Book Review – The Evil Eye: The History, Mystery, and Magic of the Quiet Curse by Antonio Pagliarulo

Book Review

The Evil Eye:
The History, Mystery,
and Magic of the Quiet Curse

by Antonio Pagliarulo

Publisher: Weiser Books

256 Pages

Release Date: May 1, 2023





The more occult books I read, the more I enjoy those which get really specific and focus on just one practice, going into detail and exploring it thoroughly. The Evil Eye: The History, Mystery, and Magic of the Quiet Curse is a perfect example of this type of book: one which takes a long, deep dive into the history and practices surrounding the Evil Eye. This book presents its singular topic with both depth and breadth, looking at the phenomenon from every possible angle, and presenting a wealth of practical solutions for warding, diagnosing, curing, and casting the Eye.

In the first chapter, Pagliarulo introduces the theme of the Evil Eye, defining it as a “destructive current of energy” which weaves its way through interpersonal relationships, cultures, and history. Chapter two explores the historical tradition as it appears in folk magic tradition throughout India, Scotland, Turkey, Trinidad, Ethiopia, South America, the US, and just about everywhere in-between. Although different cultures have different beliefs surrounding the phenomenon of the Evil Eye, and different methods of warding off its effects, the belief itself is practically global, and has become syncretized with various religions and other apotropaic practices. Perhaps the oldest evidence of the phenomenon has been found in ancient Sumeria, but the ultimate origins of the belief in the Evil Eye are unknown, and it has appeared in various forms throughout the ancient and modern world.

In the third chapter, Pagliarulo discusses methods of warding the Eye; this includes some of the most familiar manifestations of magical practice surrounding the Eye, including wearing and displaying nazars or other amulets meant to keep the Eye away. In chapters four and five, he discusses how to diagnose the Evil Eye and how to cure it, through spellwork and ritual. Many different methods are discussed for each aspect of these rituals, and gathering them together in this way makes the tradition accessible.

While there is a lot of Christian and Catholic spellwork in the book, there are also many spells and prayers to other deities, ancestors, and spirits. There are as many ways to deal with the Eye as there are cultures in which it appears. Throughout the book and in the short Appendix “The Evil Eye Around the World,” this theme is underscored: the Eye has gone everywhere humans have gone, and wields immense power accordingly. Finally, in chapter six, Pagliarulo dives into how to cast the Evil Eye — because you may not want to be on the receiving end, but wielding the Eye can make you more powerful.

The Evil Eye has a bit of everything: history, science, psychology, philosophy — and plenty of magic with various methods of spell-casting. The magic discussed here is simple enough to be ancient and modern at the same time, and appears in many different forms through folk magic traditions. There is plenty of good content here for religious witches, and the book discusses many of the religious traditions which seem to acknowledge the Evil Eye — Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hindu, and numerous other faiths all seem to have some interaction with the Eye. There’s so much information packed in this book that it would probably be a complete mess if its focus weren’t so singular. As it is, it’s well-organized and presents a balanced view of the Evil Eye throughout history, while giving practical, highly usable magic to be applied to its modern use.

The Evil Eye drew me in; I knew a little about the Eye, but I wanted to know more. But what I didn’t expect was just how all-encapsulating this book is: memories from my childhood, drawn from church tradition and disparate cultural sources, returned as I learned that old, familiar gestures of blessing were methods of warding off the Eye. And later memories from adulthood returned — from a time in my life when I knew with certainty that I was being cursed, who was doing it, and even why — but couldn’t pin down how they were doing it, or how to protect myself or return their energy. How I wish I’d had this book then — it would have saved me a lot of grief! As it is, I plan to take the valuable lessons of The Evil Eye forward with me, so that I can protect myself and my loved ones in the future.

About the author:

Antonio Pagliarulo has been published by the Washington Post, NBC News, New York Daily News, The Wild Hunt, and Religion News Service. He is the son of southern Italian immigrants and was raised in a home where the magical arts were commonplace. Antonio lives in New York City. Visit his website at


The Evil Eye on Amazon



About the Author:

Sarah McMenomy is a visionary artist, author, and witch. Pulling inspiration from trance states, dreams, auras, psychedelia, and the natural world, she weaves together themes of nature and the occult in her artwork and writing. She has created art and written for books, magazines, games, and more, as well as producing digital fine art prints and acrylic paintings. 
She is the creator of The Entanglement Tarot, a hex-shaped occult Tarot deck designed for spell-craft. 
She is co-runner of Pagan Pages, for which she also writes articles and book reviews, and she also publishes art on her Portfolio site and other work on her Tumblr.