If you’re thinking about getting an evil eye tattoo, you should first understand what it means.
This popular symbol is steeped in symbolism and tradition — making for a very powerful tattoo.
So, before you ink up, learn all about the meaning of the evil eye tattoo and what it could represent for you.
What Is The Evil Eye?
The evil eye is a curse or legend believed to be cast by a malevolent glare, usually given to a person when without their knowledge.
The history of the evil eye dates back thousands of years.
One of the earliest references comes from ancient Ugarit— a port city in northern Syria.
Today, many cultures and religions such as Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism still believe that receiving the evil eye will cause misfortune.
In the Middle East, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, and Africa, people use various rituals and symbols to ward off the curse of the evil eye.
The belief in the evil eye is especially strong in Mediterranean countries —specifically Greece and Turkey.
How People Protect Against The Evil Eye
There are many ways that people try to protect themselves from the evil eye.
One common method of protection from the evil eye is to wear an amulet or talisman such as a blue glass evil eye bead.
Others may carry lucky charms.
Some people even go so far as to have their homes and businesses painted with special symbols meant to ward off bad luck.
Talismans created to protect against the evil eye are also frequently called “evil eyes” — which can be confusing.
However, despite their name, these symbols are actually considered to be positive and act too ward off the evil eye, not attract it.
Evil Eye protection is not just limited to individuals; some cultures believe that it is possible to protect livestock and crops from the curse as well.
Whether you believe in the power of the evil eye or not, there is no denying that the belief is deeply ingrained in many cultures around the world.
Whether you choose to protect yourself with an amulet or simply avoid saying anything that could be interpreted as an insult, respecting the power of the curse is a good way to keep yourself safe from harm.
Meaning Of The Evil Eye Tattoo
In most cultures, the general belief is that the evil eye is a curse cast by a malevolent glare, usually given to a person when they are unaware.
The typical belief is that this curse inflicts harm, bad luck, or even death.
However, the symbols most commonly associated with the evil eye (the famous blue and white design, for example) are actually used to ward off the curse — not attract it.
Therefore, a tattoo depicting the “evil eye” or one of the symbols associated with it can actually be seen as a protection against evil.
The Evil Eye As A Religious Symbol
The evil eye plays a prominent role in a number of religions and belief systems.
Therefore, it is wise to be aware of these religion-specific meanings before getting inked with an evil eye design.
Here are some examples of the evil eye in popular religions.
The Evil Eye in Judaism
Jewish communities believe that the evil eye can come from anyone who is experiencing evil jealously — whether family, friends, or neighbours.
Judaism believes that the evil eye can be negative — causing miscarriages, loss, and bad luck.
However, Judaism also believes in a “good eye.”
The good eye does the opposite of the evil eye — bringing success and wealth to people and communities.
The Jewish rituals and traditions used to protect against the evil eye range from common, day-to-day phrases to superstitious rituals and ceremonies.
For example, the Rosh Hashanah Tashlich is the ritual of washing yourself in water containing fish. This is done as fish are seen as immune to the evil eye — whereas humans are vulnerable.
Another ritual, called the “Tfu-tfu-tfu,” is the Jewish equivalent of knocking three times on wood. The “tfu” sound is made three times in order to guard against envy.
The Evil Eye in Hinduism & Buddhism
When it comes to the evil eye, Hinduism is very similar to Judaism in its origins and concepts.
The common idea is that the evil eye can bring either bad omens. However, what is unique to Hindus and Buddhists alike is the connection to the concept of Karma.
Reincarnation is central to Hinduism and Buddhism, with both religions believing that our souls are reborn into new bodies determined by our actions in previous lives.
If we were particularly mean or evil in our previous life, then in this life we will suffer for it.
This idea means that the evil eye, along with general harm and suffering, are caused by our own actions in a past life.
Due to this circle of Karma, our suffering, or evil eye, comes from within — essentially our own judgement of ourselves.
This insight into our own psyche and views on the world adds the deeply personal connection that an individual can have to a talisman or tattoo of the evil eye.
Hindus, like Jews, have different rituals and traditional acts that attempt to ward off the effects of evil eye.
One is the breaking of a coconut in front of Ganesha, with the belief that the loudness of the cracking sound is linked to the amount of jealously the person has against them.
Those who are prone to the evil eye of jealousy such as newlyweds, small babies and beautiful girls are usually given a ripe lime, dried fruit, or rice to rub on the forehead as a way of removing the malicious gaze and its effects.
Collective prayers and charitable actions are also seen as a way to remove the effects of this gaze.
The Evil Eye in Islam
Like the other religions on this list, Islam has a very similar concept of the evil eye — it can inflict harm, sickness, and bad luck born out of envy and jealousy.
For some who follow Islam, many issues in day-to-day life can be attributed to the evil eye. For others, the evil eye is simply rejected as superstition.
One Islamic concept is that everything in life is attributed to Allah. Therefore, the effects of the evil eye should not be something to seek protection from.
The Quran teaches that to truly protect yourself from the effects of envy and jealousy, you must seek refuge with Allah’s teachings.
Faith is seen as the only protection — the stronger the faith, the weaker the effect of the evil eye.
Evil Eye Tattoo Designs
As the evil eye is a common concept across a plethora of cultures, there are naturally many designs and symbols which represent it.
Here are some of the most common.
Blue and White Eye
The most common design of the evil eye is the blue and white circular design.,
This design can also be found in other colours such as green, red, and purple.
This design is a beautiful and eye-catching design which can be found in abundance in the Mediterranean.
Teardrop additions to the all-seeing eye represent protection against the danger and loss of loved ones.
It also protects loved ones from the same forms of danger and loss as you.
The three-armed spiral, commonly known as the “Triskelion,” represents the life, death, and rebirth of the individual who wears it.
It has connections with the Buddhist and Hindu beliefs of reincarnation, as well as karma and the idea of Nirvana (as to be truly enlightened, we need to be free from the effects of envy and the evil eye.)
Turkish Evil Eye
The Turkish evil eye or “Apotropaic” is common in protection against harm and evil.
This design is usually found as talismans on boats rather than people but occasionally can be seen as a tattoo.
Evil Eye Tattoo Ideas
Small Evil Eye Finger Tattoo
Ornate Evil Eye Arm Tattoo
Ornate Evil Eye Hand Tattoo
Detailed Evil Eye Finger Tattoo
Realistic Evil Eye Arm Tattoo
Can & Should You Get An Evil Eye Tattoo?
Yes, anyone can get an evil eye tattoo — there are no real limits or restrictions on the tattoo beside the ones you set yourself.
Just keep in mind that the evil eye is common across many religions, so you may wish to avoid getting any designs that are associated with specific religions.
Another factor to consider before getting an evil eye tattoo is your own attitudes and opinions towards the evil eye.
Are you superstitious? Are you concerned about the envious gaze of the evil eye? Do you truly believe in the evil eye?
Evil Eye tattoos are popular designs with a lot of meaning behind them.
But, like any superstitious design with religious connotations, it is really important to properly understand the history and symbolism associated with the evil eye.
If you’re thinking about getting one, be sure to have a solid understanding of the evil eye’s meaning, symbolism, and history.
And if you do decide to get an evil eye tattoo, good for you!
They can be a beautiful way to show off your culture or beliefs, or simply serve as a reminder to stay protected against harm.