Buckland, Raymond. Buckland's Complete Book of Witchcraft.
St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 1986. Farrar, Janet, and Stewart Farrar. A Witches Bible Compleat.
New York: Magickal Childe, 1984.
evil eye The causing of illness, misfortune, calamity and death by the looks of strangers and by envious looks. AMuLETs and incantations (see CHARMs) ward the danger off.
The evil eye exists around the world, dating to ancient times. The oldest recorded references to it appear in the cuneiform texts of the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians, about 3000 B.C.E. The ancient Egyptians believed in the evil eye and used eye shadow and lipstick to prevent it from entering their eyes or mouths. The Bible makes references to it in both the Old and New Testaments. It is among ancient Hindu folk beliefs. Evil-eye superstitions have remained strong into modern times, especially in Mediterranean countries such as Italy and in Mexico and Central America.
There are two kinds of evil eye: deliberate and involuntary. Most cases of evil eye are believed to occur involuntarily; the person casting it does not mean to do it and probably isn't even aware of it. No revenge is sought for this hazard.
Malevolent, deliberate evil eye is called "overlooking" and is a form of witchcraft that can bring about misfortune or catastrophe: illness, poverty, injury, loss of love, even death. Witches were said to give anyone who crossed them the evil eye and to use it to bewitch judges from convicting them.
The involuntary evil eye typically occurs when someone, especially a stranger, admires one's children, livestock or possessions, or casts a lingering look on anyone. Unless immediate precautions are taken, the children get sick, the animals die, the possessions are stolen or good fortune in business turns sour. If the evil eye cannot be warded off, the victim must turn to an initiate—usually an older woman in the family—who knows a secret cure.
Besides envious glances, the evil eye comes from strangers in town, or anyone who has unusual or different-colored eyes—a blue-eyed stranger in a land of brown-eyed people, for example. Some unfortunate souls are said to be born with permanent evil eye, laying waste to everything they see. High-ranking people such as noblemen or clergy sometimes are believed to be afflicted like this. Pope Pius IX (1846-78) was branded as having the evil eye shortly after his investiture as Pope in 1869. Driving through Rome in an open car, he glanced at a nurse holding a child in an open window. Minutes later, the child fell to its death, and from then on, it seemed that everything the Pope blessed resulted in disaster. Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) was also said to possess the mal occhio, as the evil eye is known in Italy.
The evil eye is most likely to strike when one is happiest; good fortune, it seems, invites bad fortune. Small
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