The Cimaruta (chee-mah-roo-tah) is a very ancient charm, used in Italy to protect from the evil eye, the mallocchio or jettatura. Cimaruta or cima di ruta means spring of rue and the branches of the charm are the branches of that most sacred plant. The herb rue (Ruta graveolens) is sometimes called Herb of Grace; and rue and vervain are two plants most pleasing to the goddess Diana, the Queen of Italian Witches. In Stregheria, rue is used in rituals to represent the power of the God. Vervain was the Roman word for altar plants used for spiritual purification, and Druids, too, washed their altars with a flower infusion and used vervain in their lustral water for visions.
The 'mallocchio' can be detected in several ways. One way being to take a bowl full of rainwater and pour on 3 drops of oil. If the oil spreads out and widens means that the person is stricken. Another method is to look at the presumed victim in the eyes. If you see your own reflection, then the person is unharmed...if you do not see your own reflection, then the person could be a victim of the hex.
Now as for a 'cure'...there are many ways as each region has their own formula. One of these ways is to wear the clothes to the reverse side and suspend old shoes at home. Another way is to burn a candle for 9 consecutive evenings and each day throw the residual wax as far as possible from your home.
Some people are known as 'jettatores' (projectors) and their specific form of evil eye is called 'jettatura'. Jettatores are not necessarily evil or envious people, and they are often saddened and embarrassed by the harm they cause.
The Cimaruta was often worn upon the breasts of infants, as a protection. Before it became popular among the common people, it was used by witches as a sign of membership in the Witch-cult. As time passed, it began to be called the Witch charm. It was also used as a sign that someone was a devotee of Diana, the Queen of the Witches.
The Cimaruta is always divided into three main branches, symbolizing Diana Triformis in her many aspects (maiden, mother, and crone). On the tips of the branches hang symbolic charms:
1. Hand (mano fica position) - magic, to ward off the 'evil eye'
2. Fish - Phallic/Fertility/Abundance
3. Crescent- symbolizes both the cresent moon, and the horns of the god.
4. Key- access to Power, opening of Portals, secret knowledge
5. Vervain flower blossom- Protection
Other charms may also be found within the Cimaruta: dolphin, serpent, cock, sword, crow and a sprig of rue. The Cimaruta is always made of silver and is sometimes double sided. Each branch ends in a hand. The amulet was designed to represent the waxing and waning crescents and therefore the duality of the Moon's power.
An ABC of Witchcraft, by Doreen Valiente
The Complete Book of Herbs, by Lesley Bremness
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