Pagan Faith: Beware the Evil Eye

Culture Facts

Where: Pagan roots, believed in my modern Arabs, Jews, and Christians around the world, from India to North Africa, Scandinavia and Britain. Most prevalent in Greece and Turkey.
What’s it about: Hypnotic negative energy caused by envy or ill words
Escape: Hang up a blue stone or garlic

Greeks have passed through many civilisations during their history and have, therefore, adopted foreign cultural elements that have now mixed in with and survived within their own culture. Among them are superstitions such as the Evil Eye, which has its roots in ancient Rome and Greece and shares elements of Paganism and Christianity. The Greek Christian faith accepts the Evil Eye, known as ‘Vaskania’, but strictly forbids the removal of the spell by anyone other than a priest. That hasn’t stopped a number of practitioners, however, openly practicing the removal of the evil eye from victims.

The Evil Eye refers to a type of negative energy transferred from one person to another. The science of parasychology describes the phenomenon as a type of hypnotism, exercising some kind of mind power which is held by certain individuals. Causes vary from staring at someone for a long time, showing admiration or envy, gossiping on a person’s looks, which can have an effect whether it is negative or positive. Compliments are usually believed to be the cause of the Evil Eye.

Common symptoms of the Evil Eye are strong headache, nausea, fatigue or simply a bad mood. According to believers in this superstition, spells can only be broken by people, usually women, who know the right prayers and have been trained to deal with these cases. Practitioners who release victims from the spells pass the prayers on to the next generation.

How to Escape the Evil Eye:

Ways of releasing the evil eye from its victims vary according to the location, but one of the most commonly used methods is the following: The practitioner will take a glass of water, into which they will pour some drops of olive oil. If the oil stays on top then you are fine. If, however, the oil reaches the bottom of the glass or dissolves then the Evil Eye is on you, and the spell must be broken. By whispering prayers, making cross signs and crossing your forehead with the water and oil in the glass, the spell is slowly removed while you yawn. The practitioner should stand quiet yawning for a while, and as the spell is broken the ritual concludes. It might seem like an odd ritual but unless you experience it you can not really understand how intense it is.

Blue eyes are considered a protection against the evil eye, and for that reason, to avoid catching the Evil Eye a lot of people use a blue eye stone which can be seen hung up in houses, cars, or even used as a necklace or bracelet. Garlic is also used to ward off the Evil Eye. Another way to avoid the spell when paying a compliment is to start by spitting three times on the person to receive the compliment.

By Villy Ioannou

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