In Native American mythology the trickster is a spirit responsible for, as the name suggests, trickery.
In Amerindian myth and legend, the trickster is usually symbolized by the coyote or fox.
Often comic, deceptive or crude, the trickster motif has been the object of scholarly study due to similar but certainly not identical appearances in most world mythologies and religions.
Carl Jung designated it as an archetype and suggested that its quirky energy may erupt from the unconscious in interpersonal affairs.
When this happens the trickster’s various hoax’s and capers serve the important psychological function of balancing the sunny side of human nature with an equal and opposite edge of mischief and darkness.
If, for instance, someone at a cocktail party makes a faux pas and unwittingly insults another through a slip of the tongue or naivete, the insult may serve the positive function of compelling the other to take stock of a problematic aspect of his or her personality, actions or life situation, which otherwise would remain unconscious or ignored.
This view presupposes a meaningful connection among of all living beings.
To make this essentially spiritual perspective on life more accessible, Jung formulated the concept of the collective unconscious.
The trickster is also regarded as a necessary catalyst in human history.
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On the Web:
- Excellent entry at Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trickster#Tricksters_in_various_cultures
- A Cree story about the trickster, Wesakecak…
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