The Trickster

“If I had lived a few hundred years ago, I guess I’d have been a court jester, inventing stories and performing funny feats to make people laugh and forget their problems. Back in the old days there was the bubonic plague and crazy kings… But can our present society, hedonistic as it is, totaly concerned with material accumulation, fouling its air with poisons, killing and maiming, be any less in need of humor?”

— Alan Abel

The Trickster has a long history and a sizable mythic presence in many cultures, and a great deal of information about The Trickster’s many faces and talents can be found on-line.

Learn about Loki the misunderstood trickster, and his adventures such as the binding of the Fenris Wolf.

And there’s the adventures of Trickster Rabbit and his modern incarnation Bugs Bunny. Meanwhile, Coyote mixes Native American trickster mythology and “crazy wisdom” Zen.

The european tradition of Court Fools and Jesters, is part of a larger tradition of harlequins, puppets, jugglers, comedians, magicians, clowns and such, found everywhere from ancient China to the corporate world to the wrestling ring.

Delightful are the many stories of the holy fool Nasruddin Hodja.

A cross-cultural helping of tricksters would include (among many others) Maui, Mamo the Fool, Pan, Legba Exu: The Divine Messenger, Coyote, Heyhoka, Nepaytamu, Khelmer Khokem, Raven, Tyl Ulenspiegel, Renard the Fox, Eshu-Elegbara, Uncle Tompa, Glooscap, and Anansi the the Spider (a.k.a. Anancy, or Ananse).

A tireless trickster clown of the tie-dyed American counterculture is the unstoppable Wavy Gravy.

Bone up on the classics with tales of Diogenes the Cynic (“Reproached for ‘behaving indecently’ in public, he lamented only that he wished it were as easy to relieve hunger by rubbing one’s stomach”) and Desiderius Erasmus’s Praise of Folly.

The Christian tradition has its Symeon, the Holy Fool and The Feast of Fools. Tricksters and frauds in the religion racket are covered also on our Great God Hoax page. Our Theory page explores the characteristics of the Trickster from various perspectives.

Trickster Coyote
Trickster Coyote

See also:

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snig·gle (v) — To fish for eels by thrusting a baited hook into their hiding places.