Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Working with Tricksters

April Fool's day has become a sort of phenomenon of pulling pranks and creating havoc.  Some people keep very much in (what I feel) is the spirit of the day and aim for jokes that will put a smile on people's faces.  Others, however have taken it as a day to do mean or dangerous tricks with the intention of laughing at other people's misery.

Along those same lines, I think that tricksters, whether they are deities, spirits or people, have a similar variance.  Some act out of pure joy and laughter while others are definitely malicious and take delight in causing pain.  There are also some that are like the court fool:  they use laughter and jokes as a way to point out flaws and still keep the atmosphere light.  Some tricksters use their deceptions as a way to open our eyes to the truth of what is going on, and some trick you into doing things that ultimately benefit you, but that you might not have done if you knew what was going on.

The danger with tricksters is that they are tricksters.  I don't think there is any true safety or stability when working with them.  When you find yourself in their company expect chaos of some kind.  While this can definitely be stressful, it also keeps you alert and on your toes.  Working with tricksters will never be boring.

And I think that there is great value in working with tricksters.  I am not really a fan of the concept that all divinity is nothing but light and love and wonderful things.  I firmly believe that the divine comes in all flavors.  Some are not so kind.  Expecting all tricksters to have your best interest in mind is a great way to end up getting hurt.

But I also don't think they are inherently evil or anything like that.  I have heard a great many cautions against tricksters, and most of them suggest total avoidance.  But, if you feel called to a trickster, you may have great lessons to learn.  You may uncover parts of yourself that will bring you great joy.  You may enjoy the thrill of the unexpected that they bring into your life.  And if a trickster is seeking you out, running away or trying to ignore it might cause it to escalate.

My personal advice is to trust your instincts, be wary and keep your eyes open and be ready to act.  I think that we can often feel when someone has our interests in heart.  That being said, just because someone has good intentions doesn't mean that things will always turn out well.  And, just because the ultimate result is something that makes you stronger, doesn't mean the road won't be bumpy or that you won't get knocked around along the way.

And don't believe all the stories you hear, about any given trickster.  Stories are great, and definitely worth listening to and thinking about.  But remember that all stories have many points of view, and the person telling the story is only sharing one of them.  Take both the good and the bad with a grain of salt, especially with tricksters, as I often feel we don't quite get their true motivations.  The stories can give you an idea of what to expect however.  They can show you some of the ways that trickster has interacted with others, and help you decide if that is someone you would be willing to work with, and how far you are willing to go.

While my primary deities are not tricksters, I do work with tricksters on a regular basis.  I also feel that they have had a lot of influence at different parts of my life.  I am not always comfortable with the idea of change, and I definitely feel that tricksters embrace change.  There is often a wildness to them, a sense that you can't truly predict what they are going to do.

The funny thing is, that I used to be a lot more attuned to the flux.  I loved doing crazy things, not really planning, and running by the seat of my pants.  There are still parts of me that do, but I also feel that having a family has changed me.  My life has developed more rhythms and when they are disrupted, I feel out of control, and not in a good way.

And yet, I am still called to the tricksters I work with.  Sometimes I feel like I am being coaxed out of my little cocoon and other times I am being kicked out.  The more I fight against the push, the more stressful it becomes, and the harder the whole situation turns out to be.  The more I can relax into it, allow the currents to carry me, and remain open to what happens, the easier it tends to be.

I find it very helpful to keep a curious mind.  I often feel like there is a sense of excitement, almost a delight, that is thinking, "OOOh, I wonder what will happen if I do this...", and that it doesn't matter how many logical answers you give, you won't truly know until you try.  I also feel like sometimes we look at an outcome, and we see it the same way we have always been taught to see it, and what we really need is to stand on our head and look at things in a completely different way.

Working with tricksters can be crazy, silly, frustrating, terrifying, fun and/or rewarding.  The one thing it isn't is boring.  It is one of those things that I think sometimes requires complete commitment.  If you are going to do something, the truly do it.  Once you make the choice to do that crazy thing you are being temped with...embrace it!  Ride the wave, enjoy the ride, and see where it takes you.  You can always be sensible after...

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