Warding Off the Evil Eye

As you may have read in my bio here at CP , my ancestry is Sicilian. If you know anything about Sicilian or Italian people (there is a difference!) you know we are typically a very superstitious bunch.

The Evil Eye, or Mal Occhio (English translation “bad eye”) is believed to be a curse, though luckily, a curse that can be removed should one become aware if its presence. As a child I was warned about the evil eye, given the hand gesture of two pointed fingers (think a crooked “v”) and was surrounded by family members wearing the Corno, or Italian Horn Amulet for protection against the evil eye. I still occasionally wear my grandmother’s Corno today whenever I feel I need some extra defense or as a reminder.

Growing up, my grandma (who I am named after and visits with me daily from the other side) was convinced her elderly neighbor (who always wore a babushka over her hair and carried a mean walking stick) was always sending the evil eye to her. If I lost a ball over the fence I never got it back. When apples from the big tree in the backyard dropped on her side of the yard, she’d throw them over the privacy fence with abandon. We stayed on our side of the yard to avoid being pelted, as you never knew when the mood would strike her. To a kid, a grownup never seemed so cruel!

According to belief, a person without any special powers can send the Mal Occhio, often through envy, and without any specific intention. Corno were often placed in baby’s diapers for protection and is the reason why babies and young children are often spit upon three times by family members. No actual spit is sprayed, but the intention is to make a “tsoo” or spitting sound.

Traditionally, the evil eye is believed to cause headaches, bad luck, miscarriages, accidents, and damage to crops among other things. Fear of the evil eye was so great in our culture that special laws were enacted specifically to discourage the practice. Other alternatives for protection that were used (still by some today) include placing open scissors between your mattress while you sleep, wearing something red on your person, and garlic or red pepper (now can be purchased in plastic) strands worn or hung outside the home.

Do I believe in the Mal Occhio? Yes and no. Overall, we are simply working with energy and intentions, good or bad, everywhere we go. The Evil Eye, or Mal Occhio is no different!

25 thoughts on “Warding Off the Evil Eye

  1. Jacqueline

    I need help badly! My stepfather was born and raised in Italy, he married my mother, I was her only child back imN the early 60’s. my mother is not of Italian decent, married at 16 and had me by 17. All my life my mother told me stories of who she worked so hard holding down one or two jobs ad going to school. My biological father apparently got into some trouble and wasn’t working. I had several younger Aunts that lived with my grandparents and they baby sat me a lot and I remember being at my grandparents a lot I guess there came a time when my grandfather took me and told my mother I was not going back to their house and she had to make a choice. I guess my mother evenutally lefy my biological father and went back to her father and mothers with me in tow. This all was kept secret all my life, I would remember an incident of my mother telling me that if I didn’t call Carl (my stepfather) Dad that I couldn’t have any French fries so I did what I was told. When I was told, all my like when I brought this memory up she told me I was crazy. My mother was never a nurturing nor an a affectionate Mother, so always tried to act better than the family she came from and basically threw them to the side. When I was 14 I found letters from my mother and my stepfather written when he had taken a trip back to Italy, the dates and the conversation clearly showing they were not married I had another father. When I finally approached them, my mother stood like the ice queen, hatred in her eyes. My father explained that my natural father had gone to prison and that my father had given his name some money to give up his parental rights allowing my step father to adopt me. You can well imagine the deviation that my own flesh and bold gave me away for a few bucks and the betrayal I felt by my entire family keeping all of this from me. Anyway, my life has been no picinic but I have been a strong women but I have always been sickly, which has been an issue keeping jobs. I raised my two Children with no support, they are grown and wonderful. There other day I ran into an Italian women that lives in the next town, I had met her only once before at the airport . This time I ran into her and her mother who is visiting from Italy. My Italian is quite poor now but her daughter asked if I had time to come back to their house her mother said it was very important that she speak to me. Her mother, Sophia told me I was afflicyed with the evil eye and had been since a child, she went on to tell me about an ailment I had in my eyes as a toddler and about an eating disorder by the age o 4. She told me many other things, that the evil-eye had been put on me by a white witch, she claims she can help me….she maybe the answer to my life long prayer! What is your opinion?

