First recorded by the Mesopotamians about 5,000 years ago in cuneiform on clay
tablets, the Evil Eye may actually have originated as early as the Upper
Paleolithic age.The evil eye is a
belief that the
envy elicited by the good
of fortunate people may result in their misfortune, whether it is envy of
or of beauty,
offspring. The perception of the nature of the
phenomenon, its causes, and possible protective measures, varies between
different cultures. In some forms, it is the belief that some people can bestow
on victims by the malevolent
of their magical eye. The most common form, however, attributes the cause to
with the envious person casting the evil eye doing so unintentionally. Also the
effects on victims vary. Some cultures report afflictions with bad luck; others
believe the evil eye can cause
wasting away, and even
In most cultures, the primary victims are thought to be babies and young
children, because they are so often praised and commented upon by strangers or
by childless women.
In many forms of the evil eye belief, a person —
otherwise not malefic in any way — can harm adults,
livestock, or a possession, simply by looking at them
with envy. The word "evil" can be seen as somewhat misleading in this context,
because it suggests that someone has intentionally "cursed" the victim. A better
understanding of the term "evil eye" can be gained from the old
English word for casting the evil eye, namely
"overlooking," implying that the gaze has remained focused on the coveted
object, person, or animal for too long.
While some cultures hold that the evil eye is an
cast unintentionally by people unlucky enough to be cursed with the power to
bestow it by their gaze, others hold that, while perhaps not strictly voluntary,
the power is called forth by the
of envy. In
thought, it is sometimes asserted that the one who
looks upon another with envy is not always at fault, but that the envy may be
perceived by God, who then may redress the balance between two people by
bringing the higher one low. It has been suggested that the term covet
(to eye enviously) in the
tenth Commandment refers to casting the evil eye,
rather than to simply desire or envy.
It is also believed
that the people with colored eyes have the power of so called evil look. The
symbol of Goddess Osiris is an eye.
Belief in the evil eyes is strongest in the Middle East, South Asia and Europe,
especially the Mediterranean region; it has also spread to other areas,
including northern Europe, particularly in the Celtic regions, and the Americas,
where it was brought by European colonists and Middle Eastern immigrants.
Protection from the Evil Eye
Throughout the whole
human history, in every culture and religion, the eye figure has been considered
as a powerful talisman to defy evil forces.
Attempts to ward off the curse of the evil eye have resulted in a number of
in many cultures. These talismans are believed to have the power to ward off the
ill effects of the evil eye.
Blue evil eye
beads of Turkey - Nazar Boncugu say " Mash allah " - "
God has willed it
Images representing the evil eye can be found on beads and hamsa hands as
talismans. This sort of talisman is common in the Middle East.
Today, the real
eye beads (nazar boncugu) are produced only in Görece and Kurudere villages
near Izmir, by a handful of craftsmen that have devoted their lives to this art.
These masters of glass produce the magic objects of a universal belief with an
amazing technique. This art has changed very little since thousands of years.
People hang a small evil eye amulet from the rear view mirror of their car, keep
several small evil eye beads or charms on hand to give to guests, hang an evil
eye near their door in the home or office. Glass evil eyes are worn, in the form
of jewelry; evil eye bracelets, evil eye necklaces, evil eye anklets, gold or
silver evil eye charms and pendants, blue evil eye decorative talismans, evil
eye earrings - rings and plenty of evil eye ethnic jewelry sets
Jewish culture, the hamsa is called the
Hand of Miriam;
in Muslim culture, the
Hand of Fatima.
In ancient Rome,
people believed that
charms and ornaments offered proof against the evil eye. Such a charm was called
from the verb fascinare (the origin of the
English word "to fascinate"), "to cast a spell", such
as that of the evil eye.
Cornicello, which translates from
Italian as "little horn", is an
which was worn to protect against the
silver (once sacred to the moon goddess Luna) or red
(once sacred to the sea goddess Venus), these amulets were said to be sacred to
the moon goddess before the rise of
Christianity. They are primarily found in Italy and in
America among descendents of Italian immigrants, especially in the Northeast US.
