Eyebrow Culture

Many ancient cultures regarded eyes as highly important, reflected in traditional iconography and symbolic representations. In Ancient Egypt, one of the metaphorical names of the Eye of Horus was the Eye of the Mind. As a civilisation they illustrated a deep commitment to exploring the intricate functions of the central nervous system in relation to medicine and anatomy combined with a profound belief in mythology.

Eyebrows were believed to represent wisdom and thought, reflected in visual displays such as Tutankhamun’s famous gold mask, with the marks often depicted as reaching deep inside the head to relate anatomically to the corpus callosum. Containing the largest white matter fibres within the brain it facilitates rapid transmission of neuronal impulses between both brain hemispheres to ensure both sides can communicate and send signals to each other.

As well as framing our face and expressing various emotions, eyebrows have an important role in helping to form our identity and allowing others to read information. They function to protect the eyes, keeping them clean and clear by preventing sweat and moisture from entering, directing it along the hair growth to help maintain sight. Celebrated throughout history they remain a consistent feature of modern day fashion and the physical expression of beauty. 

Bringing awareness towards the eyebrow centre during meditation can provide a wonderful felt experience of peace and calm, as well as a sense of balance within the body. Neuroscience is beginning to support the theory that practicing daily meditation not only increases the volume of white matter within the brain but also strengthens the lines of communication between areas. 

An early interest in Egyptology began in the wake of the Treasures of Tutanhhamun exhibition held at the British Museum, London in the early 1970’s and developed through numerous visits to dealers and collectors as a child. Later, whilst studying in the British Museum and cataloguing Antiquities at Bonhams, I developed a deep fascination with the artistic representation of eyes. 

Continuing to observe the connection between mind and body in my own practice and as a teacher of meditation and yoga, I am often reminded of these images. As I step forward in my own experience, I take a look back to see the insight of the past reflected in my own eyes and raise my brows in appreciation of its wisdom.