The Evil Eye: A Spell Everyone Can Cast LOAD MAGAZINE

The Evil Eye: A Spell Everyone Can Cast – ISSUE Article

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Imagine you are in Greece, strolling around the center of a city or a small village. Looking around, you can see the blue eye symbol everywhere you look. Tourist shops have it in all forms: jewelry, amulets, stickers, shirts, keychains and so on. Traditional taverns and cafés have it as decoration, and if you look closely at people, they are probably wearing it as some sort of charm. Gigi Hadid has even launched a shoe line with it called ‘EyeLove’ and every phone has the evil eye emoji. Despite its popularity, especially in recent years, the evil eye is not just a symbol; it is a belief that dates back thousands of years across many cultures. But what exactly does it mean?

Mules from the ‘EyeLove’ collection

What is the Evil Eye and Ways to Avert it

The evil eye is believed to be a ‘curse’ from the malicious negative energy and envy of another person. The evil eye belief suggests that the success, prosperity and beauty of a person can attract jealousy from ill-disposed individuals and their good fortune may be overturned. The curse could manifest itself as misfortune, illness or even death and could be caused by anyone and to anyone. That is why there have been developed several measures in order to avert it. For example, some Asian and African cultures believe that the soul can exit the body more easily when the mouth is open, so there is a worry about the evil eye when drinking and eating. As a result, in the homes of believers, each person eats separately behind closed doors or only with their immediate family. Other practices include eating protective foods, charms, amulets and the reading of sacred texts which is often linked to religion. However, the most effective protection is thought to be the symbol itself.

Origins of the Symbol

The eye symbol (called ‘nazar’ in Arabic or ‘mati’ in Greek) is used as an amulet to ward off this malicious energy and protect the receiver of the curse. It has originated from multiple ancient cultures in Asia, Latin America and the Mediterranean and is a form of superstition. The widely-known eye consists of four concentric circles: a deep blue outer layer, a white sclera, a pale blue iris and a black pupil. One of the first appearances of the symbol was in Ancient Greece around 8,000 BC on Chalkidian drinking vessels, but it has also been seen in many other ancient civilizations across the world. The reason for its blue color is thought to be the rarity of people with blue or green eyes in the Mediterranean, who are believed by some to be more susceptible to casting the curse.

The Evil Eye: A Spell Everyone Can Cast

Contemporary nazar amulets, 2009. Photo by Marc Tarlock, via Flickr.

Evil Eye and Religion

In the Mediterranean and especially in Greece, the evil eye has been accepted by the Church, who attributes its effect to envy and the devil. It is also mentioned in some passages of the Bible, which explains why the Greek Church has an ancient prayer against it. In modern Greek culture, the evil eye is averted through ‘ksematiasma’, a process in which a person recites a secret prayer passed over by an older relative. If the person is indeed under the influence of ‘mati’, then the one who recited the prayer starts to yawn and even tear up, theoretically absorbing the malicious energy. Many blame the evil eye as one of the primary reasons for having a headache or extreme fatigue and feel better after ‘ksematiasma’ is performed. Is it just a placebo effect or does the negative energy really leave their bodies?

Reflection on Human Relationships

It is evident that the superstition related to the evil eye is directly linked to the nature of human relationships. Ever since ancient times, humans have always been weary of one another with distrust and jealousy plaguing their relationships. They tend to focus on their differences and often forget to reflect on what unites them, making ‘good’ seem rare. The evil eye is proof of that unity and interconnection of humankind. Despite different history, culture or traditions around the world, the belief in the evil eye curse was developed separately in multiple areas of the world. This has happened many times throughout the course of history, showing that there are key similarities between people and civilizations, connecting anthropology with history.

For a big part of society, the evil eye is not just a charm for good luck; it is a belief and casting it away consists of a standard practice in the everyday lives of people. For others, it is simple folklore and superstition. This lack of agreement about the true nature of the evil eye is proof of the difference perception can make. However, whether you believe in the power of the evil eye or not, we can not deny that its mystical nature has a huge cultural significance across many civilizations around the globe.

So, the next time you have a headache or things are not going your way, give casting away the evil eye a try and who knows, maybe your good fortune will come back. Keep an -evil- eye out.

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