In certain forms of Western Witchcraft and Black Magic it is said that certain individuals have the power to cast evil spells or to project evil thought forms merely by looking at another person.
The idea of this evil power is virtually universal, and there exists in virtually every language an equivalent term - the boser Blick in German, malocchio in Italian, mauvais oeil in French; and from the Latin fascinum, which was originally connected with the idea of binding, is derived the English 'fascinate', which was originally connected with such ideas as binding by means of diabolical powers or pact.
The fact of the evil eye has given rise to numerous protective devices against it. These include a wide range of magical signs and Amulets, reflective surfaces, and, in particular, a number of phallic figures and Amuletss that are intended to deflect evil - such as the como, a curved horn, and the curious gesture involving a clenched hand with the thumb stuck through middle and fourth fmgers.
Images of eyes are also used to avert evil (see EYE OF HORUS) on the grounds of Sympathetic Magic, and many of the more ancient gems and symbols are designed with this in mind.
One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.
Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one definition may be universally accepted by all Pagans. Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.
Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church. Take for instance the differing practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.
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