So, I was all set up ready to start the new year with a new blog. 2016’s blogging year had become rather a hodgepodge, thanks to chronic exhaustion and a fair few life disasters which intruded into all my activities. This time I wanted to start fresh, have it all clear and ready to go right from January 1st instead of starting in April as I’d done before. I had it all worked out in my head, it seemed good, and then I made the mistake of taking it to God in prayer more deeply than I had before, to make sure it had his blessing. “No,” He said, “it’s going to be called The Eye of Horus.”
Right. That’s an ancient Egyptian god, yes? Great name for a Christian blog. The name floated in the back of my consciousness for a while, as God things tend to do, a little nagging awareness of something I needed to get my head and heart around. I did some research, and discovered that, in the ancient myths, rather than just being a distinctive image of a highly made up eye (my name, incidentally, is Hebrew for “horn of eyelash paint”) the left eye of Horus was torn out when he and Set were fighting for the throne after Osiris’ death, and then restored, and then given over to Osiris, in order to resurrect him. So, the Eye of Horus is a symbol of new life, resurrection, wholeness, healing, restoration as well as traditionally protection, royal power and good health.
In daily Egyptian life, depictions of the eye were used as pictographs for fractions, each piece of the picture being worth a certain part of the whole. For me, then, praying this symbolism through, it became clear that this year will be about the restoring of sight, fragment by fragment, part into whole, and this seems to sit right with a world that is constantly losing sight of what really matters.
Jesus talked about sight a great deal, especially spiritual sight, and how easily it can be skewed: “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22 NIVUK)
“If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:29 NIVUK)
“‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3 NIVUK)
A few days before Christmas, I dropped my beloved little Samsung point and click digital camera. The zoom stopped working and the pictures all came out very fuzzy. Now, I’m not much of a photographer, but recording sweet moments and pieces of my art, and finding beauty in our tiny garden, are very important parts of my confined life. Thankfully I hadn’t yet spent my parents’ Christmas money, and was able to put that towards a new camera in the sales. Another sign of a broken eye, and a new eye to replace it, perhaps? Or is that stretching a point too far? In any case, it feels right to make this a largely visual blog, using photos taken with a contemplative eye, a caring eye, a spiritual eye, a creative eye, a new eye, for this coming new year.
I often describe myself, as you know, as a mystic. This raises a few eyebrows here and there, but all it really means is one who sees. (I think of myself also as from the Catchphrase school of Christian mysticism – I say what I see!) And perhaps as we journey together this year you will gain insights into what kind of seeing I mean by this. And I pray the fragments will form some kind of wholeness by the end of the year.
I know there will be words too, because with me, there are always words. And I am doing nothing much bar framing the shot, unlike those who make contemplative photography into an art form, like my friend Kate (do check out her amazing blog, Shot at Ten Paces). But I hope you will join me in this prayerful journey, and that we will find some new ways of looking, of seeing, and find our sight restored in plentiful ways.
Blessings, and Happy New Year to all!