alskuefhaih
asoiefh

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

evil eye zinnias


Asteraceae, Z. elegans
















Native of Mexico, state flower of Indiana.
















Fifteenth century Spaniards who came to take the Americas for their king and queen thought zinnias were ugly, so they called them mal de ojos (evil eyes). How's that for the pot calling the kettle black?

Interesting tidbit: When I Googled mal de ojos I found a downloadable font called mal de ojo, which is type scanned from old letterpressed Mexican religious pamphlets. Fascinating. Oh! By the way, back in Roman times a charm to ward off the evil eye '. . . was called fascinum in Latin, from the verb fascinare (the origin of the English word "to fascinate"), "to cast a spell", such as that of the evil eye' (from the site linked in 'Here,' below).


I realized when we lived in İstanbul that I could be considered to have the evil eye because my eyes are green. Here is a very thorough account of the history of the evil eye.

46 comments:

Loring Wirbel said...

It's 'cause Cortez and his buddies were suffering all that repressed guilt for being genocidal maniacs. They started seeing watching eyes everywhere. It's particularly prevalent among Catholics, especially the type that have slaughtered Jews and Moors in the past. (Cf. Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary)

Ruth said...

Oh gosh, Loring, the comparison with Binky Brown is hilarious! I had to Google it (thanks again for introducing me to someone new). 'Scrupulosity' is a great word: obsessive concern with one's personal sins. I wonder if Binky Brown is in our comic book collection at MSU . . .

Loring Wirbel said...

I treasured mine and lost it, and now it's only in a book collection. Funny how one of my favorite pieces of literature is a comic, but I'm sure many say that about Art Speigelman's Maus

Anet said...

Hey, I have green eyes too!
I don't see how anyone could find Zinnias ugly. I think they are lovely and so hardy!

laura said...

Me too--what I call "pond scum" green eyes.
Now you've started something, Ruth: I never thought of looking for downloadable fonts! I love typefaces and for a brief time wondered if I could earn a living designing fonts.
Love the Billy Collins poem; he's so wry!

Ruth said...

Loring, I hadn't heard of Maus until my blog friend Alek told me about it, just recently, and I still haven't looked it up. I guess two votes will get me on that now.

Ruth said...

Anet, I hadn't noticed how much zinnias in bud form look like eyes before writing this post. Now I see eyes in flower buds everywhere. (Oh dear, am I feeling guilty about something?)

My eyes are hazel, but more green than brown. 'Green-eyed Lady' by Sugarloaf - cool song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xc1PHk9FhIk

Ruth said...

Laura, you too! Haha, pond scum. Pond scum is quite a beautiful shade actually. And so alive! Haha.

Yay for downloadable fonts. I just LOVE this one, don't you? I have seen it on Mexican handouts often, though I can't figure out when and where.

Glad you like the Collins poem, one of his few shorts I think. I think it's cool someone who doesn't write esoteric poems was made Poet Laureate, don't you?

Leena said...

Oh, what are talking about - after my comment on your Flying blog :)

So many flowers have their history.
Tulips are coming from Turkey to Holland, it was an interesting history too.
We people are funny, we give different valuation ( what is a correct word ? ) also to flowers, but they are just flowers. Now I got a mood to philosophize, this is the mood, what my husband fears most ;)
I would like to philosophize with you ( after I learn English or you Finnish ;)

Sharon said...

Zoe made me sit with her through her Tae Kwon Do class last week so I could give her instructor the evil eye whenever he as being to harsh with her. Maybe I should just send him some Zinnias!

Stiggy said...

Wow - I wanted to tell you Ruth, you were my inspiration to buy a new camera...

...I hope one day to be able to take ones like you!

Strange about the green eye thing - I've ALWAYS had a thing for green eyes - my wife Jo has beautiful green eyes.

Weird!

:D

Ruth said...

Oh Leena, you are very cute and funny. But you are also very smart, wish I could pick your biology brain. I would love to sit and philosophize with you, especially if your husband won't. I think we could come to an understanding, maybe with pictures. Yes, how interesting, after you thought the black-eyed susan at flying was praying.

I wonder what the flowers think of us?

Ruth said...

Ha, Sharon! Do you think he'd get it? Your evil eye might be more affective. But is yours GREEN?

Oh, and did he behave nicely under your lovely evil eye?

Ruth said...

Stiggy! That is AWESOME! I am completely honored. Let's keep an eye (not evil though) out for each other's stuff and keep talking.