  2. Giovanna

    Evil 4 sure praying is the only ay to fight it. God is our saviour the cross can protect one being inflicted by harmful behaviour thanking the creator for everything stop selfish behaviour love thy neighbours

  3. Giovanna

    Evil 4 sure praying is the only ay to fight it. God is our saviour the cross can protect one being inflicted by harmful every thanking the creator for everything stop selfish behaviour love thy neighbours

  4. Sammy T

    My grandfather and my father used to say a prayer for the affected person to take the evil eye off. A prayer that had to be learned on Christmas eve. I learned the prayer, but for the life of me can not remember part of it. It’s a prayer that starts with St Peter on the mountain holding his hands in front of him when Jesus passes by and asks him what he is doing. Does anyone know this prayer and can I get some help in remembering the last portion please.

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  7. tamarr

    Thank you Giovanna.I’m not Sicilian or Italian but I know about the evil eye too.I learned most of it from a close Greek friend of mine, but have heard of IlCorno to ward it off.I had one myself, a little red horn on a chain that an older friend brought me and I once had an Egyptian eye of Hours pun–but all was in my jewlry box which stolen.Anyway, I was most interested in your article because when I was much younger I “felt” jealousy and resentment coming from others but never could fully place it.Even when I could tell flat out that someone was not truly a friend and was thinking negatively, I felt powerless to do anything about it.I agree that most people are not connsciously putting the Eye on someone else.
    I think, as you say, negative energy and feelings are something that we feel and if we are sensitive and /or already insecure (which I *really* was years ago) those negative “vibes” can do damage.
    They can’t, I don’t think, if our self-esteem and confidence is basically good.
    People’s attitiudes don’ upset me half as much as they once did–but even now another woman’s jealousy and resentful or reproachful attitude can make me cringe.I’m still very very sensitive and feel people’s attitudes –so an angry or hostile thought feels like someone is throwing something at me.
    I always felt *lousy*about those things when I was young and now, while I now have many many women friends,and fewer men friends, I still shrink at allowing myself to fully *be* myself -especialy when I sense resentment.
    It’s an old issue for me but wanted to bring it up both for myself and for anyone who is reading your articles and may have a similar experience–.
    Since I’m much older and married it’s not the same world for me. And what I am most concerned with is certainly not about boyfriends or who has the best figure!;-)
    All the more reason though,(being much older) that I’m wanting to be my happiest and best self *now*–I don’t have another 50 yrs to live my life and I don’t want old fears and hang-ups to stop me from ‘blooming’ now..


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  11. Joey 9406

    My grandma was totally a believer in the evil eye. I, too, am one hundred percent Italian. My family has the big red horn in the entrance way to their house. hahahahaha. Growing up Italian, it is sort of pushed on you!
    I would hope no one ever put the evil eye on me, but I can’t say for sure if I believe or not. Like I said it is such an Italian thing to grow up with. Maybe this generation is not so used to hearing stories about it, but anytime anything bad happened when I was growing up, it was listed as a cause. My mother was convinced my grandmother put the evil eye on her. My deepest feelings about the matter are more along the lines of karma.
    Maybe bad luck is a way of paying for past negative actions from another life. Karma makes more sense to me, but hey, Tibetan Buddhists are very supersistious too. I had to chuckle at the article too, Giovanna, brought back some good memories of an old tradition. Thanks.
    Joey 9406

  12. sharebear

    Hi Giovanna! I read your article & it reminded me a lot of my childhood and my own interest in the supernatural & beliefs in otherwordly types of things. My mom is eatern European and they also believe in the evil eye. It’s a pretty common belief that exists in a lot of cultures including the Middle East (my other half) and we wear usually the jewellery (beads, bracelets, ring) that symbolize the actual “evil eye” which is always blue. I wear a ring that has a blue gemstone on it & people think that it’s for to protect me from the evil eye but I aslo wear a red srting around my wrist that has an evil eye bead on it too. I agree with what you said about the Mal Occhio being about energy & intentions, that is soo true. I believe in it but at the same time, our minds have a lot more power than we think. If you truly believe something is going to happen or that you will get bad luck or whatever, then it will happen. We sometimes give things so much power in our minds that they end up manifesting themselves in reality! I try not to take it too seriously for this reason, but it’s something that’s definitely interested me & there is a lot of truth behind the whole theory that the evil eye is born out of envy & jealousy and can cause harm, intentionally or unintentionally. It’s something that happens pretty much in every day life but it goes to show how much power our thoughts & minds can have.

