Wishing on eyelashes


HT reports that he uses eyelashes to make wishes.

“When I find an eyelash on my cheek, I swipe it up with my finger, make a wish, and blow on it.”

When asked what the rules are for this ritual, HT responded with the following:

“You have to keep the wish to yourself. You have to blow it off your finger, it won’t work if it’s still stuck to you. My dad told me that there’s a game you have to play as well, if you notice someone else has lost an eyelash, you hold it between your pointer and your thumb and ask them to guess which finger it’s stuck to. If they get it right, then they get to make a wish. If they get it wrong, then you get to make a wish. But, you have to make a wish for that person, not for yourself. I don’t really do it that way, I just make a wish with the eyelash.”

When asked where he picked up the ritual, HT responded:

“From my parents. When there was an eyelash on my cheek, my mom would say that I get to make a wish, so I just kinda made the connection from there. Other than my dad explaining the game you can play with it, no one really explained it beyond that. I used to kind of pick my eyes for eyelashes, but my mom made me stop that by telling me I wouldn’t get to make a wish if I forced it that way.”

When asked what he likes to wish for and if there are any limits to the kinds of wishes you can make, HT responded:

“I can’t tell you what I wished for cause then it won’t come true. But no, I don’t think there’s any limit to what you can wish for. I guess it is just an eyelash, so you probably can’t ask for anything big, like winning the lottery or something. I don’t know, I just wish for little things here and there.”


HT is a twenty-four year old man, a recent college graduate, who is currently living at home with his parents. This the response that he gave when he asked to tell me about any good luck charms that he has.


By making a wish and blowing an eyelash away, HT engages in a form of sympathetic magic, where the act of performing a ritualistic action is believed to influence real-world outcomes. In one sense, the practice is a form of homeopathic magic, where the act of blowing the eyelash, which has been imbued with the wish, can be put out into the universe, a magic act that takes the wish from the mind of an individual and into the physical world. The size of the eyelash also seems to have some correlation with the size of the wish that one can make. In another sense, this is a form of contagious magic, wherein a smaller part of his body, his eyelash, will be able to affect the world and he affected in return. Since the eyelash was once physically connected to him, the magic that happens with it/to it will impact him as well. HT’s father’s explanation of the game that involves the eyelashes adds another layer to the ritual’s complexity. The game involves a form of reciprocity, where the eyelash has the opportunity to grant a wish to another person. However, this wish has limits, as it still must pertain to the person that the eyelash came from. It’s possible that the invention of this rule could be a modern adaptation, a way of taking the sting out of someone losing their wish by losing the game. The game elevates the ritual of making wishes with eyelashes by infusing it with interactive elements (albeit voluntry ones, by HT’s admission) and reinforcing its communal significance within the group.