My Obsession with the Greek Evil Eye

My Obsession with the Greek Evil Eye

Have you ever felt unwell after someone has complimented you? Do you get a headache every time the old woman next door looks at you? If so, you may have been inflicted with the EVIL EYE.

Known as the μάτι (mati), ‘eye’, the evil eye is a curse believed to be caused by a malevolent glare, originating in Greece (where else?!) as far back as the 6th century BC, when it commonly appeared on drinking vessels. Many cultures believe that receiving the evil eye will cause misfortune or injury, so talismans were created to protect against the evil eye. It is a belief that you can catch the “matiasma”, from someone’s jealous compliment, which will cause sudden illness. If you are getting involved with a Greek man for example, there may well be a level of jealousy from the older women who fear that you are stealing their precious Nikos / Stellios / Vasillios / whatever-his-name-is-os. So best to read on to see how you can protect yourself! 

In Greece, the evil eye can be cast away through the process of xematiasma (ξεμάτιασμα), whereby the ‘healer’ silently recites a secret prayer passed over from an older relative, usually a grandparent. These prayers are rarely revealed to others in case the healer loses their ability to cast off the evil eye. My Yiayia (Greek grandmother) is one such healer and she has received many a phone call from my family begging her to lift the evil eye from them after they have been struck down with a mysterious illness.

Unfortunately Yiayia goes to Greek bingo classes and thus is not always available to answer the phone. So instead we often have to make do with just our talismans.

These talismans can take any form but usually consist of an ornamental eye inside a blue circle, which people hang about their house.
Evil eyes

I prefer to wear my talismans. I have bracelets, rings, necklaces all adorned with the evil eye. I even have a pair of sandals from Santorini that keep me curse-free all summer long.

Not all of my jewellery is of the evil eye alone, for example, I also have several owls (the symbol of Athena) who have evil eyes…for eyes…

I am not a fan of tattoos, but if I had to get one I would have the evil eye.

Of course, the talismans don’t always work which is why Greeks have other ways of keeping the evil eye at bay. One includes spitting. You spit on the cursed one three times to ward off the evil spirit. OR you can carry a piece of garlic with you along with your evil eye talisman. On my wedding day, my Yiayia sewed a piece of garlic into my wedding dress. Personally, I would rather have taken my chances with just a bracelet.

So where you can find these miracle jewels I hear you cry? Well if you just open your eyes (get it) they are everywhere. I bought my bracelet in Athens, my ring from Cyprus and all the pendants are from different Greek islands BUT you don’t have to hop on a plane to get yourself some evil eye bling. There are plenty of handmade items available on Etsy (which has become my new favourite online shop) and you can even find clothes adorned with the evil eye symbol.

This funky top is from Jaded London. It isn’t quite the traditional GREEK eye but hey, sometimes it’s good to mix things up a bit!

evileye

I also found some items on ASOS for you to nab.

The evil eye is everywhere, but if you are well protected you can keep it at bay…at least until you can find yourself a piece of garlic!

Why not check out my board on Pinterest for more evil eye inspiration!

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4 Comments

  1. Jam
    2nd October 2016 / 8:34 am

    I was told that the talisman had to be a gift from a Greek or it wouldn’t be effective. Have you heard this?

    • Ekaterina
      2nd October 2016 / 8:37 am

      That’s interesting. I suppose you could interpret it as you’ve bought a gift for yourself so I’m sure you’ll be protected either way! 😉

  2. 20th November 2015 / 8:13 am

    Such a fun post. Tell Yiayia, I need her help, or maybe just a talisman. Really good pics and very funny post. My Cyrpiot friends call me Stephanos 🙂

    • Ekaterina
      20th November 2015 / 8:16 am

      Haha thank you Stephano – I’m sure Yiayia would be happy to help!

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