Fatima’s Eye, Blue Eye, or Nazar, is the name of an amulet, which serves to protect the wearer from the evil eye. Belief in the evil eye or a malevolent glare is widespread in the Middle East and the Mediterranean the most, as well as in parts of North Africa and Europe.
The Evil Eye
If you accidentally cut someone off in traffic or offend them otherwise, a malevolent and spiteful glare or a scowl is what they send your way. After a few moments you forget the evil look (eye), but in some places, the evil eye is taken very seriously. The evil eye is a glare made by a human being, and is believed to have the power to bring harm to someone or something. Supernatural effects of the evil eye may be bad luck, illness, injury, or even death. Alan Dundes, a folklorist and professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, mentions the symptoms of the evil eye in his study The Evil Eye: A Casebook:
The victim’s good fortune, good health, or good looks — or unguarded comments about them — may precipitate or provoke an attack by someone with the evil eye… Symptoms of illness caused by the evil eye include loss of appetite, excessive yawning, hiccups, vomiting, and fever. If the target of attack is a cow, its milk may dry up; if it’s a plant or fruit tree, it will wither and die on the spot.
The Evil Eye in History
Throughout history, man has tried to utilize magic items in order to repel the influence of evil forces. Amulets with inscribed words, numbers and symbols have survived to this day. Even monotheistic religions have their symbols, and for thousands of years almost every culture and religion has displayed a certain symbol – the symbol of an eye.
The evil eye is well known throughout history. It is mentioned in ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman texts, as well as in many famous literary works, including the Bible (Proverbs 23:6: “Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats”), the Koran and Shakespeare.
The Evil Eye is basically a specific type of magical curse rooted in superstition. Before science was able to explain changes in weather patterns, epidemics, and other natural disasters, man had blamed it on curses. Curses, including the evil eye, were a response to a centuries-old question, why do bad things happen to good people.
The positive correlation between curses and a person’s eyes is not hard to fathom: eyes, it is said, are the window to a person’s soul. Actors use their eyes to convey a wide range of emotions, including love, hate, disgust, boredom, scorn, surprise, and envy. In fact it is this last emotion — jealousy — that underlies the evil eye’s cultural association with magic.
Wards and Charms
The best way to avoid becoming a victim of the evil eye is to prevent it in the first place. The methods vary depending on the culture and geographical location. Amulets can be worn to avert the curse, and are often blue in colour, symbolizing Heaven and Divinity. The most popular among them is the Nazar, Blue Eye, or Fatima’s Eye. Typical Nazar is made from hand-tempered glass. Some other ways to counter effects of a curse of is the use of garlic or the well-known spitting ritual as a ward. Another possibility is to seek out shamans, witch doctors, psychics, or other spiritual healers to remove the curse — often for a fee.
Alan Dundes in his book highlights perhaps the most important thing in relation to the evil eye:
You should keep in mind that the evil eye is not just some old-fashioned superstitious belief of interest solely to antiquarians. The evil eye continues to be a powerful factor affecting the behavior of countless millions of people throughout the world.” Though belief in curses and evil spells can simply be a harmless superstition, it can also be dangerous in some circumstances. Any time one person believes that another has harmed them — whether naturally or supernaturally, intentionally or accidentally — there is the potential for deadly retribution. Just like the masses, in ages past, accused and condemned witches and warlocks, many people have, in contemporary times, been attacked, beaten, and killed for casting the evil eye…
You can buy a Blue Eye as a souvenir in a myriad of forms. As an object or part of jewelry, it can be found on each counter, jewelry store or shop with souvenirs, and in other shops.