The term “evil eye” describes the ability to harm any living thing with a single glance. Greek writer Heliodorus of Emesa, who lived around 300 C.E. explains that:
“…when one 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 nearest to him.”
The evil eye is believed to be most harmful to small children and pregnant women, but anyone and anything can be injured by it, including animals and plants.
Though the evil eye is primarily considered a human attribute, some animals, and even inanimate objects are believed to possess the ability to cause harm just by their proximity.
Frogs, snakes, scorpions, spiders, and stones such as opals and pearls, are all believed to carry evil vibrations. Interestingly, having the evil eye is not confined to sinister occult practitioners.
At least two Popes were reputed to have it, as well as the poet, Lord Byron, and playwright George Bernard Shaw.
Belief in the malignant powers of the evil eye can be found in many cultures, and most likely dates from prehistoric times.
The first written accounts of the evil eye were found in the cuneiform inscriptions of the Sumerians and the Babylonians, which date from around 3000 B.C.E. The Sumerian words IG-HUL literally mean, “eye evil.”
The Sumerian god Ea was perpetually at war against the evil eye, which was frequently personified as the demon Tiamat. However, in most ancient texts the most common way to depict the evil eye was simply as a stylized eye.
Many occult texts dating from very early periods in history also refer to a “little man in the eye,” which would seem to describe the reflection a person sees of himself when he looks into the eyes of another. This “little man” was thought to be very powerful and, in many instances, credited as the malevolent force behind the evil eye
The Hindu belief in the evil eye most likely has its origin in the all-powerful third eye of Shiva, the Destroyer, able to destroy the whole universe with one glance.
Hindu caste marks are drawn in the middle of the forehead to mark the site of the third eye, as are the tilaka of married women.
Interestingly, the “third eye”, which is often described as being located in the middle of the forehead between the actual eyes, has a physical counterpart in the human brain (and in the brains of most vertebrate animals).
This counterpart is the pineal gland, which is primarily responsible for the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep patterns, acts as an antioxidant, and interacts with the immune system.
Traditionally, the most effective amulet against the evil eye was an image of the eye itself. The Egyptian Eye of Horus is a famous example of such an image.
The use of the Eye of Horus seems to have been universal among the Ancient Egyptians, perhaps because it symbolized the eye of that Sun god, which gave it the ability to nullify the pernicious influence of the evil eye.
Sometimes two Eyes were used instead of one, representing the eyes of the Sun and the Moon.
Many cultures have adopted the image of a god’s eye as an amulet against the evil eye. In modern Mexico, the Huichol people create an eye amulet they call Ojo de Dios or the Eye of God, which they believe protects people, homes, livestock, and crops against the evil eye.
This amulet is made with sticks and layers of colored yarn, each color denoting a particular kind of protection. Native Americans of the Southwestern part of the United States also make these amulets.
Pins, bracelets, and other jewelry fashioned of porcelain or glass eyes are also worn as evil eye deterrents.
These are very popular all over the world, and are often used in bracelet form to protect small children from the envious and jealous looks of neighbors and people with ill intent.
Cat’s eye shells, which resemble eyes on one side and have a nifty spiral on the other, are popular amulets against the evil eye in most of the world.
You can find here talismans and amulets to protect us from evil
For specific ones check the following:
Evil Eye Bracelet
Evil Eye Necklace
Evil Eye Pendant
In the Bible
Belief in the evil eye is also found in the Bible, in both the Old and the New Testaments contain. Deuteronomy 15:9 states:
“Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart…and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother…”
Proverbs 23:6 says to
“eat not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither crave thou his dainty meats.”
In Mark 7:22, 23 Jesus tells his disciples that:
“Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, and evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
For the ancient Hebrews, the Star of David was and still is believed to be a powerful shield against the evil eye, and a mezuzah (a scroll inside a case) can be worn as all around protection from evil.
A blue hand with an eye in the middle, known as the Hamsa in Muslim cultures, is called “The Hand of Miriam” in Jewish cultures.
The Christians’ favorite amulet, the cross, was and is still worn as potent safeguard against all forms of evil. The Saint Benedict medal is also a popular anti-evil amulet among Christians.
