A voicehearer’s path ~

Posts tagged ‘trickster’

Tricksters ~

corvid_frIs the “Devil” a real “person” or just a concept? Big question, many answers. I have some opinions, no answers, but will lovingly share my opinions with any who will listen. The raven, my birth totem, is one of the well known tricksters in Native American cosmology. There are others, better known, i.e. the spider, and Old Man coyote. Depending on your feelings regarding these creatures, you may consider their ways enlightening, entertaining, funny, or nastily devilish. My own Dad was a rather well known trickster among his friends, and when I first read the medicine of the coyote, recognized him immediately; Prankster, contrary teacher, sarcastic wit, devilishly playful.

That is, in fact one of the very definitions of trickster medicine to a NA holy person. This is the one who comes along and teaches you the lessons you need to learn the hard way, if you refuse to learn them by a neater, easier and cleaner road. I find the whole concept of the trickster teacher so much easier to accept than the silliness of the Devil that comes out of a people that teach that the “devil” is responsible for everything you don’t happen to find palatable.

Do I believe there is a form of absolute evil? Well, actually, I believe there is. I just do not flaminbelieve that the “Devil” made you or me do everything that we were not supposed to do. I am more responsible for my decisions than that. Even the very bad ones, and I have made more than my share of those. Actually, to me, pure evil is what is responsible for the awful accidents and horrible things that happen to good people anywhere in the world. It is mindless and without direction, striking where it will and randomly dealing with all and sundry, for good or ill.

The trickster is more personal, that is something that comes along to teach you, and seems quite evil to begin with, but brings some very good things with it when we learn from it. I also believe Creator is quite capable of bringing very good things out of instances that had no intent other than pure evil. We silly humans, who think that if we study something long enough can read the tea leaves and tell which or what just by the studying of it, generally cannot tell until one has allowed time to tell us by the fruit growing out of a situation whether it was a trickster or a devil that precipitated the incident.

coyotemoonSo, no, I don’t believe the devil made you do anything. If I understand the New Testament, the devil goes around toothless, and has no ability to bite you, only whisper in your ear. You can say no to the evil thing suggested if you will seek the help that is usually there, if you will look for it. So, unless illness has compromised your mind, there is the capacity to say no.

I know this is an unpopular notion, but, if you are old enough to know better, say, perhaps over 10 or 11, don’t blame your Mama, or your Papa, at least not to me. You are already old enough to know that what you are feeling or thinking isn’t how things ought to be, and therefore old enough to ask for help with those feelings. Yes, I think our parents do influence us for good or ill, and no, I don’t think we begin to really grow beyond their influence until we begin to lead a self examined life. Some don’t even begin that process until the age of 40 or so. But there is much that has been written to guide those who would seek such guidance, some of it quite simplistic enough to be read by a teenager that chooses to be obtuse or simply obstinate.

I do, therefore realize that, though one can know the difference between right and wrong at as early an age as 10, and therefore not do things one shouldn’t do. I suspect that one will not truly know how to reverse the early training until one is much older. The pity of that is that we have usually had our children and made our share of mistakes with them before we can even begin to realize what makes us tick, so we don’t pass along bad habits.

We should have been made in such a way that we didn’t start having babies until we were qq1sgmessydesk1thirty-ish, a sensible age all around, and we are therefore in our 40’s when they need the advice we might be mature enough to give. Oh well, it wasn’t until a few decades ago that one could expect to live long enough to see such maturity, so nature had to get us into the game before we were even remotely emotionally ready.

So, here we are, all muddled up, and without the ability to begin to straighten out the muddle until we figure out how to make it so that humans only procreate when they are ready mentally, not physically, we are probably a ways from that, thank Creator, for we have too many who would use that tool to propagate their own form of wickedness. So, as I said, lots of opinions, no answers.

The Medicine Wheel’s South Keepers ~

coyote_roadsideI made that a plural because I know of at least three traditional keepers of the South, depending on the area of North America where the tribe is or was located. The Coyote is best known, I suspect because Old Man Coyote is a well known trickster, and learning that he is a keeper and works with the Holy Spirit (Wakan Tanka)sort of messes with people whose backgrounds are of European teachings, where the Devil is evil and there is no place on the “map” where evil and holiness meet. The
Sacred Trickster” however, is a concept that is absolutely wonderful, as the trickster teaches you when you are too stubborn to learn by gentler and kinder methods.

