The Eye of Horus
Horus is a God conceived by a Golden phallus, made whole in the womb of a divine feminine, and birthed to be the heir of the throne of all. The story of Horus is the story of humanity. And, it is the story of you, the individual. If you exist now to validate your experience, then it must be so that you hold an interpretation of the history for how you got to this moment. We all tell our selves stories of when and where and how we were born, that’s the start of our personal story. Others help us tell this story too of course, which aids in the validation we feel for the story, its authenticity and factual nature. Then of course we have all of the memories that shape and direct our individuality and the events that have either accumulated to make us who we are today, or at the very least, have aided in the shaping of particular characteristics and preferences that make us uniquely ourselves. I am sure we can all look back and see the importance that these stories and moments hold for our individual natures. Especially when we take those still moments to reflect and look back. But, to the ancient Egyptians the Self was more than just the coagulated structures or memories of matter than gave us these experiences, which we hold as our own. The Self was also something grander, infinite, divine, and partially invisible to our sensory perceptions. If we have stories of ourselves, as we know ourselves, then we must also have a story for the divine, invisible, and infinite, aspects of Self that the Egyptians recognized. Thankfully myth has recorded these memories for our conscious selves to look back at and then feel nostalgic over; beautiful beginnings that explain our current state.
The origins of our true selves don’t take place in the dramas of divine humans. Our true selves and our true story rise from plains of consciousness. Invisible and internal landscapes left mostly unexplored by the many. There, it is not physical structures we know of as in this reality. It is not peopled with characters and animals, deserts or skies that we can look at and be familiar with. Instead of physicality we see this landscape to be full of the patterns of consciousness – mental archetypes - that commingle, push and pull, and give birth to states of awareness that we call our own – the dark matter of the soul. Myths work to simplify these stories and relate them to our current state and experience. They embody great and infinite powers into personified characters of internal archetypes that we can understand as the Gods and the stars of the stories of myth.
In the invisible plain of consciousness, there are many players. But, two of the main stars are what all myths embody as the Feminine and Masculine principles. The Feminine is the receptive nature, the part that receives the other. The Masculine is the giving principle, that action taker, and doer of the show. Then there is the energetic principle that acts to repel, attract, cut, or make new bonds between different Feminine and Masculine principles that are not our main stars of this story. The doer is the conscious mind, the receiver is the subconscious mind, and the third principle is the darkness of the unknown that these two principles dance around. In regards to the stories we will tell here, Isis is our feminine. Osiris is our masculine. And Set is the principle that pushes and pulls this connection, ultimately helping it to become more solid, to evolve, and give rise to the state of consciousness which is us in the story.
So, as the story goes, and according to the Egyptians, Isis and Osiris are brother and sister, but they were wedded to each other to rule the throne of their parents. Set is the Brother of Osiris and regularly quarreled with Osiris for the rights to the throne. Set, deciding that he wants to finely put an end to these brotherly battles, devises a plan to get rid of the trouble once and for all. He sneaks in to Osiris’s sleeping chambers at night and gets specific measurements of Osiris’ body while he is asleep. He then takes these measurements to the best sarcophagus builder and asks him to make a beautiful and ornate sarcophagus based upon these measurements. Once the box is done, Set holds a feast in honor of his brother and invites everyone they know to come and honor Osiris with him. During this feast and party, Set gets up to honor and toast his brother. He also reveals the ornately built sarcophagus, and proclaims that this is a treasure to who ever fit in it. Every one gets up to admire the beauty of this creation, and some even try to fit inside it to see if it is them that will take it home. Osiris then lies down in the box and finds that he is a perfect fit. In his excitement he exclaims that this is his treasure! Just at this moment, Set seals the coffin on Osiris and nails it shut. He then pushes it into the Nile and lets the waters take Osiris to his death. Set wipes his hands of the deeds feeling relieved that he will no longer have to quarrel for the throne.
