The archetype of the trickster shows up in ambiguity, duplicity, contradiction and paradox. Usually depicted as masculine, trickster has been featured in tales worldwide through history. We see him as a boundary crosser, shape-shifting imitator, versatile adapter, and disruptor of norms whose deceptions often backfire on him.
Our inner trickster causes ego’s intentions to go haywire, and shows up as slips of the tongue, forgetting something important, or dream behavior that jolts the waking mind. Trickster’s disregard for rationality and rules disrupts stasis and rigidity, paradoxically helping to establish standards and create culture. Trickster lies at the heart of art and story, enlarging our world by imaging and voicing psychic truths.
Trickster confronts us with our limitations, and can be counted on to teach us flexibility and humility with irreverent humor.
“I’m walking along the edge of a wood along a path. I see a stag emerge from the wood and then the rest of his deer herd join him. I think ‘wow how magical’, but it quickly becomes evident that they are a threatening presence. The stag starts running towards me and the rest of the herd follows. I run as fast as I can, but as I start to feel the stags breathe on my back, I realize that I cannot out run him. I decide to grab him by the horns and throw him down. I kill him.”
Hyde, Lewis. Trickster Makes This World, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. (Amazon).