The cornuto is still a popular amulet worn by Italian men to protect their
genitalia from the evil eye.
considered to be immune to the evil eye, so their
images are often found on hamsa hand amulets. A red thread is also said to
protect babies against the evil eye, and according to folkloric custom it is
placed on the pillow upon which a newborn baby is presented for the first time
at a viewing by family and friends. In the late 20th century it became the
custom to wind a red string around the tomb of the great Matriarch,
then to cut the string into pieces and give them out to be worn on the left
as an effective protection against the evil eye. According to this custom, the
left hand is considered to be the receiving side for the body and soul, and by
wearing the red string on the left wrist, believers receive a vital connection
to the protective energies surrounding the tomb of Rachel, carrying her
protective energy with them and drawing from it any time there is need. The
Kabbalah Centre puts much emphasis on this custom,
which is virtually unknown in classical
It is believed that " if your
evil eye amulet cracks or breaks, "it protects you from the evil eyes."
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Eye of Horus
Horus, represented as the falcon-headed god, was an important god in
Egyptian legend. The symbol representing his eye, Eye of Horus, was a
powerful symbol used to protect from evil. Pronounced "udjat" by the
Egyptians, the Eye of Horus represents a human eye with the cheek markings
of a falcon.The ancient Egyptian Eye of Horus or wedjat ('Whole One')
is a powerful symbol of protection, and is also considered to confer wisdom,
health and prosperity.The ancient Egyptians considered the eye of horus as a
representative of eternal renewal of the kingdom from Pharaoh to pharaoh.
The ancient Egyptians believed that this symbol has a very powerful and
magical effect on restoring harmony to the unstabilized world and restoring
According to the old myth, the rivalling god Seth tore Horus' eye out.
Seth was his uncle, who contended with him for the Egyptian throne after he
had killed and dismembered his father, Osiris. Thot, the wise moon god and
the patron of the sciences and the art of writing, put it patiently back in
order and healed it. As an ambiguous symbol, it describes the status of
In the field of astronomy it is the moon symbol absolute and refers to
the increasing completion of the moon disk; the Eye of Horus symbol was
inspired by the "Eye of God" and "solar falcon" that are manifested during
total solar eclipses; In the most different sizes and degrees of preciousness of its materials, it served as an amulet worn around the neck
or as a graphic motif for beautiful jewels; it decorated the lunettes of coffins and sarcophagi; it was part of a suspicious picture mysteries in the
ornament of receptacles or other personal objects.
The Eye of Horus symbol was used in funerary rites and decoration, as
instructed in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. After 1200 BC, it was also
used by the Egyptians to represent fractions, based on repeated division by two.
The value of a fraction was assigned to each individual part of the eye which
Seth had torn up according to the myth. Their total, corresponding to the
restoration of the eye brought about by Thot, should have added up to a whole.
In fact, however, the total of the six fractions used results in only 63/64; it
was assumed that Thot had withheld the missing 1/64 by magic. The Eye of Horus
fraction system was based on the Eye of Horus symbol. This system was used to
record prescriptions, land and grain.
Fractions are created by combining sections of the Eye of Horus symbol. Each
section has a different value. The complete Eye of Horus with all parts in place
has a value of 1. In reality the complete Eye of Horus represents 63/64, which
is rounded off to 1.
The system is based on
halves. Half of 1 equals 1/2, half of 1/2 equals 1/4 and so on until the
smallest value of 1/64. By adding together the values of different
sections fractions are created.
The 'Rx' symbol which is used by pharmacies and in medicine has its
origins in the Eye of Horus.
Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland by Lady
Francesca Speranza Wilde 
THERE is nothing more dreaded by the people, nor considered more deadly in its
effects, than the Evil Eye.
