Won't you look down and guide me, Wadjet ...

The Eye of Horus (previously wadjet and the Eye of the Moon; and afterward as The Eye of Ra) is an ancient Egyptian symbol of protection and royal power from deities, in this case from Horus or Ra. The ancients believed this symbol of indestructibility would assist in rebirth, thus it would have been very important to someone being buried. It represents a human eye with the cheek markings of a falcon.

In addition to being a mystical talisman, the Eye was also used for math, specifically to measure and represent fractions. They were created by combining sections of the Eye of Horus symbol. Each section has a different value. The complete Eye of Horus with all parts in place has a value of 1. In reality the complete Eye of Horus represents 63/64, which is rounded off to 1.

Eye of Horus - Fractions

The system is based on halves. Half of 1 equals 1/2, half of 1/2 equals 1/4 and so on until the smallest value of 1/64. By adding together the values of different sections fractions are created.

  • 1/2 was represented by smell, symbolized by the right side of the eye in a form of the nose. The pyramid text says:
    • Behold [the fire] rises in Abydos and it comes;
      I cause it to come, the Eye of Horus.
      It is set in order upon thy brow, O Osiris Khenti-Amenti;
      it is set in the shrine and rises on thy brow.
  • 1/4 was represented by sight or the sensation of light, symbolized by the pupil. The pyramid text says:
    • Perfect is the Eye of Horus.
      I have delivered the Eye of Horus, the shining one,
      the ornament of the Eye of Ra, the Father of the Gods.
  • 1/8 was represented by thought, symbolized by the eyebrow. The pyramid text says:
    • The Eye of Horus hath made me holy...
      I will hide myself among you,
      O ye stars which are imperishable.
      My brow is the brow of Ra.
  • 1/16 was represented by hearing, symbolized by the left side of the eye in the form of an arrow pointing towards the ear. The pyramid text says:
    • That which has been shut fast/dead
      hath been opened by the command of the Eye of Horus,
      which hath delivered me.
      Established are the beauties on the forehead of Ra.
  • 1/32 was represented by taste, by the sprouting of wheat or grain from the planted stalk, symbolized by a curved tail. The pyramid text says:
    • Come, the Eye of Horus hath delivered for me my soul,
      my ornaments are established on the brow of Ra.
      Light is on the faces of
      who are in the members of Osiris.
  • 1/64 was represented by touch, symbolized by a leg touching the ground, or what can also be thought of as a strong plant growing into the surface of the earth. The pyramid text says:
    • I shall see the Gods and the Eye of Horus
      burning with fire before my eyes!