The ancient Greeks wore probaskanion, phallus-shaped amulets, to protect men, women, and children from the evil eye, which they called Baskanos.
Nowadays, the Greeks are more likely to wear a nazar, an ornament made of handmade glass that features eye-like concentric circles or teardrop shapes in dark blue, white, light blue and black, sometimes with yellow or gold around the edge.
Ancient Romans tried to legislate the evil eye out of existence, but it didn’t work. In modern Rome, and indeed in all of Italy, the evil eye, known there as mal d’occhio or iettatura, is thwarted with a small horn, called a cornicello or cornetto, mounted in gold and worn on a chain around the neck.
Porcelain eyes are also popular, as well as gold crosses and crucifixes.
In some parts of Palestine and Syria, the evil eye is considered to be the “baleful gift” of men who have light blue eyes, particularly if those men are clean-shaven.
To protect themselves against such men, Palestinian and Syrian women wear blue beads. By the same token, caravan leaders do not dare set out on a journey unless every beast in those caravans is sporting a blue bead to protect them the evil eye.
The Arabs call the evil eye, “ain al-hasad,” or eye of envy. The prophet Mohammed was also said to believe in the evil eye, and Surah 113 of the Quran is often written on scrolls or cut on agates to protect against it. The Hand of Fatima, which is perhaps as famous an amulet as the Eye of Horus, is of Arab origin.
Fatima was the daughter of the prophet Mohammed by his first wife Khadijah. Fatima was called Al-Zahra, meaning the “bright blooming,” and Al-Batul, meaning “clean maid,” or “Virgin.” She kept these titles even after she married and gave birth to three children.
The fingers of the hand of Fatima symbolize the entire religion of Islam and its fundamental duties.
The hand as an amulet is common in many cultures. The Egyptians had a symbol known as “The Great Hand,” which they viewed as a representation of the supreme power who rules heaven and earth.
In medieval paintings, the deity is depicted as a hand coming from the clouds. Raising the hand is regarded as an invocation to deity, and is commonly used as an oath in Europe and in the United States.
The mano cornuto. a closed hand with the first and fourth fingers outstretched, symbolizes the horns of the devil and the powers of evil, and is often used as an amulet against the evil eye.
Another very popular amulet against the evil eye is the figga or fico, which depicts a closed hand with the thumb protruding between the first and second fingers. In Latin American countries, figgas made of ebony or jet are almost always worn by small children, to protect them from the evil eye.
The nose and ears have long been deemed among the most vulnerable parts of the body to the malevolent spirits surrounding the evil eye.
As a result, desire for protection against the evil eye was very likely a factor in the invention of earrings and nose rings. In some societies, bones, pieces of stone, or intricately carved metal are worn under the bridge of the nose.
Hindu women of a certain social standing wear jewels on their nostrils, and sometimes one or more nose rings. Those who believe in the evil eye consider earrings to be most effective when the ears had to be pierced in order to wear them, the rendering the evil spirits unable to enter the body through the ears.
Necklaces and pendants are also worn for protection against the evil eye, the idea being to attract the gaze to the neckwear, thus deflecting any dangerous emanations. This concept is reminiscent of the function of the lightning rod, which attracts lighting and diverts its electrical discharges.
Necklaces fashioned of agate are believed to be particularly effective in repelling the evil eye. Brown or black agates that have a ring in the center are the most popular stones for these necklaces.
Any combination of black and white agates in a necklace is also considered to confer powerful protection against the evil eye.
Any item of adornment made of malachite is supposed to be extremely powerful against all forms of evil. Bells are worn to frighten away evil spirits with sound, and tassels are worn to divert those same evil spirits with movement.
Mirrors fashioned into charms or sewn into clothing are another popular way to repel the evil eye and send the malignant energy back to its originator.
Gypsies use all of the above and more as amulets against the evil eye, and take it a step further by creating intricate talismans engraved in metal. The snake, a symbol featured in amulets from all over the world, is one of the most commonly recurring images in Gypsy amulets.
Although belief in the evil eye is an ancient superstition, there are modern scholars who think there may be more to it than mere superstition.
They contend that, under certain circumstances, humans – using their eyes as a focus point – may be able to project psychic energy.
This energy may be either positive or negative, but either way can definitively affect the recipient.