Saturday, March 28, 2009

GB Keeps an Eye on Things

Yesterday my bipedal attendants & I moved into our very first Turkish flat - and since this is a Turkish flat (we are in Turkey after all), I decided that we should do as the Romans (or Turks) do and protect ourselves from any & all forms of negativity. Not surprisingly, as a freelance Goodwill Ambassador, I strongly advocate Good rather than Evil. So while they were unpacking their suitcases and unwrapping glasses stolen from every bar and bodega in Spain, I spent the afternoon making sure that our home would be safe against any evil thoughts.

(Not that too many people ever envy my bipedal attendants but sometimes, I get some very odd fan mail from my international fashion modelling d
ays. Thank goodness I don't have any enemies - as for my my bipedal attendants ...)

Anyway, the unofficial symbol of Turkey is the nazar boncuğu, or evil eye amulet. The amulet is usually made from blue glass and has concentric circles or droplets of blue (or black), white and light blue (or sometimes yellow). At the risk of sounding vain, they set off my grey flannel quite nicely.

I am not exaggerating (bears never exaggerate) when I say that in Turkey
, there are evil eye symbols everywhere. Adults and babies wear evil eye amulets; you can find nazar boncuğu's on the sides of airplanes, boats, horses, donkeys & mules, cell phones, cash registers, and shopping bags. Amulets are affixed to the outside door lintels of apartments and tucked into the corners of thresholds.

The symbol has its origins in ancient mythology and spans many different periods and cultures, from ancient Egypt to Rome to Bangladesh. That's a lot of negative energy! You don't see bears needing evil eye amulets. Depending on who you ask or where you are, people will tell you that the amulet is used to bounce the malevolent gaze of cursing evil wishers back to the evil wisher, while others believe that the envy of others can unintentionally direct evil to the person (or donkey) envied. In both cases, the amulet diverts the negativity - whether it's deliberate or not - away from anyone wearing a nazar boncuğu.

So how did I make our home more Turkish as well as more safe? I started with the door to our apartment (above right). I was relieved to see that the people who own our flat already had protected the door knocker on the front door with a tiny nazar boncuğu. One less amulet for me to buy!

We already had one amulet. Miss K, one of my bipedal attendants' friends (yes they have friends), had brought them one from a trip to Turkey a few years ago, so I was quick to hang that one up (top left). The flat is so big though (apartments tend to be bear-size) that I felt it needed a bit more - or should I say that my bipedals needed more protection? - so I stuck up an adhesive version of the evil eye on the window of our balcony door.

Lastly, just to ensure that the day gets off on the right foot (or paw), I found these nazar boncuğu coffee mugs at a neighbourhood store, and although the coffee inside the mugs isn't typically Turkish, at least what was on the outside was! After all, the best part of waking up should be knowing that no one is going to cast the evil eye on you and ruin your day!

Hopefully, the amulets I hung around the house yesterday will keep everyone safe. When we were in Morocco, we hung a khamsa-hand (the hand representing the hand of Fatima, the Prophet Mohammed's daughter) - which is supposed to keep evil away - on our apartment door. Unfortunately, someone stole our amulet! How brazen is that? I don't know if Fatima stopped protecting us or not, but I bet the khamsa-hand thief earned a whole lot of bad karma. Don't you humans ever think of the consequences of what you do??

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