I was collecting my son from school a few weeks ago and noticed two bags of salt lying on the ground, split open with salt scattered all over the place.
“Oh dear, someone dropped a bit of their shopping,” I commented to a couple of mothers.
“No, they didn’t,” said one of them. They laughed, and looked up at a block of flats overlooking the playground. They both agreed someone had thrown the bags out of one of the windows.
“Why would they do that?” I asked.
They made this sign with their hands. They were giggling, partly from amusement, partly from embarrassment.
This sign is called fare la corna. I thought that meant cuckold, that someone’s wife is messing about behind his back.
No, they explained, that is only when you wag it from side to side. When you hold it still, it means the malocchio, the EVIL EYE. They were leaning in close and talking quietly. They did not want to be overheard.
Malocchio!!!!! The Evil eye!!!!!!
I knew all about that, because I used to live in Turkey. I was just a bit gobsmacked to find out I had been living in Sicily for 10 years and had only just discovered they believe in it here, too.
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Want to know more about how people get rid of the eil eye?
You can buy “How to Protect Yourself against the Evil Eye” on Amazon websites worldwide. It has prayers against the evil eye, and describes rituals and protective amulets used all over the world, by people of every religion. There are many, many ways that people who feel cursed by the evil eye rid themselves of it.
What is the evil eye?
It works like this. If a whole series of rotten things happen to you, you start wondering why, don’t you? Just imagine you are trying to make a cake to impress your mther-in-law, The Godmother, and your oven blows up internally and makes the birthday cake become approximately 2,000 home-made charcoal tablets instead. Then you are collecting your son from school and just once, just this once, you park illegally (diagonally on a zebra crossing) like all the other mothers always do, and you are the ONLY ONE who gets a parking ticket.
Then when you get home you find out there is a power cut and you cannot get into your house because your electric garage door won’t open and you forgot the front door keys, so you have to take luncheon in the local takeaway which is called a “friggitoria”, (which translates literally as “frying place”) and feed your son nothing but a massive portion of chips for his lunch, which gives him tummy ache. Then he pukes on your new coat. Then your husband gets home, lets you in and you discover you accidentally left the hot-plate on and have smelted your kettle.
You get the idea? This has to be someone’s fault. Someone has got it in for you! They are casting the evil eye on you.
In Turkey, they interpret it slightly differently. There, they think it is caused by someone who is envious of you. They gaze enviously at your kids, your car, your house or maybe your new coat (which is now stained) and this invokes an extremely ancient animistic magic power that causes you harm. So in their culture, the person who does you harm usually doesn’t deliberately want to, but their envy causes the damage anyway. In Sicily on the other hand, they believe people are simply being plain old nasty.
I lived in Turkey for a year shortly after I had graduated, teaching English as a foreign language to students in Istanbul. I remained so intrigued by this cultural belief that I wrote a novel called Evil Eye. An English girl goes to work in Istanbul and, after experiencing constant setbacks, she gradually starts suspecting someone is casting the evil eye upon her. The novel is based on a lot of my own experiences in Turkey.
Whilst I did go through the more banal setbacks, like getting groped by fifteen men at a time every time I took a bus, I also had some very major scares like catching cholera, being mugged, and being held at gunpoint. I didn’t put everything in the novel because I thought it would come across as too exaggerated! (And don’t worry, I didn’t put the cholera in there either – euch.)
How do you protect yourself?
So, if someone is casting the evil eye upon you, how do you protect yourself?
Scattering salt on the floor just inside one’s front door, or outside, is one of the ways Sicilians ward off the evil eye. The fact that it is composed of uncountable grains is supposed to create confusion in the mind of the evil-wisher.
“My mother used to keep doing that,” said one of my friends outside the school. “She would clean the floor, then make it dirty again. The salt ended up all round the house. It drove us nuts! I’ve only just managed to stop her doing it, and she’s nearly seventy!”
Then they ran through a list of shops in the immediate vicinity that throw salt on the floor behind the door every evening before closing up. They told me people also pee in a bucket – every member of the household must make their contribution – and then it is poured on the ground just outside the house like a libation.
In Sicily, if you spill olive oil, you have to throw down some salt immediately. Accidentally spilling olive oil is a very, VERY bad sign. I suddenly remembered once accidentally spilling a little olive oil on the table when I was cooking with my mother-in-law, The Godmother. She immediately flung salt around the place and even flicked some on me, laughing.
I thought she was just fooling about and making fun of me for being clumsy, but suddenly I realised she was protecting me, just in case. Olive oil has been sacred in many Mediterranean cultures for thousands of years and I think this is why it is considered such a sign of bad luck to spill it.
They also mentioned the red corna pendant that many Italians wear, that looks like this, and saves you having to make the sign of the horns non-stop.
If you want to ward off the evil eye on the spot, as it being cast upon you, you have to make the sign of the horns pointing downward. It is not just Sicilians who believe this, but many Italians.
President Giovanni Leone, in 1975, was snapped among students in Pisa making the sign of the horns with both hands. Why? There was a terrible outbreak of Cholera in Naples at that time, (yes, ruddy cholera again!) and some of the students said they hoped he would die of cholera. He made the sign of the horns to ward off their wishes and reflect the evil back upon themselves. His use of this gesture created shock and scandal at the time. If someone wished cholera upon me again, you can bet I would do more than make a protective hand gesture at them.
The Evil eye in the Middle East
Different cultures believe in the evil eye and they have their various protections against it.
In Turkey I saw blue glass charms which looked like eyes all around me. People hung huge ones inside their front doors, wore small ones as pendants, and used them as keyrings. I never entered a public office without seeing at least one hanging on the wall. Turkish airlines even painted them on their aeroplanes. They were called Nazar Boncugu, artificial blue eyes to protect against the Evil Eye.
