The Evil Eye
By now, most folks, at least most reading this, I assume know what the evil eye is. Over recent years something that was only known and shared through oral tradition, within families, for the most part, has become pretty well documented-while staying mysterious. This is the beauty of energy, of the unseen.
There is so much to say about the history and the still living practice around the evil eye. This post is not an exhaustive account in any way, just some dark moon in cancer thoughts.
The malocchio-mal'occh has fascinated me for most of my life. I heard it mentioned by my Italian family members, but always in brief. I did not fully understand until I was older what was being referenced. EVEN though I felt it as a child, AND I know I was thrown the eye AND I know I threw it. I was not taught to be aware of this, and did not until I was a teenager. I was not protected against it as a child, was not taught to pay attention or protect myself. I did not learn to do this until I was older. All those who had paid attention, who worked with it, who acknowledged it had all died by the time I was a small child.
And so along with their deaths, it was not directly shared with me.
I blame WASP culture infiltrating my WOP culture.
What do I mean by WASP culture? When I say this I mean the white/British/Germanic dominant narrative of the culture I grew up in the USA that preaches the Golden Rule, teaches us to be kind (at least to the persons face) tells us to be nice if we want something from someone, and to put on a happy face even if it’s not sincere. FAWNING is encouraged. Back handed compliments are common, expected by many.
And as a child I bought this, what was sold to me in school and in books, and the people I was around. I believed for a while that this was how we should be. Smile, even if you don’t feel like smiling. Be pleasant even if it’s a lie. Now I am not saying that I don’t think we should prioritize being thoughtful and considerate with each other. That is something else. What I am calling the WASP mentality IS malicious, passive aggressive, it is fake and dangerous. It makes us not truly trust each other or ourselves. It messes with us.
A simple example: If you are smiling as someone in front of you, if you give them a compliment, if dislike them, or even if you love them.but your energy does not match your words, you are directing your gaze upon them with the authentic energy within you. That still gets transmitted. The smile is the bait, the snare, the false verification of truth.
And it permeates that person after the gaze is released. And that energy that was send, either envy or ill will moves into their energetic body unknowingly.
Mediterranean cultures for thousands of years have (beginning with our Mesopotamian ancestors, then continued with the Egyptian and then Greco-Roman) talked about and witness these energies. They have not tried to hide them. It is a cultural understanding, this transmission of energy. That the more we ignore something, it grows into something else. Remember ALL or ANY energy does not go away it transmutes into something else. So that is the choice:
So, the beauty of being in relationship with this is that we recognize this (yucky, sticky) energy that we all have the capacity to hold and throw, we witness it and act accordingly. We move it into the earth, into an object, into the water. We compost it so that it may not fester, not percolate inside of us.
This is one of the pieces of my Italian culture that I most proud of. That we, no matter where, no matter how, we continued to recognize this part of ourselves and we didn’t pretend other wise. We didn't leave it in the land we left. And this has been one of the most beautiful preservations of who we are and what we know.
My bisnonna and her daughters (my nonna was one of them) would do the prayer for the mal'cchio in Arbereshe, (the endangered language of the Byzantine Albanian people who left Albania, then still Greece, in the 1500s to escape the Ottomans and who took refuge in Southern Italy).
My family lore is that bis nonna used olive oil and coal to clear the mal'occh, always with a prayer and the cross with the thumb over the forehead of the person affected. It was passed down generationally on Christmas Eve. My moms cousin was the last to receive the transmission from bis-nonna. She then, transmitted it to me. Until very recently this was not discussed publicly in families. It was just known. Until recently it was not written or recored because you would just go into the kitchen and the (usually woman) mamma, nonna or zia who would read and clear the malocchio would do it for you right there, with our most, sacred tools: water, oil, salt, knife (and in some traditions like my bis nonna coal was also involved) Simple, quick. Prayers are made. Energy is cleared by being witnessed.
Now, this is not the same as a curse, that is another thing. But the malocchio can feel like a curse its left to sit and fester. It is the evil eye: it needs to be seen. Energy wants and needs to be witnessed.
This is why talk therapy can be helpful for some, or what is called platica in Curaderismo. Traditional Italian folk healers also have a version of this; the witnessing of a persons experience so it may move on and not create dis-ease in the body or mind.
What I am calling dominant "WASP culture" teaches that we push this energy within us down further into us, ignore it, pretend, or lie. This narrative pushes celebrity culture, capitalism and materialism down our throats so we cannot even decipher any more what we really need or what we really want. We are sold an internal narrative that we are not enough and that someone else is.
Online world has magnified this.
There are only a couple times in my life that I am aware that I threw the eye, and it was when I was younger, the last time I can remember I was probably 23. It was never over envy of material objects, it was an envy of what I knew I would never have in this life; the intangible.
Of course it is not possible for me to know all the times it has been thrown at me, but I have had many times where I knew, felt, and experienced it from friends and acquaintances. It is weird when someone we love and trust does this. Especially when they may not even know they did! It is possible to do this with those we like and love, it's not just those we don't like.
I am sharing this today because I think about this a lot, I think about energy exchange a lot. I think about how and what I contribute, and what I receive. I believe the more we talk about these things, the more we can work with and move the energies that we don’t want hanging with us. That the more we are aware of the energy exchange we and others make daily, it will help us to practice more authentic exchanges that ultimately feel good in our bodies. And it is OK to feel these things. It is OK to want, to wish, to desire. It is HOW we sit with these feelings that matter.
Over the years these are some of the practices that I have integrated into my daily life to repel the unwanted energy of the mal’oochio and avoid sending it out:
Wearing a protective amulet. This can be seen or unseen by others.
Keeping apotropaic plants in pockets, bra, or sewn into clothes.
Spraying protection spray on the body and back of neck before leaving the home.
I make some you can purchase it here:
Making the protective hand gestures (see my previous blog post on this) downward when walking in a public area.
Making the hand gesture quickly, upright if you are talking about a friend or acquaintance and you don’t want to send that energy to them.
Being mindful of when and how someone gives you a compliment. How did it land with you?
after a compliment that feels off, making the hand gesture behind your back, or spitting over your shoulder, our saliva being the conductor to move what was shot at us.
Being mindful of how we dish out compliments to others.
Showering or bathing directly after an energy exchange.
And if you, or someone you know, can do a quick reading with the olive oil and water and say the prayers for you.
May we walk together with integrity and love; may we witness each other and the energies we carry.