Apotropaic magic

apotropaicapotropaic symbolused to ward offapotropaic charmapotropaismApotropeGorgoneionto ward off evil spiritsamuleticApotropaia
Apotropaic magic (from Greek "to ward off" from "away" and "to turn") is a type of magic intended to turn away harm or evil influences, as in deflecting misfortune or averting the evil eye.wikipedia
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Taweret

TawaretIpetTaurt
The two gods most frequently invoked in these rituals were the hippopotamus-formed fertility goddess, Taweret, and the lion-demon, Bes (who developed from the early apotropaic dwarf demon-god, Aha, literally "fighter"). Likewise, protective amulets bearing the likenesses of gods and goddesses like Taweret were commonly worn.
However, female hippopotami were revered as manifestations of apotropaic deities, as they studiously protect their young from harm.

Birth tusk

magical wand
One of the most commonly found magical objects, the ivory apotropaic wand (birth tusk), gained widespread popularity in the Middle Kingdom (ca.
Birth tusks (also called magical wands or apotropaic wands ) are wands for apotropaic magic (to ward off evil), mainly from the Middle Kingdom of Egypt.

Evil eye

MalocchioMal de Ojoevil-eye
Apotropaic magic (from Greek "to ward off" from "away" and "to turn") is a type of magic intended to turn away harm or evil influences, as in deflecting misfortune or averting the evil eye.
A blue or green eye can also be found on some forms of the hamsa hand, an apotropaic hand-shaped talisman against the evil eye found in West Asia.

Gorgoneion

GorgoneiagorgonGorgon’s head
Among the ancient Greeks, the most widely used image intended to avert evil was that of the Gorgon, the head of which now may be called the Gorgoneion, which features wild eyes, fangs, and protruding tongue.
In Ancient Greece, the Gorgoneion (Greek: Γοργόνειον) was a special apotropaic amulet showing the Gorgon head, used most famously by the Olympian deities Athena and Zeus: both are said to have worn the gorgoneion as a protective pendant, and often are depicted wearing it.

Apotropaei

averting godsGods of Aversion
The Greeks made offerings to the "averting gods", chthonic deities and heroes who grant safety and deflect evil.
Apotropaei were in ancient Greece certain divinities, by whose assistance the Greeks believed that they were able to avert any threatening danger or calamity—that is, figures of apotropaic magic.

Knocking on wood

Knock on woodKnock on/touch woodtouch wood
Apotropaic observances may also be practiced out of vague superstition or out of tradition, as in good luck charms (perhaps some token on a charm bracelet), amulets, or gestures such as crossed fingers or knocking on wood.
Knocking on wood, also touch wood, is an apotropaic tradition of literally touching, tapping, or knocking on wood, or merely stating that one is doing or intending to do so, in order to avoid "tempting fate" after making a favorable prediction or boast, or a declaration concerning one's own death or another unfavorable situation.

Eye-cup

eye cup
An exaggerated apotropaic eye or a pair of eyes were painted on Greek drinking vessels called kylikes (eye-cups) from the 6th century BCE.
The eyes are assumed to have served an apotropaic (evil-averting) function.

Sheela na gig

sheela-na-gignagigSheelagh-na-gig
On churches and castles, gargoyles or other grotesque faces and figures such as sheela na gigs and hunky punks were carved to frighten away witches and other malign influences.
It is commonly said that their purpose was to keep evil spirits away (see apotropaic magic).

Halloween

Hallowe'enOctober 31All Hallows' Eve
Similarly the grotesque faces carved into pumpkin lanterns (and their earlier counterparts, made from turnips, swedes or beets) at Halloween are meant to avert evil: this season was Samhain, the Celtic new year.
By those who made them, the lanterns were variously said to represent the spirits, or were used to ward off evil spirits.

Vampire

vampiresvampirismvampiric
Items and symbols such as crosses, crucifixes, silver bullets, wild roses and garlic were believed to ward off or destroy vampires.
Apotropaics—items able to ward off revenants—are common in vampire folklore.

Athena

Pallas AthenaPallasPallas Athene
The Gorgon head was mounted on the aegis and shield of Athena.
The Gorgoneion appears to have originated as an apotropaic symbol intended to ward off evil.

