How to Protect Yourself From The Ancient Evil Eye Curse


By: Tasha Shayne  |  May 29, 2019

Even those who haven’t heard of the “evil eye” will likely recognize jewelry or home decor meant to ward it off. Ironically, the way to avoid the wrath of the evil eye may be to wear an eye that’s capable of neutralizing it. The evil eye curse not only dates back thousands of years, but is popular throughout myriad cultures around the world. This superstition has never quite fallen out of vogue and is still ubiquitously popular today.

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History of the Evil Eye

Dating back to Classical Antiquity, the origins of the “evil eye” can be found in ancient Eastern Mediterranean cultures, and references appear in numerous texts written by Hesiod, Callimachus, Plato, Diodorus Siculus, Theocritus, Plutarch, Heliodorus, Pliny the Elder, and Aulus Gellius — all who attempted to describe and explain its power.

The evil eye gained steam over the centuries, pushed from the Classical Age into the Greco-Roman era. But its spread across continents can really be attributed to the advancement of the Roman Empire, which seeded the rest of Europe and some parts of Asia with its culture. With the reign of Alexander the Great, the evil eye took root in the Middle East and Africa, before European colonists voyaged to the Americas and beyond, transplanting the fear of the evil eye throughout the New World.

Evil Eye Meaning

The fear is that the evil eye can be cast upon a person in a very literal sense, through a piercing stare. There was even speculation that the great philosopher Socrates possessed the evil eye because he was prone to glaring. His followers became known as “Blepedaimones,” a word that means “demon look” — and it wasn’t because they cast the evil eye, but rather because they were thought to be under the influence of Socrates.

One who casts the evil eye merely has to give another person or object a nasty look — and if the recipient is unguarded he or she is thought to fall prey to its effects. The effects are considered very serious, and the recipient of the evil eye may experience anything from a loss of appetite to death; if it’s cast upon an object, that object may break or malfunction.

Who Can Cast the Evil Eye?

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.

In the words of the great Heliodorus of Ernesa, “When anyone looks at what is excellent with an envious eye he fills the surrounding atmosphere with a pernicious quality, and transmits his own envenomed exhalations into whatever is nearest to him.”

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.

A few examples are as follow:

  • Those in Greek and Turkish traditions most commonly resemble a blue glass eye charm and are called “Nazar Boncugu” or “Nazar Boncuk.”

 

  • The Egyptians have guarded themselves with the recognizable eye of Horus, or the “Wadjet” or “Udjat,” and are typically made of blue-glazed faience or steatite.

 

  • In the Middle East, the “hamsa” or “hamesh” is often worn as metal jewelry, resembling a hand inscribed with prayers.

 

  • 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.

Additionally, one can ward off the evil eye with various actions or gestures, such as spitting on a person who has experienced good fortune, making certain gestures toward the person casting the evil eye, performing various rituals, or saying certain prayers.

Fashion statement or the ultimate protection

The evil eye is mentioned in Christian, Jewish, and Muslim texts as well as in many famous literary works. In Proverbs 23:6, the Bible warns, “Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats.”

Although a 1976 cross-cultural survey by folklorist John Roberts found that 36 percent of the world’s cultures believe in the evil eye, somehow amulets, talisman, and all sorts of jewelry are more ubiquitously worn now than ever before in history. Only the wearer knows for sure whether this is to ward off evil spirits or to stay on top of a perennial fashion statement — or maybe a little of both.

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