    Great article!


  13. Yas

    The evil eye exists in many traditions, including most Middle Eastern and Jewish and Islamic cultures. Here too, it is supposedly can disrupt people’s lives negatively. It is believed though, that a person can fight the evil eye. I believe strong people can avoid the affects of an evil eye.

  14. colleen

    When my children were babies my ma gave me a little medal of the blessed mother and I would pin it on them everyday. This was so that my baby was not “overlooked”. I’ve been to Pisa, Florence, Rome and absolutely loved it! And yes the people are wonderful.

  15. Stephanie G.

    I try to keep away from my older sister who lives across the hall from me. She’s jealous and says cruel things. Since I moved here from another city, I have been ill and had so many unfortunate happenings. We are of Italian decent and have grown up with that belief stemming from my grandmother. I want to move away from here so badly. I actually feel like I’m surpressed by her behavior that has extended to her children who I once was so close to. We haven’t spoken in over a month and I ‘d rather it be that way since I’m skeptical of her intentions toward me. She has betrayed me in the past and hurt me deeply, so although I’m alone and in no financial or in good health to move, what can I do besides pray to feel at ease and ward off her “bad intentions” toward me?

  16. Carolina

    Hi Giovanna…

    We’ve never chatted, but I really enjoyed your article. My family heritage is Italian, from Reggio Calabria, and I have worn an “il corno” for years…the one I now wear was once owned and worn by an aunt who is deceased and whose name I was given at birth. She was a favorite of mine and I love wearing it especially because it was hers.


  17. Lynne

    I married an italian and my mother in law defintely believed in the evil eye saw many times the sissors under the mattress the girls did not know what that was about but she told me one night.
    She ended up not liking me too much because she said I had too much protection around me called me the white witch.
    Thank you for your article

  18. Elle

    Hi Giovanna,

    Although I’m not Italian, my culture and many others believe in “the evil eye.” Mal de ojo. I myself also believe that in our day to day lives we often come across many negative influences and it can impact on us. Probably negatively, causing strain, upset, and even illness. I believe we’re each capable of feeling jealousy, anger, and negatively towards others. Those who we simply don’t like or get along with. Yet, there are those who practice in – taking this sort of energy to a new level causing bad luck or injury to others. I think the best thing is to keep an open mind and be positive at all times. Some are not as strong and fall prey to the belief that somethings been done to them. They are weak and can cause their own illnesses and bad luck because they truly believe that this is real. In some cases it may be so but it’s up to each individual to guard against this type of thing by remaining positive and not feeding into it. Sadly, we’re all guilty of feeling negative towards others at least once in our lives. Even children are capable of feeling jealous towards their siblings or friends. That doesn’t mean they were the reason they fell ill or had an accident. My mom always told us there are genuine good people and people who pretend to be in order to get close to us because they’re wanting our light, positive and bright energies. Those individuals drain you with their negativity and soon enough reveal themselves.

