For those of you who have never heard of an Azabache stone, chances are you’re not Cuban. Azabache stones are black in color and often worn by Latinos as a pin, bracelet, anklet, necklace, ring or any other method as long as it remains on the body. Azabache’s are worn as a good luck charm, intended to ward off the evil eye, also known as “mal de ojo”. Since I could remember, I had an Azabache stone on me at all times. If it was lost or broken, my mother would frantically find me a new one. So a few weeks ago, when I mentioned to my mom that I no longer had my Azabache, I wasn’t surprised when I received one in the mail just a few short days later. I was very excited, partially because I am a bit superstitious about these things, but also because Azabache stones hold a significant sentimental value to me. They remind me of growing up, of my Cuban heritage, of my grandparents, of tropical Miami weather, of frijoles negros y platanitos, of my catholic school uniform.
Many cultures have similar charms or symbols, often worn on the body like the Azabache stone. Two of my favorites are Ganesha and the Hamsa. Ganesha, an elephant shaped deity, is widely revered as the “Remover of Obstacles”. Hamsa is a palm-shaped amulet, and like the Azabache, is believed to provide defense against the evil eye.
Luckily, there are hundreds of thousands of charms available with these symbols, many of which are quite beautiful, simple and elegant. So if for no other reason than to ornate your bodies with these gorgeous adornments, here are a few that I really love. And hey, if they help protect us from obstacles or the evil eye, even better, right?