The Origin of the Evil Eye – an Ancient Symbol of Protection – (Part One)

Different Origin Findings & Theories

God’s tears

The origin story of the Evil Eye differs, as do many ancient symbols and beliefs; some legends say that the tears from the eyes of God fell onto earth and created humanity. In this story,, the eye retains the magic aura from the universal power and shines radiating within and outward. Thus, the eye illuminates the world through the tears of God and is a window to the soul and the world. It is believed that the ancient adage ‘The eyes are the window to the soul’ originates from this belief.

Egyptian Origins

Another legend from ancient Egypt is that the Evil Eye is the scorching searching eye of the goddess Sekhmet, or the “eye god,” and creates an envious and paranoid consciousness. This Evil Eye needs to be warded off and defended against. In ancient Egypt, the Eye Of Horus, also known as a Wadjet pendant, protected the pharaohs in the afterlife,, and symbols of the eye of Horus were painted in vivid colors in the tombs of the pharaohs. Statues also accompanied the pharaoh on his journey to the afterlife.

According to Egyptian mythology, the god Horus lost his left eye in a struggle with the god Seth. The goddess Hathor saw this and was displeased so he restored the eye of Horus, and it became a symbol for healing and protection.

Eye of Horus

The “Eye of Horus” is also referred to as the “Moon Eye” and could be the earliest depiction of the Evil Eye. The falcon-headed Horus with his sharp bird of prey eyes is a God who sees everything people do. Nothing humans escape the eye of the conscience. Egyptians began drawing the “Eye of Horus” on things that needed to be protected from the first dynasty onwards.

Syrian Origins

The Evil Eye is a central symbol in Syrian culture and in Tell Brak, the Eye Temple with its multitude of statues of “eye idols” shows the strong belief in the symbolism of the Evil Eye. This settlement dates back to the 7th millennium BC. The famous eye temple is unique and dedicated to the main god Belet Nagar. Tell Brak was a major religious center and the site for pilgrimages in the ancient world. 

Finding the Evil Eye temple, the eye figurines that appear to be votive offerings show that this was one of the first organized religious sites in northern Mesopotamia. It is widely believed that the “Eyes” figurines represented an all-seeing female goddess. 

Evil Eye statues found in Tell Brak, Syria, circa 3500 BC

The Evil Eye symbolism in the ancient world

The evil eye dates back around 5000 years and the symbol was originally associated across ancient cultures and religions. In the 6th century, BC, evil eye images appeared on drinking vessels.

 Classical authors like Plato and Hesiod tried to describe the meaning of the evil eye in their writing. They said the evil eye is a threat to anyone who is praised or seen to be more appreciated than people think they deserve.

The evil eye is believed to be a curse that emerged in ancient Greek culture but has become part of other cultures across the world.

Mosaic from the House of the Evil Eye, Antioch, Syria. Credits: Archaeological Museum, Antakya

It is said that if someone is envious of you, they give you an “evil glare” which brings bad luck and trouble across your path. This is called giving you the evil eye. 

Ancient people tried to protect themselves from the Evil Eye curse that was placed on them by drawing an Evil Eye symbol on items or themselves, or their homes. They believed that when the person that gives you the evil glare looks at you the evil eye on you or that, drawn on your home or possessions will reflect the “evil glare” back at the person who is giving it.

Different types of Evil Eye curses

Curses are incantations said in a ritualistic manner to bring about harm to another person. In the case of an Evil Eye curse, the person has to have a strong intent to harm or curse another. Using this strong intent, they glare at the person or object belonging to the person that they want harmed or cursed. This belief system can be seen in all cultures around the world from, Africa and Asia, to Europe and the UK, North America, including the Indian tribes and is widely spread in South America and the Caribbean islands. 

Since the dawn of time people have believed in curses and supernaturally based misfortune that can be placed on another human being. Rituals and symbols have been created to protect the person or object affected by the curse and the use of the Evil Eye amulet is only one of these symbols.

It is believed that there are three types of evil eyes:

The first are unconscious evil eyes -These evil eyes harm people and things unintentionally. This type of Evil Eye curse is a kind of curse that is put on a child, crops, livestock or a beautiful girl by someone who is born with an “Evil Eye”, There is no evidence suggesting why some people are born like this or not and it is widely believed that people with blue eyes have this intrinsic ability. The curse placed is usually unintentional, as the person simply looks and admires or praises the beautiful baby, child, girl, or other possessions. In Italy and Sicily people who have this internal power are called “jettatore” and they are believed to be malevolent and deliberately cast the Evil Eye on their victims. 

Pope Pius IX was believed to be a “jettatore” not because people believed him to have a malevolent spirit but because it seemed as if people and places he blessed were consequently affected by disasters. Pope Leo XIII was also believed to possess the ‘mal occhio’ as after she blessed a child she fell into the river and drowned. Small children and animals are especially vulnerable to the unintentional Evil Eye.

The second type of Evil Eye intends to harm – This is an intentional curse by someone who is jealous of the love, success, and earthly possessions you have. It is mostly a person to whom material possessions have a great meaning. Their all-consuming internal jealousy builds up negativity within their soul that when they give you a malevolent glare you are afflicted with the Evil Eye curse.

The third one is unseen, a hidden evil, and is most feared – There are dark forces in the world, whether we believe it or not. There are negative energies surrounding all earthly beings. Let’s call them “unseen forces”. Sometimes when you enter a place you might feel uncomfortable, you may not necessarily know how to describe it and may just shirk it off as nonsense, however, this is your inner spirit giving you a warning of possible negative energies that are in this place

The evil eye symbol is present worldwide and seen as a symbol by many cultures to ward off evil. It has blended with the fashion trends of today’s youth and shows that cultural values are still deeply rooted in daily life. 

How the Evil Eye manifests

When you have an Evil Eye curse placed on you, your health is affected, and you start having symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • Lack of Energy
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Nausea and vomiting 

Both children and adults can be affected and in children, the symptoms could lead to illness or worse as they are not strong enough to fight off the negative universal forces of evil.

The Evil Eye curse affects all areas of a person’s life, physical, emotional, mental, financial, and in relationships. Since the person who has intentionally cursed you due to their jealousy, they have in effect placed a curse on all areas of your life.

Physical – This mostly presents as headaches and fever, nausea, and anxiety, but it could also mean injury – a broken limb or even a disease.

Emotional – Some people find that they are lonely and unloved, or experience discomfort at social gatherings, they have an anger they never had before, and struggle with mood swings.

Mental – The negative energy that is placed on the person leads to mental changes like depression and anxiety or at times paranoia, you feel like someone is watching you.

Financial – Financial loss is the common effect of an evil eye curse. When someone is jealous of your success or fortune, they cast a hostile glance on your achievements. So, you start witnessing downfalls like losing your job, robbery, loss in business, bankruptcy, and many more.

Relationships – When you are in love and in a wonderful relationship or have a great marriage, people may be envious as they are alone and feel unloved. You may start to fight with your loved ones, break up or it may even lead to divorce.

Finally – The Evil Eye is a symbol that is seen to ward off negative forces and bring protection for over 7000 years, there have been archaeological excavations that have dated this symbol of protection back to Neo-lithic times. Whatever we believe today, there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that there is truth in its symbolic power and perhaps it is time to turn back to the n=beliefs of the ancients to save our new and uncertain world.

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