All the cultures around the Mediterranean and the Middle East used to believe in the Evil Eye. The Ancient Greeks and Romans, the early Christians and Jews and the Muslims all believed in it. It is only recently I am finding out that they still do.
The effects on the victims vary in different cultures. Whilst Sicilians may attribute any kind of bad luck to the evil eye, and especially spilling olive oil, in many areas of the Middle East, the worst sign is diarrhoea. Diarrhoea of one type or another has long been the commonest cause of death in these regions. Sorry I keep taking about diarrhoea all the time.
Since many Middle Eastern cultures believe the harm of the evil eye is invoked by envy as much as deliberate evil-wishing, their modes of speech derive from careful avoidance of invoking the evil eye accidentally. Rather than directly expressing appreciation of, for example, a child’s beauty, it is customary to say Masha’Allah, that is, “God has willed it”, or invoking God’s blessings upon the object or person that is being admired.
I remember being corrected fairly regularly by Turks when I said flattering things in a potentially dangerous way.
“Masha’Allah” they would immediately say, to undo the damage.
Origins in Ancient Times…
The evil eye belief in Italy goes back to ancient Roman times. The Romans hung protective pendants called Bullae around the necks of their babies from birth. Bulla means bubble, and the pouchhad an amulet and magical texts inside. Rich kids had ones made of gold, while the poorer ones had leather pouches.
…still practised today
In modern Muslim cultures the amulet against the evil eye takes the form of a blue eye as it resembles water, the ideal antidote to dying of diarrhoea and dehydration. In Turkey they believe people with blue eyes have a bit of their own natural protection against the evil eye. Several people in Turkey looked at my blue eyes and told me I was lucky.
The Hamsa, or hand of Fatima, is widely used as a protective amulet in the Middle East and North Africa; it takes the form of the palm of the right hand, with an eye at its centre.
In Jewish culture, this symbol has the same meaning and is called the Hand of Miriam. Another charm the Sephardic Jews used took the form of a fish. Apparently it says in the Talmud that fish are immune to the dehydrating effects of the evil eye because they live under water.
Whilst many people will say that they no longer believe in these supersitions, they often carry an amulet or hang one in their home, just in case. Old habits die hard, and nobody wants to risk bad luck!
I was given a Nazar Boncugu pendant as a gift when I was in Turkey, and I still wear it sometimes. Maybe I should fling a bit of salt on the floor as well, just to be on the safe side!
How to Protect Yourself against the Evil Eye
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Since Neolithic times people have feared the evil eye – the potent stare of an envious person, believed to cause sickness, suffering or even death. This intriguing book explains where the Bible, the Koran and most religions warn of its dangers and offer defences against it, as well as revealing the more ancient secrets of amulets, purifying rituals and protective gestures still used across the world to this day. After reading this book, you will never see the world in quite the same way again.
The author, who studied Classical History at Cambridge University, interviewed shamans and believers in the evil eye around the world to research this highly entertaining book, which has over 80 illustrations.
106 Comments Add yours
The Evil Eye! We Indians so believe it too. And we have several ways of warding it off. One includes filling a glass with salt water and moving it over the victim’s body in a circular motion 7 times. The use of salt for this is so universal. Have noticed Sumo wrestlers sprinkle salt before getting into the ring to ward off evil spirits. Any idea what the connect between salt and evil spirits is?
salt cleans bad energy also bcoz of its shape(small crystalls).we put salt in the bath tub for that reason. its used in alternative medicine (also warm water with salt kills intestinal parasites)
When you cross water all magic spells done to you are annihilated(aka lake river boat trip to the sea)i had read in an english newspaper that they had discovered a bad magician who fleed.They let him be bcoz his magic couldnt cross the sea+affect them(while if he had stayed he would allegedly face consequences from magical to physical persecution)
So i m guessing that water is considered cleansing and salt as well since it absorbs the bad energy
in truth water takes the energy of the nearest object.In India you pray upon the vessel from which the family will drink isnt that so? A Japanese put water n bottles on which was written either love or i hate you then froze it The “love”bottle as well as those exposed to classical music or had water collected from clean springs ,formed nice intricate snow-like crystal forms (seen under the microscope)while those exposed to bad words,heavymetal music or from unclean waters had assymetrical less complex up to ugly formation.the photos were exposed at the Japanese metro/train station
I am beginning to think it may be a worldwide belief – interesting about the Sumo wrestlers!
I did wonder if salt could connect to the beliefs that diarrhoea is the worst sign of the evil eye being upon you, since salt rehydrates the body and can make you recover from very serious diarrhoea.
The other thing is that salt is a vital nutrient and in ancient times it was very expensive and difficult to obtain – we forget that now it’s so easy to buy in the supermarket. Wild animals will migrate thousands of miles just for a lick of salt. So perhaps it was considered a bit sacred because of its rarity, the way olive oil was for the Italians.
Do Indians believe in the “deliberate evil” version of the evil eye or the “envy” variety? And are there any special charms/amulets people use against it?
There are lots of beliefs in India.when a girl is well dressed and someone is envy or praise her,and if they have evil in their Word or Eye,the girl gets sick…like faint,yawning,feeling weak or getting injury etc.
