born intuu

Evil Eye

I recently decided that my attempts to increase my sugar intake were behind the steady stream of illnesses and accidents which have hallmarked my last three months.  I base this on the fact these incidents started 2 weeks after I doubled the controlled amount of carbohydrates I consume.  My inclination towards illness hasn’t been this pronounced or continuous since before I changed my diet.

See?
Reasonable.

My extended family considers it to be a sketchy theory at best, though.  They’ve been eating sugar for decades and with the exception of those who have died, and those who have illness and diseases– they’re totally fine.

monthy python, black knight
I’m pretty sure Monty Python’s Black Knight is related to me. “It’s only a flesh wound” might as well be my family motto.

Luckily for me, they’re all in consensus about the actual diagnosis.

Evil Eye, of course.

I was just thinking about Evil Eye the other day because Steven Glassman (http://stevenglassman.de/2013/12/12/death-on-the-brain/) was asking about cultural bits of common knowledge that are actually quite uncommon elsewhere.

I was raised to be wary of Evil Eye, to know how to treat it, and to know how to protect against it through the use of various apotropaic talisman.  But most people I meet have no idea what I’m talking about, or only know it from the perspective of the country that they were raised in.  The Evil Eye that my family believes in is a mosaic of all these versions.

For those who don’t know…

Evil Eye is why you usually get sick after a big presentation or game.
Evil Eye is why the delicious food item you saved for last falls off your plate.
Evil Eye is why a sliver of glass in a large room find its way to your foot.

Evil Eye is the look your friend enviously gives your hair when it shines in the light.

Evil Eye is the hateful look from the person behind you in the shopping line.

Evil Eye is the passing thought from others– that you have more than you deserve, that you have everything they want, or that you are standing in their way.

Evil Eye is not necessarily out of malice– though some cultures would disagree.  My family says it’s a matter of too much thought and energy, not all of which is controlled or positive, being sent your way.

Evil Eye is fascinating because it’s a cultural tradition that my Brazilian aunt and Greek uncle share, with my Mexican mother, Indian father, and Ethiopian uncle.  My parents have built a family by collecting amazing people from all over the world and dubbing them relatives– and nearly all of these amazing people guard against the Evil Eye.

Despite that, it’s my least favorite cultural tradition.

I was happy to leave it behind when I moved out on my own.   There’s something depressing about always being on the look out for evil thoughts cast in your direction.  There’s something unsettling about the idea of requiring spiritual armor.

It’s one of the few beliefs, perhaps the only, that both my parents hold and I rejected.  I sidestepped it without fuss or fanfare.  I’ve wiggled away from Evil Eye discussions for nearly 15 years, and conveniently married someone who had never heard of it.  The way I see it, I share many traditions with my family, but I don’t need to share them all.

The last few months didn’t change my mind, so I intended to read their words of caution and worry, absorb the love, and move on.

Except when I came home today, I noticed Dave had drawn something.

It is in his own particular style, and not yet done, but it is obviously a common Evil Eye talisman with a very familiar intricate design.  One that my parents had painted on my headboard as a child, in fact.  One that my favorite doctor placed in my hands during my deepest sleep.

“Do you know what that is?” I asked him.

“No,” he replied, “But I saw it in a dream and knew I had to paint it.  It just looks like something that belongs to you.”

And I guess it does. No matter my beliefs– thanks to the net of cultures and faiths that have always been there to catch me– it’s a protection that will always be mine.

__________________________

Are you familiar with Evil Eye?  Are there cultural tidbits you grew up with that other people don’t necessarily know?

109 comments

  1. I am familiar with it – the Medusa eye. I have never paid the idea of it much thought, and although I have a white, blue and black “reflector” eye, I don’t wear it. An interesting post. 🙂

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    1. My family puts a lot of stock in it– including cleansing rituals from around the world. They say if you’re not drawn to wear your talisman when you’re around it, then you don’t have the right one for you. 🙂 It’s an interesting concept, and I suppose it’s always better safe than sorry… but it’s just a sort of sad idea– that so many negative things are zinging around that they can cause real harm. Hmmm.