It may strike at any moment unless the greatest precautions are taken, and
even then there is no true help possible unless the fairy doctor is at once
summoned to pronounce the mystic charm that can alone destroy the evil and
There are several modes in which the Evil Eye can act, some much more deadly
than others. If certain persons are met the first thing in the morning, you
will be unlucky for the whole of that day in all you do. If the evil-eyed
comes in to rest, and looks fixedly on anything, on cattle or on a child,
there is doom in the glance; a fatality which cannot be evaded except by a
powerful counter-charm. But if the evil-eyed mutters a verse over a sleeping
child, that child will assuredly die, for the incantation is of the devil, and
no charm has power to resist it or turn away the evil. Sometimes the process
of bewitching is effected by looking fixedly at the object, through nine
fingers; especially is the magic fatal if the victim is seated by the fire in
the evening when the moon is full. Therefore, to avoid being suspected of
having the Evil Eye, it is necessary at once, when looking at a child, to say
"God bless it." And when passing a farmyard where the cows are collected for
milking, to say, "The blessing of God be on you and on all your labours." If
this form is omitted, the worst results may be apprehended, and the people
would be filled with terror and alarm, unless a counter-charm were not
The singular malific influence of a glance has been felt by most persona in
life; an influence that seems to paralyze intellect and speech, simply by the
mere presence in the room of some one who is mystically antipathetic to our
nature. For the soul is like a fine-toned harp that vibrates to the slightest
external force or movement, and the presence and glance of some persons can
radiate around us a divine joy, while others may kill the soul with a sneer or
a frown. We call these subtle influences mysteries, but the early races
believed them to be produced by spirits, good or evil, as they acted on the
nerves or the intellect.
Some years ago an old woman was living in Kerry, and it was thought so unlucky
to meet her in the morning, that all the girls used to go out after sunset to
bring in water for the following day, that so they might avoid her evil
glance; for whatever she looked on came to loss and grief.
There was a man, also, equally dreaded on account of the strange, fatal power
of his glance; and so many accidents and misfortunes were traced to his
presence that finally the neighbours insisted that he should wear a black
patch over the Evil Eye, not to be removed unless by request; for learned
gentlemen, curious in such things, sometimes came to him to ask for a proof of
his power, and he would try it for a wager while drinking with his friends.
One day, near an old ruin of a castle, he met a boy weeping in great grief for
his pet pigeon, which had got up to the very top of the ruin, and could not be
"What will you give me," asked the man, "if I bring it down for you?"
"I have nothing to give," said the boy, "but I will pray to God for you. Only
get me back my pigeon, and I shall be happy."
Then the man took off the black patch and looked up steadfastly at the bird;
when all of a sudden it fell to the ground and lay motionless, as if stunned;
but there was no harm done to it, and the boy took it up and went his way,
A woman in the County Galway had a beautiful child, so handsome, that all the
neighbours were very careful to say "God bless it" when they saw him, for they
knew the fairies would desire to steal the child, and carry it off to the
But one day it chanced that an old woman, a stranger, came in. "Let me rest,"
she said, "for I am weary." And she sat down and looked at the child, but
never said "God bless it." And when she had rested, she rose up, looked again
at the child fixedly, in silence, and then went her way.
All that night the child cried and would not sleep. And all next day it moaned
as if in pain. So the mother told the priest, but he would do nothing for fear
of the fairies. And just as the poor mother was in despair, she saw a strange
woman going by the door. "Who knows," she said to her husband, "but this woman
would help us." So they asked her to come in and rest. And when she looked at
the child she said "God bless it," instantly, and spat three times at it, and
then sat down.
"Now, what will you give me," she said, "if I tell you what ails the child?"
"I will cross your hand with silver," said the mother, "as much as you want,
only speak," and she laid the money on the woman's hand. "Now tell me the
truth, for the sake and in the name of Mary, and the good Angels."
"Well," said the stranger," the fairies have had your child these two days in
the hills, and this is a changeling they have left in its place. But so many
blessings were said on your child that the fairies can do it no harm. For
there was only one blessing wanting, and only one person gave the Evil Eye.
