El mal de ojo – II

1 03 2011

This video is from Ecuador, but it applies to Mexico as well. When I say Catholicism in Latin America is “90% spiritist”, this is sort of what I am getting at. All Mexican and other Latin American families have their own stories concerning this phenomenon.

Here is a link of a short film on the evil eye in the Mexican context.


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28 09 2011
Supersticiones y leyendas |

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2 03 2011
sortacatholic

Is the “evil eye” indigenous to Mesoamerica, or is it an Old World import?

I ask only because disparate cultures often include the common meme of an evil eye or gaze. I would not be surprised if this belief is pre-Spanish conquest.

2 03 2011
Jacob

Thanks Arturo,

I guess my statements about “not Catholic at all” (found here and in my blog) are a over-reaction or over-correction to the common belief I’ve come across here that they’re created, promoted or supported by the Catholic Church. Thanks for heads up, I’ll be more careful.

I do feel it’s important to emphasize, however, that despite the impression that they would like to give, non-Catholic Churches fail to dissuade there converts from these practices; the converts tend to become staunchly anti-Catholic, and enthusiastically renounce the sins and superstitions they feel are deeply rooted in Catholicism (like drunkenness, prayers to Mary and the saints, etc.), but they still cleanse their babies with eggs when they think that someone gave them “mal de ojo,” and they still keep a Saint Death in their closet when they’re looking for wealth, etc. From the impression I get, there are many cases in which people don’t view these practices as superstitions, like a horse shoe or rabbit’s foot, but as functional tools, like sunscreen or a metal detector. In other cases, it seems to be a “just in case” sort of attitude that keeps them attached to the practice, even after they’ve become aware that it’s not acceptable.

My posts and comments are mostly based on what I see and hear living here, rather than any real informative research. For this reason they are incomplete, and, at times inaccurate, I’m sure. I should acknowledge this in the posts.

I truly appreciate your much more complete and informed presentation of these topics. I noticed a video in one of your posts on the possible origin of Santa Muerte; I’m really interested in this one, among others.

Little by little, I’ll browse trough and read what you’ve written on these topics; I’m sure they could enlighten me on many of my experiences for which I’ve only been able to guess at possible explanations. (The people who do them, generally can’t explain them, and when they do, there’s a good deal of contradiction.)

Thanks again, Arturo.

2 03 2011
Arturo Vasquez

It’s a little tendentious to say that these things aren’t “Catholic” at all. But I have probably filled hundreds of pages on this point. See these links:

https://arturovasquez.wordpress.com/tag/folk-catholicism/

https://arturovasquez.wordpress.com/tag/santa-muerte/

By the way, there is a version of la Santa Muerte in Argentina, San La Muerte, who I have also written about before:

https://arturovasquez.wordpress.com/2009/02/23/san-la-muerte/

1 03 2011
Jacob

I live in Mexico, and I’ve been noticing this concept that many of those considered to be the country’s “Catholic” population are really “spiritist,” highly superstitious, and hardly Catholic at all. If you ask people what communion is, they may not be able to answer; if you ask them why they put a little red bracelet on their baby, they will be able to provide a few dozen stories that prove it’s effectiveness to protect against mal de ojo – or cases where someone gave this curse to their baby. It’s happens very regularly, according to them – in fact, it seems more common than the common cold. And people don’t believe that it’s superstitious, spiritist, or anything like that; to them it’s simply a fact.

I recently put up two posts in my blog, one about “mal de ojo,” the other about the worship of “Saint Death,” which seems to fall into this same category:

http://livinginmexico-jacob.blogspot.com/2011/02/saint-death-uniquely-mexican-and.html
http://livinginmexico-jacob.blogspot.com/2011/01/curse-of-eye.html

I haven’t watched the video (I have a slow connection) but I will do so as soon as I’m in a place with faster internet.

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