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Understanding the Evil Eye

Rouxmia Bougas

The real story behind the evil eye beads and why it is is more than just a good luck charm. 

The History

First recorded by the Mesopotamian over 5,000 years ago in cuneiform on clay tablets, the Evil Eye may actually have originated as early as the Upper Paleolithic age. We find this figure in Jewish, Christian and Muslim cultures as well as Buddhist and Hindu societies. The evil eye is a curse believed to be cast by a wicked glare, which is usually directed towards a person who is unaware. Many cultures believe that receiving the evil eye will cause one’s misfortune, bad luck or injury. Talismans were created to protect against the evil eye are also frequently called "evil eyes" themselves, which may come across a bit confusing at times!

At almost every stages of human history, man has looked for the assistance of magic objects called talismans to  defy evil forces.  So what does the evil eye mean? Talismans with letters, numbers or abstract signs have survived to this day. Even the modern religions with a single god have their own evil eye symbols. One of these symbols we find in almost every culture and faith for thousands of years...  It's the figure of eye...Belief in the evil eye is strongest in the Middle East, East and West Africa, South Asia, Central Asia, and Europe, especially the Mediterranean region, in places such as Greece and Turkey.

The Meaning and the Myth

Evil eye beads go back thousands of years. Blue glass evil eye bead amulets or nazar beads are the most common talisman in Anatolia to stop the evil eye. Turkish evil eye bead with its warm blue, the shine it has derived from the fire and the smiling face that's a typical feature of the Anatolian people, evil eye jewelry gives happiness to the friends and the beloved ones. Protection from the evil eyes, envious friends and strangers. The blue evil eye beads of Anatolia that has been smiling for thousands of years, are eager to meet with the eyes of the new world. it is also known in most languages :

  • English: evil eye, evil look
  • French : Mauvais Oeil
  • German: böse Blick
  • Arabic: ayin hasad (eye of envy)
  • Hungarian: szemmel verés (beating with eyes)
  • Polish: oko proroka ( the eye of the prophet )
  • Swedish: onda ögat - Sicilian jettatura (casting)
  • Brazilian Portuguese: olho gordo (fat eye) or quebranto (breaker)
  • Spanish: mal de ojo (the eye's curse or ojo turco - ojito turco)
  • Irish: droch-shuil
  • Greek: matiasma or mati

The evil eye is well known throughout history. It is mentioned in ancient Greek and Roman texts, as well as in many famous literary works, including the Bible (Proverbs 23:6: "Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats"), the Koran and Shakespeare.

The evil eye is essentially a specific type of magical curse, and has its roots in magical thinking and superstition. Let's say that a person experiences bad luck, ill health, accident, or some unexplained calamity — perhaps a drought or an infectious disease. Before science could explain weather patterns and germ theory, any bad event for which there was not an obvious cause might be blamed on a curse. Curses, including the evil eye, are an answer to the age-old question of why bad things happen to good people.

The association of special powers with the eyes is not hard to fathom: Eyes, it is said, are the gateway to a person's soul. Shifting eyes are said to subtly betray liars, while a steady gaze may be endearing or menacing depending on the circumstances.

Meaning of the Curse & Protection Against It

It's believed that there are three types of evil eyes

  • The first are unconscious evil eyes. These harm people and things, without intending to.
  • The second type intends to harm.
  • The third one is unseen, hidden evil which is the most scared one.

It was believed that, the Evil Eye saw all the wickedness in the world and removed poverty and ignorance. When Horus opened its eyes, the world was enlightened, when he closed, it became dark. From Egypt, the eye talisman had spread to the Mediterranean, Middle East and Europe. 
The talisman reflects the evil intent back to the onlooker. It somewhat resembles an eye and it is said the typical blue color is a factor in protecting the user. 
The Nazar Boncuk charm (or Evil Eye Bead) is an "eye", often set on a blue background. It stares back at the world to ward off evil eye and keep you safe from harm. Since then the people have been attaching this evil eye bead to everything they wished to protect from the evil eyes. From the new-born babies to their horses or even to the doors of their homes.

This tradition still lives in Turkey. The glimmering evil eye beads that are hand made with ancient methods by a very few glass masters, are distributed from Anatolia to the whole world. To know the evil eye meaning, it is very important to know blue color. What do the colors mean? In Turkey or in Greece and surrounding countries, the most popular evil eye charm color is blue. In Turkey, water is precious - with water things prosper and grow, and without it, things shrivel and die. The color blue reminds people of fresh, cool water. In the Jewish faith, the color red is often associated with luck and good fortune, so red is also a popular color. 



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