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Eye of Providence

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"There is a theory going around that the U.S.A. was and still is a gigantic Masonic plot under the ultimate control of the group known as the Illuminati. It is difficult to look for long at the strange single eye crowning the pyramid which is found on every dollar bill and not begin to believe the story, a little."
Thomas Pynchon

The Eye of Providence is commonly confused for (or just outright replaced with) the Eye of Horus, and thus everyone thinks that it came from Ancient Egypt. In reality, it was invented by Renaissance-era Christianity as a symbol for the Holy Trinity and their benevolent omniscience.

After a while, the symbol would reach meme-status among various Christian organizations with a policy towards exclusivity, Gratuitous Latin and spooky robes like the Freemasons and The Illuminati. News of what these people did would leak out into the public and like a virus, it would spread and mutate until the idea became a brainworm of abject terror. The Eye of Providence lost its connections to a chill and loving Yahweh and became associated with Nebulous Criminal Conspiracies.

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Whenever there's a triangle in a painting or in the background of a screen-shot of a cartoon for elementary schoolers, expect the Conspiracy Theorists on YouTube to post hour-long videos on how the media is being controlled by the Deep State on behalf of the Illuminati, which itself is run by Satanic Lizard Men from the other side of the Flat Earth. Or something.

Often Sigil Spammed as a short-hand for Big Brother Is Watching, Government Agencies, Mystery Cults, Magical Societies, Secret Societies, Wainscot Societies, etc. After all, pyramids as a symbol evoke a presence.


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Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Art 
  • The most commonly seen image associated with the Eye of Providence is on the back of the United States one-dollar bill. Real Life conspiracy theorists use this to leap onto the idea that the government is under the control of a Shadow Government. Typically The Illuminati.
  • Mystical Medleys: A Vintage Cartoon Tarot:
    • The back of every card is a parody of the Bicycle Rider playing cards with the eyes of providences in a figure eight
    • The head of "The Fool" is that of a pyramid with a singular eye.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • National Treasure: The Eye of Providence over an unfinished pyramid, as depicted on the United States $1 dollar bill, is used to represent the Freemasons who founded the US and secretly hid an ancient treasure trove. In the prologue, Ben's grandfather tells their origins dating back to ancient Egypt, and his face fades from view except for one eye over a pyramid missing its upper point, visually evoking the Eye of Providence.

    Literature 
  • Harry Potter: The Sign of the Deathly Hallows bears a remarkable resemblance to the typical Eye of Providence, being a vertical line and a circle within a triangle. The icon represents the Deathly Hallows, Ancient Artifacts believed to possess phenomenal magical power even by Wizarding standards. While believed to be nothing more than a fairy tale in the Wizarding World, there is an ancient order of people that believe them to be real. After wizarding terrorist Gellert Grindelwald adopted the symbol (being a believer in their existence), the symbol has since been associated with him and his atrocities, making it the wizarding equivalent of a Nazi swastika or the Iron Cross.
  • Illuminatus!: The eye-in-the-pyramid is an omnipresent symbol of the world-spanning conspiracy (of which The Illuminati are just a small branch) that the heroes are fighting. Eventually, the latter even discover the (in-story) origin/inspiration of said symbol: a giant sea monster named Leviathan, slumbering in the sunken ruins of Atlantis, shaped like a pyramid with a giant glowing sphere inside it that looks like an eyenote .

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Bookkeeper from American Gods (2017) is one of the most powerful entities in America, being a God of Wealth and Money. His heralds, a trio of Ambiguously Human girl-scouts, are adorned with the Eye of Providence in the form of merit-badges. Both Mr. Wednesday (representing The Old Gods) and Mr. World (representing The New Gods) plead for his support in their war, but the Bookkeeper ultimately decides to remain neutral.
  • The Pentaverate:
    • The titular organization has an Eye of Providence with a capital "V" (the Roman Numeral for 5) on the front for its insignia, The Pentaverate being a benevolent shadow government that tries to use their influence for the good of mankind with... mixed results.
    • The Pentaverate's Master Computer Mentor is pictured as a human eye being displayed on a triangular screen.

    Mythology 
  • Ultimately the roots of this symbol are the associations of the eye with the sun in pretty much all cultures across the world, sometimes as the eye of the Top God. The Wedjat of Egyptian Mythology may more narrowly be the "ancestor" to the Eye of Providence, being pretty similar (albeit filtered heavily through Christian iconography).

    Pinball 
  • The Twilight Zone has you fight "the power", which is represented by a pyramid like this.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 

    Web Original 
  • In the What If? entry "All the Money", one of the cartoons shows someone asking the US Mint why they make so many pennies, and getting the reply "We don't know. The pyramid with the big floating eye gives the orders in there." The Alt Text reads "It keeps appearing on the money even though we never put it on the engraving plates."

    Web Comics 
  • Sinfest: The small flying drones used by the Devil to survail and intimidate the populace are designed as this with a pair of wings (there's also a variant that looks like a centipede). Typically their image on any item or location is an indicator the evil conspiracy controlling the world is present... when the artist bothers to remember they're supposed to be evil.

    Western Animation 
  • The Big Bad from Gravity Falls is Bill Cipher, a Mad God from the Nightmare Dimension that takes the form of a triangle with a single eye, a hat and limbs. He is revealed to be the Greater-Scope Villain behind the mysterious journals that drive the main narrative, the books having been separated and hidden to prevent Bill from entering the waking world and bringing about Weirdmaggedon. His image can be found all over the town, Word of God stating that this is how he is able to keep an eye on the events that goes on there.
  • Inside Job (2021) is about a group of people who wrangle the world's very real Conspiracy Kitchen Sink. Fittingly, the Eye Of Providence appears on a screen in a couple of promotional materials as one of the conspiracies Reagan is watching over.
  • Minoriteam: The major villain, The White Shadow has the Eye of Providence on his mask/face. He exists to oppress all American racial minorities.
  • The Order of the Triad from The Venture Bros. is a Supernatural Team who's team icon is an Eye of Providence surrounded by a two-headed snake with a lit flame over its eye. Ironically, they are a small organization (only three members) who are minor players in the wider world of Superheroism/Supervillainy, the icon based on their association with mysticism.


 
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Bill Cipher

The Big Bad from Gravity Falls is Bill Cipher, a Mad God from the Nightmare Dimension that takes the form of a triangle with a single eye, a hat and limbs. He is revealed to be the Greater-Scope Villain behind the mysterious journals that drive the main narrative, the books having been separated and hidden to prevent Bill from entering the waking world and bringing about Weirdmaggedon. His image can be found all over the town, Word of God stating that this is how he is able to keep an eye on the events that goes on there.

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