One woman I know,who is old now,and who grew up with a paralasys mom,had this evil in her words. If She has this deep hatred towards someone, then they do get into deep trouble.like she had a fight over money of few thousands with a nearby relative. Though the fight was over,within a span of 15-20 years,that other relative lost husband and daughter both.she is sick and depressed now,living with her grand daughter.everone else around her are having full life with their us bands and children and grand children. Only that poor lady lost everything except money.though the time period I mentioned is too big,all over this time the old lady used to curse the relative and show the hatred in front of everyone.i want to know if people have evil in their thought or word,how to ward it off?? I am also a victim.i am too distressed to share my own Story.but I want help in this matter. How to ward of evil of some dangerous people who keep cursing??
Dear Indian Mom,
I am sorry to hear that you have a bad situation going on.
I am not an expert in this, but I have a friend who knows a lot about the evil eye and she always says you should throw salt on the ground just outside and inside your houe’s entrances, to protect the whole family, and that above all you should always pray a lot. She says praying to God is the most important thing. She sometimes does religious devotions, for example she walks to a particular church on foot to make a special offering or else she gives up some food or some other thing that she really likes. I am not sure of your religion but this is what Catholics sometimes do.
Whoever is your God, he has more power than any other human being, even if they do use the evil eye. So I believe this is where you should turn for help.
I am so sorry to hear this. But I definitely agree. My sister is a very beautiful young girl. Whenever she gets dressed and looks charming. One day after that she gets sick
Or falls from the stairs. Or her hair fall off suddenly.
Our grandmother says that usually people who are deprived. Like poor people, someone who has no home or food. Or someone who has lost loved ones..especially has an evil eye.
Many pandits have informed us that we have been cursed by someone’s evil eye. And it seems to be true. Because we have a lot of tension in our house. All the children in my house are very smart and intelligent. But we never get as much as we deserve
I hope we somehow get rid of this…
It is hard to understand why some people seem to get a lot of bad luck which they do not deserve. I really hope the evil eye is not true.
Whatever the reason for our problems and bad luck, I think we just have to put our faith in god – whichever god or gods we worship – and keep on trying. I really believe we can overcome any setbacks if we simply refuse to give up.
Good luck – I hope your fortunes improve.
Wear a ruby pendant or ring on your right hand middle finger.
Ruby gemstones are known to protect the wearer from sorcery, misfortune, accidents, and the like.
Bless you Indianmom.
Ah, the Sicilian Housewife has a name: Veronica di Grigoli! Sounds aristocratic … – And she even lived in Frankfurt, where I live, ooouuuoooh! Just bought the book on Kindle. – Short question on Turkey: If I want to get to know the positive (!) sides of Turkish life and culture, which book should I read?
I really hope you will enjoy the book!
It does show you a lot of the positive and really beautiful side of Turkey too, I promise! Turkey is fascinating and has an amazing history, and I found it impossible to write about it without showing that too.
I really like “The Janissary Tree” series by Jason Goodwin, which is set in historic Istanbul and shows a lot of the history in a very entertaining way.
I am afraid the Turkish novelists I have read in translation tend ot be a lot more negative than me! Elif Shafak is very interesting but she is rather depressing to read. I find Orhan Pamuk so surreal that half the time I haven’t the faintest idea what he is on about!!!! (Yes, I am confident and Dangerously Truthful enough to say that about a Nobel prize-winning author!)
Let me think about this and see if I can remember any other really lovely books to recommend!
Everything I am recommending seems to have a historical twist, but I do recommend this one, it is absolutely fascinating and so nicely written
Thank you so much for your recommendations, I will put this on my Amazon wish list!
My grandmother and aunt in law (from Campania).do a malocchio ritual when people in the family get sick: it involves dabbing water on the forehead in a particular pattern, I’m not sure what…
That’s interesting…. back to water, rather than salt. I wonder if it’s just in the Campania region…?
To discover if you have the evil eye, you let drop of olive oil fall from your finger into a bowl of water- if it stays as one drop, you’re fine, if it splits into lots of drops then you have the malocchio. Then the water on the forehead thing is for protection, I think. According to Michele it’s in the sign of a cross, so its a weird Christian-pagan mix…
I find that weird pagan-christian mix in a lot of things in Italy and especially Sicily.
It seems to be very much apparent in all their olive-oil related rituals, which I suspect were all an ancient pagan thing which was given a Christian makeover at some point.
Have you seen the “olive oil medicine” post I wrote a long time back? They perform vaguely shamanistic rituals while appealing to Mary, Jesus and God in poems muttered silently.
Hello there can you tell us more on what exactly did your grandmother do with the dabbing of the water was any words said
In the neighborhood where my grandmother and grandfather lived in, there was an actual strega. She served as the local doctor, because everyone was too poor to afford a regular doctor.
My Aunt Marie remembers being taken to see the strega as a little girl for a charm against the Evil Eye. (My great aunt had persuaded my grandmother that this was necessary because Marie was so beautiful she’d attract the Evil Eye.) For my great aunt, the strega took a coal shovel with some burning coals on it, added palms from Palm Sunday, and used the smoke to “cense” her with. My Aunt Marie remembers the strega waving the shovel all around her aunt, including passing the shovel between her legs as she stood there.
The folklorist Sabina Magliocco told me that was probably the closest my great aunt ever came to seeing a gynecologist.
Salt spilled on the table was always thrown over the shoulder.
Sometimes spitting accompanied the making of the horns.
My great-grandmother also kept a charm bag pinned in her bra; a little red flannel bag (red is a protective color) with saints medals, as well as a charm of a tiny pair of scissors and a cherub. Also little seeds that look like bloodshot eyes. It’s a mix of Christian and pagan symbols, I’m told.
Wow Adelisa, this is amazing!
I am intrigued by the charm bag. I hadn’t put together that those little red “corna” charms are red because red is special – I guess that is connected with wearing red knickers for New Year (which I recently found out they also do in China) and those horrible red little shirts that some enthusiastic granny or aunt puts on your newborn baby under his clothes, that make his skin go all red so he looks as if he has exzema!!!
