To see and be seen, to attract and repel, to dazzle and dismiss- the Evil Eye, and protection against it, is a complex kind of Magic. Cultures spanning the globe have some notion of the Evil Eye. There is something universal about the fear of what a glance, unconscious or not, can do. The Evil Eye is multifaceted: one can carry the power of the Evil Eye and not know it and unintentionally cause harm to people in passing. Babies, children and livestock are especially susceptible to its effects, one is more vulnerable to the Evil Eye while they eat, a vain person looking in the mirror can curse the ill effects of the Evil Eye onto themselves... (and that’s just to name a few)!
For me, what is at the heart of the Evil Eye is the power of discontent. The Evil Eye is the result of a scarcity mentality where beauty, youth, success, happiness and seeming abundance of others somehow threatens one’s own worth. The Evil Eye is a ripple in one’s perception of themselves and others- a distortion representing an essential human issue: the connection between seeing and being seen. If we don’t feel seen, we often take on beliefs that we have to do something, look like something, BE something to be seen. This kind of striving for worth can make us see others as competition. The quality of the gaze outward begins with the quality of the gaze inward.
Charms against the Evil Eye are fascinating in their strategy. One of the most familiar examples of Evil Eye charms is the glass circle with concentric blue, green, and white circles, with a black dot in the center. This talisman to protect against the Evil Eye looks just like an eye, and is often hung in a place of prominence. In Slovenia, the spiral is sewn into shirt collars and sleeves and carved into cradles as protection against the Evil Eye. Lewd hand gestures are another common protection, distracting the casting of the Evil Eye. What all of these charms have in common is that they attract the eye. Like the wings of the butterfly or moth, they Evil Eye charms draw attention in order to repel. The Slovene use of the spiral, for instance attracts the curse of the Evil Eye and literally traps it in the spiral maze. Another Slovene charm against the bad luck of the Evil Eye is hanging mistletoe above the door. My cousin Ivi told me a story that once, a man came over to her house and she knew he had cast a malevolent glance. As soon as he left, she took down the mistletoe and threw it out the front door with a bucket of water behind it. The Mistletoe had ‘captured’ the curse and had to be disposed of.
In India, my painting teacher told me he adorns his children’s eyes with kohl to ward off the Evil Eye. Women and children in India, and some parts of the Middle East wear the kohl as a charm. There is no question of the allure of the smokey eye, a charm reminiscent of the homeopathic idea of ‘like curing like’ attracting attention to be protected from it.
Adornment, magic and protection often go together. Vivid color, light catching metals or stones and emphasizing facial characteristics with makeup, when intentionally applied, have transformative powers that can act as shields. The same eye catching wear can of course, have the opposite effect as well, attracting the dreaded Evil Eye.
Our intention when making F&M makeup is to create mediums for magickal adornment. We believe in the power of personal expression to radiate a protective aura of well being, and acceptance of oneself. We are interested in the deeper layers of the seemingly superficial. Our external selves are the live edge of our being- it is the ground where we meet the world.
Pondering how you adorn, conceal, care for, criticize that live edge gives you a good understanding of your come from for how you look out into the world. Charms against the Evil Eye are protective, healing core wounding around self worth is proactive.
F&M potions are mediums for healing the core relationship- you with yourself. Looking more closely, more deeply at the components of our daily routines is the gateway for more intentional action- which is magic.