Now, you must watch for this woman, carry her into the house and secretly cut
off a piece of her cloak. Then burn the piece close to the child, till the
smoke as it rises makes him sneeze; and when this happens the spell is broken,
and your own child will come back to you safe and sound, in place of the
Then the stranger rose up and went her way.
All that evening the mother watched for the old woman, and at last she spied
her on the road.
"Come in," she cried, "come in, good woman, and rest, for the cakes are hot on
the griddle, and supper is ready."
So the woman came in, but never said "God bless you kindly," to man or mortal,
only scowled at the child, who cried worse than ever.
Now the mother had told her eldest girl to cut off a piece of the old woman's
cloak, secretly, when she sat down to eat. And the girl did as she was
desired, and handed the piece to her mother, unknown to any one. But, to their
surprise, this was no sooner done than the woman rose up and went out without
uttering a word; and they saw her no more.
Then the father carried the child outside, and burned the piece of cloth
before the door, and held the boy over the smoke till he sneezed three times
violently: after which he gave the child back to the mother, who laid him in
his bed, where he slept peacefully, with a smile on his face, and cried no
more with the cry of pain. And when he woke up the mother knew that she had
got her own darling child back from the fairies, and no evil thing happened to
him any more.
The influence of the mysterious and malign power of the Evil Eye has at all
times been as much dreaded in Ireland as it is in Egypt, Greece, or Italy at
the present day. Everything young beautiful, or perfect after its kind, and
which naturally attracts attention and admiration, is peculiarly liable to the
fatal blight that follows the glance of the Evil Eye. It is therefore an
invariable habit amongst the peasantry never to praise anything without
instantly adding, "God bless it;" for were this formula omitted, the worst
consequences would befall the object praised.
The superstition must be of great antiquity in Ireland, for Balor, the
Fomorian giant and hero, is spoken of in an ancient manuscript as able to
petrify his enemies by a glance; and how ho became possessed of the power is
One day as the Druids were busy at their incantations, while boiling a magical
spell or charm, young Balor passed by, and curious to see their work, looked
in at an open window. At that moment the Druids happened to raise the lid of
the caldron, and the vapour, escaping, passed under one of Balor's eyes,
carrying with it all the venom of the incantation. This caused his brow to
grow to such a size that it required four men to raise it whenever he wanted
to exert the power of his venomed glance over his enemies. He was slain at
last in single combat, according to the ancient legend, at the great battle of
Magh-Tura (the plain of the towers--now called Moytura), fought between the
Firbolgs and the Tuatha-de-Dananns for the possession of Ireland several
centuries before the Christian era; for before Balor's brow could be lifted so
that he could transfix his enemy and strike him dead with the terrible power
of his glance, his adversary flung a stone with such violence that it went
right through the Evil Eye, and pierced the skull, and the mighty magician
fell to rise no more.
An interesting account of this battle, with a remarkable confirmation of the
legends respecting it still current in this district, is given by Sir William
Wilde, in his work, "Lough Corrib; its Shores and Islands." In the ancient
manuscript, it is recorded that a young hero having been slain while bravely
defending his king, the Firbolg army erected a mound over him, each man
carrying a stone, and the monument was henceforth known as the
Carn-in-en-Fhir (the cairn of the one man). Having examined the locality
with a transcript of this manuscript in his hand, Sir William fixed on the
particular mound, amongst the many stone tumuli scattered over the plain,
which seemed to agree best with the description, and had it opened carefully
under his own superintendence.