I’d love to know what all the other charms meant….
By the way, I’ve been missing your blog, as you haven’t posted in a long while. Are you working on another site? Or will you start posting again soon? I hope all is well.
the salt over the shoulder,the olive oil in water to see if one has the evil eye the protective pouch, and the spitting (but not the horns) are in Greece as well and the neighboring christian countries
Just searching for books of Jason Goodwin (your recommended “The Janissary Tree”), and hey – what did I find? The 4th part of the series has the title “An Evil Eye”!!!
Yes I know!!!
But he copied me 😉 The first edition of my “Evil Eye” was published before his one!!! 🙂
I just looked for your book on Amazon.ca (to save the shipping charge!). Did you know that used copies go for just under $50! Congratulations on the second edition. I am working on the second draft of my second novel and mal’occhio has a place in it as well. It is such a fascinating concept. Thanks for adding insight!
Gosh! Somebody’s certainly making more money out of this book than I am!
I didn’t know you had written a novel – what is it called? Can you post a link to it on Amazon (my only source of England language books)?
Now, if the hand were black . . .
I did find out recently that the ancient Romans considered all black animals to be particularly powerful agsinst the evil eye. Do you think the hand being black would help too?
Bon giorno affascinante donna sposata!
It’s unfortunate that so many ‘talianos are superstitious.
But no, I simply had reference to the Black Hand ‘protection’ plan. I was used to hearing -3rd hand of course- as a kid, how, if you got a picture of a black hand, you were a goner. But of course, as every good Sicilian knows, the IS no such thing as Mafia.
I had never even heard of this!! Looks like it was just in America, but not Sicily. I suppose extortionists dared to go “freelance” in America, whereas here they would not dare to steal “business” from the Mafia!
Oh it’s all so depressing.
Not quite sure when it happened but congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. My mother used to pull her ear lobes to ward off the evil eye. It’s certainly less trouble then throwing salt out the window!
Ear lobe pulling sounds very convenient – I must remember that one!
Very fascinating information! I guess we have a similar custom where if you spill salt on the table you have to toss a pinch of the spilt salt over your left shoulder to ward off bad luck.
Oh yes! I do remember a thing we used to do at primary school: if you spilled water, you had to throw salt over your left shoulder, otherwise you had cursed a sailor and would make him drown at sea!
Occasionally I would be harmlessly eating my school lunch and suddenly get a massive hurricane of salt all over me and my food!
A great read- I’ve learned a lot about the Evil Eye and Hand of Fatima (Khamsa) from living in Tunisia! Check out my post about Tunisian superstitions: http://adventuresinblondeland.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/barkala/
Thanks for posting the link!
This is a great blog and very interesting post – go and have a look!
That would be great! Would love to hear from you. Thanks! (email: email@example.com)
Re the cleaning: there are so many things Italian women do better than me, including cleaning while talking on the phone, ironing while talking on the phone, and vacuuming while talking on the phone! One of my flatmates – I love her dearly – could do all of these simultaneously. The love she put into cleaning our decrepit kitchen was quite something. As was the love she put into making coffee – mine never tasted quite as good.
Ha ha! My mother in law can do all those things while talking on the phone too, als also while bottle feding a baby!
What an amazing woman. Rather scary, if I’m honest!
I am off to find your book.
I’ve had a fun Sunday morning shopping spree on Amazon Kindle, and I downloaded your book too!! It looks really great.
The evil eye is such a fascinating subject and I agree with you that it in fact may be a universal belief. I know the Chinese firmly believe in it, so much so that they refuse to give compliments as they believe they will tempt fate.
I think Sicilian’s also believe that it is a form of jealousy and people can unintentionally jinx themselves or others. I’m not a superstitious person but it is part of human nature to be jealous of others so I’m happy to carry around my little red corna lucky charm and will find myself doing the corne sign with my hand if I hear a particularly insincere person giving me a compliment.
My mother in law knows how to get rid of the evil eye doing one of those strange Sicilian chant/prayer things to the Saints, which apparently can be passed on if learnt by heart at midnight on Christmas?!?! I don’t know why? Perhaps I should try and learn it this year and become a fully qualified Sicilian witch … facciamo le corne!! 😉
Oh, please learn the evil eye magic spell and become a proper Sicilian witch! That would be so cool! 🙂
A friend of mine has promised to teach me the spell “for the worms” (by which they mean nerves or agitation) but we keep being in different places at Christmas, I MUST get to see her at Christmas one year to learn that!
I didn’t know the Chinese believed in the evil eye too, but I am rapidly realising it is a universal thing – I suppose we all know jealousy can be a very powerful adn very destructive emotion and we also always want an explanation when everything seems to go pear shaped in our lives!
I hope you enjoy the book!
like you said a compliment even w/o jealousy but certainly a truthfull one with admiration may cause the evil eye.In Greece instead of Mashallah one spits3times(fake spit just like one spits in heart area instead of knocking in wood to avoid something bad from happenning ..or perhaps more precisselly to avoid the evil from reaching him)
in fact its everywhere in the balkans.dont the turks do it ?
the evil eye can cause accidents(falling ,tearing the dress that looked so great on you for which you were complimented or stared)but also headaches and a sensation of …so full that you cant breath+indigestion The evil eye can make a donkey burst,they say…even ppl.
Here as an interesting story my neighbor told me.
She went to the house of a client+friend +her mom appeared,at the door She was surprised bcoz she had never heard a mother exists furthermore living with her in the same house She looked extremelly well for her age and my neighbor kept commenting how pretty she was ,how well dressed like a lady and how youthfull she looked ,with tight-great skin,that looks almost better than the daughters.
