In this picture, the strega has dropped olive oil into water. By reading the shapes formed by the oil, she determines whether her visitor has been afflicted by malocchio, or the evil eye.
In the basic method to divine the presence of the malocchio, the practitioner drops three drops of oil into a dish of water. As oil and water cannot mix, the oil sits atop the water forming a pattern. It is by observing this pattern that the practitioner determines whether or not the malocchio is present. If the drops remain round and distinct, all is as it should be and there is no malocchio.
This excellent pen and ink artwork by Frank Vassalo, was inspired by a recent photo of a modern practitioner.
The ancient Romans and other peoples of Italy had numerous charms and formulas against
Laughter, among Romans, was believed to dispel its malignant, envious gaze.
The ABC of Aradia: Jettatura
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