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    1. I included the names of a few variations that I’m familiar with in the tags– but there are many more. Some cultures are more preventative, others are more cure-orientated. It’s a very simple philosophy, but it has deeply tangled roots that tie it to many very different cultures. 🙂

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  2. Sicilians sometimes call it “the horns” among other things. I’m familiar with it. I too, like you tried not to put much weight on it until I met one of our friends on here. She educated me on being more “protected” and you know what? It helped.

    That’s amazing about Dave’s painting. I knew there was a spiritual connection to some of his work before (I could sense it in the detail. I do it too.) but that is downright amazing. Life is strange & wonderful.

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    1. Ah yes! The horns! 🙂 They say that the more sensitive to energy you are, the more protection you need from Evil Eye– and if you find the right amulet or talisman, it can really make a huge difference. It just unsettles me.

      Dave’s art is definitely strange and wonderful! We’ve had instances before where he’s drawn things far less likely than this. 🙂

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      1. That’s what our friend told me. She said because I am actually hypersensitive to this sort of thing (& I bet you are too!) that I should be protected at all times.
        When I start to feel that energy drain, I go grab this certain bracelet & put it on.
        Now that you’ve mentioned this, though…I actually feel like I should be wearing it. 😳

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  3. I am familiar with the Evil Eye, but my family wouldn’t call it that. It would be more like a bad universal energy, or “spirits”. I’m still acutely aware of this kind of thing in my own life, but in a much more balanced way.

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    1. That makes sense, it really does come down to bad energy.

      Said like that, I don’t have any problem with the idea. I believe in good energy, so it stands to reason that bad energy is just as much out there. I think it’s just always made me nervous.

      Also: awareness and balance are two of my favorite words. 🙂

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          1. Rara,
            My Maniacal approach to evil is to skip it sneaking up on me altogether. I expect and accept all of it…..this swirled me around for a bit and I’m still pretty dark in ways, but it has been nice to measure it all and find that it essentially fits in my back pocket. Sure, it is energy, but it feeds off your impression of it, I’ve come to see it as unreliable energy – producing poor results. Reliable energy – producing desirable results feeds off yours and others impressions too…..it can build out into something quite powerful.
            Love,
            Mark

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            1. The ability to transform energy– good or bad– is something that I’m always cognizant of. It’s a super power that we all have, though I don’t know if all of us find our way to taking it seriously. I love all your thoughts on this here– beautiful and well-sad. Thank you for sharing your insights, Mark. 🙂

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  4. It’s hardly a cultural tidbit, but my grandmother had the Goathland Poke (Goathland is in Yorkshire, England). It’s a jinx she’d put on a pack of cards if she was losing, and she’d poke out a slice of the pack and start winning. She was crafty like that. It used to wind my mother up because she was so competitive. I’ve spoken to my grandmother’s sister recently, and it appears my grandmother invented it. My great aunt added “It sounds like something she’d get up to.”

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    1. Bwuahaha, that’s awesome!! I might just borrow that. My siblings are incredibly competitive, I can just imagine how cranky they’d get if they thought I had a secret jinx advantage. 😀 That’s an awesome family memory to have. Thank you for sharing it, Kate. 🙂

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      1. You heard it here first. I expect payment for any future fortune 🙂 Also, please poke out the extra ‘o’ I put in losing. I really must edit my words before I post them. Gah, there are other problems there too, edit those too if you want. You understand Virgo pedantry. 😀 xx

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        1. 😀 I do, indeed, understand! They’ve been edited. 🙂 My family never plays for money, so if you one day receive a large quantity of dry beans in the mail– well, you’ll know they’re from me. 😀

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    1. I love the jewelry, especially when the wearer believes– it just makes it just a beautiful image of culture. 🙂 My Geek uncle has a tie tack, and when he switches to pajama pants, he unpins it from his tie, and pins it to his pajama pant waist, 😀 I always want to hug people wearing similar talisman… it just reminds me of home. 🙂

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  5. I’m familiar with it. I certainly know some people whose eyes are so damn dangerous to the extent that I do my best to avoid showing them anything I own. I believe it’s something that people should consider actually 🙂

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    1. You know, when you put it like that… I can think of one or two people, too, who would probably make me want to be wearing an amulet of my own accord. 🙂 Perhaps one of the reasons I don’t pay attention to this tradition so much is that I have weeded most of those people from my life! 🙂 Thank you for your insights, Mohamed.

