Malocchio Clove Divination and Cure

If you have read Judika Illes' The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells (2004), she has a whole chapter on "The Evil Eye." In Italian, this malificant glance is called, mal d'occhio, malocchio, or malocchia, which literally means "evil of the eye." As I mention in "Myth's Notes" of "Relieving Malochia", this concept is found in many cultures, including ancient Rome.

According to the modern practitioner of Italian Paganism, Amra the Lion, "The evil eye is probably one of the deepest magicks in Italy."

The malocchio in modern Italian culture is not cast deliberately. The southern Italian term, jettatura, refers to someone who inadvertently casts the malocchio. There are a number of protection magics used to thwart the power of the malocchio: wearing a cimaruta, the fig sign, the manocornufo, the corno, a number of pointing things like red peppers, horns and hands, eyes to stare back, very colorful, intricate or beautiful designs to distract the glance of the eye, phallic items, and laughter. It is also wise not to boast, brag, or call undue attention to yourself or your good fortune. Apparently, malocchio might manifest in a number of ways.

Sadly, belief in the Evil Eye caused a good many women in Europe and the British Isles to be executed during the witchcraft persecutions. I, personally, am not certain the Evil Eye or malocchio exists--of course a little protection magic never hurt anyone.

Belief in malocchio continues in 21st century Italy. See Malocchio Divination.

Leland made a reference to malocchio in Aradia. Leland's footnote describes the ritual:

This refers to a small ceremony which I have seen performed scores of times, and have indeed had it performed over me almost as often, as an act of courtesy among wizards and witches. It consists of making certain signs and crosses over a few drops of oil and the head of one blessed, accompanied by a short incantation. I have had the ceremony seriously commended or prescribed to me as a mean of keeping in good health and prosperity. (165)

This sounds very similar to a particular spell in Judika Illes' The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells (2004), on page 204, which I have paraphrased.

The strega, or curer, takes nine whole cloves in her right hand. "Whole cloves" refers to the common kitchen spice (Syzygium aromaticum, syn. Eugenia aromaticum or Eugenia caryophyllata), which is frequently an ingredient in Italian cooking.

For convenience, since women seem to be the most common practitioners of this type of magic, I will refer to the curer as a "strega" or "she." She passes the cloves over the head and around the person who believes they may have been victimized by malocchio. For convenience, I will refer to the person who believes he has been victimized as the "patient" or "he." Actually, anyone might be the vicitm of a malocchio according to Italian folklore--children, brides, pregnant women, and handsome young men seem to be at particular risk.

The strega lights a blessed church candle. She inserts a needle through the head of one clove. She holds it into the candle flame to ignite it. She uses the burning clove to make the sign of the cross over her patient as she chants:

Sega tre voi. Tre stregari voi.
Dalla vostra madre siete stati sopportati
in nome del padre, del figlio e dello spirito santo,
tutta la malvagitā via!

English translation:
Three saw you. Three bewitched you.
From your mother you were born.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
All evil away!

The strega drops the burned out clove in a glass of cold water. The strega repeats this action with another clover, using all nine cloves. If one of the cloves bursts, this is an indication that the patient has been struck by the malocchio.

If the patient flinches from the snapping sound of a bursting clove, then the spell has been broken.

If no cloves snap, then there is no influence from malocchio. Any ailments suffered from the patient stem from other causes. Hence, the ritual would then end.

If the ninth clove burnt by the strega snaps, three more cloves must be burned. If of these three the third clove snaps, the strega must repeat with another three cloves. The strega continues repeating until the last clove does not snap.

All the above being completed, the patient then takes three sips from the glass of water containing the burned out cloves. Each sip must be drunk from a different spot on the glass's rim.

The strega dips her fingers into the glass, faces the patient, and asperges or shakes the water in all directions. She asperges a total of three times.

The strega at last dips her fingers into the water again and makes three crosses on the patient's forehead. Then she makes three more crosses on the back of the neck.

Special thanks to Amra the Lion for providing the Italian version of the chant.

On the listserve,, Ann posted on 6/12/06 about Italian Malocchio and types of cures:

The Evil Eye is a malady that can be given without the conscious will, and whose root motive is always envy and spite. Family members and neighbors seem to pass this curse back and forth as arguments and rivalries spring up in the course of everyday life.

The symptoms of the Malocchio are usually a severe headache, watery eyes, and bad luck in general, and there are as many cures for the Malocchio as there are practitioners. The most common are blessing with eggs, oil, and water; sewing needles; cloves burnt on a blessed candle; Holy Water baths, etc., etc. Whatever the means used, the idea is to spiritually cleanse the effected person from any negativity that was placed upon them by a malicious person.

Ann gleaned this information from

Lemon and Cloves Charm Against Malocchio

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