Isis, Osiris’s wife and sister, mourns her husband’s death and decides to set out to find his body so that she can properly send Osiris off into the underworld. After much travel she eventually finds his coffin tangled in the roots of a tree on the coast of Byblos. She shuttles the sarcophagus home, and hides it in a swamp in the middle of the night so that Set wont find it and get angry at her. However, Set was out the next day hunting in the swamps and sees the coffin of Osiris carefully tucked away in the reeds as if intentionally hidden. He knows clearly in that moment what Isis had done, and in his anger he opens the sarcophagus and dismembers Osiris’ body into 14 pieces, which he spreads far and wide. Isis returning later finds the box open and her husband’s body dismantled. She hunts down all the pieces one by one assembling them, yet still finds that she is missing one piece – the phallus – which seems to have been eaten by the swamp creatures.
Thoth comes to the aid of Isis to help her restore Osiris’ body so that she can send him off to the underworld properly. Thoth fashions a golden phallus to the body, which once again makes Osiris whole. Before she says her final goodbyes, Isis uses this golden phallus to impregnate herself, and 9 months later gives birth to Horus.
During Horus’ youth, Set rules the throne. But with Horus an adult, he begins to battle with Set for the throne, which was taken from him, the rightful heir. In one heated fight Set gouges out the left eye of Horus, and smashes it into 6 pieces. Isis uses her power to restore Horus’ eye and heal his wounds. However, it was Thoth that stumbles upon the broken pieces of Horus’ original eye. He brings the pieces back together and fashions the eye to be almost perfect and whole again. He delivers this eye back to Horus, but Horus does not know what to do with this third eye. He eventually decides to place the eye upon the forehead of his deceased father Osiris in gratitude for his life. In this way he hopes that Osiris might be able to see more clearly in the underworld and help restore Horus’ position as King.
The Eye of Horus, the one that was plucked out, smashed, and reconstructed, later became a symbol of protection, restoration, resurrection, mercy, and was used by many as an amulet to protect against the darkness of unconscious action and to imbue mercy upon those that wished to harm the wearer.
Horus’ decision to sacrifice his new power and insight - embodied in this third eye - to his father is one of exceptional interest to anyone looking to understand the relevance of this story in relation to their own life. Osiris is the consciousness and King of creation. In his death though he becomes the king of the underworld; a world not seen by the eyes of the mortals. The underworld is a plain that any initiated soul must traverse if it is to reach its immortal existence and gain the throne of all. Horus’ sacrifice of his vision to his father, gifted to him by Thoth (the intellect) means that Horus consciously chooses to relinquish his desires to determine his fate and direction, and asks of his father – consciousness – to see through the darkness and help him to his rightful position. In this way Horus becomes whole, and unifies the realms of Upper and Lower Egypt. Essentially harmonizing his internal and external experiences as to be a divine and balanced ruler.
The Hermetic Arts
If you followed the story closely, then you will notice that Thoth plays a vital role twice in the becoming of Horus. To the ancient Egyptians, their deities were referred to as Neters, which means Spirits. Spirit can be easily defined as the Mind, so we can understand the many Gods of the Egyptian myths to be the archetypes of mind that are structured and give form to the reality that we experience. Thoth was the embodiment of the intellect. He was said to be the deity that gave science, math, music, and alchemy to humanity. With this in mind to our story, we can see how first the intellect aided the subconscious mind (isis) to fashion a Golden phallus, which fathered Horus. It was the intellect again that restored Horus’ eye and gave him a third eye, an inner vision, so that he and his father (consciousness) could traverse the invisible plains and unify the upper and lower kingdoms of the self.
It is the intellect that helps us to restore the understandings of just how far our consciousness permeates our experience – fully. The Egyptians held the intellect and mind in high esteem and found it to be the connecting factor between the external physical experience and the innate divinity of the invisible Self, housed within the temple of matter. This understanding was fashioned into a philosophy and science that later became known as the hermetic arts and alchemy.