The South of the wheel is all about the things you need to learn to keep your body and soul together. This is where you should ideally learn to stay well grounded, learning the skills that will help you survive and even prosper. It is a time of innocence and growth, a time of wonder and of learning, lots and lots of learning.

The Porcupine is also a south keeper, more for those in the North East, I believe, note that 3822_file_porcupine_boultonwith the porcupine if you try to hurt it you will pull back a handful of quills, but if you are gentle and slow with your movements, you can pet it as long as you are mindful to go in the right direction. Innocence is the medicine of this creature, that ambles its way through life, not seeking to hurt others, but protected in such a way they can hurt themselves on it. They are a solitary creature, seldom seeking companionship, though they will accommodate when necessary. They not aggressive in any way, and their childlike curiosity is known by country folk.

mouseThe Mouse is also a keeper of the South Gate in some traditions, I believe mostly the Anishnabee tribes of the midwest. Mouse medicine is also quite curious, wanting to get up close to the things coming into it’s world, it wants to feel, taste, and touch to learn. It’s whiskers are it’s yardstick for telling it if a small space is safe to crawl into or not. There is, in mouse a child like curiosity about the world around it, which is key to it’s being a South Keeper, as it is that curiosity that helps us grow beyond our narrow boundaries. Nothing so injures the inner child so much as killing off that natural curiosity.

On most traditional medicine wheels, the South is the place of the child/young adult, a very important time in one’s life, as this is where we learn whether or not to trust those around us, and how to go about our “being”. All three of these “keepers” have a bit of the trickster in their make-up, either built in, as with porcupine’s quills or mouse’s size, or in being so smart they out smart themselves, like Grandfather Coyote. This is because growing into a strong and solid person grounded when we need to be and spiritual when we need to be, is a tricky business. Much depends on our parents and much depends on the medicine with which we were born.

Birthdays ~

Today is mine, making me officially 56 years of age! Gads, what an old woman I am. The raven and the crow are the birth totems of the Libra people, which is actually quite fitting, since folks either love us or dislike us intensely. That is this bird’s reputation. Trickster, clown, funny; omen of ill, morbid, dour; I am not sure whether it is that we cannot make up our minds who we are, or whether we are just so sensitive to every wind that blows as to make us unsteady in the long run.

I was quite fortunate to have parents that would not tolerate that kind of unsteadiness, and since the beaver (taurus) is my moon sign, {our inner self} I had some strength to draw from. I very much believe in free will, so do not believe the old teachings regarding the stars and their hold on us as individuals. Though I do most definitely believe that there are influences that come to play. I drew the above picture of the raven with my own totem in mind, but gave it ultimately to another “raven”, a close friend and companion.

Like the coyote, raven is a trickster, clown, who often likes to play jokes on others, though, as often as not, the jokes backfire, and it is Raven that gets kicked in the derriere. It can be fun to watch the fireworks, but watch out, the sparks may fall on you, too. If the raven learns fairly early to only put out what he or she would like from the universe, things will go much more smoothly, and Raven can learn to go with the flow. My papa was a coyote man, and could laugh at himself quite well, so there was no question I would learn that way of life, or go down trying.

Raven is a bird of portent, companion to Odin of the Norsemen, long associated with the tower of London, and one of the Native American bringers of the gift of fire, his feathers having been permanently singed in the effort. {Raven used to be white, in the “first” age, but Raven has simply played too many jokes, so now wears black most of the time.} Raven’s “planet” is Venus, so raven’s clowning will often flow over into the department of love, as well.

Raven’s lifetime struggle is to learn to find that delicate balance between what to take seriously, and what to laugh at, and Raven will ultimately serve the truth, no matter how much it hurts.  I would have to say that the lesson to learn from Raven is to never take yourself too seriously, learn to roll with the punches, and have fun while you are at it. P.S. that would include how you read this blog!

Thanks, Su

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