Friday, November 18, 2011

Amulets and Talismans

Last November I  began to wrap myself in blessing whenever I stepped outside, keeping the evil eye away from my tiny daughter. I had never worried before, never thought much about the piercing power of evil intentions, but her hidden little body, her tiny helpless fists and blind little eyes brought to my mind the many ways for hurt to touch her.

Many people forget the evil-eye, ignore it, or assume for comforts-sake that it's merely an invention of older days - times when men feared the thunder and burned hunger in effigy. But the evil-eye - a glance of malevolence; a cursing glance - is just as common among a culture full of frustrated and isolated individuals, people who forget that the thoughts and wishes within them do affect the outer-world. Aware of the danger, I kept Christ close to me in the months before I met my daughter. Red on the wrist to distract the eye, peacock earrings to stare it down, and a small, hidden agnus dei as a final barrier. The agnus dei is an almost forgotten blessing: a lamb formed from blessed wax and wrapped in foil. A physical prayer, working it's magic slowly, and with love.

Is it superstition, my god-magic, or is it living faith: seeing the dangers and asking to be spared? I think a bit of both. We can rarely walk the line perfectly, often I fall on the superstitious side instead of the secular one, unwilling to ignore the shadows of life, for fear they'll thrive on neglect.

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