Sunday, November 21, 2010
Blue Beads and the Aversion of the Evil Eye
There are cultural references to the evil eye from all over the world. It sits in the back of the human mind like an old cautionary tale from childhood bedtime stories and not like the watered down versions that most western children are told for bed time entertainment. Its symptoms vary from uneasy feeling of dread to headache and fatigue; in extreme cases, physical illness. It is believed that this superstition radiates out from the lands of Sumer where moisture rules the day. The evil eye is believed to cause withering and drying causing harm to beings and even destruction if caution is not taken. So it is no surprise to me that the color of water is the cure.
The most common blue bead seen for this purpose is a cobalt blue bead with an iris appearing dot at its center. It is commonly called a nazar boncugu. It is believed that if the iris falls off the cobalt bead then the evil eye had been cast and averted. A new charm would then be acquired.
The Hebrew community also has its own belief in the evil eye and uses red ribbons to deter it and even spitting. On occasion an elder hebrew woman can be spotted making a peh- peh -peh sound upon a compliment paid her grandchild as they are believed to piggy back the evil eye. Better safe than sorry is the axiom used to justify this action.
So I have asked myself: Am I as superstitious to believe in the evil eye? All evidence points to yes and not out of the axiom ‘better to be safe than sorry.’ My grandmother believed in the evil eye, my mother in law believes in the evil eye, my own experiences and actions reflect to me that I do as well. Each of my children have been made blue bead anklets on a red cord. And they wear them. Not all the time mind you, My eldest seems to go through periods where he feels just fine not wearing it, but I have noticed that during times of strife among classmates or when school events take place, he hunts high and low for his anklet. My daughter is the same way, particularly around choir performance time.
I tend to defer to simplicity and obscurity. I use cobalt beads on a red cord. The red cord denotes to me protection and connection to the vitality of life and the blue beads represent the life nurturing properties of water. Within my own tradition the colors also lend the protection of both the God and Goddess. I chose to place it upon my ankle simply to keep a low key on my superstitious nature. While there are those that believe that the charm must be seen to work, I believe no such thing.
There are many cures and preventive measures used for the evil eye, including mirrors, black eyeliner, incense laden prayers and horseshoes. My answer, the one that works for me and my family are blue beads on a red cord as protection and an egg rolled down the body to remove it. I like simplicity. I like unobtrusive accents that won’t smack to the viewer, if they are paying attention, of a superstitious ninny. I realize that we live in an industrial age and there are those that pooh pooh old world beliefs. Just because the world has turned it’s back on spirits and nature, doesn’t mean that spirits and nature have forgotten us and will stay their hands for good or for ill.
Here are some good links for more information on the evil eye, it’s prevention and some cure if you care to do your own homework: