Dancing with the Trickster

One of the more playful, albeit unpredictable, archetypes who routinely shows itself in many a process of transformation is that of the Trickster…the Divine Fool who often uses the surprise of spontaneity coupled with the wisdom of riddles, puns and irreverent humor to knock us off balance such that we are able to gain a new perspective on ourselves or the situation at hand. Depending on its manifestation, we may find ourselves simultaneously attracted to and repelled by the Trickster, as our levels of disorientation, confusion and/or anger ebb and flow in the struggle to discern which end is up and which direction is forward.

The Trickster seldom weaves a direct path in any pursuit or teaching and when we are in the house of the Trickster, things are seldom what they seem. However, it is in this shapeshifting of perspective and reality, this house of mirrors, that we are brought to some of our deeper truths otherwise so neatly packed away beneath the supposed seriousness of our day-to-day comings and goings and the all-too-important “to-do” lists so valued by our egos.

In myth and literature, the Trickster reveals herself as Baubo, the crass belly goddess, in the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone whose irreverent humor breaks Demeter’s year-long depression. He is the extremely curious Cheshire Cat in the tale of “Alice in Wonderland” who is here in full form one minute only to appear as a solitary cheeky grin floating in mid-air, the next. He peeks out from between the lines of many of the playfully powerful and spirit-filled poems of Hafiz, the 14th century Persian poet. And in many of the tales of the Native tribes of the desert southwest of the United States and Mexico, he is Coyote, a character whose mischief and mayhem often gives rise to what author Clarissa Pinkola Estes terms the “healing power of the deep belly laugh” (Women Who Run With the Wolves).

In the playful and labyrinthine spirit of the Trickster’s path, I leave you with this impish version of one of my own most recent encounters with Coyote and the wisdom of Grandfather Turtle that helped me unwind the riddle to harvest the gem at the core of the teaching. May we all be blessed to dance with the Trickster in our own way and in our own time to discern and receive the wonderful blessings it has to offer!

Dancing with Coyote

Coyote came knocking,
“Come join me,” he grinned.
“I’ll teach you to sail
And dance on the wind!”

His eyes how they sparkled,
His soul shining through.
So I looked for a sign
To know just what to do.

Then Phoenix flew towards him
Filled so with delight
Intensity building
Her wings spread in flight.

There she swooped and she swirled
So I followed her lead
Towards this magical man
Offering what I must need.

And with rattle and drum,
He marked out every beat
Weaving serpentine paths
With the grace of his feet.

Linking body and soul
With spine, heart and voice,
He taught and I danced
Soon forgetting my choice.

But the pace grew too fast
And the pressure too great
As the frenzy now danced me
And warned of my fate.

As my anger crescendoed
Exhaustion poured through
And running hard from that place
Felt like all I could do.

So I ran and I wandered
Through the great evergreens
Until tired and thirsty
I stopped by a stream

Where grandfather turtle
Rose up from the depths
And listened so sweetly
To my tale as I wept.

With the kindest of grins,
He took time with his words
So sure to impart
What I could hear and discern:

“My dear precious child,
‘Twas Coyote, you say?
Ah, the Trickster Divine
Blesses you with his play.

But remember his gift
Is seldom what it might seem.
What you think is so certain
May be but a dream.

Look deeper or wider
Upside down, if you must
For the gem that is hidden
Will be worth all the fuss.

Now you forget that I, too,
Am a part of your tribe
And the shell that’s my home
Can also help you to thrive.

For it is quite strong and sturdy
Of ancient descent
And atop it, Coyote
Can dance ‘til he’s spent.

And the rhythm he marks
With those magical feet
Can be also the lullaby
That rocks you to sleep.

So leave him to dance
‘Neath the stars in the sky
While you nestle within
And rest by and by.

For you needn’t become him
Nor count yourself less
Yes, you both have your paths
You’re just differently blessed.”

And with dawning awareness,
Turtle’s wisdom rang true
Yes, of course, the world needs
All our gifts, songs and hues.

And with thanks and a prayer,
On my heels I turned
To rediscover Coyote
With this, all I had learned.

Written by

Heather Davies, LCSW, is a psychotherapist, supervisor, and workshop facilitator in Austin, TX, who weaves together the principles of embodiment, creativity, and soul-based tools and wisdom in the service of individual and global evolution and wellness.

4 Comments to “Dancing with the Trickster”

  1. Here says:

    Hey, nice post on Trickster. I never heard of that before. Thanks. Bye, Silvia.

  2. Links says:

    I really liked partaking in reading your post, took a few minutes but it was worth the read.

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