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What is the Meaning Behind the Evil Eye?

The evil eye symbol can be seen everywhere these days. Whether they’re on jewelry, your nails, a tattoo or home decor-the evil eye has gained a ton of popularity in pop culture lately. Since many of us have jumped on the evil eye band wagon without knowing what this symbol means, I thought it would be helpful and important to take a deep dive into the intricate history of the evil eye.

I wasn’t going to dedicate an entire post to the meaning of the evil eye but as I researched I found the information quite interesting and since I know I’m not the only one sporting evil eyes all over my wrist and neck, I figured it was time we actually know what the symbol means, especially since it has “evil” in the title.

The Evil Eye Meaning:

First, I want to briefly explain the meaning behind the evil eye symbol and then we’ll dive into it’s rich history.

The evil eye is actually a talisman or amulet meaning it protects the person wearing it from evil. The symbol itself is not evil. It’s actually the opposite of evil. I think over time and many different languages, the term got lost in translation. The term, “evil eye” got stuck to the symbol even though the symbol is acting as a shield from the evil eye a person might cast someone else’s way. The evil eye is most common in the Greek culture where it is believed by many that the power of the evil eye is to protect the person wearing it.

The traditional evil eye charm is a simple series of blue, white and black circles but the shape of an eye can also be considered an evil eye.

In evil eye jewelry today, the little eye is marketed as a good luck charm or a symbol of good energy or good vibes. However, while it is meant to be a positive symbol, there is much more to uncover to understand the deep meaning behind it.

To break the meaning of the evil eye down to it’s simplest form, it protects good people from bad things.

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The History of the Evil Eye:

The evil eye is an ancient symbol found as far back as ancient Egypt (the Eye of Horus) and may even go further back than that. Depending on the country or culture, the evil eye symbol has different names. In Greece where it is most commonly associated with, the evil eye is called a Nazar. The belief in the evil eye is most prominent in the Mediterranean region.

People believed that the eyes were so powerful that someone who felt jealousy towards another person could curse them with one look. It was believed that the person giving the evil eye might not even mean to curse the person they are envious of. Jealousy wasn’t the only negative force behind the evil eye curse. Any type of negative feeling could curse another person. The symptoms of someone cursed was typically fatigue, headaches, stomachaches and anxiety. Wearing the evil eye talisman was a form of protection against the curse.

What’s interesting is that the term “evil” is usually associated with the devil or demonic forces. However, the evil eye was only referring to curses between humans, not supernatural forces. From my research, it also seemed that the curses were sometimes given quite innocently. None the less, people wanted protection. Protection didn’t stop at wearing the evil eye amulet or displaying one in their home. It was believed that spitting on the ground 3 times after being cursed could sway the curse. Dropping olive oil into a bowl of water was also a way to determine if you had been cursed. If the olive oil formed a solid blob in the middle of the pot, you knew you were cursed. By stabbing the oily blob with a knife or scissors you could also rid yourself of the evil activity.

The belief in the evil eye was typically combined with the belief in God and Hail Marys and praying to Jesus was combined with the superstitious rituals mentioned above.

The ancient concept of the evil eye is not limited to Greece but can also be seen in the Europe, the Middle East, North and East Africa, the Philippines and South America. There is mention of the evil eye in the Bible and the Quran. The Hand of Fatima, also known as the Hamsa is an open hand with an eye in the middle and is used in Muslim, Jewish and Christian cultures and is believed to protect the wearer and also bring good fortune.

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Evil Eye Jewelry Superstitions:

Some people wear an evil eye because they believe in the power that it holds. In fact, if you have an evil eye bracelet, there is superstition even around which wrist you wear it on. The right wrist is said to bring success in money and career while the left wrist is good luck in love and relationships as well as creativity. It is based on the left and right sides of the brain. Also, some people believe that when your evil eye jewelry breaks it means the piece has warded off so much negative energy that it can not protect you any further.

The Meaning of Different Evil Eye Colors:

The most common evil eye color is a cobalt blue with a lighter blue inside, a white inside of that and then a black dot for the pupil. This color combination is what you mostly see in jewelry or decor. However, it isn’t uncommon to see someone with several different colored eyes on a bracelet or necklace. What is interesting is that different colors have different meanings.

  • Deep blue represents calmness and peace.
  • Light Green offers personal power and promotes good health.
  • Dark Green is good for health and anxiety.
  • Pink is for calm, acceptance, and order.
  • Red is for courage and confidence
  • White means purity, which is not surprising.
  • Purple helps fight depression.
  • Orange is for happiness, creativity, and positive energy.
  • Grey is for security.

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Can Christians Wear an “Evil Eye”?

The evil eye is a pagan symbol, meaning that it is not a Christian belief. As a Christian, God through prayer is the ultimate source of protection making a necklace, even a cross necklace powerless. However, the evil eye symbol, despite it’s confusing name, is not evil nor does it have evil origins. It’s simply a rich superstition that is thousands of years old. As mentioned earlier, it was often combined with Christianity and even seen in the Jewish culture. Also, as stated earlier, the “curse” had nothing to do with demonic forces. Quite simply, it was a relational issue everyone experiences whether Christian or not.

My opinion is that if you are a Christian and you simply like the way evil eye jewelry looks but don’t believe in the charm’s power of protection then wearing one is fine. The only issue I can see with wearing one is that you might be giving the people around you the wrong idea about your beliefs. However, being a Christian and believing in the power of a symbol goes against the root of Christianity and your beliefs might need to be explored more deeply.

I am a Christian and I will admit I have been wearing evil eye jewelry for years not really knowing exactly what the symbol meant. I’ve always taken the approach that there is no harm or power in something unless I give it power. I now understand the meaning and will continue to wear my jewelry. I always felt I was contributing to my boho style and also giving a nod to another culture unlike my own. Living abroad as a teenager made me realize the world is so much bigger than where I grew up and there are so many religions and cultures that while different than mine should be acknowledged and respected.

I hope you enjoyed learning about the evil eye or the Nazar. I think it’s always important to express yourself through your style so wearing a symbol rich in meaning that you know nothing about contradicts that conviction. Now, with all these interesting facts, you can decide whether evil eye jewelry is for you!

xx, Jenni