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Want Protection From The Evil Eye? Here's What To Know, From Experts

Lauren David
June 23, 2023
Lauren David
By Lauren David
mbg Contributor
Lauren David is a Chilean-American freelance writer. She writes about gardening, food, health and wellness, and sustainability. She has been published in Allrecipes, Greatist, The Healthy, The Kitchn and more.
June 23, 2023
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The evil eye is the belief that someone can have power over you or cause you harm, and wearing an evil eye talisman can be a way to protect yourself. Today, you’ll see these amulets worn by people of all ages as jewelry, on clothing, or even used as decor for protection around the home.

Here’s what the evil eye represents, how people use amulets to ward off negative energy, and how you can incorporate this symbol into your life. 

What is the evil eye?

The concept of the evil eye is thousands of years old, and is based on the idea that someone has put a spell or curse on you.

Many countries and cultures believe in the evil eye, with psychology expert and owner of Psychic Medium Witch, Leigh Ann Romano Rogers, M.A., telling mindbodygreen, “Belief in the evil eye is a cross-cultural phenomenon found throughout Europe, the ancient Egyptians, North and East Africa, the Middle East, the Philippines, and Latin America, among other cultures."

Archeologists have also found an evil eye amulet dating back to 3300 B.C.E. in ancient Mesopotamia, which is present day Syria.

“The evil eye is a belief that the eyes can cause harm with a glance holding a bad intention,” Rogers explains, adding, “The most frequently given form of the evil eye comes from jealousy, but it can also be caused by greed, anger, blame, resentment, hostility, contempt, malice, ill will, or even just an awareness of inequality, leaving harm or destructiveness in its wake.”  

People wear amulets to ward off the evil eye and protect themselves today, just as they did thousands of years ago. Evil eye amulets are often blue, in the shape of an eye, and are known as nazar, which translates from Arabic as "sight and attention." As licensed clinical psychologist Avigail Lev, Psy.D., explains, “By wearing or displaying the evil eye, individuals seek spiritual and psychological protection,” says

Nowadays, celebrities like Meghan Markle, Jennifer Aniston, Gigi Hadid, and more, have brought this important symbol to the limelight by wearing evil eye-inspired jewelry. “The symbol represents the power to see beyond what is visible to the naked eye and ward off negative energy,” adds Solaris the Hii Priestess, astrologer, tarot reader and author of Y.O.U, Your Own Universe

The evil eye in different traditions

In Italy

In Italy, we see the cornicello, cornetto, or corno—also known as the Italian horn—as one such amulet protecting against the mal’occhio (evil eye),” Rogers tells mindbodygreen, adding, “The cornicello was traditionally made of red coral and was hollow, meant to be filled with salt, and always given as a gift of protection for the wearer.” 

In Morocco

In Morocco, the evil eye is called Al-ayn, according to Rogers, who notes, “It is thought that if you hold up a hand with the palm facing outward, similar to the Hamsa, you can ward off a disingenuous compliment or threat.” This is known as "five in your eye," she adds.

In Ancient Egypt

The Eye of Horus, Udjat Eye, and the Wedjat Eye were used as an amulet to protect against the evil eye in Ancient Egypt, explains Rogers. “It adorned doorways, entrances, and burial sites, providing protection, health, rejuvenation, and a guiding eye to all who entered,” she says. 

In Islam, Judaism, and Christianity

The Hand of Fatima also goes by the name Hamsa, and the Eye of Miriam, and is traditional in Muslim, Jewish and Christian cultural contexts, Rogers share with mindbodygreen. As she notes, “The open hand has an eye in the center of the palm and is known to protect the wearer, as well as bring good fortune.” 

Meaning & symbolism of the evil eye

People who believe in the evil eye and experience a sudden, inexplicable ailment often consider receiving the evil eye to be the cause. “Some people believe the evil eye can cause physical and mental health problems, such as headaches and anxiety,” Solaris says, adding, “The belief is that the negative energy is so strong it can disrupt a person's wellbeing.”

Rogers, for instance, grew up hearing stories in her Italian family her grandmother getting the evil eye from her aunt. “In my family, the story goes that whenever my grandmother would visit [her] aunt’s house, she would come home with an unexplainable headache,” Rogers says. “It was said this aunt’s daughter was not beautiful, but that my grandmother was, and that her aunt would give her the mal’occhio, each time she would visit, envying her beauty over her cousin’s.”

In many cultures, including Italy, there's even a superstitious method for checking if someone has received the evil eye. “It is said that if you put three drops of olive oil in a bowl of water and nothing happens, then you are free of the evil eye,” Rogers explains. 

Many people also believe that wearing an evil eye symbol can serve as protection from the evil eye. According to Solaris, the symbol is used in different ways—such as wearing amulets or talismans with the evil eye symbol to ward off bad luck and negative energy, performing rituals, or using charms and potions to protect against the evil eye.

“Talismans specifically designed to protect against the evil eye are believed to possess certain qualities or energies that can repel or neutralize the negative intentions or energies directed towards an individual,” Lev explains, adding, ”The belief in the power of talismans as a protective tool against the evil eye reflects the human desire for security, wellbeing, and the avoidance of misfortune.”

Evil eye in practice 

Many people will either wear a nazar to create a boundary of negative energy from reaching them, or display one in their home. But it can also be used to attract good luck, and as a meditative or visualization tool.

“A person can use the evil eye as a tool for intention setting by focusing on their desired outcome and using the talisman as a way to attract positive energy,” Solaris says. She notes that incorporating meditation and visualization practices can help "enhance the power of the talisman," [and] some will also dress the talisman with different oils for protection.

Because the evil eye is based on a belief system, it’s important to be mindful to use this type of amulet in a respectful manner. “While some people may find it helpful in their lives, others may not find it applicable to their experiences,” Solaris tells mindbodygreen, adding, "Understanding and respecting the cultural significance of the evil eye is essential before using it as a talisman or incorporating it into one's life.”

But for those who don’t doubt the evil eye, it will likely influence how they feel and the practices they implement in their life. “The evil eye, on its own, does not contribute to well-being,” Lev says. “It is only when someone believes in talismans or ways to protect themselves that it may provide a sense of comfort.” 

The evil eye is also about believing in something we can’t see, Lev adds, noting that when we connect with something bigger than ourselves, we often gain perspective on our own lives and challenges. “It reminds us that we are part of a larger tapestry and that our individual experiences are interconnected with the world around us,” she adds.


What does the evil eye protect against?

The evil eye symbol helps protect against curses, negative energy, and ill will. Wearing an amulet as jewelry can be a way to protect yourself, as well as hanging or displaying one in an area in the home.

Is it okay to wear the evil eye?

Yes, many people and cultures wear the evil eye amulet as a form of protection from negative energy or people. However, understanding and respecting the cultural significance of the evil eye is essential before using it as a talisman or incorporating it into your life.

The takeaway

The evil eye plays an important role in many cultures, and an evil eye talisman can be worn—as well as used in meditation, visualization, and intention-setting practices—for protection against unwanted energies. If you use it, always keep in mind to understand and respect the cultures where this tradition comes from.

Lauren David author page.
Lauren David

Lauren David is a Chilean-American freelance writer. She writes about gardening, food, health and wellness, and sustainability. She has been published in Allrecipes, Greatist, The Healthy, The Kitchn and more.

When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time in her garden, experimenting with ingredients in the kitchen, or spending time by the ocean. See her portfolio on her website.