Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Association of the Week : The Eye

Author: Paulo Coelho

The eye is always associated in traditional cultures with light and spiritual perceptions. According to ancient beliefs, the eye was not a passive receiver of light, but rather a source of light.

It is believed that such was the power of the eye that certain creatures would have magical powers in their eyes. It is the case of Medusa in Greek mythology that would petrify anyone that would look at her. In Ancient Ireland, Balor, the king of Fomorians,, would use in the battlefields his bad eye against his enemies. This belief in the bad eye gave rise in many cultures, especially Mediterranean ones, to many amulets supposed to protect people.

The positive connotation of the eye is nevertheless wider and thus the eye is associated with knowledge and by extension with the power of foresight. But the access to this type of vision – that goes beyond the mere appearance of things – is usually achieved by the sacrifice of this very organ. The wise man Tiresias, Apollo’s priest, was blind. The Scandinavian God Odin also gives one of his eyes to the Giant Mimir for knowledge. In Christianity the All Seeing Eye of God is represented inside the sun of a pyramid – which means that God sees all everywhere and always.

Now you take the floor: what do you associate with the eye?

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