Updated: Jan 20, 2019
In Turkey, you shall fear no evil for the Blue Eye is with you.
Sometimes, you can learn more about a person by looking at the symbols he or she bear. For instance, the "Gye Nyame" symbol is closely associated with the Ghanaian culture. The Holy Rosary is identified with Catholicism. The red dot placed on the forehead is considered part of Hinduism. Different symbols and totems are peculiar to different people and cultures in the world.
One symbol I have found prevalent in Turkey is the “blue eye” amulet. I believe that it is called the “blue evil eye” because of how it looks. I best describe this amulet as an object with four concentric circles (sometimes eccentric). Each circle, beginning from the innermost one is often shaded with black, sky blue, white and dark navy blue colors respectively. During my time in Turkey, I have noticed that Blue Evil Eye amulets are cemented into people's homes, printed on plastic bags and made into pendants, which people hang in their homes, shops, offices and other avenues. People can also wear them as necklaces or bracelets.
I inquired about the amulet from my onsite-director after I spotted the Blue Evil Eye again. It was fixed into the pillar of a house in Kuşadası. He explained that the amulet is meant to protect the bearer from evil. The Blue Evil Eye can spot evil around it and contain it. It is also believed that the amulet cracks after it becomes full of evil.
The Blue Evil Eye reminds me of the stories I heard as a kid (and still hear) about certain people who bore amulets for protection, good looks, wealth, vanishing capabilities, etc. Since I did not grow up believing in such claims, I beg to differ in explaining the reason behind the use of amulets. I cannot debunk the possibility of spiritual interactions through these objects—as a matter of fact, I believe that it is highly possible.
However, I would argue that bearing amulets was probably a social ritual, which promoted cohesion within groups in the traditional society. For instance, by identifying people who bore the same amulets, one could also suggest that they held similar beliefs. I am almost certain that the protectionist idea behind the Blue Evil Eye still sells today but not as much as its appealing nature of being a perfect souvenir for foreigners like me. I could see myself buying a whole pack of Blue Evil Eye bracelets, returning home and sharing them among friends and family as special Christmas gifts.
Does where you come from or live have such symbols? What do you think of them? Share in the comments box below.
In fall 2015, Trudy studied abroad in Istanbul, Turkey. She shares her experience in this journal she had to write for one of her immersion classes.