Ah, lucky you and lucky Jo that you are suited for each other. Just tell her if she ever goes to a place that pays attention to the evil eye, not to stare too long at the babies or admire them too much!

Ruth said...

Stiggy! Came back from your blog to say HERE that your pictures are beautiful!! Yay for the Nikon D40!!!!

Did you know that's what I had when you bought yours?

Anet said...

That's okay Ruth, mine are the same way... I just say green cuz when you say hazel most people think of blue/green eyes. An eye doctor told me once that we have a rare eye color with the green/brown combo. :)

André Lemay said...

Amazing transformation from bud to full bloom.

Amy said...

Faaaascinating! (spoken in Mr. Spock voice) I love tidbits like this. What a lousy name for such a pretty flower! Shows what they knew!

Rauf said...

No no Ruth, you are wrong about green eyes.
Evil eye has no colour actually, in any culture, islamic, hindu or african or jamaican or hiti haiti ? voodoo ?
islam doesn't encourage such superstition, but widely followed by muslims.
when you come to india you are going to have a lot of fun Ruth.
i am normally considered blind. because i don't observe anything. somebody has to draw my attention towards it.
look at the beautiful house
i say oh
i say a lot of ohs and get back to my blank head.

special poojas are done to ward of evil eye.
i told you about my contradictions
i keep quiet in rural and tribal areas, but i laugh when educated people do such silly things. They spend a lot of money Ruth, to ward off evil eye. A house under construction is completely hidden by a thatched wall on one side, to avoid evil eye. insome cases it is covered on all four sides.
Pregnancy is not announced until it starts showing. Not every body likes your visit to congratulate the mother when the baby is born. Unless they ask me i never never take pictures of the new born. Sethu's mother in law jumped on me once. he told me to take a picture and mail it to his brother in detroit. but his mother in law screamed at me for taking picture.
my friend had to defend me. escorted me out of the hospital.
oh boy !
its dangerous here in India Ruth, i have lots of stories on evil eyes. We Indians are the champions.
A post on evil eyes has been pending for long.

Rauf said...

Ruth, perhaps you think that super brain indians living in US are broad minded. please believe me, it is very difficult to deal with them. 99% are very narrow minded and orthodox and painfully religious and silly. i mean Indian Indians, Asian Indians not native American Indians. That is a different story.

Sandy said...

These photos are beautiful. I'll have to check out the link later.

thanks.

Sharon said...

Yeah Ruth,
happily my mere presence seemed to have instilled limitless and much needed patience into Mr. Vine.

No green here. My eyes are a blah steel grey/blue. Very boring! Both Zoe and Larry have incredible eyes, blue one day and green the next.

Ruth said...

Anet, I just read in wiki about 'hazel eyes' that indeed green eyes are rare - just 1-2% of the world's population. Hazel are more common, and 'hazel' is used for any eye color too mixed to identify. So we are both rare and complicated.

Ruth said...

André, every bloom is different too.

Ruth said...

Amy, and illogical! (in Spock voice).

Ruth said...

rauf, oh! Turks told me about the green eyes, maybe that part developed in error over time from the original superstition?

I think cultures maintain previous practices even after religion comes invading. So do you (not you, but other peepel) pin trinkets on babies and kids to protect them from the evil eye?

How do you know what is just the right amount of admiration of a new baby? Or rather are you supposed to look at the beautiful baby and with a disgusted look on your face say, "oh, I'm so sorry!"? Then the mother and grandma will smile proudly, nodding their heads, "yes, our baby is so unattractive, you don't want her, do you!"

Ruth said...

Auntie Sandy! All rightie.

Ruth said...

Ha, Sharon, well good I guess. A bit bothersome though. What will he do when you're not there?

I have never, ever thought steel grey/blue eyes were boring! I always had the evil eye for steel grey eyes, envy envy envy.

Interesting how our eyes lighten over time too. When I first met my now sister-in-law (Don's brother's wife), her eyes were very light blue/grey. Now, 25 or so years later, her eyes sometimes look to have very little color at all!

Loring Wirbel said...

Ruth, even if you were being a little bit stereotypical about Indians in the U.S., I think in most circumstances you're right. I've met a few agnostic slacker types, but many if not most get very crazed (and throw punches or objects) if you make fun of BJP, that weird Hindu militant society, or anything else questioning Hindu frosty goodness. Same with Turks in the U.S. regarding Ataturk. My slogan "no pedestals, no heroes" does not play well in many countries. And what's the deal with Sikhs monopolizing management positions in the rental car industry, anyway? Is this a plot or what?

