Salt Fairy

Salt Against the Evil Eye

Belief is an integral part of human culture, shaping daily life and behaviors through ideas acquired from others. Acquiring belief does not necessarily require personal experience or validation through events in one's own life. The belief in the evil eye, entirely a product of society and culture, is widespread in our culture. There are numerous practices related to the evil eye, both for protection against it before it strikes and for remedying adverse effects like misfortune or illness after it has struck.


No individual can act independently of their culture.


What Is the Evil Eye?


The word "nazar" in Arabic means "gaze." In Turkish, "nazar" refers to the harmful power in some people's gazes that can cause negative effects such as illness, injury, or damage when directed at a person, animal, or object. The evil eye is not limited to humans; it can affect property, animals, land, trees, flowers, objects, and homes. When any harmful event is attributed to such a cause, expressions like "nazar değdi" (the evil eye struck), "nazara uğradı" (fell victim to the evil eye), "göz değdi" (eye fell upon), "nazara geldi" (came under the evil eye), "göze geldi" (caught the eye), or "göz aldı" (eye grabbed) are used. Belief in the evil eye is a social and cultural construct, existing in historical eras as it does today. It is possible to trace the belief in the evil eye back to the Neolithic age. Amulets shaped like axes, known as "nazars," were found in Crete, Lower Egypt, Malta, Northern France, and Britain during the Bronze Age. The belief in witchcraft and the harmful effects of the evil eye has been entrenched in Western and Eastern cultures since ancient times. Amulets shaped like hands, used to ward off evil gazes, were used by Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, and Romans. The belief in the evil eye, prevalent in historical times, continues to exist today.


To remedy misfortune or illness after falling victim to the evil eye, various practices are carried out:


Pouring molten lead

Burning wormwood

Exploding salt - Roasting salt

Burying salt

Burning salt and wormwood together

Burning pieces taken from a wormwood plant and a juniper tree together

Burning trash and a wooden piece taken from three crossroads with wormwood together

Burning a wooden piece taken from the house of the known victim of the evil eye

Reciting prayers against the evil eye

Having prayers recited against the evil eye

Throwing knives or sharp objects

Pricking a handkerchief with a needle

Examining a handkerchief

Putting out embers

Breaking an egg, among other practices.

Believers in these practices often rely on them for warding off the evil eye. These rituals are usually performed by individuals known as "ocak" before they pass away or retire from these duties. Women predominantly perform rituals for warding off the evil eye, as they are considered knowledgeable about magic and witchcraft. The "Turkey Culture Map Project" conducted in villages of various provinces indicates the continued prevalence of belief in the evil eye in today's society.


Salt Roasting 1:


First, a handful of salt is placed in a pan, typically coarse salt but table salt can also be used. The pan is then placed on fire along with the salt. The salt begins to pop as it heats. Meanwhile, a cloth is draped over the head of the person believed to be affected by the evil eye. Subsequently, a bowl filled with water is held over the person's head, and the popping salt is poured into the water. After these steps, the person is either made to drink a sip of this water or it is applied to their fingernails, forehead, and feet. Then, salty water is poured in a spot where no one walks in the courtyard.


Salt Roasting 2:


Coarse salt is roasted in a copper vessel. It is then poured into boiling water. Additionally, seven grains of wheat, a few metal coins, onion skin, and a needle are added to the boiling mixture. After simmering together for a while, when the water cools down, it is poured three times over the head, three times over the stomach, and three times over the legs of the person affected by the evil eye. This process is repeated 9-10 times. Before this procedure, the person affected by the evil eye raises their palate. The remaining water is poured under their armpits, on the soles of their feet, and in their lap. This is believed to remove the effects of the evil eye.


Salt Circumlocution:


The only required material is salt. The person believed to be affected by the evil eye sits opposite the person performing the circumlocution with salt. The person performing the circumlocution takes some salt in their hand. They then make circular motions over the head of the affected person with the salt in their hand. While doing this, the person performing the circumlocution recites the "Ihlas" prayer three times and the "Fatiha" prayer once. After these steps, the salt used in the process is thrown away where no one will step on it.


Salt Burying:


Only a woman performs this ritual. The person with an ailment calls this woman to their home for the salt burying ritual. The woman who will bury the salt faces the sick person, takes live grains of salt in her hand, and recites the "Fatiha" prayer. The salt is then buried in hot coals. As the salt buries, it starts to pop. With the popping of the salt, the effects of the evil eye on the person are believed to dissipate. If the person performing the ritual is male, they shake their head covering; if female, they shake their headscarf into the fire to dispel the evil eye. After the salt pops, some of the ashes are taken from the fire and put into water. The affected person then drinks three sips of this water and performs ablution. The remaining water is poured in the four corners of the house.