After that day she never saw that client again until abt a year later she met her by accident on the street+insisted to know her problem eventhough or preciselly bcoz the woman was obviouslly avoiding her Was shocked to hear not only the bad news but that she was also accused of killing her mother !! After she left out of the blue started feeling increasingly bad-bloated and died later that night in the hospital,not from any other disease
supossedly blue eyes can give the bad eye more (perhaps ppl feared blue eyes bcoz were more rare) Also ppl born on Saturday and at the same time are also more immune to it.
the test is done in a glass of water bcoz oil normally should sit on the surface as put When it disperses and falls in the bottom one has the bad eye as well as when the person performing the act starts yawnning ….so could it be that the water holds the energy of the person we test since we planned to use it for that person and just like when we think of the person/or pray his energy (affected by the bad-eye)causes us yawning similarly his energy affects the waters quality which is why the oil disperses?
When one has it a cross is done usually with holy oil (from church or the candle) or holywater,on the head ,or in fact 4 crosses -points on the head-neck-chicks,and a prayer is said(transmitted not learned)
PS.Water has nothing to do with hydration ,I ve mostly heard bad eye causes headache but regardless in alternative med diarheia is the bodys way of purging bad/evil=bad food,microbes ,bad feelings(as in stress/fear) ,bad energy ..
the question arises why one can give the bad eye by sincerelly admiring?
what do you think?
great article, comparing different cultures on an interesting subject.
Dear Rochelle this is the one I have been looking for my father knew it but we kids never learned it and he has since past please if you learn it please send me it I would greatly appreciate it Thank you
I like your posts, and I am fascinated by the evil eye to.
Intriguing how similar customs run through different cultures
Here’s my wish for molta buona fortuna from your writing! Il malocchio arrived (embarrassedly) with my mother in law, offspring of Italian immigrants but it disappeared before her own daughter’s Americanization. We don’t even knock on wood anymore around here and salt is spilled only onto frozen roadways.
Saves salt, I guess but it takes a bit more fun out of life. …
I have done this and the people did suffer misfortune.
Gosh, remind me not to annoy you!
I thought it was supposed to stop other people harming you, rather than harm them back???
Interesting piece. I’ve always been fascinated with the evil eye and use it for protection. Salt really cleanses ones aura too..so I use that too. Thank you for such an interesting article.
I’ve had many incidents of the ‘evil eye’ being cast on me, even by my own family members just because of envy.. Had 2 major freak accidents out of no where which both landed me in hospital and I figured after many years of soul searching that it sure as hell wasn’t paranoia# …hehe
Ever since then, I protect myself for my own peace of mind .
I do believe in the evil eye. It does work. How it works, especially for me …It attracts me to itself/ unconsciously, I find myself looking at it or being reminded of it … Should I happen to be receiving the ‘look or evil eye’ from a person or people…
# it does work..#
That’s very interesting.
I had never actually stopped to think, till reading your comments, about whether it might really work/exist but now I reflect on it, I have a lot of reasons to think perhaps it really does and really has affected me.
I had better get the salt out!
Out of interest, do you come from a culture that believes strongly in the evil eye?
What will happen if you knocked a bottle of oil on the floor and it spilled, but did not put salt
because you did not know about it.
There’s no way to tell. It is interpreted as a sign that someone is wishing something terrible will happen to you, but there’s no way to tell exactly what, until it actually happens.
Reblogged this on Veronica Di Grigoli.
I’m so glad I read this post, because I’m pretty certain that all the bad things that happen to me (especially when one after the other) are indeed because of the evil eye! 😉 I too say it half joking, half not, lol. When I finish reading the things I’m reading I’ll probably by the e-reader version of your book.
Here in Spain you get gipsy women wanting to sell you twigs of rosemary. If you don’t buy it, they cast you the evil eye. So yeah, I have openly been cast the evil eye plenty of times by these women. And then how many more times by people that just want to do me harm (like in Sicily), goodness knows how many… I know in Spain you also have to throw salt behind your shoulder at certain moments, when though I’m not sure. I think the Spanish version of the evil eye is more like the Italian one.
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I am just like you – believe it half laughing, half serious. I think there’s something deep in the human psyche that feels instinctively there must be a reason for bad things to happen and if you see someone casting the evil eye on you deliberately, all the more so.
The gypsies in Sicily do that too sometimes – very rarely I must say, usually they are very polite but I’ve had one or two nasty incidents. I happen to have a little mirror in my bag and one time when a gypsy was cursing me I aimed my mirror at her. I learnt this trick in Turkey – they believe it bounces the curse back on the person casting it. I’ve no idea what curse she said but that gypsy looked terrified!!!!
I wonder if that will work with the gypsies here? Next time I’ll take out my powder compact and point the mirror at them!
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Definitely try it!!! And let me know if it works – I am really curious! This evil eye thing really fascinates me.
I know a guy, and he really helped me, its Gersh Nubirg. What he does – is creating a custom Kabbalah Amulets, by all encient jewish rules. And its actually works!
I’ll add here a link to his website (page about evil eye protection); if this blog don’t allows expernal links, please just remove it.
Hi, thanks for adding this link!
Lots of people read this page seeking help, so I am sure they’ll be interested in this.
A friend actually said to me: Non possiamo vederci sabato perché vado a farmi togliere gli occhi. (i cannot see you saturday because i am having the eyes removed).
After a few minutes of bafflement on my part it was explaned that she was a regular at the local “fattucchiera”, the witch.
