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Evil Eye – Beliefs across religions and continents (Part Two)

Symbolism and evidence of the Evil Eye used worldwide for protection – Part Two

Evil Eye – Beliefs across religions and continents


Chalkidian black-figure eye-cup, circa 530 BC, MunichStaatliche Antikensammlungen.

The evil eye charm is considered an “Apotropaic” ocular device that wards off hostile or malevolent stares. Archaeological evidence in Greece was discovered from Crete through the mainland and up to Thessaloniki, including the smaller islands in the Mediterranean along the Turkish coastline. Archaeological sites first yielded drinking vessels richly decorated with the symbol of the Evil Eye and dated back to the 6th century BCE.  

Evil Eye cups vessels were used only by the aristocrats of Greek Society, and pheasants drew evil eye symbols on their houses and possessions to protect them from evil.

Greek Orthodox beliefs

The Greek Orthodox church and specially trained members in the rituals were the only ones allowed to break the Evil Eye curse and practice these sacred rituals. The Greek people in the villages and even cities such as Athens had a strong belief in the Evil Eye curse and placed their faith in the church to rid them of this curse.

Xematiasma is a ritual during which the priest silently recites a powerful ritual prayer. That can also be done by a grandparent or healer of the opposite gender who has been well-versed and knows the negative forces that must be fought against while performing this ritual. It is usually done by a family member of the opposite gender. Specific conditions must be followed to remove the curse and not return it to the afflicted person, family, or possessions. These conditions need to be followed precisely as it can lead to the priest or healer permanently losing their abilities to cast out the Evil Eye.

Oil Drop Test No 1– This is an unusual test as oil and water don’t mix. The priest or healer puts a drop of Olive oil into a bowl of holy water. As the oil is denser than the water, it is expected to float. If a person cursed with the Evil Eye in the room, the oil will sink. This confirms a curse of the Evil Eye present in the room.

Oil Drop Test No 2 – The priest or healer places two separate drops of olive oil in a bowl of holy water. If the drops remain separated, then there is no Evil Eye curse. If the two drops of olive oil merge and become one, that means there is a curse.

Clove Test – The healer pierces a few cloves together using a pin. The shape of the cross is repeatedly made over the afflicted. After crossing the cloves numerous times, the cloves are lit. If the cloves burn in silence, there is no evil eye curse on the person. If the cloves explode, then it means that the person has been cursed by the Evil Eye. To rid the person of the Evil Eye, curse the cloves must be extinguished with holy water and buried along with the pins used. The person will now be free of the Evil eye curse.

Ancient Greeks believed the Evil Eye curse was prevalent everywhere, and it was the devil that placed these curses on humanity. They believed demonic forces were used to incite evil in others, who then could put the Evil Eye curse on others. Ancient Greeks used to spit three times and sign the cross to ward off bad intentions. Till today the older Greeks like the grandparents (Yaya – Grandmother) and Papoo – Grandfather) will be seen spitting three times and making the sign of the cross to ward off bad intentions and keep people humble when they are being praised. They remain humble and often spit when praising someone/something for warding off these bad intentions.


Since ancient history, Turkish culture has had a deeply rooted belief in the Evil Eye. The significance of the symbol or the amulet of ‘Nazar’ has a deep symbolic meaning. The Evil Eye or Nazar is made from handmade glass consisting of concentric circular patterns in Turkey. There is a white, yellow, light blue, and black teardrop shape in these blue concentric circles.

Turkish culture believes in praising all things good, and it is because of this they protect themselves, their homes, cars, and worldly possessions with this symbol.

Most Turkish people wear the Evil Eye amulet to protect against negative forces and believe that the Evil Eye Amulet can attract the forces of good in the universe. Upon entering a Turkish home or business, Evil Eye amulets are displayed, mostly around the entrances.


Assyrians had for centuries believed strongly in the Evil Eye curse. They protect themselves by wearing a turquoise bead in their necklace to ward off evil spirits and negative energies.

Older people of Syrian origin believe they can protect themselves by making the sign of the cross and directing their index finger and middle finger toward what they believe is the curse’s source. They strongly believe that people with green or blue eyes can place the Evil Eye curse on others.

Israel – Jews – Middle East

Bedouin culture from the Middle East believes that Evil Eye is the most dangerous force and can destroy people in many ways. They fear the misfortune and harm brought by the Evil Eye curse is caused by jealousy and envy.

The common Arabic name for Evil Eye is “ayn,” and it is believed ‘ayn’ and can have two forms:

  1. Humankind – known as Insiya

  2. The Jinns – known as Jinsiya 

In Syria, they believe the Evil Eye curse can cause physical, emotional, and mental danger to people of all ages and genders. For protection, they use Evil Eye charms say incantations, and in some extreme cases, burn Syrian Rue. a plant with psychoactive properties) – Peganum Harmala.

