Since the dawn of time, mankind has always been afraid of evil and evil spirits. In all parts of the world, it is possible to come across rituals for keeping evil spirits away. The evil eye is believed to cause harm to someone or something. Supernatural harm may come in the form of minor misfortunes, as well as more serious diseases, injuries or even death.
It is believed the evil eye can be cast by anyone, whether that person is aware he or she is casting it. The motive, though, is generally one of envy, and the victim is generally one who has achieved excessive praise, fortune, or success.
The evil eye – first recorded by the Mesopotamian about 5,000 years ago in cuneiform on clay tablets, the evil eye may actually have originated as early as the Upper Paleolithic age. We find this figure in Jewish, Christian and Muslim cultures as well as Buddhist and Hindu societies.
Evil Eye Protection
For every curse, there is an antidote — and the evil eye is no different. Apotropaic magic has been heavily relied upon by those looking to get rid of the evil eye, and often comes in the form of repellent charms. Charms differ in appearance from culture to culture.
In Turkey, evil spirits come through “nazar,” a harmful gaze or an evil eye, and the best way to be protected from this “gaze” is to wear an evil eye talisman: A blue bead in the shape of an eye. In Turkey, many people believing in nazar and wear this evil eye talisman or hang it on their walls to keep bad spirits away.
In the Middle East, the “Hamsa hand” or “hamesh” is often worn as metal jewelry, resembling a hand inscribed with prayers. This ancient amulet symbolizes the Hand of God and considered a protective sign. It is believed to bring its owner happiness, luck, health, and good fortune.
The Egyptians have guarded themselves with the recognizable eye of Horus, or the “wedjat” or “udjat,” and are typically made of blue-glazed faience or steatite. It is a combination of a human and a falcon eye because Horus was associated with a falcon. The word ‘wedjat’ means “the one that is sound (again).”
Ojo de Venado or Deer’s Eye
In Mexico, the “ojo de venado,” a brown legume seed in the shape of an eye is worn or hung over whatever object is to be protected. The brown charm or “deer eye” is normally made from the dark brown seed of a plant known as Velvet Bean or Cowhage with the image of Virgin Mary and finished with a fluffy red tassel.
Additionally, one can ward off the evil eye with various actions, gestures or saying certain prayers.
featured image © Dennis Skley