One year I was visiting home from college with my then boyfriend. My family had decided to visit my grandfather which required us to take two cars, my father and I left the house at the same time but I arrived at my grandfathers a mere 5 minutes behind him. We met the rest of the family on the porch already deep into their loud and expressive Italian conversation. Noticing that I had "finally" arrived my father began to question me, " did you get lost" he says to which I reply " no I followed the gps, Fish road". His eyes grew large he chuckles a big belly laugh an looked me dead in the eyes " you don't take fish road, you never take fish road". I thought he was playing a game so I tried to tease back but he grew more serious he nudges my grandfather and says " tell her, tell her we don't take Fish road, tell her that's how you catch the Malocchio"
Malocchio, Nazar, Mal de ojo, The evil eye goes by many names but at the end of the day it all boils down to one thing, the quiet curse. Such a simple curse that it can be cast on accident and yet its weight heavier than most. I first saw someone post Antonio Pagliarulo's book " The Evil Eye; The History, Mystery and Magic of the Quiet curse" on Instagram and I quickly saved it to my online cart. My TBR pile being rather large I figured id get around to it eventually but surprisingly enough my life took an interesting turn and the Eye started to become a focal point in my practice. I had what I would consider a basic understanding of diagnosing and curing the Eye but suddenly found myself "needing" to know more.
Pagliarulo draws you in expressing not only the depth but pure magick of the evil eye, how it crosses cultures, tradition and religion seemingly different but yet all the same. Covering more than Italian culture this book offers pages of symptoms, multiple ways to diagnose and cure giving you something I truly treasure in witchcraft OPTIONS.
It was refreshing to feel like I was being provided the ability to explore and see what called me rather than a harsh " this is how it works take it or leave it" vibe that sometimes follows in other books. When prayer didn't feel right there were other options, other rituals. This book is filled with ways to create your own amulets, common symbolism, and the brutal but honest reality that this work isn't easy nor is it for everyone.
I had the pleasure of reading this book along with a friend allowing me the opportunity to bounce ideas back and forth to see where I connected vs where they did, acting as a prime example of how vast this practice can be. As someone who is still delving into and dissecting my own religious trauma I really enjoyed the chapter connecting the evil eye within different cultures and religions. Seeing how it exists under different names or even within religions that would vise against it the eye still holds weight it still holds authority, scary but true. Honestly the section on Christianity and the Evil Eye was so captivating to me as I still try to connect those parts of my life.
My biggest pet peeve with books is usually their formatting, especially books the include spells and rituals, I like structure and the ability to flip to the page when needed and not feel like I need to skim through odd storytelling to get to the details. Pagliarulo does a great job of shifting between story telling and giving to the point instructions, I was able to tab the info I felt necessary without fear that id have to skim whole pages to find each step.
Although the whole book covers the same topic but from different cultures religions and view points it never felt repetitive or like they were out of information. Even the bullet note information on herbs seemed to offer extra tidbits I wasn't expecting.
With Spooky season practically here stores like Marshall's and Target are quickly filling with cups, candles and blankets all adorning the Evil Eye symbol of Nazar . The concept is not lost on many, with little depth to the knowledge there is still an overall understanding of what the evil eye is and how it should be avoided. I feel like Pagliarulo's book is the perfect next step. It brings things full circle you spend most of the book thinking back to times in life and having those "light bulb moments" the puzzle pieces all seem to fit and then you are offered something special, the option to take it a step further, to offer your abilities in healing and protecting those around you. Pagliarulo expresses what it really means to take on this responsibility and doesn't treat it lightly while also sharing his feelings on the importance of spreading folk magic to those that wish to learn more, keeping tradition alive.
10 out of 10 recommend.