Greek Evil Eye: 6 Tips to Avert the ‘Mati’

So you have to admit you look ravishing. The choice of clothes suits you, the tedious gym days have paid off, and so has the therapy, and thanks to all of that you feel like a million bucks

And right when you finally feel like a beautiful creature, blessed to be walking this earth and happy as hell… it hits you like lightening.

At first it’s like a hangover buzz but soon it takes hold of you starting from head and ending at the toes, an all absorbing negative energy that can cause anything from dizziness and drowsiness to vomiting and feeling faint.

In simple Greek terms: you’ve been “eyed” or should I say, “given” the “evil eye” or the “mati”. 

“Mati” in Greek means “eye” and “se matiasan” means that “they have ‘eyed you’” It’s also known as “vaskania” by the church.

It’s All in the (Greek) Eye: 5 Tips to Avert the ‘Mati’

And though at this point you might cynically be laughing, the Greek mati is not only Greek, but a belief at the center of all major life philosophies. According to folklorist John W. Roberts and a 1976 cross-cultural survey he conducted, more than 40 percent of the world’s cultures – in West Asia, Latin America, East and West Africa, Central America, South Asia, Central Asia, and Europe, especially the Mediterranean region – believe in the evil eye

Belief in the evil eye goes back thousands of years in the wider Mediterranean basin, where the omnipresent blue beads came to be used extensively. 

Objectively speaking, the “mati is in effect a low vibrational energy which is directed at someone. If your own energy levels are also low, you tap into this “transmitted” energy as a receptor, and down you go.

Why the eyes? Because as American poet Anne Sexton put it :

Our eyes are full of terrible confessions”.

Anne Sexton

 Or because the eyes are often believed to be the ‘gateway to the soul’ – though this leaves plenty of room for debate.

6 Greek Ways to Ward Off the Evil Eye

1) Garlic guards

Yes, indeed, carrying a garlic clove in your pocket works miracles. Think of it as your own hidden knight in shining armor ready to block off any bad waves coming your way. According to my father who swears by it, if it begins to smell, it means you’re being eyed in real time, here and now! Throw it away immediately and say prayer. 

In any case, I do suggest wrapping it before placing in your pocket and NOT forgetting it in your pocket when you take your jeans off. There’s nothing more exciting than not knowing where that pungent smell is coming from two weeks later when your closet smells like “skordalia”.

I would like to add, that it’s not by chance that Greeks recommend garlic. Remember that garlic is used to ward off vampires in literature. And what are vampires in reality? Energy-sucking friends and family who leave you drained. 

2) The ‘Skorda-Skorda’ Spell

When your family, friends and loved ones agree that you look fantastic or that you’ve accomplished an envious feat, they should immediately say out loud: “Skorda-Skorda” – which in Greek means – what else? Garlic! Apparently, even the word wards off the evil eye. 

3) Spit in Your Face

Yes, I know this sounds so very rude. And especially now when masks are a total must as a protection against Covid-19, this practice must stop. But before fears of killer viruses, spitting in the face of beauty was a sure way to keep bad vibes away. It’s like telling the Dark Forces: “Hey, don’t look here. It’s so ugly, it’s not worth dropping by.” Very similar to what the ancient Greeks did if they wanted to hide a divine creature (or love child of Zeus), from say, his wife the goddess Hera (the most jealous of the 12 Greek gods). They simply hid it in the strangest of places where she wouldn’t bother to look.

That said, it’s unbelievable how many Greek babies have endured endless spitting from grandparents, aunts and uncles, godparents, priests during their Christening (“vaftisia”). The Greek spitting sessions involve saying the words “ftou sou” or “ftou-ftou” much in the same “skorda – skorda” fashion. 

I think it’s safe to say that we can still utter the spell under the mask. And just to be on the safe side, you can “ftou” yourself in the mirror before heading off to that special rendezvous or party. 

And for double the power, you can always combine the “ftou” and “skorda” solution.

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Greek evil eye - mati

4) An Eye… for an Eye

You lookin’ at me? Well then, in your face” could be the reasoning behind the eye charm that you should wear at all times. Yes, an additional eye – one could dare to say a “third eye” (forgive me enlightened ones) –  which reflects back to the other whatever random thoughts passed their mind. 

“OMG, what is she wearing?” – “He’s so gullible” – “She sings so terribly” – “Her/his cooking is pitiful” and so many other wonderful, kind thoughts two-legged creatures are capable of instead of saying or thinking a kind word or nothing at all.