Thoth was said to be the father of alchemy. He showed to man the secrets of matter and its connection to source. Egypt traded much with Greece in the past, including ideologies and philosophies. The Greeks interpreted Thoth to be the same as Hermes, the messenger of the Gods. Hermes, like Thoth, brought from the divine realm the sciences and arts, bridging the gap between mortal man and immortal deity. In their teachings (Thoth/Hermes), we find a foundational text attributed to these authors known as the Emerald Tablet. This text was said to possess the entirety of the philosophies and practice of the alchemical arts, and was also considered to be a key to unlocking nature or transmuting matter. It is this foundational text that gives us one of the most defining alchemical axioms: As above, so Below.
“Truly, and without deceit, that which is above corresponds to that which is below, and that which is below corresponds to that which is above, in the accomplishment of the miracle of the one thing.”
In ancient times the Above was referred to as the Heavens, the cosmos, or more importantly the invisible realm of eternity and Gods. The Above was also considered to be the internal experience as opposed to the external experience. In contrast, the Below was the Earth and the external experience of matter and form. The Below was also considered to be a direct reflection and product of the Above. Alchemical philosophy teaches us that these two things correspond. They are united, and in their union the miracle of the one thing is created – consciousness. Alchemy, before it was ever a science of transmutation, was known to be the understanding of the relationship that consciousness has to matter. These two things – consciousness & matter – relate via the mind. The mind was understood to be Thoth or Hermes, and so the art of alchemy became the hermetic arts, which taught of the mind and how to bridge the gap between the internal and the external as to restore consciousness and express full and immortal potential.
The as above, so below philosophy also shows us how all that is above and in the heavens, is representative of internal spheres of consciousness. The planets of the traditional astrological system were known to be representative of archetypes of the mind and to also correspond to their associated organs and endocrine system glands in the physical body. Everything has a relationship to everything else in alchemy, unified by consciousness, and made known by the mind. With the planets of the solar system in mind, it is easy to see how the Sun is the central focus of this system. It was known to be the life giving principle and provider for the entire experience we call life. The Suns relationship in the Below as a material correspondence was with Gold. Gold was believed to be of the same frequency and resonance of the sun by ancient alchemists. It was also the pineal gland and crown chakra center of man that was known to resonate with the frequencies of the Sun.
It is interesting to hold the Suns relationship in mind to Gold when we consider the origins of Horus. He was the product of a Golden phallus with the divine feminine. He is a child of the Sun. The Sun being of central focus and the life giving principle to all was why we see it associated with consciousness, the Father, and the One.
Beyond the Above and the Below, ancient alchemists also had intricately crafted philosophies that helped the mind understand the nature of existence and the Self. The philosophies of the 3 principles, 4 elements, 7 planets, and 12 alchemical processes were necessary knowledge for any student to become an efficient practicing alchemist.
Along side the Above and Below, The 3 principles is one of the most necessary philosophies to understand if a study in alchemy is to take place. The philosophy is quiet simple. It states that everything in life is made of the one thing, called the Prima Materia. But, this one thing expressed itself in 3 principles, namely the Soul, Spirit, and Body. Alchemists claimed that all things in life were made of the one, so in effect all things held these 3 principles as their foundation for existence. That meant that every rock, plant, animal, or person had as their being a Soul, a Spirit, and a Body. Since alchemists related everything that was invisible and above to everything that was visible and below, we find that the Soul, Spirit, and Body too had physical manifestations when separated or extracted from a host material. This is where practical laboratory alchemy comes into play.
Alchemists could take any material and separate it into its 3 base principles in the Lab. When these extractions were performed, alchemists found that they would get the same 3 products every time, regardless of the matter of its origin. When separated from its Body, the Soul was always found to express its self as an Oil. The Spirit was seen to always express itself as a Liquor – hence why we call alcohol spirits. And the Body was always found to be expressed as an alkaline salt.
