Continuing in “grab a handy book”

For if the universe is animated, it is best understood in terms of human life. We have seen that the Egyptians explained the daily appearance of the sun as its birth; the moon waned because it was the ailing eye of Horus. When barley was made into beer and bread, it was Osiris – manifest in any grain – who died. We shall meet with such images at every turn, and we must not interpret them as allegories, for we cannot abstract a meaning form them without falsifying the beliefs which they express. Images are not ornaments or adjuncts of ancient thought. They are inseparable from it because the ancients reached their insight in a manner which was intuitive and imaginative as much as intellectual.

– Henri Frankfort, Ancient Egyptian Religion

Next in a series of bits of “I grab whatever book seems handy and flip around to find something interesting because my actual reading at the moment is a new translation of the Pyramid Texts and things with that many lacunae are not good for quotes for thought”. ;)


It is apparently not actually factual that the Egyptians used portions of the Eye of Heru to represent major fractions, at least according to Wikipedia.

the Eye of Heru

Eye of Heru artwork from the Guide

No matter.

One doesn’t have to literally take the eyebrow as an eighth, the pupil as a quarter, the trailing tear as a sixty-fourth to learn the truth.

The eye of Heru used as a sacred amulet, the protective udjat, is the one which was wounded, that which was torn out in conflict with Set, which was (along with Set’s testicles, which suffered similar injury) restored by the powers of Djehwty. This is the eye which was broken, the moon eye which fades and comes back into wholeness.

The fractions add up to sixty-three out of sixty-four.

The eye is whole.

It is greater than its visible portions, its undamaged parts considered separately.

This is the secret of the udjat eye, the eye of Heru: that the greater wholeness is the one that emerges from incompletion, the greater health is that which has shown itself greater than the damage it has suffered. This is the symbol of a perfected imperfection, its mathematical suggestiveness of incompletion no more than a guidepost to that which is within.

It is not unbrokenness that is most mighty; it is restoration. That which has been remade is greater than that which was never wounded.

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