Ancient Egyptian deities

deityEgyptian pantheonEgyptian god
Likewise, protective amulets bearing the likenesses of gods and goddesses like Taweret were commonly worn.
Both these types of intervention were eventually represented by deities: Shed, who emerged in the New Kingdom to represent divine rescue from harm, and Petbe, an apotropaic god from the late eras of Egyptian history who was believed to avenge wrongdoing.

Apotropaic mark

apotropaicApotropaic marks
Apotropaic marks such as the initials of the Virgin Mary were scratched near the openings of buildings in England to ward off witches.
Apotropaic marks are symbols or patterns scratched into the fabric of a building to keep witches out.

Gorgon

GorgonsGorgoThe Gorgons
Among the ancient Greeks, the most widely used image intended to avert evil was that of the Gorgon, the head of which now may be called the Gorgoneion, which features wild eyes, fangs, and protruding tongue.
In Ancient Greece a Gorgoneion (a stone head, engraving, or drawing of a Gorgon face, often with snakes protruding wildly and the tongue sticking out between her fangs) frequently was used as an apotropaic symbol and placed on doors, walls, floors, coins, shields, breastplates, and tombstones in the hopes of warding off evil.

Gargoyle

gargoylesGargouilleArchitectural definition
On churches and castles, gargoyles or other grotesque faces and figures such as sheela na gigs and hunky punks were carved to frighten away witches and other malign influences.
The primary use of the gargoyle was to illustrate evil through the form of the gargoyle, while another theory posits that grotesques in architecture were apotropaic devices.

Alter (name)

Alter
An example is Nekras (Некрас, "not handsome" in Russian), with the hope the child would be handsome, and Yiddish names Alter and Alte ("old").
This was in part an omen name, expressing the parents’ hope that the child would live a long life; in part an apotropaic name, given to a child born after the death of a sibling, but also said to have sometimes been assumed by someone who was seriously ill. The purpose is supposed to have been to confuse the Angel of Death into thinking that the person was old and thus not worth claiming as a victim.

Rowan

rowan treemountain ashSorbus
To discourage witchcraft, rowan wood may have been chosen for the post or mantel.
British folklorists of the Victorian era reported the folk belief in apotropaic powers of the rowan-tree, in particular in the warding off of witches.

Staniša

Among Serbian names are many apotropaic names (zaštitna imena, "protective names"), such as Vuk (and its many derivatives) and Staniša.
It was traditionally given as an apotropaic (protective) name, when children often died, or when many children were born.

Samhain

SamainCeltic New YearFestival of Samhain
Similarly the grotesque faces carved into pumpkin lanterns (and their earlier counterparts, made from turnips, swedes or beets) at Halloween are meant to avert evil: this season was Samhain, the Celtic new year.
By those who made them, the lanterns were variously said to represent the spirits or supernatural beings, or were used to ward off evil spirits.

Anasyrma

a curseanasyromenosexposing her genitals
In many traditions, this gesture also has an apotropaic character, as a mockery or means to ward off a supernatural enemy, analogous to mooning.

Singa (mythology)

singa
Singa is an apotropaic figure from the mythology of the Batak people of North Sumatra, Indonesia.

Vuk (name)

VukWolf
Among Serbian names are many apotropaic names (zaštitna imena, "protective names"), such as Vuk (and its many derivatives) and Staniša.
Vuk Karadžić, 19th-century Serbian philologist and ethnographer, explained the traditional, apotropaic use of the name: a woman who had lost several babies in succession, would name her newborn son Vuk, because it was believed that the witches, who "ate" the babies, were afraid to attack the wolves.

Pazuzu

A winged, goat-headed being sits cross-legged with his left fist raised up and his right fist downward.
Pazuzu was invoked in apotropaic amulets, which combat the powers of his rival, the malicious goddess Lamashtu, who was believed to cause harm to mother and child during childbirth.

Dreamcatcher

dream catcherdream catcherscatches dreams
In some Native American cultures, a dreamcatcher made of yarn like a web is placed above a bed or sleeping area to protect sleeping children from nightmares.
The purpose of these charms is apotropaic and not explicitly connected with dreams:

Jack-o'-lantern

jack-o-lanternJack O'Lanternpumpkin carving
Similarly the grotesque faces carved into pumpkin lanterns (and their earlier counterparts, made from turnips, swedes or beets) at Halloween are meant to avert evil: this season was Samhain, the Celtic new year.
By those who made them, the lanterns were said to represent either spirits or supernatural beings, or were used to ward off evil spirits.