In Italy the evil eye, also know as malocchio is taken seriously. Caused by the negative thoughts of others, the evil eye can be cast accidentally, as when someone feels jealous, or intentionally, as when someone wants to cause harm.
Throughout the centuries, in response to the curse, protective talismans have been created. Italians still wear the corno, or “little horn,” which is a twisted, horn-shaped amulet. In other cultures, disks or balls with concentric circles of blue and white are thought to turn away the forces of evil or bad luck.
In Alchemy’s Daughter the midwife, Trotula, always carries a talisman with her when attending a birth, in order to protect the mother and baby from malocchio. I think it can’t hurt to carry a little personal protection, and so guests at my April 17 book launch party at the Zhou B Art Center will receive free evil eye necklaces, while supplies last. Hope to see you there!
Santina listened to the voices and footsteps coming from Mama’s room and watched the maidservant, who was alternately wringing her hands, pacing back and forth, and praying to remove “malocchio,” the evil eye—an attack of magic caused by envy. Whenever trouble of any sort occurred, Margherita seemed to think this was the cause.
From Alchemy’s Daughter