these kinds of expressions, the idea is that the tattoo itself is simple, small, or spare, but the symbolism of the piece is important.
Illustrative Ancient Egyptian Tattoo Art
Given the importance and continued fascination with Ancient Egyptian mythology, art and history, there’s plenty of scope for tattoo lovers to get large pieces involving colorful gods, Pharaohs, Pyramids and symbols (I have a large forearm tattoo of the ‘heretic’ Akhenaten for example).
Eye of Horus tattoo ideas can be entwined with these wider Egyptian tattoos as a minor or major part of the overall tattoo design. For example, your Queen Nefertiti tattoo may have the Eye of Horus amulet, or the God Anubis can help you ward against witchcraft and evil spirits with help from the Horus eye.
If you want to create a vibrant and interesting tattoo on a large scale but want to retain a lot of innovation and unique personality, then the rich symbolism of Ancient Egypt pieces are extremely difficult to go past.
Photo Realism Tattoos
The wonderful skill and artistry of modern tattooing allows for Egyptian god designs, pyramids, and other architecture to be created that look just like the monuments, statues, or mummies that have been found in the deserts of Egypt.
Whether you want a gaudy Tutankhamun mask in glittery golden ink, or a solid stone representation of massive statues of Osiris, Thoth, or Hathor, these days your artist can recreate a tattoo that looks just like that photo you took from the back of a camel.
Even eye tattoo designs can be etched into your skin with a 3D look that makes it seem like they’ve been carved from stone.
Another popular style of ink involving Eye of Horus or other tattoo designs from Egypt incorporate the use of hieroglyphs.
Because hieroglyphs are a visual language pattern, they can help explain why the Horus Eye pops up everywhere, from temples and businesses through to funeral sites, households, and buildings.
Tattoo lovers can use real hieroglyph tattoos to create symbolic meaning, write names, or tell stories of their own life, or use them with other pieces to make different interesting body art.
They also allow for innovation with application elements, such as color, linework, shadow and shade, or more complex techniques such as pointillism or 3D tattoos.
The god Horus and his magical eye is just one of the brilliant symbols from Ancient Egypt. It’s relationship to protection, healing, and good luck within Egyptian art means it’s a great modern tattoo choice for those with a love of Ancient Egyptian symbol tattoos.
Added to that, there’s a great range of application styles and alternative tattoo meanings that you can use to bring your Egyptian eye tattoo to life.