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Did Someone Give You the Evil Eye? There's One Way to Find Out

You got a strange look just before everything started to go wrong. Better grab your olive oil and know for sure.
Jul. 17, 2012
Tara Vassiliou

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The health ben­e­fits of olive oil are well doc­u­mented – from pro­tect­ing the heart to pre­vent­ing skin can­cer and so much more. But were you aware of the role olive oil plays in ward­ing off the Evil Eye?

This fas­ci­nat­ing notion of the evil eye dates back to ancient times, and is still an inte­gral part of many cul­tures in the Middle East, West Africa, Central America, Asia and the Mediterranean; and as a con­se­quence, it is woven into all the major reli­gions — Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Christian Orthodox. Some the­o­rize that Alexander the Great was par­tially respon­si­ble for dis­sem­i­nat­ing the idea of the evil eye’ – the con­cept spread­ing east in par­al­lel with his empire.

The evil eye is believed to cause bad luck, injuries, and even death. Sometimes it is done unin­ten­tion­ally, sim­ply the result of jeal­ousy or dis­like of the vic­tim. Various amulets and tal­is­man are used to ward off the evil eye; these come in all sorts of shapes and sizes — blue eyes, disks and balls which are worn on the per­son or kept on their prop­erty. They can also be seen on the prows of many Mediterranean boats — the star­ing eyes are meant to deflect the wicked gaze back onto the per­pe­tra­tor.

The test used to con­firm if the evil eye has been cast is per­formed by plac­ing one drop of olive oil in a glass of water, gen­er­ally holy water. Of course under nor­mal con­di­tions the olive oil will float, but if the drop sinks, then the evil eye has been cast.

Those among the ancient Romans and the civ­i­liza­tions they con­quered, who found them­selves with­out the safe­guard of their pro­tec­tive amulet would uti­lize rude sex­ual hand ges­tures to avoid the evil eye – inter­est­ingly, while the orig­i­nal mean­ing may have been all but lost, many of these ges­tures are still in use today.

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