Oh wow. A few friends have mentioned to me that they’ve done things to get rid of the evil eyes, but usually most of them then tell me it was their grandmother who was into it and they think it’s all fairly silly.
I’ve never heard of a fattuchiera – are those the same women who do various “treatments” with olive oil? Like the ones for sunstroke and “I vermi” (anxiety)?
I can remember as a young boy my father complaining that someone had put the evil eye on him. He was very worried and upset about it. My Sicilian born grandmother placed a pan of water on his head and put several drops of olive oil into the water to discern whether it was true or not. She said it was true but I don’t remember what she did to remove the evil eye from him. My mother being a college educated ‘daughter of the American Revolution’ type (i.e. her family had been in America since the 1600’s) thought it was the most ridiculous thing she had ever witnessed. She used to roll her eyes and chuckle anytime someone talked about the evil eye. I guess it is not a surprise they eventually divorced. Even though he was born in America my father’s world was still firmly rooted in his parents’ Sicilian origins and traditions.
The thing I find most interesting about this is that you get the same massive gulf between different people right here in Sicily. Some believe in it and are scared of it, whilst others describe it as a heap of nonsense. My husband had things like this done to him as a kid, presided over by my mother in law, yet he thinks it is all nonsense, and actually she herself seems to think it is rather funny these days: I suppose times are changing rapidly.
One person actually told me his Sicilian girlfriend got angry when he read this post to her. I think she felt it portrayed Sicilians as ignorant or something, and she cringed to hear it described.
I grew up in a very scientific family but I love these things and personally I think they’re no less scientific than modern psychologists!
While I was in a little bar in Sicily, there was a little boy hiding behind the bar. I gave him a smile and he gave me the two finger wave.
When Mrs S returned from the bathroom I told her about the cute little boy who had waved at me. She looked at the little boy and then asked me to show her ‘the wave’ so I did.
I wonder if he gave me ‘the wave’ because I was English or because I was wearing flip flops in his bar!
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Ha ha haaa! Or was he trying to suggest something indecent about Mrs. S?
He was lucky she wasn’t armed with her wooden spoon.
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How do I navigate to your most recent posts ? Do you have archive in widgets or calendar ?
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Just click “home” in the menu at the top. It shows the posts in chronological order, magazine style, with the most recent at the top.
Fascinating blog. My family comes from a sicilian background (a village founded by italian monks in Portugal) but even my other, non italian relatives, strong believe in the evil eye. We also have the superstition about spilling olive oil (and “cutting the bad omen” with salt) but olive oil is also used to remove the evil eye or “quebranto” (a similar accidental jinx) with a proper prayer. What I find most interesting is the “mash Allah´! My grandmothers never complimented on anything without adding “benza Deus” (may God Bless him/her/it) to make sure no evil eye is accidentally directed – or just to prove they meant well, devoid of envy.
Thanks for sharing these fascinating memories! I wonder if your grandmother’s exclamation of benza Deus was a habit picked up from the Moors and handed down? I am reasearching and writing a book about these evil eye traditions and it’s amazing how old most of them are, and also how easily the same gestures and talismans for protection have spread from one culture to another.
Hi!!!! I just made my first purchase evil eye charm. I have been very interested and opened minded. Such a big part of me believes I have the evil eye on me. So my question is, do I need to perform some kind of ritual blessing on these charms before me and my family wear these? I have heard of placing in salt and rosemary for a few days and pray. Any advice is welcome. Thank you
Well, Italians say the power of evil eye charms comes from receiving them as a gift, and that if you buy them yourself they may not work at all. So you should probably give the ones you have bought to your family members as gifts and ask them to buy you something in return!
I have been buying a lot of evil eye charms lately, but I think I should ask my husband to buy me the next one!
The Sicilians who still believe in the evil eye also use prayer all the time to ask for protection, and for the evil eye to be removed from them, so I would try some praying as well. Appealing for protection from whichever god you put your faith in has always been the basis of evil eye protection in all cultures that believe in it, from the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians onwards.
When as a child, I used to get sick or injured, my mother used to get some mustard seeds, one or two red chillies and salt. Holding all these together in one hand, she would rotate her hand all over me seven times muttering something under her breath. It can be interpreted as “let the evil eye be destroyed”. During the ritual, she was not supposed to talk to anyone nor be interrupted. The ritual ended with her throwing all those things in a burning fire. She would wait till the mustard seeds crackled.
I have tried it on my children and I should say that it has always worked.
That’s very interesting, thank you for sharing that.
I have also heard of some people adding other things to this technique, including a lemon and a piece of fitkari. But only in India. And I’ve also heard of people using fewer things, for example just chillis and mustard seeds but no salt. In Sicily people do something similar but only using olive oil and water.
And the Zoroastrians in India and all over the Middle East do exactly the same ritual but they use the seeds of a plant called perganum harmala instead (a lot of people call the plant espand).
I came across your site while searching for “Sicilian Prayer for Worms”. As I was going through my Sicilian grandmother’s things that I inherited from her I came across a handwritten Prayer for Worms and also one for Thunder & Lighting. I remember my great grandmother saying these prayers when I was growing up. She came to America from Sicily in 1897. I’m wondering if she was a “facciamo le corne”! They are written in Sicilian and I haven’t had any luck with translation. Can you offer any ideas of how I can get these translated? I would appreciate any suggestions.
Wow! Prayer for thunder and lightning! I’ve never even heard of that. So did she says it to protect herself from thunder storms or did she say it to protect others?
We’ve had spectacular thunder storms all night so that wold have come in handy 😉 The weather has been amazing for the last few days – on Tuesday parts of Palwermo were flooded under a couple of feet of water.
