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IN FRATERNAM MEAM
Thursday, June 30, 2005
EVIL EYE.......
The terror of the arts of "fascination", i.e. that certain persons can bewitch, injure and even kill with a glance, hasbeen and is still very widely spread. The power was not thought to be always maliciously cultivated. It was as often opposed to be involuntary (cf. Deuteronomy xxviii, 54); and a story is told of a Slav who, afflicted with the evil eye, at last blinded himself in orer that he might be the means of injuring his children (Woyciki, Polish Folklore, page 25). Few of the old classic writers fail to refer to the dread power. In Rome the "evil eye" was so well recognized that Pliny states that special laws were enacted against injury to crops by incantation, excantation or fascination. The power was styled by the Greeks and fascination by the Latins. Childrens and young animals of all kinds were thought to be specially susceptible. Chamrs were worn against the evil eye both by men and beast, and in Judges viii,21 it is thoguht there is a reference to this custom in the allusion to the "ornaments" on the necks of the camels.

In classic times the wearing of amulets was universal.
They were of three classes:

1). those the intention of which was to attract on to themselves, as the lightning rod the lightning, the malignant glance;
2). charms hidden in the bosom of the dress;
3). written words from sacred writings.

Of these three types the first was most numerous. They were oftenest of a grotesque and generally grossly obscene nature. They were also made in the form of frogs, bettles and so on.But the ancients dpes not wholly rely on amulets. Spitting was among the Greeks and Romans a most common antidote to the poison of the evil eye.

According to Theocritus it is necessary to spit three times into the breast of the person who fears fascination. Gestures, too, often intentionally obscene, were regarded as prophylactics on meeting the dreaded individual. The evil eye was believed to have its impulse in Envy and thus it came to be regarded as unlucky to have any of your possessions praised.

Among the Romans, therefore, it was customary when praising anh=ything to add Prefiscini dixerim(Fain Evil! I should say). This custom survives in modern Italy, where in like curcumstances is said Si mal occhio non ci fosse (May the evil eye not strike it) The object of these conventinal phrases was to prove that the speaker was sincere and had no evil eye designs in hism praise. Though there is no set formula, traces of the custom are found in Enlish rural sayings, e.g. the Somersetshire "I don't wish ee no harm, so I on't zay no more". This is what the Scots called "forespeaking", when praise beyond measure is likely to be followed by disease or accident.

In Ireland, to avoid being suspected as "evil eye", it is advisable when looking at a child to say "God Bless It", and when passing a farm-yard where cows are collected at milking time it is usual for the peasant to say, "The blessing of God be on you and all your labour"

The modern Turks and Arabs also think that their horses and camels are subject to evil eye. But the people of Italy, especially the Neapolitans, are the best modern instances of implicit believers. The "jettatore di bambini" (fascination of children) is the most dreaded of all. The evil eye is still much feared for horses in India, China, Turkey, Greece and almost everywhere where horses are found.

In Western India, all witches and wizards are said to be evil eyed. Modern Egyptian mother thus account for the sickly appearance of their babies. In Turkey passages from the Koran are painted on the outside of the houses to save the inmates, and texts as amulets are worn upn the person, or hung upon camels and horses by Arabs, Abyssinians and other peoples. The superstition is universal among savage people.

(abstracted from the book: ALL THERE IS TO KNOW by: Alexander Coleman and Chalres Simmons)
posted by infraternam meam @ 4:47 AM  
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