The eyes have fascinated the world since as long as anybody can remember. There are numerous stories circulating around the eye, some of them magical while others not so much. But no matter how much time passes, the fascination with the eye never wanes. There is just so much wonder hidden in the depth of our eyes that we, as humans, can’t help but believe magic to be involved.
Considering the fact that people believe the eyes hold a lot of power, it cannot be overlooked that the power could both be good and bad. And that is where the concept of the evil eye comes from.
The concept of evil eye dates back to ancient times when anything that happened without an apparent cause would be blamed on supernatural forces and if something bad were to happen to you, people would say that you have been cursed with the evil eye. Which begs the question, what is the evil eye?
Know the Eye
The evil eye is said to be a curse which is cast upon you by another whether intentional or unintentional, which results in malicious events happening to the individual who has been cursed. There are three kinds of evil eyes; the first being which is cast unintentionally by the person, for example if a person likes something or someone too much and praises frequently, then the other person can get the evil eye. The second is which is cast intentionally because the individual is jealous and wishes harm to the other. The third kind is known as the invisible or the hidden evil eye which happens to be the most powerful kind and if often referred to in regards to Horus, who when opened his eye the world became enlightened but when he closed it, the world was plunged into darkness.
Moreover, the evil eye has relevance in almost every culture and most of all it also incorporates religion into it, considering people often claim it as a pagan concept. However, Prophet Muhammad, who happens to be the last prophet according to Islamic claims and is a prominent figure in the Islamic religion has warned against the evil eye. And not only that but even in Judaism there is a warning against the evil eye.
And in order to protect yourself from the evil eye, one wears what is known as the evil eye talisman, which is also known as ‘nazar’. This talisman offers protection from the evil eye as it itself looks like an eye with a sapphire blue outer ring with white and sky blue inner rings, ending with a black circle. However, there are other ways people use to protect themselves from the evil eye. Another variant of this is the hand symbol with an eye in the center of it known as “Khamsa” or “Hamsa” which is also known as the Hand of Fatima, or the Hand of Miriam, and is said to protect from the evil eye.
Counter the Eye
Wearing the talisman is just one of the ways one can protect himself or herself from the evil eye. But this symbol mainly comes from Turkey, whereas other cultures and religions take into account different methods when it comes to protecting yourself from the evil eye.
The Muslims often use the words “Masha Allah” or “God has willed it” whenever they are praising someone and do not want to curse them with the evil eye. Similarly Prophet Muhammad instructed one to take a bath in order to get rid of the evil eye and to read some verses from the Koran in order to protect yourself from the evil eye.
The Hindus on the other hand believe that jealousy is the root of all evil and if you have been cursed with the evil eye, then someone or the other is jealous of you, and it is also believe that women tend to be a lot more jealous as compared to men, therefore the women line their eyes with kohl in order to protect themselves from the evil eye as well as to prevent from giving it to others.
Some cultures also make use of a black dot and paint it on their face or on their neck in order to protect themselves from the effects of the evil eye curse. While others carry the symbol of the cross to ward themselves against any evil.
The Greeks would burn the fur of the bear to get rid of the curse, while other cultures resorted to the aid of a gypsy who would be required to massage the head of the person afflicted.
Women who had babies often kept various items close by in order to protect themselves such as metal objects and strings of various colors along with items like bread, salt, etc.
Beliefs and Superstitions about the Eye
Now this part is particularly interesting for me to write considering I love folklore and myths surrounding different topics, and there are plenty of myths and beliefs surrounding this concept of the Evil Eye. But I would not be stating all of them here because there are just so many.
So the first myth obviously involves witches and how people blamed witches for the evil eye curse because witches were considered to be the epitome of evil at that time.
The Hindus believe that not only people but also animals like snakes have the power to cast the curse of the evil eye, which results in your life going topsy turvy.
In some parts of the world it is believed that sincere praise does not have the power to cast evil eye and that only insincere praise and compliments have the power to do that, whereas in other parts of the world all sorts of compliments and praise have the power to cast an evil eye.
The Greeks believed that the gods and goddesses were punishing the people for their wrong doings by casting the evil eye on them, amongst others.
The Eye Today
The evil eye, especially the talisman has become quite a fashion statement in today’s world. Not only do you see the symbol in jewelry and around you but celebrities have also been photographed wearing the symbol of the evil eye.
However, some cultures still retain their beliefs and superstitions in regards to the curse of the evil eye, whereas others have discarded the notion and now only make reference to the evil eye as a joke or a metaphor.
Regardless of whether you believe in the evil eye or not, it is a ubiquitous symbol which is quite popular around the world and holds multiple meanings for people, because not only is the symbol unique and attractive, it also holds meaning, not only traditional or religious but personal as well.
Food for Thought
After reading the article, I would like to know from you guys:
- Do you have any stories or experiences you would like to share in regards to the evil eye?
- Do you know of any myths and superstitions which I did not mention in this article?