“I hope you can define and explain the so-called evil eye. I heard that the evil eye effect happens unintentionally.”
Belief in the evil eye is very ancient. Plutarch, Plato and Pliny the Elder referred to it in their writings centuries before Christ.
It is known by different names across many languages such as Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Indian, Albanian, Turkish, Hawaiian and Swedish.
Its meaning or definition differs somewhat in various cultures. In some countries, the evil eye is a “curse believed to be cast by a malevolent gaze, usually when a person is unaware of it.”
Many cultures believe that receiving the evil eye will cause misfortune, illness or even death.
Belief in the evil eye is strongest in West Asia, Latin America, East and West Africa, Central America, South Asia, Central Asia and Europe.
The Muslim religion also believes it could happen. It was quoted that the prophet Mohammed said that “the influence of the evil eye is a fact.” And warding off the evil eye is a common practice among Muslims.
Other cultures believe that the evil eye is not a curse and happens unintentionally. The harmful effects can be caused when one pays a person compliments out of envy or jealousy. Very young children are more often the unintentional victims of this.
In East Asian and Southeast Asian societies, the practice of cursing by staring or gazing is largely absent.
For example, in the Philippines there is no term for the evil eye. It is believed by many, however, that if one praises a child, the child will get sick, usually of fever or stomach ache.
But the term used in the Philippines for this phenomenon is not evil eye, but “usog.”
Now, usog has absolutely no medical explanation. It is largely regarded as a mere old wives’ tale or superstition.
But to indigenous healers, usog is a fact and they have developed a way of warding off its effects by asking the one responsible for it (who may not even be aware of its consequence) to dab one’s saliva on the child’s forehead. Doing so, it is believed, will cause the fever or pain to disappear immediately.
How do the healers explainusog?
According to one healer I interviewed about this phenomenon, usog happens because a child’s field of energy or aura is still weak, and when an adult gazes admiringly at the child, he unintentionally sucks out or depletes the child’s energy, causing it to get sick. The solution is simply to touch the child’s body (usually the forehead) with saliva from the one who did it to restore the balance of energy.
Belief in the evil eye has given rise to certain practices to ward off its negative effect, such as wearing a bracelet or pendant with the design of an eye, usually colored blue.
When I was in India, I saw a lot of these items and bought some without knowing what they were for. I thought they were just for decoration.
In some cultures there are objects with the design of an evil eye in the palm.
In ancient Egypt, the Eye of Horus or the Eye of Ra is found in the tombs of the dead and inside pyramids. They function as amulets or talismans to ward off the effect of the evil eye.
Indigenous Mexican healers or curanderos use chicken egg, which is passed around the body of the victim to absorb the evil effect, then this egg is broken and placed overnight under the bed of the victim.
If the egg appears to have been boiled or cooked, he is indeed the victim of an evil eye. If not, there’s no evil eye. Sometimes, the egg appears to boil as soon as it is passed all over the victim’s body.
In the Philippines, there aremedallions made usually of brass in the shape of a triangle, at the center of which is an “eye” design. But the purpose is not to ward off the effect of the evil eye, but simply to depict the all-knowing or all-seeing power of God.
Different cultures have slightly different explanations about the evil eye, but as you can see, they have common characteristics. The phenomenon itself, it seems, has some basis in fact, although it cannot be explained scientifically or medically.