What Is The Evil Eye?
The "Evil Eye" or "Evil Look" is the belief that certain individuals are capable of possessing the power to injure or cause harm to their fellow humans, their animals, livelihoods or even properties with a mere glance. The Evil Eye is said to be particularly harmful to babies, children or expecting mothers.
It is not just a glance, but rather a combination of the uttering of words and the glare which creates the Evil Eye curse.
The Evil Eye is often associated with jealousy, envy, and malevolent thoughts; however, it is not always performed maliciously, nor is it always on purpose.
The words can be negative; however, the words can also be words of praise or congratulation, said with a mental reservation or envy that produces the opposite effect of the words spoken. For example, an individual saying that someone has a lovely child, whilst also being envious because they do not have children could potentially cast an Evil Eye curse. This curse could bring about injury, illness, or death to the infant.
The History Of The Evil Eye
In magical writings, the Evil Eye is often depicted as an eye and can be traced back as far as the third millennium BC to Sumerian clay tablets. These clay tablets later formed the basis of the Babylonian and Assyrian literature that has been found in relation to the Evil Eye.
Belief in the Evil Eye can be seen in ancient Mesopotamia. It is prevalent in Middle Eastern, Central Asian, Mediterranean, and European countries alike, being a widely recognised concept.
The concept has been documented in religious texts, folklore, and historical accounts throughout history, with most languages, ancient and modern, containing a word or expression for the Evil Eye.
In fact the Evil Eye is such a prevalent concept that the "Nazar" amulet to protect against the Evil Eye, even has its own emoji!🧿
How To Protect Against The Evil Eye
The unintentional nature of the Evil Eye curse makes it a difficult one to spot. You may be wondering “How do I protect myself or my loved ones from the Evil Eye”?
The first step to protect yourself from the Evil Eye is to be aware of it. Being aware that it is an energy exchange, you can stop yourself from giving and receiving the Evil Eye.
Because the Evil Eye is such a prevalent concept throughout the world, both regionally and culturally, there have been numerous methods of protection developed against it. Some of the protections created include various rituals, charms, talismans, or amulets said to ward off the Evil Eye.
Customs & Gestures
Certain customs have included, but are not limited to:
- The ancient Greeks and Romans sought protection from the Evil Eye by spitting into the folds of their clothes. They also had an old custom of dressing boys as girls in order to avoid the Evil Eye.
- Pliny had said that the plant Rue is a very protective plant to ward against the Evil Eye. Rue can be carried for it's protective nature.
- The "Fig Sign" is a hand gesture that uses two fingers and a thumb (of the same hand) and is commonly used to ward off the Evil Eye. Another gesture used in this way is the "Sign of the Horns". This sign that was popularised by rock bands, and taken to be a "devils sign" is actually commonly used in Italy and the Mediterranean region to ward off bad luck when confronted with unfortunate events and as a protection against the Evil Eye. These gestures are made towards the individual casting the Evil Eye, but are not necessarily done in the open, rather many create the gestures in their pockets.
- In Italy, it is a common custom to spit after receiving a compliment in order to protect against the Evil Eye.
- It is also common in many cultures to attach a piece of red string/ribbon to the outfit of a baby to ward against the Evil Eye.
Amulets & Talismans
As far back as the 6th Century BC, amulets to ward against the Evil Eye, known as “eyecups” appeared in Chalcidian drinking vessels. Ever since, and it seems independently of each other, many cultures have developed objects, often referred to as "apotropaic" (from Greek αποτρέπειν "to ward off") amulets which are intended to ward off or deflect the negative energy associated with the Evil Eye.
Peisistratus hung the figure of a kind of grasshopper before the Acropolis of Athens for protection.
Phallic charms known as fascinum (Latin) from the verb fascinare, “to cast a spell” have been found throughout Europe and into the Middle East from the first century BC to the fourth century AD. These charms were often in the form of jewellery (pendants and finger rings), but have also appeared as stone carvings on buildings (such as the Leptis Magna), mosaics and wind chimes (tintinnabula). The Cornicello is a good example of one of these pendants. Italians will sometimes put a red cornicello also known as cornetto (Italian for “little horn”) in their car or would wear one as a form of jewellery in order to guard against the Evil Eye (malocchio).
In the Middle East, people may wear or hang from the rearview mirror of their car, amulets or talismans, such as a blue eye-shaped symbol, known as the Nazar, or round Turkish beads known as boncuk (sometimes called a göz boncuğu or eye bead) to protect themselves against the Evil Eye.
These amulets are usually made of glass and contain concentric blue and white circles (usually, from inside to outside, dark blue, light blue, white, and dark blue) which are representative of the Evil Eye. In fact, ancients in the Middle East, believed that people with light coloured eyes (such as blue or green) could curse you with just one look (this has been suggested to be due to the fact that this eye colour was uncommon in that region back then). This belief seems to be reflected in the Assyrian turquoise and blue-eye amulets.
Aside from the Evil Eye being generated by blue eyes, the Sumerians feared red eyes. Red eyes in Samaria were associated with snakes, and in the Kabbalah, an amulet of ordinary red wood was attached to the left wrist of an individual to protect the wearer from illness, envy, and demons.
Another popular form of protection against the Evil Eye, throughout North Africa and in the Middle East, is known as the Hamsa or Hand of Fatima. The Hamsa, most commonly used among Muslim and Jewish communities is a symbol of divine protection. It is a palm shaped amulet depicting an open right hand with 5 fingers and is commonly (but not always) seen with an eye in the centre of it.
Do I Need An Evil Eye Amulet & What Happens If It Breaks?
As with all of the information on the Evil Eye, these topics are up for debate. Generally speaking, if you feel as though you are at risk of the Evil Eye, and let's face it, throughout history, humans have not been known for their lack of envy and disdain for one another, you could probably use an Evil Eye amulet. If you have been experiencing bad luck, maybe try incorporating an amulet or trying some of the gestures that have been used, either way it cannot hurt and may even work! These amulets have existed for a long time for a reason.
As for your amulet breaking, some say that it is bad luck, however many people believe that if the amulet breaks, it is a sign that it has done its job and should be discarded and another purchased.
*Please note that this information is for educational purposes only. It is certainly not an exhaustive list of protections against the Evil Eye. We have attempted to represent the information as accurately as possible, if you have any further insights, leave us a comment. Also check out the references for more info!
Let us know in the comments how you or your family protect against the Evil Eye!
If you are looking to purchase Evil Eye protection products, check out our range of Nazar keyrings in our collection here.
Budge, E. A. W. 19 Feb 2013. Amulets and Superstitions. Courier Corporation.
Dr. Lynn, H. Evil Archaeology: Demons, Possessions, and Sinister Relics.2 August 2019. Disinformation Books
(23, June 21). Evil Eye. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 27, 2023, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_eye
(2023, May 21). Apotropaic magic. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 27, 2023, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apotropaic_magic
(2023, June 21). Fig sign. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 27, 2023, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fig_sign
Sign of the horns. (2023, June 10). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sign_of_the_horns
(n.d.). 🧿 Nazar Amulet. Emojipedia. Retrieved July 3, 2023, from https://emojipedia.org/nazar-amulet/