If you know me, you may recognize the trinkets pictured above.
The Turkish Evil Eye is a protective amulet that diverts evil intentions away from the carrier.
I first discovered them 17 years ago, during a trip to Turkey.
This was my very first experience with international travel. It took over 24 hours for my mother and I to get to our final destination in Tarsus, where my aunt, a high school math teacher, had taken residence as a part of a year-long international teaching program.
I’d love to say that I took full advantage of this adventure by relishing in the exotic flavors of Turkish cooking, boldly exploring the Bazaars to purchase fine textiles, or gaining new knowledge about an Islamic country caught between tradition and Westernization.
That’s totally not how I experienced the trip. I was annoyed by the funky-tasting food, too shy to interact with locals, and I didn’t really get what it meant to be a Muslim. I didn’t care, either. Because I was 14.
For whatever reason, however, I specifically remembered all the Turkish Evil Eyes. These things were everywhere. Walk into a market, it’s on the front door. Talk to a woman, she’s wearing tiny blue eyes on a necklace. Get into a taxi, you’ll see a giant glass eye on the front dash.
When I was 16 and back in the states, a dear friend of mine gave me a large Turkish Evil Eye. He was a protective dude by nature and he said the gift was meant to keep me safe when he wasn’t around. I carried it in my purse until I was 22, when it finally broke.
After I replaced my own amulet, I started handing these things out like candy. I gave one to my oldest brother before he left for his tour in Afghanistan. I insisted Lou hang one from the rear view mirror when he went on tour with his band. Each person in my family has one, I’ve given an eye to most of my friends, and one is hanging on our front door right now.
I guess this makes me out to be ultra-paranoid and superstitious. I prefer to consider myself “hyper-vigilant”.
But, really, I’m just sentimental. In the last ten years, both my aunt and my aforementioned friend tragically passed away.
A Turkish Evil Eye offers more than protection. It’s my connection.