making eyesEyes are powerful symbols.

The mere glance glimmer gawk gaze ogle glare bore focus beam sparkle peek peer look goggle gape leer ( did I miss any?) reveals a character’s emotions.

No wonder the eyes are the windows of the soul. But there’s more to eyes than…well, meets the eye!

Eyes are powerful symbols whose meanings have ancient beginnings.

  • The Right  of Horus– or God of Ra, is the sign Wadjet, the sky god who is depicted as a falcon ( and that’s why the eye is falcon-ish in appearance) and associated with the sun, protection, royal power, and health.
  • The Left of of Horus  represents the moon. Shown together, they represent the entire universe.
  • The Third Eye or ajna (connected to the brow chakra) is associated with spiritual sight, enlightenment, or a heightened state of awareness/consciousness. It’s the eye used by clairvoyants, mediums, psychics, and seers.
  • The Eye of Providence or all-seeing eye of God, is often depicted enclosed by a triangle (the trinity) with emanating rays of light signifying God’s omnipresence and omnipotence.
  • The Evil Eye describes someone looking at you with an evil intent such as hatred, wicked envy, or malevolence. This look it is so fraught with negative energy it’s dubbed the Evil Eye. The greatest injury is to those who do not know the Evil Eye was aimed at them–thereby allowing negative energy to permeate their bodies and souls. To counter this, people wore amulets to deflect these cursed stares. See Lucky Charms.
Eyes are symbolic of:
  • enlightenment
  • knowledge
  • wisdom
  • discernment
  • spirituality
Greek Myths:
  • Cyclopes had one eye, which suggests they did not have the wisdom or self-awareness of the humans they enjoyed terrorizing.
  • The Eye on a Peacock‘s feathers indicate mankind’s penchant for being overly concerned with appearances and the external world.Goddess Hera tossed the giant Argos’ 100 eyes (he only closed a few at a time when sleeping) onto the bird’s feathers.
Does the color of a character’s eyes matter?
  • Brown eyes are opaque and seen as less emotional and more ordinary.
  • Black eyes are deemed evil or cold-hearted OR, conversely, their emotions are of a fathomless depth.
  • Blue eyes are associated with emotional and/or ethereal qualities, perhaps they appear more transparent, and thus believe we can see into their soul. Blue eyes are associated with the water and sky, two divine and mysterious elements. It’s also easier for others to see pupil dilation in a blue-eyed person–which we know indicates emotion.
  • Green eyes are deemed mysterious, exotic, magical, and are often equated with witches and sorcery.
Eyes—no matter what color—can be described as:
  • cold = unemotional
  • hard = uncaring
  • warm = kind
  • soft = loving and affectionate
  • watery/cloudy = stricken with overwhelming emotion
  • deep = harboring secrets or unexpressed emotion
  • sparkling = excited, anticipatory, happy, and/or smitten
  • dilated = indicating sexual arousal or drug use
  • glowing = creepy, netherworld, evil, OR divine and celestial
  • bright = keen, intelligent, curious
  • sharp =accusatory, wary
  • wide = wonder, amazement, incredulity
  • blank = devoid of emotion, socio-pathic, zombie-like

A word about blindness: In literature, blindness is equated with wisdom. Prophets (Tiresias) in Greek plays are blind. They see with their hearts the truth in an event, character, or circumstance. Visual seeing is NOT believing. When Oedipus blinds himself after discovering he fulfilled the prophesy he tried avoiding, the reader understands the symbolic nature of his act. A more current example is Neo in The Matrix. In the final movie, he no longer needs to see, his inner sight/intuition/conscious the only sense he needs to “see” the truth. Another fun movie that “focuses” on eyes and is rife with eye symbolism is Equilibrium.

Have fun seeing your characters with new eyes!

Related Links:  Rock Your Writing; Symbolism & more symbols;
Click  Amazon link for novels.

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