Islamic Countries

In Islam, people believe that any person has the power to cast an evil eye on someone/something out of envy with the intent to cause harm and misfortune. It is believed that if you are given a compliment, you should rely upon saying “TabarakAllah” (“Blessings of God”) or “Masha’Allah” (“God has willed it”). This wards off the Evil Eye curse as you are thanking your creator and not being proud of what you have achieved. Reciting words from the Quran three times has the same effect, ‘Sura Al-Falaq’ and ‘Sura Al-Nas.’ Repeating these words after ‘Fajr’ and Maghrib gives protection against evil intentions or malevolent glares.


India has different names and protection methods to guard off the Evil Eye. In North regions like UP, Punjab, Haryana, etc., the evil eye is known as “Nazar” or “Buri Nazar“, similar to Turkish. The people of these regions often wear amulets for

In India, people believe newborn babies and infants are more susceptible to an Evil Eye. They place a ‘Kajal’ or ‘Kaala Teeka’ to protect babies and infants from the Evil Eye curse. Some Indian cultures preserve the umbilical cord and have it cast into metal as a form of protection to banish negative energies.

Southern India – in these regions, the Evil eye is commonly known as “Disti” or “Drusti“. For protection, these cultures use rock salt, lemons, red chilies, white pumpkins with oiled cloth and rotate them around the person they believe to be cursed by the Evil Eye. Once the ritual is completed, they burn the items.


The person that unwittingly possesses the Evil Eye is known as ‘Jettatore.’ The facial feature of this person is recognized by having high arched eyebrows and a striking face with an evil glare emanating from the eyes.

Italians believe that twisting an object in the shape of a horn called a ‘Cornicello’ will protect them from the curse of the Evil Eye.

‘Corniccello’s’ are usually carved out of red coral, gold, or silver and worn as an amulet for protection.

Spain and Latin America

The Evil Eye curse superstition has its origin in Spain and was brought to Latin America when Christopher Columbus conquered the new world. The ‘Mal de Ojo,’ or Evil Eye, was used to terrify the conquered civilization and force them to accept Christianity.

Traditional Latin American cures for the Evil Eye curse

Raw Egg Method: The ‘Curandero,’ or healer, rubs the raw egg over the afflicted person’s body to absorb the power of the Evil Eye. This egg is then broken into a glass of water and placed under the bed of the cursed person. If the egg appears cooked, the curse has been removed. The person gets better because the egg has absorbed the curse.

The United States

After the release of a book by occultist Henri Gamache in 1946, ‘Terrors of the Evil Eye Exposed,’ later released as “Protection against Evil,” American citizens also began to use protection methods against the Evil Eye curse.

In South America, people attach a red ribbon to their precious belongings to keep the bad glare away.

The Caribbean and West Indies

Evil Eye lore is extremely prevalent in the West Indies, particularly in Trinidad and Tobago, and referred to as ‘Maljo.’ People believe that ‘Maljo’ is especially harmful when given by an envious person with bad intentions. Warding off ‘Maljo,’ people use the following methods for protection.

  1. Religious people believe prayers and spiritual rituals can remove the ‘Maljo.’

  2. Non-religious people believe that the color Blue can ward off the ‘maljo’; by wearing blue clothes or blue beads, they will be protected. They used blue ornaments or hung blue bottles of milk of magnesia on trees outside their home for protection.

  3. Jumbie (poisonous seeds of Rosary Pea tree) and Jet beads in bracelets are given to babies and loved ones to ward off the Evil Eye curse.

Other European Countries

European countries believe that witches have the power to cast evil spells on someone using their bad intentions and negative universal energy. 

Vervain Plant

In Europe, even the ancient Celts believed in the Evil Eye curse and would use vervain, a flowering plant, to ward off the Evil Eye curse. They would also throw statues representing the afflicted person into waterfalls, believing the running water would eliminate the curse that possesses this person with the power of an evil spirit. 

Biblical References to the Evil Eye; the bible references the Evil Eye in these texts:

The evil eye is mentioned in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. In his celebrated “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus of Nazareth refers to the malice of the Evil Eye’ – Matthew 6:22-23 says,

‘The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness….”

Proverbs 28:22 says: “A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth and does not know that want will come upon him.”

Evil Eye in other Languages

Greek – Matiasma

Romans – Oculus Malus

Turkish – Nazar Boncugu

Hebrew – Ayin H’ra

Arabic – Ayin Harsha

Farsi – Bla Band

Italian – Mal Occhio

Spanish – Mal Ojo

French – Mauvais Oeil

Scottish – Droch Shui

German – Boser Blick

The Evil Eye curse is a worldwide belief that has gained momentum over millennia and should not be taken lightly. It is important to note before you explore symbols such as the Evil Eye, you must have good and pure intent in your heart and seek advice from a professional as there are things unknown in the universe that could harm you.

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