A large flag-stone was first discovered, laid horizontally; then another
beneath it, covering a small square chamber formed of stones, within which was
a single urn of baked clay, graceful and delicate in form and
ornamentation, containing incinerated human bones, the remains, there can be
no reason to doubt, of the Firbolg youth who was honoured for his loyalty by
the erection over him of the Carn-in-en-Fhir on the historic plains of
After Balor, the only other ancient instance of the fatal effects of the
maliflc Eye is narrated of St. Silan, who had a poisonous hair in his eyebrow
that killed whoever looked first on him in the morning. All persons,
therefore, who from long sickness, or sorrow, or the Weariness that comes with
years, were tired of life, used to try and come in the saint's way, that so
their sufferings might be ended by a quick and easy death. But another saint,
the holy Molaise, hearing that St. Silan was coming to visit his church,
resolved that no more deaths should happen by means of the poisoned hair. So
he arose early in the morning, before any one was up, and went forth alone to
meet St. Silan, and when he saw him coming along the path, he went boldly up
and plucked out. the fatal hair from his eyebrow, but in doing so he himself
was struck by the venom, and immediately after fell down dead.
The power of the Evil Eye was recognized by the Brehon laws, and severe
measures were ordained against the users of the malign influence. "If a person
is in the habit of injuring things through neglect, or of will, whether he has
blessed, or whether he has not blessed, full penalty be upon him, or
restitution in kind." So ran the ancient law.
The gift comes by nature and is born with one, though it may not be called
into exercise unless circumstances arise to excite the power. Then it seems to
act like a spirit of bitter and malicious envy that radiates a poisonous
atmosphere which chills and blights everything within its reach. Without being
superstitious every one has felt that there is such a power and succumbed to
its influence in a helpless, passive way, as if all self-trust and
self-reliant energy were utterly paralyzed by its influence.
Suspected persons are held in great dread by the peasantry, and they recognize
them at once by certain signs. Men and women with dark lowering eyebrows are
especially feared, and the handsome children are kept out of their path lest
they might be overlooked by them.
Red hair is supposed to have a most malign influence, and it has even passed
into a proverb: "Let not the eye of a red-haired woman rest on you."
Many persons are quite unconscious that their glance or frown has this evil
power until some calamity results, and then they strive not to look at any one
full in the face, but to avert their eyes when speaking, lest misfortune might
fall upon the person addressed. [a]
The saving invocation, "God bless it! "is universally used when praise is
bestowed, to prevent danger, and should a child fall sick some one is
immediately suspected of having omitted the usual phrase out of malice and
ill-will. Nothing is more dreaded by the peasantry than the full, fixed,
direct glance of one suspected of the Evil Eye, and should it fall upon them,
or on any of their household, a terrible fear and trembling of heart takes
possession of them, which often ends in sickness or sometimes even in death.
Some years ago a woman living in Kerry declared that she was "overlooked" by
the Evil Eye. She had no pleasure in her life and no comfort, and she wasted
away because of the fear that was on her, caused by the following singular
Every time that she happened to leave home alone, and that no one was within
call, she was met by a woman totally unknown to her, who, fixing her eyes on
her in silence, with a terrible expression, cast her to the ground and
proceeded to beat and pinch her till she was nearly senseless; after which her
Having experienced this treatment several times, the poor woman finally
abstained altogether from leaving the house, unless protected by a servant or
companion; and this precaution she observed for several years, during which
time she never was molested. So at last she began to believe that the spell
was broken, and that her strange enemy had departed for ever.
In consequence she grew less careful about the usual precaution, and one day
stepped down alone to a little stream that ran by the house to wash some
Stooping down over her work, she never thought of any danger, and began to
sing as she used to do in the light-hearted days before the spell was on her,
when suddenly a dark shadow fell across the water, and looking up, she beheld
to her horror the strange woman on the opposite side of the little stream,
with her terrible eyes intently fixed on her, as hard and still as if she were
Springing up with a scream of terror, she flung down her work, and ran towards
the house; but soon she heard footsteps behind her, and in an instant she was
seized, thrown down to the ground, and her tormentor began to beat her even
worse than before, till she lost all consciousness; and in this state she was
found by her husband, lying on her face and speechless. She was at once
carried to the house, and all the care that affection and rural skill could
bestow were lavished on her, but in vain. She, however, regained sufficient
consciousness to tell them of the terrible encounter she had gone through, but
died before the night had passed away.