    Great article and I can so relate. I also was given a medal of protection when I was a child. I believe we are all victims of what we chose to believe and have the power both mentally and physically to spot and protect ourselves from evil individuals who don’t have our best interest at heart. Some individuals are harder to read since they’re usually good friends or great co-workers. Time has a way of revealing who they really are and their true intentions. Whatever good you do in this world for either a person or animal usually comes back threefold in reward. Same goes if your intentions are bad. It comes back threefold. Karma is an entirely different subject though…

  19. Giovanna x5214

    @ Gina Rose — I was going to throw in the word “studdabubba” too, lol–it’s what my grams called her, but I figured not many would know what it meant 😉 Italian flavored evil eye jewelery (the corno) as well as the Eye of Horus, and similar Greek eye is definitely making a comeback. People now are gravitation much more toward an eclectic mix of spiritual beliefs, which I think is partially the cause. I’ve been seeing quite a few tattoos with these symbols on them lately and have contemplated getting one myself. I use symbols often as a reminder, and in addition to those I can wear physically, I will put different symbols, sigils, etc., on a piece of paper for my pocket, or carry them in my purse. We can’t have too much help! =)

    @ Fran! Hello again =) I’m glad you enjoyed the article. And yes, you have definitely been protecting yourself since childhood, though in addition to that, I also see a very LARGE group of ancestral spiritual helpers behind you! You are very protected and will continue to be so. Ciao paisana!! =)

    @ Miss Krystal–I absolutely LOVE Italian actresses! Thank you for the compliment, lol–she is very pretty! Though I have STILL not personally been to Europe, I travel there in my dreams and meditations. I visit the chapels, and the countrysides in Sicily. I swear, out of any of my abilities, remote viewing is my most treasured and appreciated. It allows me to experience things of a positive nature that strengthen my ancestral bond. This is very important to me. To mention something funny, when I am cooking (I only cook from scratch and heavily cook Italian/Sicilian flavored meals–sans fish–yuck!), my great grandmother is always around speaking very, very fast Italian in strings and streams with lots of emphasis and inflection. I intuitively know what she’s saying (like turn the fire down, more garlic, etc.), but to interpret all of it clearly is impossible because she speaks super fast! I am admittedly not as fluent in Italian as I’d like to be, LOL. I am planning on visiting there to meet family and tour the Sicilian countryside, and I have visions of living there once my children are out of school. Also, thank you for wearing the chains in light of the article–I’m so glad you enjoyed it. You have great positive, loving energy and it comes off of your posts in waves, which is always warming =)

    Namamste and Blessings~
    Giovanna x5214

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  21. misskrystal

    Hi Giovanna-
    Very interesting. I told you that you remind me of a Italian American actress/movie star. I am sure you know who it is 🙂
    I am sure you hear it all of the time. Hint, “woman” is a word in the title of one of her huge films, I believe she either won an oscar or was nominated for that particular role…She is a fav of mine…She was also starring along with one of the biggest Italian American male celebs of all time…

    I went to Italy. Went to Genoa, Pisa, Tuscany/Firenza, Napoli, capri, Sorrento, Roma, and Pompei. I want to go to Venice and Milan, hey couldn’t go everywhere lol it was a hard decision. I have to say, that the Italians def treated me the best in Europe. I loved the Italian ladies working in the trattoria bringing me more food lol

    I did buy some Gold chains there….I am so glad that I did. Wish I could have bought more. I am going to wear it today in light of you and this article….
    Miss Krystal

  22. Fran

    Ciao paisana! LOL! OMG! I wasn’t sure if anybody else new about the mal occhio, and especially about il corno that you make with the hand. My family is originally from Italy (Naples and Calabria), and I also grew up with that superstition, although it was very real to us. When I inherited my car from my dad (he passed away when I was 17), my mom gave me a big red horn that I hung from my rearview mirror. I still have it to this day, although it’s tucked safely away in a drawer. When my mom came back from Italy on one of her many trips, she brought back 18K gold horns for each of my kids, and they loved it.

    It’s funny, but I guess I’ve been “protecting” myself from negative energy since childhood, only I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing.

    THANK YOU for posting this article! You made my evening!!

    Hugs, Fran

  23. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

    Hi Giovanna,

    Loved your article…..really made me chuckle…..” bubushka “…LOL…haven’t heard that term for a scarf in years!!!!! I have a keychain with a corno, or horn carved out of RED carnelien on it.

    I’m also seeing alot of ” evil eye ” jewelry becoming very popular now as well……and yes, it is all about working with negative and positive energy.

    Your articles are informative and delightfully humorous as well.

    Blessed Be )O(
    Gina Rose ext.9500


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