Take Three Meatballs and See Me in the Morning
by Lorraine Carey
This may have been good advice if you are a great Italian cook, but is not considered the standard remedy for the Malocchio, or the Maloik— the old ‘evil eye’. Just ask your local Strega—that is if you can find one.
In Italy the Strega is the village witch, medicine woman and all around ‘Seer’. Old traditional Italians had deep-seated roots in Stregheria, which refers to witchcraft as a religion. Stregoneria is linked to a magical system or a form of sorcery, which is carried out by the Strega or practitioner of such magic. And you will find this practice differs depending on what region you or your ancestors hailed from in Italy just as their recipes are.
Now you won’t have to travel to Italy to find a Strega—they have been passed down into generations within many Italian-American families. There are lots of Stregas located throughout the country.
The Terrible Evil Eye~
Italians believe the evil eye is caused by another person being envious our jealous of you—so watch out! Better take extra precautions if you are too good-looking or too rich. It’s another way of someone putting a curse on you that usually causes a severe headache that can last for days and other physical pain such as stomach distress and bad luck.
Grandma Was Always Right~
Yes, I do hail from an Italian background and my grandmother was trained in Italy from the village Strega how to remove the evil eye. I remember many times seeking her treatment after a bad headache as well as other members of my family. She was supposed to teach me how to perform this ritual but I never got around to learning. All I have to say is that it worked every time I had one of those terrible headaches. I always felt so silly sitting in her kitchen with a bowl on my head but it was well worth it.
The victim should sit in a chair with a bowl of water on their head as the practitioner places three drops of olive oil into the bowl and watches to see if the oil forms into the shape of any eye as it separates. An intention is said by saying, “Father, this prayer is being said for (person’s name). The practitioner dips his or her fingers in the water then makes a sign of the cross on the victim’s head. The two individuals say specific prayers at the same time, such as an Our Father, Hail Mary, and prayers to the Holy Spirit. This is to be repeated three times.
Many believed wearing a horn, or cornetto, which resembles a chili pepper, made of gold or other precious metals would ward off evil spirits. This tradition dates back to Old Europe with reference to the moon goddess.
I received a very small gold one when I was a baby from my godfather. I still have it to this day. Maybe it’s time to upgrade to a larger one. I’m sure you’ve seen the large red ones hanging from car rearview mirrors. The horn has actually become a symbol of Italian pride.
No horn or chili pepper on hand? Not to worry. Using your hand extending your index and pinkie finger with the thumb over the middle fingers folded into a fist is a quick fix.
The Strega is mentioned in Tomie de Paola’s famous Strega Nona, which is a classic and favorite children’s book. The village Strega and her magic cooking pot overflow and pasta fills the entire village.
The Malocchio was also mentioned in one of the episodes of All in the Family, the famous 70s sitcom when actor Vincent Gardenia gives Archie Bunker the curse. You will find many references to this malady in Italian literature and several films.
Why you should believe~
The village Strega takes center stage in Beloved Sacrifice, one of my paranormal thrillers, which takes place in the actual village, my mother’s family is from. This tale is based partly on a real family curse. Not all Stregas have good intentions.
Beloved Sacrifice buy link~
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