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  6. Ah…of course I know about the Evil Eye…we call it that too. In fact I remember my grandmother (and you can still see some babies having it on ) used to take this thick black dye paste thingie and put a large black circle on the forehead…to ward of the evil eye.

    And yes I do believe in it…it’s bad energy and it’s one directed to the individual by another. Is it filled with malice? I don’t know..but I think it could..but like you said it’s more tainted with jealousy and it’s evil-er twin envy.

    When we fear that we are inadequate in any way it causes us to give birth to anger and jealousy…I know…I’ve felt that…sometimes I still feel it. The thing is though to have the awareness of it and to realise that it is something to work on from within…sigh..I hope so!

    I’m glad that in some way or another you know you are protected. It’s not to allow this to overtake our lives…it’s just to be aware that I can be out there…

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    1. Awareness is very important, I think. I try to be conscious of all the things I do that could inspire those emotions in someone, and I also try to be conscious of when those emotions are inspired within me. It’s just like bookkeeping except with vibes and energy waves instead of dollars. 😀 All because as long as everything is kept in balance, you don’t have to worry.

      Like I told Jen above– awareness and balance are two of my most favorite words! 🙂

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  7. Yup. Exactly what my Czech grandmother went on about. The thing that beats down the evil eye is grounding meditations of golden light pouring thru one from sky into the Earth. Ain’t no evil eye as can live thru that! Guaranteed. 🙂

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    1. 😀 Aw, thank you! It is a pretty amazing connection. I’m very glad for the positive energies in my life– I suppose that’s why I’m so fearless in the face of negative energies. 😉

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    1. Thank you for reading, Nadia! I’m not sure where you could get a cultural glimpse into Evil Eye, but wikipedia has at least a summary. 🙂 It really does pop up all over the world, though! 🙂

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  8. I grew up with Parents reminding you every time something went wrong that it was the Devil that did it to you, or made you do it. A bit like the evil eye I would think.
    Very interesting post. enjoyed the read.

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  9. I’d heard of the evil eye in the sense that, “She’s giving you the evil eye,” but that’s really about it. No other cultural common sense came from my family aside from “be a good person.”
    I once had a dream of a necklace, and when I drew it, my then-boyfriend asked where I had seen it before, and I just said, “In a dream.” Turns out he had made a necklace exactly like it, right down to the diamond in the corner, to give to his previous girlfriend. That’s actually not related to either of the questions you asked, but Dave’s painting reminded me of it.

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    1. Ooh, that’s spooky too! Our brains are amazing places, the universe is wondrous, and humans are awesome. I don’t think I’ll ever get over being impressed by those three things. 🙂

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  10. i have always felt a strange affinity for the evil eye myth, which for me is unusual, because i don’t really go in for that sort of thing. i wore a small amulet for a long time, before it disappeared. i would definitely buy another. i need to find one that works for me!

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    1. 🙂 I’m all for amulets, especially ones that speak to you– no matter what. I try not to ignore anything my energy seeks– if that makes sense. 🙂 I wish you good luck on finding your perfect talisman!

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  11. The evil eye in our family is just that, when someone gives you an “evil eye” or a not particularly nice look. lol

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  12. That is super creepy that your husband saw that in a dream. My family has plenty of superstitions, and beliefs. Like you should never talk about a bad dream because you’ll cause bad things to come to life. Or don’t sleep on your back because that means Satan will ride into your dreams (we have a lot of dream ones for some reason). One that I swear I don’t believe in but I always find myself doing: never throw hair you’ve shed (or in your comb) into the trash, flush it. Something about your hair won’t grow if you throw it away O_o

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    1. There used to be a voodoo shop near where my mom worked, and the man who owned it would tell me not to throw away my hair because he paid people to go through trash and buy hair clumps for spell usage. He said he’d pay me direct. After that, I always flushed my hair in hopes that no one is down there collecting it… I hope… 🙂

      The dream ones are interesting!! I don’t know if my family has any dream superstitions or beliefs… except for a mid-level alignment to the idea of dream readings. 🙂

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      1. Should have known it was a voodoo reason behind the hair thing. I’ve got to relook up some dream interpretation stuff as I just had my not favorite recurring dream about tornadoes. Made a post about it if you have time to take a look 🙂

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  13. The evil eye is what we say my third daughter gives us, when she looks at us a certain way, usually when we have seriously annoyed her. You’ll quiet them all when your health turns around due to your change in diet!

