The Evil Eye

Belief in the evil eye is virtually as old as spoken and written languages themselves. The classic belief is that a person's luck and fortune can be turned from good to quite the opposite by the gaze or 'evil eye' of a person said to possess it's powers. This belief has been depicted in writings and drawings of ancient peoples, including the Egyptians, Babylonians, Indians and Chinese, as well as native peoples living in the Western Hemisphere. Those believing in the power of the evil eye believe that its stare cannot only causes misfortune, but also illness and death. For this reason, babies and young children, as well as young women about to married are considered prime candidates for being inflicted with the "curse of the evil eye".

Because of the wide belief in the dangers of the evil eye, various religions and cultures have formulated prayers against its power as well as charms and talismans for people to either wear on their bodies, in the form of Evil Eye Jewelry (amulets, charms, etc), or hang or attach at the entrances to their homes, including above the beds or cribs of infants and children. Many cultures even paint an evil eye symbol on boats and vehicles to give added protection; and even today, some airlines have an anti-evil eye symbol painted on them.

One of the most classic charms against the evil eye is the hamsa hand or "Hand of Fatima" with an eye prominently fixed in the palm's center. The hamsa charm is very popular as an amulet or jewelry piece as well as a larger hanging charm to be affixed to a wall or door post. Another well known anti-evil eye charm is the "Nazar" or "blue eye" charm that is often made of glazed metal or glass and found in oriental markets or souvenir shops. These are often hung above infant cribs like a mobile toy to both attract the baby's attention as well as ward off evil.

Charms and amulets against the evil eye are readily found in shops selling New Age or oriental bazaar items, jewelry shops, and via the internet.