You may have heard this term at one point or another, perhaps even received it, most likely from a parent, teacher or other authority figure when doing something outside the accepted norm. Not a word need be spoken, but just a glance and you got the message. That ‘look’ was very obvious and conscious , what we will be delving into here is more about the unobvious, the subconscious, and the masked. The evil eye and its believed negative effect is actually often hidden behind words of praise, a sort of unintentional envy.
The term or the concept is believed to have started as far back as ancient Sumer and Mesopotamia spreading out from there. It is not constrained by any religious boundaries as it is recognized by Muslims, Catholics and the Jewish faith with several mentions of it in the Old Testament. Even the Tenth Commandment gives us fair warning… “thou shalt not covet”. The unintentional envy tends to be the most common form, the subconscious wanting what another has, or what is considered better or more, be it house, job, car or spouse. This was often perceived by someone gazing just a little too longingly or giving unnecessary attention and praise. The intentional envy tends to be more malevolent jealousy, the true evil eye, the wishing of ill fortune. Since water is considered life in the arid Middle East and dryness death, this was associated to a withering or drying up, be it milking animals, orchards, nursing mothers or loss of male potency.
To protect and counter the effects of the evil eye, both Muslim and Jewish cultures created talismans and amulets. The most popular being the Nazar Boncuk, or ‘evil eye bead’ is typically a blue glass bead with concentric circles depicting an eye in the center. The Muslim culture also used the Hand of Fatima or Khamsa, while Jewish culture used the Hamsa or Hand of Miriam. All are meant to stop the negative energy from malign looks directed at the wearer and bring good fortune. When a person wears or carries an evil eye, it is believed to protect against curses, jinxes and ill will generated by the jealous or envious that could affect their life or general well-being.
Beware the Evil Eye!
Mark & Laura