The Evil Eye is one of the most powerful symbols in mankind’s history, having wormed its way through various religions and belief systems. It is still very much feared today in certain parts of the world, perceived as a harbinger of doom or portent of ill fortune. Given that the Evil Eye has proven its resilience over hundreds, if not thousands, of years, is there any substance to the belief that it can actually cause harm?
The Origins of the Evil Eye
The first recorded carvings of the Evil Eye are about 5,000 years old. They were chiselled in cuneiform onto clay tablets in the Ancient Mesopotamian era. However, archaeologists believe that the symbol may actually have originated as far back as the Upper Palaeolithic age, making it an almost inherent part of our civilisation. Since then, it has been found in Jewish, Christian and Muslim cultures and even in Buddhist and Hindu beliefs.
However, it was around 3,000 years ago that the now-familiar glass representation was created, by the glass masters of Anatolia. Many mistakenly believe that this form of the Evil Eye is used to bring others bad luck. In actual fact, it was created as a talisman against those who would use the power of the Evil Eye; a protective measure.
The Evil Eye and the Third Eye
However, there is far more to the Evil Eye than simple representations. It was thought that those with particular powers were able to cause bad luck, sickness or ill fortune simply by looking at someone. It is thought that this comes from the ancient concept of the Third Eye; the psychic manifestation of our connection point with the spiritual universe. Those with the ability to wield psychic powers were believed to be able to channel negative energies through this conduit, causing measurable harm to the target of their malice.
Such was the belief in this idea that during the Middle Ages in Europe, many famines, crop failures and general bad luck were attributed to witches and warlocks. Many practitioners of Paganism were sent to their deaths as the result of friends and neighbours reporting them as users of the Evil Eye. Hysteria grew until even the most natural of disasters were seen as evidence of some malign power; spoilt milk, sick livestock and even infant death were enough to send the Witch Hunters out on another investigation.
In psychological terms, staring at someone for too long is often an expression of aggression. In the animal kingdom, hierarchical challenges are often settled through ‘staring contests,’ way before the need for physical assertion becomes necessary.
For humans, this is still true; those about to get into a fight will often try to ‘psych’ each other out by staring too long or, colloquially, giving each other the Evil Eye. Regardless of its origins, there can be little doubt that the Evil Eye carries with it a certain calibre of baggage, usually speaking of something bad to come.
Is the Evil Eye Real?
However, the answer to the question ‘is it real’ is a complicated one. In psychic terms, the answer is ‘possibly.’ Psychics believe that we are all born with some latent psychic gifts and that our subconscious minds behave much like a two-way radio, broadcasting and receiving psychic signals from everyone around us. Just as we can broadcast positive energies, we also have the ability to broadcast negative ones.
However, for the majority of us this goes on unnoticed; we may experience ‘gut feelings’ about people, instinctively deciding that there is something about that person we just don’t like. A psychic might explain this as our intuitive skills picking up on something negative in that person’s subconscious broadcast, such as an expression of jealousy or even a wish to do us harm. There are even notions of ‘psychic vampires’ and the ability to attack someone on a psychic level, channelling waves of negativity that have some detrimental effect upon the target. This might be a sapping of that person’s energy or confidence or even lead to physical illness. However, can it be that simple?
Science and Psychology
The scientific answer is ‘no.’ There is little evidence to suggest that anyone can change a person’s physical health, fortune or emotional state, simply by staring at them a bit too long. The most it is likely to do is make them feel uncomfortable for a time. However, psychologically, there is a school of thought that suggests the Evil Eye can have tangible effects.
In individuals who believe that they can suffer direct harm from someone with malign powers, there is the potential for the self-fulfilling prophecy. If they genuinely feel that they have been exposed to negative energies through the Evil Eye, then there is every possibility that their bodies will act accordingly. Scientists have already agreed that a positive outlook is an ingredient to maintaining good physical health and there is research being conducted into the effects of a depressive state of mind onto the human body. Currently, it is thought that a negative outlook engenders poor physical health.
In addition, if someone earnestly believes that their fortunes can be affected in this way, then they are likely to make that a perceived reality. Every trip-up, argument, cold or lost item will be attributed to the Evil Eye. Most of us know what it’s like to have something bad on our minds; it affects the way we think and behave. For someone whose belief in the Evil Eye is absolute, the moment they encounter an individual who apparently uses their ability they will enter that mode of behaviour without even thinking about it. Their mind will be occupied with negativity and, as a consequence, they are likely to court ill fortune.
In many ways, the concept of the Evil Eye is easy to dismiss. However, it does depend on who you are. If you’re a person who doesn’t believe in it in any way, then you are going to attribute any bad luck you experience to the laws of chance or the way you are behaving. Conversely, if you believe that these things are possible, then you are accepting that as part of your reality.