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    1. 🙂 Ha! We call that the stink eye– meaning a mostly harmless, low-energy version of this. And yay, I can’t wait to have my health “turn around”… I’m actually pretty excited about it! 🙂

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  14. That must be something! I once dreamt of a symbol that i knew i must remember. When i searched it out on the net, it turns out that the symbol does exist! As with the evil eye, i’m pretty much familiar with it…we also have an equivalent term for that in our country. 🙂

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    1. 🙂 I do love that the concept of Evil Eye is so spread throughout the world…. it’s fascinating.

      And ooh, did the symbol end up having any meaning for you?

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  15. The whole ‘saw it in a dream’ by Dave is sorta mojo-licious, but I still don’t put stock in this theory. If Evil Eye actually worked, I’d be long dead by now.

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    1. Oh, the story of my talisman gets even weirder because my parents had it custom designed for me when I was a kid– a special design in a hamsa, and part of the customization is a very specific bead pattern. When I was little and fell in a coma, the doctor, a persian man who was quite fond of me– ordered me a standard one to hold while I slept, but the metalsmith messed up. He gave it to the doctor for free– because it ended up having weird beads scattered all over in a strange pattern. My pattern.

      Spooky, right?

      Still, like you, I feel like if Evil Eye was a real concern … I wouldn’t be around anymore to worry about it. 🙂

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  16. Always thought this was almost universal as a belief. It’s also know as The Look where I come from, though this also has other connotations according to context. As for the sugar/accidents thing? I remain unconvinced. I’ll take it with a pinch of salt. Oh, no. That’s bad for you too…

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    1. You went to spam, Duncan! What’s with that? Hmmm. “The Look”, yep– in my house that’s a less good-energied, good-hearted look of disapproval. “Stink Eye” is a low-level bad energy look of discontent. And “Evil Eye” is not even necessarily a look– but spastic bad energy sent your way. 😀 Still, they’re all notes from the same song, I’d say.

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  17. I believe strongly in good energy and negative, and in bad magick that might do us harm. And that perhaps we need a talisman of sorts for protection, although it does not necessarily have to be an object.

    Dave drew that because you and he are soul mates; and those kinds of things will manifest throughout your years together.

    And btw, I believe that too much sugar IS bad magick. It wreaks havoc on my body. Please take care of yourself, Rara lovey. We don’t like it when you get sick. We miss you.

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    1. Aw, thank you, Samara. 🙂 I think perhaps my talisman IS my net of family and friends… I can’t imagine a necklace or tattoo or even painting being more effective than that. 🙂

      And yes, Dave and I have had quite a few strange episodes like that so far. The first threw me off, but now it’s just par for the course! 🙂

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  18. Cubans believe in the eye called Mal Ojo. You wear a black stone to absorb it. Traditionally male babies have it on right after birth. I have seen some weird things in my day so I know there can be some bad energy out there.

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    1. Yep! We put the stone on our babies, too– and the Indian equivalent, which is a black smudge on their head. Oh, I absolutely believe in bad energy– I just don’t know how I feel about the idea of it manifesting my reality…. still, as many have said– better safe than sorry! 😀

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  19. I’m familiar with the evil eye because I married into a family with Greek ancestry. Never heard of it before I met my husband. If my WASP family had anything like it, they hid this tidbit of folklore from me. Which is a shame because I really do like funky jewelry and some of the talisman described here sound perfect to me. Would it be wrong to believe in the evil eye just so I could get some new necklaces? Hmmm.

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    1. I love the talisman and amulets– they’re beautiful. 😀 And nope, I think it’s a totally valid reason for some fashionable, fabulous bling. 🙂

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  20. I’m not sure I believe in the ‘evil eye’, but I do strongly believe that our bodies talk to us and we better listen. I’m sure we all have superstitions of some sort. To me the evil eye is just a manifestation of bad vibes. Now I do believe that harm can happen to us just through thoughts and dreams, but that might be the Native American part of me. Sending good and strong thoughts to you my friend.

