Thursday, November 17, 2005

Eyes Part Four

"When I feel tired, I take a nap. When I have a headache, I take aspirin,” Jerry tells me, matter-of-factly. We’re in his car, returning from a night on the town in Rio, just outside of Patras in the Peloponnese region of Greece. “But these two,” he says, motioning toward his friends, Dmitri in the passenger sear, his brother Stavros beside me in the rear, “run to their mummy.”

The brothers have good reason to run to their mother when they’re afflicted by lethargy and headache, and they tell me so in spite of Jerry’s snickering. It doesn’t take much to get the matiasma, or the evil eye. If anyone so much as admires your shoes, even from a distance, this envy can put a spell on you.

These men are not superstitious hayseeds: they are 24 and 26 years old, born and raised in Patras, the third-largest city in Greece. They are young and educated, worldly in their views and tastes. But even with their modern upbringing and modern lifestyles, the folkloric matiasma remains a force to be reckoned with. It is a fact of their daily lives, and that of many people around the world.

Matiasma, malocchio, mal de ojo. Greek, Italian and Spanish manifestations of the same thing: the evil eye. There are Portuguese, Turkish, Egyptian, Scandinavian and even British and Irish variations, but all appear to originate from a common source in the Middle East. Its modern presence can be felt most strongly in Mediterranean nations, as well as in India and the Spanish-influenced South American countries1. The practice of casting the evil eye is also sometimes referred to as ‘overlooking’.

As with so much folklore, the evil eye varies not just across cultures, but within the cultures themselves. Ask one Greek man about the matiasma, for example, and you may be told that only bad people can cause it. Another may believe that a compliment from anyone can make the recipient ill.

The Power of the Evil Eye from the Fortean Times

In other eye news...

WFMU offers a choice video clip of Amon Duul II performing Eye Shaking King from 1971.

They also have clips up from other v/blog favorites such as the Stranglers, Black Flag and the download and have yourself a crazy video dance party OK?


At 11:34 AM, Anonymous morbus said...

hi, it's morbus. bongo mandy seems to be dead, but i found this place by googling. next week i'll be connected to the net again (i hope so). now i'm writing a report of the time i was on the other side of reality, when l-dopa took control of my brain. maybe i'm able to translate it. i'll try. hope to see you soon.

At 12:39 PM, Blogger brewboy said...

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At 12:48 PM, Anonymous morbus said...

it's me. i have no access to my mailbox until next week. but it's still bro..... and wal.....-i'm @carmen. ( for a few hours

At 1:07 PM, Blogger bronskomolzki said...

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At 1:17 PM, Blogger brewboy said...

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