Are You Overlooked?

file0001463105031Italian families believe in a lot of superstitions. Mine is no exception. My Aunt won’t cross the path of a black cat. My mother knocks wood, and my grandmother, well, I don’t have enough room on this blog to list all of the superstitions she practices.

My favorite crazy superstitious, voo doo magic of the Italians is “Passing the Eyes.” No, you don’t have to take out your eyes and pass them around and no, my writer’s mind is not making up another fantasy story. There’s an Italian word for Passing the Eyes, but I can’t spell it since I butcher it when I say it. My grandfather always laughed when I spoke Italian. But in a loving way, of course.

Here’s how Passing the Eyes works: You don’t feel well, maybe you have a headache or a shooting pain up your arm, or a fever that won’t go away. You’ve tried Advil, Tylenol, alcohol and nothing works. You can call my grandmother and tell her how you feel and she’ll pass the eyes for you. She says something, we think it’s some kind of prayer, to herself in Italian and she can tell you if you’ve been overlooked. That means a man or a woman or both (she can tell you which) has paid you a compliment they didn’t mean. These terrible people have “overlooked” you and Grandmother can take that curse away.

Almost instantly, you’ll feel better. Yes, it works. I’ve seen it in action. My family has a favorite story they share so I’ll tell you. When my cousin was a toddler he had a fever that wouldn’t break no matter what my Aunt did. So, my grandmother and her sister decided they would team up and pass the eyes for my cousin. They didn’t tell a sole what they were up to. Just two Italian ladies and their secret code. After they were done, they called my Aunt asking how my cousin was doing and guess what? Did you guess? The fever was gone! It really happened. I’ve seen my grandmother remove headaches, neck pain, general not feeling well. It’s amazing actually. My Jewish husband thinks we’re all nuts, but hey, we are.

My grandmother’s sister has since passed. In fact, all of my grandmother’s sisters are gone. She’s the only one left who knows how to pass the eyes. And she won’t tell anyone how to do it. They only time she can share her secret is on Christmas Eve. Every year we ask her to tell us. Tell someone so the magic can continue on after her. She’ll have no part of it. That crazy tight-wearing woman is going to take her secret to her grave.

Not anymore. Thanks to modern technology, my mother has discovered a website that will share with the world the secret to passing the eyes. No longer will we live in the dark. On Christmas Eve, at midnight, all will be revealed. The magic will continue. We can save ourselves from the false complimenting people of the world. Knock wood and as long as no black cats are involved.

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12 thoughts on “Are You Overlooked?

  1. Oh the wonderful and seemingly universal Italian ways and superstitions. My great aunt called it, “gathering the oil” and using that to ward off headaches, curses, etc. It was a prayer to St. Lucia (Lucy), a martyr whose eyes were reportedly gouged out. (The church I grew up in has a statue of her holding a tray with two eyeballs on it. Not gruesome either, if that’s at all possible.)

    You might have inspired me to write a post about this too, Stacey. And yes, we Italians are a bit nuts. How else could we possibly survive the insanity we get to grow up in?

    What are the odds we were “sorelle” in another life?

      1. Hmm. Maybe writing one together might unleash something I haven’t been able to do alone. You’ve got me thinking. Seriously.

  2. Just thought you might like to know that the Italian word for the “evil eye” is malocchio or maloik. Even more interesting it isn’t just the Italians who believe in this but the Jews as well. Their name for it is ayin ha-ra. We use a hand gesture to ward off evil spirits, the Jews spit 3 times over the head of the one they are protecting. So, you can tell hubby that the Jews are right up there with us crazy Italians!

    1. Thanks for the spelling! I know how to say it, pretty well, but was too afraid to try and spell it since I wasn’t sure. I’d forgotten that the Jews have their 3 spit thing. I actually had a friend who wasn’t Jewish and she’d always spit to ward off the evil spirit. Had to make sure you were never in her way!

  3. The prayer for the overlooks is passed down on Christmas Eve at midnight from the person who knows the overlooks to the person they choose to teach it to. This isn’t something that can be affective learned from the internet or a book, but by the same token, prayer itself can be very powerful.

  4. Hi Stacey thank you so much..I’ve seach so much.I’ve even been on that site aswell.I hope one day I will get lucy and find the secret prayer.God bless.

  5. Such a great post! I too, am familiar with this term (coming from Italian and Jewish parents) though I’m not sure I’ve ever benefited from it. 🙂
    I do knock wood though. And I’ll never cross a black cat. Some practices are set deep.
    Happy New Year!

    1. First of all, thank you for finding this post! It’s an oldy, but a goody. If anyone has “passed the eyes” for you, I’m sure there was a benefit. It might be crazy, but it works. I’m a big wood knocker too. The rest I let go. My grandmother on the other hand, she had a ton of superstitions she followed. She always had to leave a house from the same door she came in. I’d try to see if I could get her to go out a different one, but she wouldn’t have it. Those nutty Italians!

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