Mal Ojo and Thelema
““But exceed! exceed! Strive ever to more! and if thou art truly mine — and doubt it not, an if thou art ever joyous! — death is the crown of all.”
Liber AL 2:71,72
Remembering Richard Chaney who I studied with for five years at UofO before his untimely death at 58. He taught at the University of Oregon from 68 the year I was born to 1998. He was the one who introduced me to Surrealism and also had amazing stories about living with the Beats in San Miguel Allende in Mexico for 2 years in the Sixties.
I remember him sharing one story where he talked about the “Mal Ojo” or evil eye he’d experienced in Mexico.
After starting his position at UofO he returned one summer to visit a village he had stayed in with his beautiful wife, daughter, and new Saab he’d purchased.
One day he came home to the room his daughter was staying in to find someone had placed a land crab through a hole they’d made in the window grate to go after his sleeping young infant daughter.
This was a clear example of the Mal Ojon “Evil Eye” translated into a physical act of jealousy, envy, and resentment which was meant as a magical and physical attack.
The village was riven with a Culture of Poverty where people were socially shamed (and even magically attacked) if they tried to achieve something that others around them believe no one else should have.
Such contexts simultaneously embrace a sense of futility in achievement, while also embracing an egalitarian ethos of leveling immiseration.
This is a sad world where no one else is supposed to have “nice things” if they don’t believe they can.
I think the Culture of Poverty notion is still very much with us, and ultimately un-Thelemic to the core.