Anyway, translations are no problem, If you go to the comments page (link on left) and type them out, I’ll get my husband to translate them adn send them back to you. Really looking forward to seeing them.
I’ve been having bad luck since April this year. I know this can’t be a normal thing. My luck is horrible and yes I often think over I’ve been cursed, I have lost so much because of this. Please help me. I don’t think I can handle crying anymore
This happened to me too and I tried about half the things in the book! My luck seemed to have turned. I put prayers, various charms (which I wear all the time and have around my house) and some purification rituals. Tehre are lots of things you can do yourself without needing a shaman to help you out.
I really hope you can get out of this bad phase – it really is horrible.
Awww!! That’s so sad! I can feel what your going through now madeline!! because I have been through that valley of death it was all about killer anxiety, depression, physical ailment, yawning, hates of people and defrienship with people.. it was hell!
But I was delivered from that evil in a spiritual church. Thank God i’m healed and I’m free now from evil spirits.
And I would like to help other get deliverance as me for free of charge whoever needs guidance can reach me via firstname.lastname@example.org
there is a book against spells St,Justine(small prayer against all kind of magic,curses,evil eye etc) ,you read it sprinkle holy water in the corners of every room in the house +burn sage for a few days
A priest could come and bless your house and you could also attend an exorcism at a church IF they are true believers+ not fanatic as well,every church should b able to do it.Exorcism is a prayer
if you are “cursed”(many things are included) you might b sleepy or feel emotional when you read the prayer ,after burning sage you ll feel the space(the air) more clean and light
Wow I just woke up and realized I have being cursed, or a spell on me for years, I’m ready to get out of this curse , it’s really draining me , I have been told I have granduloma annular , I have patches all over me I was saying I’ve been marked I have never been a bad person only pretty and I smile a lot and have love for everyone , so couple of years back I had shingles then I started to get this lilt the bump on my hands thing it was caused by chemicals I was a cosmetologist so I quit but also I felt I was always competing with some doctor said it was my imunsystem now I feel its a curse . How do I get rid of the curse.?
I think prayer is the best way. There are some prayers in the “How to Protect Yourself Against the Evil Eye” book which I think are a good idea.
I personally always wear charms against the evil eye too. I have loads of them around my house as well!
This is so fascinating! I had no idea the evil eye was so diffuse in cultures around the world. I just returned from Greece, where I noticed the evil eye in many different pendants (similar to your Turkey evil eye pictures). And, I thought that the little red horn was a chili pepper souvenir…now I know it’s not!
I wonder if the modern day term “stink eye” is used in the same way?
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I thin “stink eye” is probably the kind of look that would once have been called “evil eye” …. though I don’t know if it has all the same sentiment behind it.
And yes, once you open your eyes to the evil eye beliefs you realise it is everywhere! There are just so many signs you don’t recognise till you know!
Hi, just loved your text 🙂 After having loads of good luck, suddenly everything went slow and things are difficult to finish. The achievements are there, but either they don’t happen when they should, or they don’t happen at all… so, as the good white witch I like to think I am (lol, I’m not, just like to think I am…), went into google to search for a protection ritual or spell 🙂 and got to your site. Forgot all about the spell and just couldn’t stop reading all the comments. It’s so interesting!! Good luck on your new book! xx
Thank you! And good luck with improving things… I hope you find a way forward!
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In our culture, when the kids get sick, their mother usually collect 6 small round red chillies in a newspaper then move it around the body of the sick 7 times, Once, clockwise 7 times, then 7 times anti clockwise. And its been said that the kid gets well after one or two days. One of my friend has beautiful eyes , she’s also suffering from eye pain nd when her mother move around the chillies around her, her pain vanishes away. I have also tried it on my sick brother, he gets well after 2 days ( praise be to God).
I truley believe in the evil eye .esp in Italy ( nothing is going right for me ….even lost my ability to walk )..where I live but I am in just dire staits now that I just cannot afford to purchase the book now ..Maybe when things start going better for me ..Thank you for sharing your infomation and knowledge with me ..
I am sorry to hear things are going so badly for you right now. I have just had a real change of fortune and things are going so well for me. I filled up my house with evil eye charms…who knows if that helped! I really hope things turn around for you soon.
Hello. I, in my early-age, never believed in such things, but now have come to, due to circumstances. My ex-husband & his Family always strongly believed in them & have probably inflicted a cast on our son. Since 15 years he is not staying with me, & right-now i have no contact with him. Earlier on(atleast), he was often keeping not well. Along with that, i have always worried about his studies & a regular contact with him. How can i rid him of this evil-eye?
Recent events in my family have my mother thinking about the evil eye. My family landed here from Sicily about 90 years ago and all Sicilian. We have good fortune as of late but the past couple of weeks has been nothing but hell. My mom mentioned the evil eye and how her mother tried to stop it against family and friends. The tradition used was sitting the person having trouble in a chair, pouring water in a small plate and then some drops of olive oil that resembled an eye, then walking around that person with the dish talking in some kind of Sicilian slang..
IDK the words spoken in Sicilian, but that was the ritual.
That’s really interesting, I haven’t heard of that exact ritual. They all derive from ancient Greek and Roman rituals and the words are a religious update of the ancient ones, which asked for the help of the ancient Gods. So the modern ones are addressed to Jesus and above all Mary, asking for protection against the evil eye, and always very repetitive.