Ruth said...

Loring, I don't know much about Indians in the US, that was rauf, hehe. I wouldn't dream of publicly stereotyping anyone other than us stupid Americans.

When we lived in Istanbul we noticed what you say about Ataturk and nationalism. We heard about an American soldier stationed in Ankara who was disembarking from a plane, a Turkish currency bill flew out of his hand and landed on the ground. When he stepped on it to keep it from flying away, he was arrested for de-facing Ataturk.

Loring Wirbel said...

Oops, you're right about missing the Ruth-Rauf transition, when threads get long My Eyes Glaze Over!

Ruth said...

Those two are easy to blur and see the same.

Ginnie said...

HA! Reading the comments alone is worth this entire post, Ruth! :)

Ruth said...

Boots, sometimes we get lucky! :D

Rauf said...

Aha Loring ! i commit the crime and Ruth goes to jail.

i am surprised actually, how could you think that Ruth is as arrogant as i am ?

its good to know that i am not the only goof in the world, welcome to the club Loring.

Do you remember India's recent nuclear test ? We Indians in India were very angry but Indians in the US were very proud of our 'achievement'

A belief is a flop if it does not generate business. Evil eye is good business Loring. You must see the wide variety of 'evil eye averters' on sale. Evil Eye Averter { EEA }is usually a dreadful looking face of a demon with its fangs showing and the tongue hanging out. you buy one of those EEA's and hang it inside your car and stick it outside your house (EEA comes in different sizes and shapes)
If you hit a lamppost Loring, blame it on the evil eye.

Loring Wirbel said...

Rauf, this may be why there are so many Sikhs in the rental car business in the U.S. They want to corner the market on providing EEAs to people renting cars.

Your comment on U.S.-based Indians being proud of nuclear weapons reminds me of how many American Jews support a far more aggressive Israeli foreign policy than Israeli Jews do. The news media in Israel is much more open about discussing things like nukes and two-state solutions than the media in the U.S.

There are two Indian members of the board of directors of my organization on space militarization, Global Network (www.space4peace.org). J Sri Raman of Chennai, and J Naryana Rao of Naipur. Both of them say that many Indian citizens say they would be proud to dominate space through military strength. So there is always a lot of education to be done.

Bob Johnson said...

Holy crap, I come for the post I stay for the comments,lol, when ever I say the evil eye, it will take on a whole new meaning, I actually like that name for it, I mean look at 3rd shot, looks like a Klingon Bird of Prey, we all know they're evil,lol.

Cool shots Ruth!

Bob Johnson said...

Forgot to mention, your image of Bob on your sidebar rocks.

Bob Johnson said...

Geez, where have I been, have you had that shot on your sidebar of your Dad for long, just noticed it, very cool.

Ruth said...

Bob, Klingon Bird of Prey! Is that related to Bob the Crèvecœur??

Look again, Bob, that photo of my dad is actually a photo of Sam Abell's dad. Isn't it great?

Gwen Buchanan said...

Amazing photos Ruth!! You have a magic touch and such an incredible eye!!

I remember way back in grade 7 there was a new fellow at our little 3 room school and he was always giving us, what we termed then as "the Evil Eye" (of course we thought we invented the term in our naivety) .. and every time I hear this term now, I think of him but not in a pleasant way ,... he was rather creepy!!

Ruth said...

Thank you, Gwen!

That's funny, I wonder where that boy is now. Were you raised close to where you are now? Ever since my brother Bennett traveled in Nova Scotia I've wanted to get up to your part of the world. That coastal northernness really calls me.

Gwen Buchanan said...

yes Ruth I grew up only about 45 minutes inland around Sussex. The population is mostly people from the British Isles... lots from Ireland. It is a pretty pleasant environment...

Just to note, At the moment we are receiving heavy rains from the Storm Hannah... which is also the name of my 2 1/2 yr old grand-daughter. I'm not sure how the rains affect Cruises... maybe not at all

Ruth said...

It's remarkable to live that close to where you grew up. But if it is as pleasant as it seems through your photos and words, I don't blame you for not leaving.

I had wondered a bit about the hurricanes in the Caribbean, hoping the season will be past by the time they get down there in late October. I hadn't given one thought to them in your area. Hopefully heavy rains won't disturb them. Although I do hope Peter will get plenty of clear skies for running on deck in the morning and watching movies under the stars. Oh my goodness, so romantic!

lesleyanne said...

your photos are getting more and more beautiful every day.

i love you.

Ruth said...

Thank you, sweetie.

I love youu.