So since very few amongst us have reached such levels of clarity to refrain from judgements of all sorts, it might be a good idea to just wear an extra eye. 

In the past, this “mati” or “mataki” charm was usually a cobalt blue glass (beady) eye (yes, I know that sounds scary.) Now things have progressed, so you can choose from a wide array of artsy earrings, designer necklaces, trendy bracelets or even get an cool eye tattoo. All that matters is to shield off your energy field.

5) Wear it Inside-out 

You’ve probably seen those raggedy teenagers or wealthy 50-somethings wearing 100-dollar T-shirts inside-out. Well, the truth is… they are doing it to protect themselves from all that black “mati” energy out there. And all this time you thought it was a fashion statement. Word has it that if you wear an item of clothing inside-out, you stand a good chance of keeping the toxic forces at bay. If you’re embarrassed, you could always say you got up and threw on the first thing you found. Now, if you combine this with, let’s say, a mati charm and perhaps a cellophane-wrapped garlic clove in your pocket, then you’ve really slimmed down the chances of bad mojo calling on you.

6) Avoid the Blue-eyed

Well, I know this is really not possible, but at least beware. Legend has it (and some scientific discourse), that the blue eyed are better equipped to give us the evil eye. Some say it’s because the bad energy flows right through the light colored iris. Greek philosopher Plutarch explained that the human eye – particularly the bewitching blue eye – could send out invisible rays of energy strong enough to do away with children or animals. 

And to think that you could be living among potential villains, or worse yet be one yourself!

Greek evil eye - mati

However, realizing that this tip is kind of hard to practice, I suggest you either buy blue-eyed friends darker contacts or observe whether they put a spell on you every time you meet. If you feel the dizzy-sweaty-I-am-fainting effect, then ask yourself “Do I enjoy myself in so and so’s company?”Why are they always talking about disaster, death, and destruction?” Then perhaps, the toxicity of your friend has outdone the mati powers – blues eyes or not.   

Note: All of the above mati/evil eye solutions apply to anyone or anything that you know deep down will create envy, glares of jealousy, or stares of awe such as a new bike, car, motorcycle, pet, or beloved plant.

Who’s at Risk of the ‘Mati’

Above all, children are at greatest risk as they attract the admiration of all. Pregnant women who “shine” as they await child are also prone as are beautiful animals and plants. Again, my father told me the tale of Psaris – the family’s beloved grey mule which fell ill and could in no way be cured… until, in a last ditch effort, a woman from the village who knew the remedy and broke the spell brought him back to life. Hallelujah for that. 

Breaking the ‘Mati’ Spell

And so we come to the most important section of the “mati” belief. As in all cases of poison, there is also an antidote for the evil (or admirer’s) eye.

There is an invocation which can only be passed on from one person to the other once a year on Holy Thursday. This short incantation must be shared from a male to a female or vice versa.

mati app
There is even an app that can help you ward off the evil eye or ‘mati’.

Besides reciting the verse three times, undoing the mati can include a prayer, the “ftou-ftou” practice mentioned above, or even include dripping olive oil into water (for hardcore energy attacks). I remember my grandmother could actually even see the first letter of the name of the person behind the mati when preparing her little olive oil & water brew. Magically, once the olive oil dissolved in the water (a sure sign that one is ‘eyed’), the droplets would then float to the top forming the letter -A- for instance. 

You now also have the option to request a “de-eyeing” (xematiasma) session online or even download the “xematiaseme” app. Yes, that’s how seriously we take the mati.

How do You Know if it Worked?

If you start yawning, crying, or feeling any other form of bodily release then it means the spell has been broken and you are a free woman or man. Hurray! It’s very important to move around once someone has “removed” the bad energy and get the good mojo going through your body.

Conclusion: To Believe or Not 

I strongly believe that humor is a wonderful way to bring people and peoples together. As one, we all have common fears and perhaps through friendly (and funny) exchange, we can learn how to cope from sharing our traditions. 

That said, whether you believe in the evil eye or not is up to you. The fact remains however, that everything in the universe is energy. So we are all giving and receiving energy. Perhaps it is time to become aware of the energy we are transmitting and to choose a higher frequency; one of understanding, compassion and love. Then we might not need garlic and potions anymore.


♬ And so I end today’s post with a song by Evanthia Reboutsika to the lyrics of Eleni Zioga about “a seablue bead”. Singer Yiannis Kotsiras bids his loved one to wear a charm brimming with all the blue of the sea to ward off all evil. “Handra Thalassia”. 

It’s All in the (Greek) Eye: 5 Tips to Avert the ‘Mati’

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