What is the evil eye?
The evil eye is one of the symbols that holds the most meaning and spiritual significance in the world. It is also one of the most common symbols. As such, chances are that you have encountered or heard of the evil eye at least once in your life. Understanding the difference between the evil eye itself and the depiction of the symbol on jewelry, amulets, and other physical objects is important.
The evil eye is a superstitious belief in curse. The curse is believed to be cast by a malevolent glare, usually given out of malice, spite, or envy to a person when one is unaware. Many cultures believe that receiving the evil eye brings misfortune, suffering, injury, or just general bad luck to the recipient of the look. The belief is that the malicious glare holds such power that it is able to harm the person whom the look is aimed at.
The evil eye stems from the concept that people who achieve great success and do well are often subject to envy from the people around them. The glare they receive from the envious people manifests into a curse that brings bad luck or injury to the recipient of the glare. The person is often unaware of the malevolent gaze upon them. It is believed that jealousy is the main source of the evil eye.
The concept of the evil eye causes many different cultures to pursue protective measures against it. The most common practice of protecting against the evil eye curse is wearing evil eye jewellery and amulets. These talismans and amulets are commonly referred to as ‘evil eyes’ themselves. The concept of the evil eye and its significance is very popular in the Middle East and Mediterranean region.
The meaning of evil eye talismans and amulets
Evil Eye amulets are believed to have originated from Greece. Amulets with concentric blue and white circles, representing the evil eye, were common apotropaic talismans which had the power to reflect or avert evil influences.
In the Middle East, evil eye talismans are commonly known as ‘nazar’. This is an Arabic word that translates to sight or attention. These too feature designs of concentric circles of white and blue, usually from inside to outside, representing the eye. This form of beaded jewellery is most frequently seen in Turkey, and can often be found in or on houses, vehicles, or worn as beads.
The hamsa hand is an apotropaic hand-shaped talisman believed to have the power to ward off evil influences. It is most commonly seen in West Asia and the Middle East. The word hamsa, also spelled hamesh or khamsa, translates to ‘five’ referring to the five fingers of the hand. In some Muslim cultures, it is called the Hand of Fatima. In Jewish culture, the hamsa is known as the Hand of Miriam.
Although the Hand of Fatima is condemned as superstition by doctrinaire muslims, the talisman is almost exclusively used among Muslms in the Mediterranean and the Near East who believe in envious looks containing destructive power. They also believe in the talismanic power of a nazar to avert these evil influences. To other faiths in the region, the nazar is an attractive decoration.
Putting the evil eye on amulets is believed to ward off the evil eye or reflect the evil glare back to the person giving it. The evil eye is most commonly depicted in blue. The color originates from ancient Egypt where the high levels of oxides in the mud would result in the glazed mud becoming blue when baked.
Colors used in evil eye talismans and amulets
The meaning and purpose of evil eye amulets can vary slightly depending on the color of the bead. The most common choice of evil eye is a cobalt blue color. This provides the wearer with karma and fate protection.
Different colors provide protection in specific areas. Light blue provides general protection. Red protects courage, dark green beads protect happiness, while transparent beads protect mindfulness and your clarity. Most people tick with the common blue for more general protection. However, you can choose the color of the beads depending on where you need more protection.
In many places, presenting an evil eye talisman is common tradition, calling for good fortune on occasions such as when babies are born, house warmings, and new businesses.
History of the evil eye
The origin of the evil eye superstition can be traced back to 3300 BC in Mesopotamia. Carvings of eyes were excavated in the area and are regarded as the earliest forms of talismans.
The typical cobalt blue versions of the evil eye began appearing around 1500 BC in Egypt. These became popular as the production of glass development improved. The blue color was a result of the high levels of oxide in the Egyptian mud which turned cobalt blue when glazed.
The legend of the evil eye itself can be traced back to ancient Greek and Roman texts. It is also mentioned in the Bible and Quran. In ancient Greece and Rome, it was believed that the evil eye was a threat to people who received admiration and praise more than they deserved. It was believed the evil eye would cause the person to become too proud after being praised, bringing about their own downfall. It was believed the gods and goddesses used the evil eye to punish people who had become too proud.
The meaning of the evil eye in different cultures
Many cultures around the world believe in the evil eye, even just for superstitious reasons. There are many myths about the origin of the evil eye as well as the various methods of protection against it. The meaning of the evil eye may vary slightly from culture to culture. However, the general idea of the curse is the same.
In Judaism, the evil eye follows the idea that a person is dangerous to others if they feel envious or have a negative attitude instead of being joyful when other people succeed.
In Islam, it is believed that too much praise will bring harm because of the evil eye. As such, when praises are made, they say “Masha’Allah”, meaning God has willed the good fortune. They do this to avoid the effect of the evil eye.
In Hinduism, the evil eye is very powerful, as the eye is believed to be the strongest point of energy in the body. Hinduism regards women as the most frequent source of the evil eye. Therefore, they will often wear black paint on their eyelids for protection and to prevent themselves from being the source.
In Turkey babies and young children are believed to be the most vulnerable to the evil eye. As such, it is a traditional custom to bring an evil eye talisman to babies.
In Brazil, it is believed that sincere compliments don’t do any harm. However, insincere compliments will put the receiver at risk.
We also have other guides to meanings behind symbols that you can check out. Here are some of them: Meaning of the Hamsa hand, Meaning of the lotus flower, Meaning of mandalas, Meaning of the Dharma Wheel, Meaning of the Flower of Life, Meaning of the Tree of Life, Meaning of elephants, Meaning of Dreamcatchers.