It was believed that the power of fascination by the glance, which is not
necessarily an evil power like the Evil Eye, was possessed in a remarkable
degree by learned and wise people, especially poets, so that they could make
themselves loved and followed by any girl they liked, simply by the influence
of the glance. About the year 1790, a young man resided in the County
Limerick, who had this power in a singular and unusual degree. He was a
clever, witty rhymer in the Irish language; and, probably, had the deep poet
eyes that characterize warm and passionate poet-natures--eyes that even
without necromancy have been known to exercise a powerful magnetic influence
over female minds.
One day, while travelling far from home, he came upon a bright,
pleasant-looking farmhouse, and feeling weary, he stopped and requested a
drink of milk and leave to rest. The farmer's daughter, a young, handsome
girl, not liking to admit a stranger, as all the maids were churning, and she
was alone in the house, refused him admittance.
The young poet fixed his eyes earnestly on her face for some time in silence,
then slowly turning round left the house, and walked towards a small grove of
trees just opposite. There he stood for a few moments resting against a tree,
and facing the house as if to take one last vengeful or admiring glance, then
went his way without once turning round.
The young girl had been watching him from the windows, and the moment he moved
she passed out of the door like one in a dream, and followed him slowly, step
by step, down the avenue. The maids grew alarmed, and called to her father,
who ran out and shouted loudly for her to stop, but she never turned or seemed
to heed. The young man, however, looked round, and seeing the whole family in
pursuit, quickened his pace, first glancing fixedly at the girl for a moment.
Immediately she sprang towards him, and they were both almost out of sight,
when one of the maids espied a piece of paper tied to a branch of the tree
where the poet had rested. From curiosity she took it down, and the moment the
knot was untied, the farmer's daughter suddenly stopped, became quite still,
and when her father came up she allowed him to lead her back to the house
When questioned, she said that she felt herself drawn by an invisible force to
follow the young stranger wherever he might lead, and that she would have
followed him through the world, for her life seemed to be bound up in his; she
had no will to resist, and was conscious of nothing else but his presence.
Suddenly, however, the spell was broken, and then she heard her father's
voice, and knew how strangely she had acted. At the same time the power of the
young man over her vanished, and the impulse to follow him was no longer in
The paper, on being opened, wasfound to contain five mysterious words written
in blood, and in this order--
These letters are so arranged that read in any way, right to left, left to
right, up or down, the same words are produced; and when written in blood with a
pen made of an eagle's feather, they form a charm which no woman (it is said)
can resist; but the incredulous reader can easily test the truth of this
assertion for himself.These popular stories are provokingly incomplete, and one cannot help regretting
that the romance of "The Poet and the Farmer's Daughter" was not, brought to a
happy termination; but the Irish tales are in general rather incoherent,
more like remembered fragments of ancient stories than a complete,
well-organized dramatic composition, with lights well placed, and a striking
catastrophe. The opening is usually attractive, with the exciting formula, "Once
upon a time," from which one always expects so much; and there is sure to be an
old woman, weird and witchlike, capable of the most demoniacal actions, and a
mysterious man who promises to be the unredeemed evil spirit of the tale; but in
the end they both turn out childishly harmless, and their evil actions seldom go
beyond stealing their neighbours' butter, or abducting a pretty girl, which sins
mere mortals would be quite equal to, even without the aid of "the gods of the
earth" and their renowned leader, Finvarra, the King of the Fairies. The
following tale, however, of a case of abduction by fairy power, is well
constructed. The hero of the narrative has our sympathy and interest, and it
ends happily, which is considered a great merit by the Irish, as they dislike a
tale to which they cannot append, as an epilogue, the hearty and outspoken
[a] There is a strange idea current in Europe at the, present time that
one of the most remarkable potentates now living has this fatal gift and
power of the Evil Eye.
Evil Eye Talisman Bracelets