Exorcism

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children and animals are especially vulnerable. In many villages, it is considered unwise to show children too much in public or to call attention to their beauty. Likewise, it is not advisable to display possessions or brag about successes.

In 19th-century Ireland, animals who were under the influence of the evil eye were said to have been "blinked." In order to save such animals, local wise women were sought for ritual cures.

The primary defense against the evil eye is an amulet, which may be fashioned from almost any kind of material. Common shapes are frogs and horns, the latter of which suggests both the powerful Mother Goddess (a bull is her consort) and the phallus. Another popular amulet is the "fig," a clenched fist with thumb thrust between the index and middle fingers, which also suggests a phallus.

The roots of the phallus amulet go back to the ancient Romans and their phallic god, Priapus. Another name for him was Fascinus, from fascinum, which means "witchcraft"; the evil eye is sometimes called "fascination." Romans employed phallic symbols as their protection against the evil eye. In Italy, it is still common for men to grab their genitals as a defense against the evil eye or anything unlucky.

The ancient Egyptians used an eye to fight an eye. The udjat eye, also called the Eye of God and Eye of Horus, appears on amulets, pottery and in art, warding off the forces of darkness.

Other defenses include BELLs and RED ribbons tied to livestock, horse harnesses and the underwear of children, which divert the attention of the evil eye. Gardens are surrounded by protective jack beans. Other plants act as amulets—the shamrock in Ireland and GARLIC in Greece. In Hindu lore, barley, a universal remedy supplied by the gods and the symbol of the thunderbolt of Indra, god of war, thunder and storms, will avert the evil eye.

Without an amulet, quick action is important when the evil eye strikes. One should make gestures such as the "fig" or "horns" (holding up the index and little finger). Spitting is a powerful remedy, a hold-over from the ancient Romans and Greeks.

Cures for the evil eye usually involve reciting secret incantations, which typically are passed on from mother to daughter within a family. In Italy, an initiate diagnoses the evil eye and performs the cure with a bowl of water, olive oil and, occasionally, salt. A few drops of oil are dropped into the water (sometimes salted). The oil may scatter, form blobs or sink to the bottom. These formations are interpreted to determine the source of the attack. The initiate drops more oil into the water while reciting incantations and making the sign of the cross on the forehead of the victim. If that fails, the victim is sent to a sorceress for further treatment.

FuRTHER READING:

Di Stasti, Lawrence. Mal Occhio/The Underside of Vision. San

Francisco: North Point Press, 1981.

Elworthy, Frederick Thomas. 1895. Reprint. The Evil Eye.

Secaucus, N.J.: University Books/Citadel Press.

exorcism The expulsion of evil spirits by commanding them to depart. The expulsion is often done in the name of a deity, saints, angels or other intercessory figures.

Exorcism comes from the Greek horkos, meaning "oath," and translates as adjuro, or adjure, in Latin and English. To "exorcize," then, does not really mean to cast out so much as it means "putting the Devil on oath," or invoking a higher authority to compel the Devil to act in a way contrary to its wishes. Such compulsion also implies binding. The Anglican pamphlet Exorcism (1972) states, "Christian exorcism is the binding of evil powers by the triumph of Christ Jesus, through the application of the power demonstrated by that triumph, in and by his Church." Exorcism rituals often begin with the Latin words, "Adjure te, spiritus nequissime, per Deum omnipotentem," which translates as "I adjure thee, most evil spirit, by almighty God." Jesus, who cast out devils, did not exorcise, because he did not need to call on any higher authority than Himself.

Violence both physical and spiritual often dominates an exorcism. Furniture bangs and breaks, waves of heat

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