The Oil of a subject, being representative of the Soul of that thing, was seen to be one and the same as the actuating and essential source of that object in question. This is why we call them Essential Oils. The essential oil of any object was the thing that made the material so. To alchemists, this meant that if you could find things of this world that were immortal and perfect, and retrieve that things Soul and oil for use, that you could commune with that consciousness and weave its nature into your own. You could restore fractured mortal consciousness by placing immortal consciousness within it.
The thing that was immortal and gave life to all was seen to be synonymous of the Sun. On Earth the Sun was expressed as Gold, and Gold too was seen to be immortal. To be Immortal one has to express that being from the inside out, through the true self, the Soul. Gold was often seen found just as its Self, needing only its self to radiate its own existence. It didn’t like to bond with other materials and form relationships, they could not touch Gold; it was a sovereign metal. Gold also never seemed to tarnish or corrode it always shined brilliantly. It was flexible yet strong. It expressed all of the traits of the divine. This meant that Gold held a perfected consciousness and was one with the all. So, its essence must be woven to our own for us to shine this same reflection of divinity. At least that’s how the Egyptians saw it.
Because alchemical philosophy states that all is made of a Soul, Spirit, and Body then it must be that there is an Oil in all things. If it was Gold’s essence that was needed to make mans fractured soul whole, then capturing the Oil of Gold was what needed to be done. According to the alchemical philosophy, metals must be made of a Body, Soul, and Spirit. And, if alchemical theory is to be at all true then we must be able to show that there is an Oil, a Soul, and Consciousness hidden within Gold. It is through the practice of laboratory alchemy that one can show that truly there is an oil in metal.
The Oil of Gold when extracted and tinctured into white wine, tinges that wine a deep red. In the Egyptian initiatory rites to becoming a Pharaoh, a drink made of tinctured gold, referred to as Red Ale, was fed to the becoming pharaoh so that he could be in communion with the Father, the source, the Sun, and rule as God on Earth from the Crown.
The drinker of this essence was said to have opened the Eye of Horus, which allowed the Self to see through the eternal underworld of the unknown to the finite world of Man and conscious experience. In this way the Unconscious man become a fully conscious Pharaoh. Pharaoh means ‘Great House’ or ‘Temple.’ Its like saying “My body is my Temple.” A Pharaoh is an awakened individual who becomes the house of God. Through him divinity and infinity can exist amongst and within Man. He is Horus, uniting the upper and the lower kingdoms, the Above and the Below, the Inside and the Outside. The essence that makes Gold, the Sun, and the Self was seen as essential to a Pharaoh for that Pharaoh to actually exist. If that essence was found in Gold, then it was Gold’s essence that could be imbibed, taken within, and stitched to our forms as in communion.
The Oil of Gold
There really is an Oil in Gold. It is an essence that comes from the metal. It isn’t necessarily that Gold has an Oil inside of it, but that it can create an Oil from itself. We would understand the process of how the Oil of Gold is extracted today in scientific terms as understanding the mechanics of catalytic conversion reactions. This is basically when you use a metal to pass elements along and create new compounds in the process. Gold can be used to create a highly complex, organic, hydrophobic oil that has stimulating effects on the Pineal Gland leading to healing effects in the body and mind. The Oil of Gold contains no Gold metal in it, but is instead an organic essence coming from the metal. It was this essence which was tinctured into alcohol to form the ‘Red Ale’ of the Egyptian initiatory rites for becoming a Pharaoh, linking your soul - the actuating cause - to the source of all, becoming one and eternal.
It is from the Egyptians that alchemy was handed down, and it is through alchemy that we can know how the Oil of Gold is made. It is with the essence of Gold that we can stimulate our pineal gland, the third eye, and assist our stories to the awakening of the Horus within; the ruler, pharaoh, and Self that unites the internal and external landscapes of the soul. Born of the source, restored by our intellects, and guided by our consciousness – to have the Sun inside you is to drink of the essence of Gold.
Avery is the lead Alchemist at Kymia Arts and routinely shares information on general alchemy topics as well as our methods and products.