It’s been said that eyes are the windows into the soul. They reveal our unspoken fear, desire, and vulnerability. They symbolize pretty much everything – protection, power and good health to the ancient Egyptians in the form of the eye of Horus, the omnipresence of God when placed inside a triangle in Western occult, and a source of bad or good luck (the “evil eye”) in many cultures.

Eye miniatures were an art form quite popular in aristocratic England between the 1790s and 1820s. Later coined as Lover’s Eyes, they were hand-painted portraits on ivory or thick parchment paper and set into various forms of jewelry. The history behind the Lover’s Eye is as juicy as the paintings are gorgeous. Romantic love didn’t typically exist within the confines of a marriage in the Victorian Era, so affairs were commonplace. How would you show your loyalty to your lover? By wearing a sentimental portrait of an unidentifiable part of your partner, of course. And since just the eye of one’s lover was visible, the piece could be worn while your inamorata’s identity remained a secret.

Less than a thousand lover’s eyes were fashioned during this time, and the fascination that surrounds these pieces has not subsided. Replicas have been made, in the form of rings, necklaces, and earrings from designers such as Delfina Delettrez, Datter and Lulu Frostl2116xjnbhf07351189021562252. These contemporary versions may not share a past with forbidden love—they also appear more bold and eccentric—, but hey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and we are loving these more idiosyncratic re-interpretations.

The piece left of center in the inspiration board is the “Eye of Time,” a brooch made of platinum, ruby, and diamonds by artist Salvador dali in 1949.  Twenty years prior to the brooch, friends from college, Dali and director Luis Buñuel, claimed they completed the screenplay for Un Chien Andalou in six days.  The film begins with a man holding a woman’s eye open.  "We had to look for the plot line. Dalí said to me, "I dreamed last night of ants swarming around in my hands', and I said, "Good Lord, and I dreamed that I had sliced somebody or other's eye. There's the film, let's go and make it.”

What could be more compelling than this vignette? We can’t take our eyes off the slicing of the eye. The image is shocking, irrational, compelling—the very definition of surrealism- the act so harshly unexpected, random, unimaginable to our eyes. Dali and Buñuel’s plot is not easy to forget. So connected to our subconscious fears, so simultaneously real and strange that it collapses on itself. 

Aren’t we are all looking for our plot lines?  We search for our next destination, whether it’s a physical place, online, or in our dreams.  At Nomad we’ve been thinking about sight and the sites we frequent.  As inspired as they may be, our retinas could use a little vacation from the hours a day spent staring- at a computer, I-Pad, cell screens, whatever ones digital tool is.  Below, find a few ways to rest your eyes, so you can relax, refocus, and gain a sense of calm.

Rub your hands together to create friction. Cup the hands over your closed eyes.  Feel the eyes relax behind the lids. You can repeat this step in between the next steps. Open your eyes wide three times and close the eyes tightly three times. Look up and down a few times and right to left a few times. Circle the eyes like a clock. Start at the center, look up to 12 o’clock, 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock etc. When you get back to 12, take the eyes to the center, and close the lids. Try staring at a candle afterward.  Trataka, in Sanskrit, means to gaze or to look. It is the practice of staring at some external object like a candle flame. It is used in yoga to strengthen the eyes, and to improve focus and concentration and to open the third eye, Ajna Chakra, the center of intuition and insight.

Eyes are the medium in which we perceive the world in its physical form. Taking a few moments from the day to give our vision a break, reconnect with ourselves, and to find a balance within will help in opening the third eye; we can then better process and interpret what we see. And similar to heads, three eyes are better than two.
~Susan Brickell