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    1. “Manifestation of bad vibes” is exactly right– I should have known you could say in 4 words what I said in 500, ha! 🙂

      Honestly, I think all the positive thoughts that my dear friends regularly send my way contribute to my fearlessness in the face of Evil Eye. I can’t imagine anyone’s evil standing up to y’all! 🙂 hugs

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  21. I had never heard of the Evil Eye either. Some people are allergic to sugars and glutens. I am. So we react adversely to them. Also it is statistically so that sugar lowers one immune system. There is a test where a person stands with their arms parallel with their
    shoulders and another person will try and push the persons arm down while the person attempts to keep it held up. After a couple of tries and the person can usually keep their arm up against their opponent with some effort…they are fed a chocolate bar and then the exercise is repeated…and lo and behold the person holding their arms up who ate the chocolate can no longer ward off their opponent who quite easily now lowers their arm against their will. I too, stopped getting sick..when I stopped eating sugar, and now gluten. 🙂 All that said… a talisman never hurts. LOL 🙂

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    1. Haha, yep! I absolutely agree. I’ve done so much research on sugar, it’s insane. And my family suffers from many sugar-induced or sugar-exasperbated diseases– but they’re addicted and just can’t break free. I’m glad I did, and I’m glad I have the memory I do– because I can look back to before and still remember how much I’d ignore someone who was trying to convert me to a sugar-reduced diet. It gives me some perspective when they’re being nuts. 🙂

      Thank you, Dani!!

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  22. In Israel, we had to have our new home exocised because our agent told us someone had put the Evil Eye on it. So, we had it exorcised. Really, no kidding. Ceremonies and all. Lots of praying. LOTS. We had to find a Kohen (priest) to do the job. Turned out a friends father was into it. It was a good house after all. Go figure, eh?

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    1. Evil Eye exorcisms, yep. I grew up with my share of those, too. Each faith’s is a little different… but the lots and lots of praying is pretty standard. 😀 I’m glad it ended up being a good house, though– that makes everything worth it. 🙂

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  23. I wasn’t familiar with the Evil Eye until I traveled in Turkey a few summers ago… They were being sold on talismans and keychains and necklaces etc. at every market and bazarr. I bought bracelets for all of my nieces and nephews (though I didn’t work too hard on passing on the ultimate meaning… for the sake of their precious little psyches). A merchant gave me one for free (when does that EVER happen) and I kept trying to give it back but he had this knowing look like “No, you need this.” It was too convincing to turn down.

    Your list of explanations about it is way interesting. I’m glad you don’t live under that burden of thought anymore… It would make you so much less… you:)

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    1. My Turkish family members have the most BEAUTIFUL Evil Eye wear. Though truly, most of the amulets and talisman for Evil Eye make me smile, no matter their material or faith-origin, simply because they remind me of my crazy family.

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  24. I didn’t grow up with the Evil Eye traditions but I am very aware of them after researching the Sicilian side of my family. It’s a big thing for Italians and there is a big blue, white and black eye to be worn to ward off the Evil Eye – I think the Greek culture has something similar. I understand there are women in Italy that can be hired to come find the curse in your home and expel it as well.

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    1. Oh yes, that’s the image I used as a featured post since it’s probably the most prominent ward. And, yep, there are Evil Eye exterminators all over the world– it always struck me as a difficult job. 🙂

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  25. II am familiar with the evil eye. I think I’ve been hit with it a few times. But – the power of me is bigger than that. Well – I’d like to think so.

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    1. Gosh, Dave and I have so many weird stories like this that I’ve just gotten adjusted to them. The strangest was maybe a month after we moved in together, and we had the same dream– from our own unique viewpoints. We were fighting in the dream and woke up arguing (which is weird for us even now)– with a ton of specific details. shudders It still weirds me out. 🙂 I guess now I grade weirdness in our relationship on a curve. 😀

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  26. Ha! Yes, I’m familiar with Evil Eye, and Hexes, AND curses (hexes and curses NOT to be confused). We have a billion superstitions in my family (both Mother’s and Father’s side) I think the oddest one is the black cat crossing your path (or having one as a pet) is a sign of good luck, quite opposite from the norm 😉 A lot of superstitions about animal behavior. …

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