Tricksters usually have a great degree of intellect and knowledge. They use their wisdom to play tricks on people and other gods. They usually disobey rules and most conventional thinking or behavior. In stories the Tricksters can be a woman, man, god, spirit, goddess or any other type of entity. What were the ancients trying to tell us with Tricksters? What do they symbolize?
The Trickster is the one who shakes things up. Every civilization had at least one. They always have creative boundary crossing solutions to problems. They are very witty and often break both physical and societal rules. They question and mock authority. They disrupt normal life then re-establish it on a new basis. So they are associated with destruction and creation. The most well-known are Loki, Pan, Kokopelli and my favorite the Mayan Monkey God. One of the key purposes of the Trickster is that they are a tester, one who makes sure you are ready before allowing you to go further along the path. Tricksters have been seen as heroes and demons.
The Trickster is the reason why the Patriarch god has unpredictable behavior, senseless destruction, self-imposed suffering and moody and demonic attributes all mixed with being a savior god. When they decided to make all the gods into one god for the monotheistic religions, they had to take all the characteristics of all the gods and put them into one. This included the Trickster gods. Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell both said that Yahweh sounded more like a trickster god than any other god to them. Graham Hancock said Yahweh sounds more like a demon to him. This is the reason why. The people who created the patriarch religions were not smart enough to see this would cause problems. They just wanted one god. Around the fourth century people started questioning and they had to create the devil. Hell wasn’t created until Dante Alighieri was accused of corruption and financial wrong doing as Florence’s city Prior. He was pushed out into exile and in a jealous rage he wrote the Divine Comedy, better known as Dante’s Inferno. Dante’s Inferno is what the modern hell was modeled after. Hell never came from the underworld. You are in the underworld.
Trickster are usually a tension release function for individuals or societies as a whole. Tricksters quite regularly create lively talk where there has been silence. Tricksters usually bring new ways of seeing and experiencing. The individuals who have experienced a Trickster are usually in a phase of their mind transcending. They are quite often on a quest for knowledge and the power that knowledge brings. The Tricksters love shape shifting. Often in stories they will turn to animals and back to human. Through shape shifting the Trickster can exploit situations, places, persons, or beliefs to its own advantage, questioning the rules of any belief system.
Tricksters will try to overthrow systems in individuals and societies. It is the unexpected vector that is always throwing curveballs into the best solutions. Sometimes for good and sometimes bad. The Trickster has spontaneous and creative ability that alters established positions for new patterns of growth. It helps get rid of outdated ideas and beliefs. Old systems like habits and beliefs die hard. The Trickster will give a spontaneous burst of the unexpected to unravel those systems. Revolutions, nervous breakdowns, eureka moments and the eleventh hour of rescue are examples of what Tricksters do. The Trickster undermines old thought patterns. They renew our world time and time again.
Ultimately the Trickster is showing that we live in a duality. Humans seek only to be comfortable and hate being uncomfortable. They seek shamans, gurus, and priests to make their life free of hurt and perfect. Having only good things happen would cause the world to stagnate. Quit looking for a Utopia. Tricksters show up to remind you that life is about movement. Pain creates life, just look at the birth of a child. You must destroy the old to make room for the new. Dionysus was a very powerful Trickster. His cult loved chaos and pain because they knew that having a Trickster enabled them to endure what even the gods could not cure ultimately, the absurdity of human existence. They bring change and keep the human race from stagnating. Without a little trickery and setbacks, we would hardly appreciate our successes in life.
When the Trickster visits you, and they will, understand with the destruction of structure and the tragedy it sets the seed for creation and new life. For whatever reason the new could not get a foot hold in the old way or system and needed to bring chaos so it could plant. Prior systems have to break down to make way for the new. The Trickster is both destructive and creative. Embrace change is the best advice I have to give for dealing with a Trickster.