Shadow of the Trickster: The Rebirth of the Sacred Clown

“Extreme positions are not succeeded by moderate ones, but by contrary extreme positions.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The long wait is over. The Middle Way is here. Really, it was here all along. We were just pretending to be asleep. The alarm clock has been blaring for a long time, but when you’re pretending to be asleep there is a tendency to unconsciously hit the snooze button and go about the daily grind of a life half-lived.

The Middle Way is the interdependent actualization of the Golden Mean, the universal Golden Ratio applied to all things. It is the infinite Phi holistically personified by the struggling finite Fibonacci sequence. It’s an embracing of Now, in the muck and mire of the moment, an acceptance of both the sacred and the profane striving toward a mutually progressive evolution.

For far too long have we lived at extremes: psychological, political, spiritual, ecological. But a new order is emerging to balance out these extremes, an order that is consciously choosing to quit hitting the snooze button on wakefulness.

A new way of being human is emerging that counters the conditioned status quo narrative of, “This is how we’ve always done it.”

They are an order of contemporary, anti-hero shamans; game-changing, hilarious upshots of our apocalyptic times. They are the personification of our collective shadow embraced, reconciled, and promptly laughed at: The rebirth of the Sacred Clown.

You can take the trickster out of the trick, but you can’t take the trick out of the trickster

“A flea can trouble a lion more than a lion can trouble a flea.” ~ Kenyan Proverb

The secret is this: the shadow can be our worst enemy or our greatest ally. The shadow is the result of repressed interconnectedness. The consequence of stifling the wisdom that everything is connected is existential pain.

When this wisdom is suppressed by our psyche, it takes root deep in our unconscious, where it festers and darkens and existentially gnaws at our core. Through the passage of time it becomes the menacing shadow, the unactualized self.

What’s crucial to understand is that the shadow of the trickster is the collective shadow attempting to balance itself out. It’s a black light refracted through the prism of our repression.

It’s the cycling in and out of the cosmic joke attempting to manifest itself, a rewiring of the ancient wiring that keeps it all rewire-able (and lively) lest it fall into entropic stagnation, un-rewire-able and deadly.

The shadow of the trickster is the repressed shadow of the un-rewire-able collective: The inflexible community; the unmalleable tribe; the close-minded orthodoxy.

Sacred Clowns are the backwards, contrarian, amoral agents of the Middle Way, the personification of the trickster’s shadow. They have turned their shadow into a mighty ally, with which they have partnered-up to transform the collective shadow into a collective ally.

They have come to flex-out the inflexible community into reluctant flexibility. They have come to unmold the tribe into a malleable construct. They have come to drop updated mind-bombs into outdated canon.

With their shadow as their ally, contemporary sacred clowns have transcended cultural clichés. They have risen above such petty, outdated notions as cultural appropriation.

Having realized that the Red Road is a symbol representing the progressive evolution of the entire species earned with blood, they are determined to drag the entire wasteland of culture, kicking and screaming, toward fresh water.

Red is the color that binds us all, regardless of nationality, race, or creed. Red is the binding force, the energizing force, the color of love and blood. The sacred clown reborn is not afraid of either, and is willing to use both, by any means necessary, to awaken those who are pretending to be asleep.

Humor is both their weapon and their medicine. Though their methods are ruthlessly humorous and comically tragic, they are essential to prevent us from continuing to unconsciously hit the snooze button on wakefulness.

Turning Order into Disorder into Reordered Order (Like a Boss)

“The challenge is to balance the terror of being alive with the wonder of being alive.” ~ Carlos Castaneda

Contemporary sacred clowns are here to amorally level the playing field, realizing that the moral approach is too soft and goody-two-shoes, while the immoral approach is too violent and tyrannical.

Both are too rigid and fixed. Amoral action is just right, a kind of clownish Goldilocks Zone emerges from their sacred tomfoolery, which provides a detached and flexible space where meta-emergence and next-level mind-body-soul hacks can arise.

Combining trickster-goddery with shamanic wisdom, they create a kind of numinous horseplay that keeps the zeitgeist in check even as it shocks and astonishes it out of passive and fixed thinking.

With thunder in their blood and lightning in their words, they are the wild avatars of the Trickster archetype. They are cultural leveling mechanisms par excellence.

Society is their canvas, and they refuse to hold back their insurgent art. Filled with unconditional humor, they are exemplary at deflating overblown egos and animating oppressed souls. They poke holes in outdated reasoning while lifting the spirit of the downtrodden through insouciant courage and daring humor.

They are not here to obey. They are here to mix things up. They are here to transform the banal into the novel, using shock and awe.

As Oscar Wilde said, “Disobedience was man’s Original Virtue.”

Indeed, they would rather die laughing at entrenched power than bend the knee and live under its tyrannical thumb. Even God is not immune to their existential mockery.

As Okayophelia said, “Beware the man who would kill a god, the choir whispers, for he will never know peace, and he will drag the whole universe into war to keep him merry company along the way. He will stand before the throne, look the void in the eye and laugh. He cannot bear to live in a world where he is not sovereign of his own soul. He would rip his teeth into divine flesh and swallow the universe whole.”

Yes! And so, with Crow spirit and Coyote aplomb, with Thunderbird acumen and fox-like fortitude, The Sacred Clown Reborn embraces uncertainty while holding the tension between opposites. He is a bridge between worlds, leaving space for adventurous travel into other worlds that challenges the status quo to think in different ways.

He is a Meta-lithic artifact creatively tricking time and space into living art. He uses contrarian logic and backwards reasoning to jolt society into both higher and healthier logic and reasoning.

He shows through bad example how not to toe the line by blurring the line between right and wrong. Indeed. He is “beyond good and evil.” He’s in that field yucking it up with Nietzsche and Rumi: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

The Sacred Clown reborn consistently and persistently pushes boundaries into horizons, realizing that the only healthy way forward is not to get stuck in any single form lest that form become stagnant at best and tyrannical at worst.

As Pema Chödrön brilliantly surmised, “Seeking security or perfection, rejoicing in feeling confirmed and whole, self-contained and comfortable, is some kind of death. It doesn’t have any fresh air. There’s no room for something to come in and interrupt all that. We are killing the moment by controlling our experience.”

As such, contemporary sacred clowns know how to breathe fresh air into a dying culture, and they do so with unmitigated moxie and eccentric, in-your-face, audacity.

They are creating healthier and more holistic places where “something can come in and interrupt” it all, where comfort zones can be stretched into horizons through art, love, and humor; creating Next-level spaces where our wild-side can get in touch with our inner-child.

But the Sacred Clown reborn doesn’t stop there. She takes the magic elixir (red pills) gained from these sacred spaces and brings them into the dying wastelands of the everyday ordinary reality and uses it to alchemize and catalyze the diurnal death rattles of the decaying culture into something fresh and new, a new way of seeing and doing things.

A way that is able to laugh at its mistakes, discard what doesn’t work, and move on with a sense of humor like a mighty shield of life against the entropy of passive stagnation.

As Frank Sinatra, of all people, said, “Dare to wear the foolish clown face.”

As for me: you can have your moral high ground and immoral low ground, I’ll take the amoral middle ground, and astonish you all.

Image source:

Skull & Horns
Trickster Crow

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Gary Z McGee
Gary Z McGee
Gary 'Z' McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.
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