In daily life you can find glass evil eye beads almost everywhere in Turkey or Greece. People donate everything they love or appreciate with these evil eye jewelry with blue evil eye beads. They attach an evil eye bead to the clothes of a new-born baby to ward off the evil eye. New born babies are given the gold version of these as a gift and they are normally pinned on the back of their clothing with red ribbons. They buy gifts or evil eye jewelry with a lucky eye for their sweethearts. They bring gifts with evil eye symbol for a new office or a new car. Almost everywhere you see thousands of blue eyes, that aim to stop the evil eye with an eye amulet or an evil eye jewelry. Read more about Evil Eye Meaning or Evil Eye Bead Making in Turkey at http://www.evileyebead.com
i surely believe in evil eyes and its impact on families and individual. My mother fell sick when i was 4 years old and died when i was 20.. She taught me cooking and laundry when i was 10 and told me this would help manage my self later or sooner.
and later when my eldest brother constructed a simple and elegant home on a 4800 sq ft property, the relatives were jealous and one aunt said “you can build still more floors with more money” – his family never lived in that property peacefully till date..
Our families first joyous celebration, my eldest brothers first marriage ended in divorce, though he married a well mannered girl from a well known family there was quarrel and infighting within few days.. His marriage lasted just barely 15 days and he ended divorcing my kind sister in law for no reason. She behaved like a step mother to me and i was 14 years old then.
Later he married a second time a woman 18 years younger to him from a family full of vice people and is trapped and he asked me and my dad to leave his property with complete arrogance..we are totally disconnected and separated and lost after that and he is now a total drunkard.
My second brothers only son died of cancer at a tender age of 7…
and i’m unable to get married for no reason.. and i was thrown out of my job many times by jealous senior coworkers.and we all as a family have no idea what is happening around us and how to protect us and what to do next…only prayers and complete surrender to the almighty
I am so sorry to hear your sad story, but I think you should put your faith in prayer, and in helping other people. I have come to believe that is the most powerful thing in the world and that it brings good things back to us. No matter how unfortunate we are, we can always find someone who we are able to help, even in a small way.
It is so real. Some people doing such things have their spirits follow to use my body and become very uncomfortable and dangerous to me,including every good thing I do. I mean,every good thing I am involved in. In fact,their wickedness gets too strong that they even start to talk nonsense each time I do anything good. To balance it up things and feel better,since they discovered that I am aware of their envy , they use evil means to fake feelings in my body to start artificially feeling like them. It makes them foolishly feel better that we are all the same and trying to make me think that I am also like them. The question now is,what can I do to disconnect,stop their spirits from following to use my body as they claim that I am meat/soup,etc and stubbornly stay? email@example.com
This was very interesting reading. I am a Psychic/Medium and come from a long line of family members who are healers, who are very spiritually open and I help many, many people. I recently purchased a ceramic blue, evil eye that my husband hung above our front door (inside). As soon as he hung it up, I was seeing dark shadows, my son noticed the home seemed “darker” and I was having dreams about me taking it down, handing it to my husband to take with him to work to throw out for me. This dream kept repeating. So when my husband got up for work, I asked him to take it with him to throw out. Since then, my house feels better………I’m not doubting my gift or abilities but I am curious why I am NOT supposed to have it. Any thoughts?
That’s really fascinating and I have no idea what it might mean. But since it is supposed block out other people’s bad thoughts and feelings, perhaps as a medium that would impede what you do? Maybe you have to be open to perceive everything inside them, both good and bad? Perhaps that is necessary for you to help heal whatever it is that makes them envious?
Excellent overview about evil eye belief. I would like to thank you about it and share a website about other evil eye protection jewelry evileyestore.com is dedicated to bring together evil eye amulets all around the world.
HELP ME! I am a caster of the evil eye. I thought I was a witch or sorcerer, but I do not cast spells. I spent so much time researching and was told about the evil eye. Almost every symptoms listed is accurate. Why does the internet or history books never show or talk about the actual person who can willfully use the evil eye. I am not a bad person, in fact I believe myself to be the most good person on the planet, except for the fact that I took it upon myself to bring justice by destroying evil. It is a burden. All the information written always has negative connotation the term even has the word “evil” in it. Stereotyping and generalization is inherently wrong. I am just a normal human being with this gift. Online people tell me to see a shrink for this delusion. But I do live a perfectly normally life and I am biologically just like everyone else. Everyone claims to be a witch, but no one claims to have evil eye. Can anyone help me find the truth to this matter? This delusion is making me scared, but I keep using my eye over and over with consistency as if it were just chance luck and make-believe. Why stop if supernatural is not real?
I never really put much thought into the evil eye until 2 years ago. My birthday with family took a dark turn while on a public trail with our little Yorkie Banksy. A Turkish woman passing by looked at him, caught my eyes and hit me with the most hateful, chilling, stare I’ve ever seen. I recognized the attack instantly and immediately told my adult kids of the attack. I dismissed it at the time but the past 2 years have been horrible and marred by 2 car accidents, Banksy struck down in front of my eyes and almost died in my arms – but tests by the vet showed no cause. Then my gorgeous cat Angel became ill and within 2-3 weeks suffered a horrible death the vet said was lung cancer ! My own physical injuries, falls, weight loss and illnesses and a the target of a lawsuit that threatens to take my home. Now a psychic who has no way of knowing of these events warned me I was under attack by a malevolent evil entity.
Ok guy’s I need some help on this one. My mom who is 80 years old cures the malocchio on me all the time. I know when I have it because I start to feel nauseous and very disoriented and when she does the drops of oil on the plate the oil drops make two large eyes and within 5 minutes after she is done I start feeling better. My question is this, she does it on herself many times, but this past christmas eve she called me into the kitchen and and told me to look into the plate. What I saw I have never seen before in my life. Two large eyes and one eye had a light in the center of it. I told my mom to shut off the light because it might be a reflection so she did. When the light was off the eye still had the light in the center like a white pupil and scared the shit out of me. Does anyone know what this means?