What is the Evil Eye? A brief history and lore of the Evil Eye. 1
• WHAT IS THE EVIL EYE? •
An ancient proverb states that the eyes are “the windows of the soul.” From this, it is not hard to believe that the concept of the “evil eye,” going back thousands of years, has been viewed as malevolent and a powerful form of cursing magick. If you’ve ever been stared at by someone with anger or hate towards you, there is the sensation of feeling the hate coming your way. Some people even use the phrase “throwing daggers” for this same hateful glare.
The belief and fear surrounding the evil eye goes back as far as recorded history; ancient Greek and Roman authors mentioned the concept in their writings and the reaction to being the recipient of someone’s baleful gaze ranges from mild annoyance to fearsome dread. The evil eye, as a curse, spread throughout ancient Europe and West Asia (some historians believe the superstitions surrounding it spread as Alexander the Great’s empire spread as well).
There have been numerous techniques and practices by people of many different countries and cultures to protect themselves from the evil eye, both from people’s literal stares and from the spiritual, more abstract “evil eyes” of unseen forces and energies. The most common, and in fact, universal form of defense against the evil eye has been through sigils—that is, painted or drawn symbols—or talismans—physical objects created as a shield against the glaring curse. The most recognized design for the protective talisman is what the Turkish refer to as nazar: the black dot of pupil surrounded by concentric circles of blues and white. Even today, in Turkey and its
surrounding areas, these simple glass designs are hung inside and outside homes, in trees, in cars…anywhere a little extra protection from outside forces that mean to do its owner harm. The added benefit of the talisman’s design is that it is an eye itself, is always on the watch for evil and malicious intent, and in effort the talisman returns the negativity back to its sender.
Like most magickal practice, the power of this talisman (which, casually, are referred to as “evil eyes”) comes from the intent and actions of its user. Hanging one of these in your home or altar can add another constant reminder that outside forces of "ill will" can sometimes feel near, and that our own intent and will to protect ourselves from other's ill will should always on the ready. That blue eye is always watching, waiting for the next calamity or danger to rear its dark head; hopefully, with careful diligence and regular practice, we can spot these signs ahead of time and face them with our own positivity and light, or with our own evil eye to protect us.