7 Signs You May Be a Trickster God in Training

“The trickster is not a trickster by nature. He is a trickster by necessity.” ~ Malcom Gladwell

Boundary dweller. Faux shadow. Periphery keeper. Curious catalyst. Promethean prankster. Dark spark. God’s gangster. Trick lightning. Couth slayer.

The trickster is a standard archetype. Trickster myths are universal and cross-cultural. They permeate the human leitmotif. Trickster energy can be felt in the bones. It agitates mind and instigates soul. It riots the heart and challenges norms. 

But true trickster goddery (like true enlightenment) is unattainable. Like the horizon, it is forever out of reach. And that’s okay. You can only ever be “in training” anyway.

The journey is only ever the thing. The destination does not matter. The path is everything and nothing. You are the existential pivot, the ontological crossroads. If you’re doing it right, you are boundaryless and everything is Horizon.

Here are seven signs you may be a trickster god in training…

1.) You are ambiguous and anomalous:

“Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides.” ~ Tony Schwartz

In Trickster Makes This World, Lewis Hyde describes the trickster’s ability to uncover secrets as “apocalyptic in the simple sense (the Greek root means ‘an uncovering’). In this case, it lifts the shame covers. It allows articulation to enter where silence once ruled.”

The first sign that you are on the path is your ability to “lift the shame covers” and allow self-expression (art) to rule over silence. 

For you, silence is the enemy. You put a muzzle on silence. Better to keep things loud and loose rather than quiet and fixed. Better to keep things strange and inconsistent rather than regular and consistent. Especially when it comes to art. And especially-especially when it comes to the art of living life well. 

As such, you are methodical in your lack of method. You are valiantly vague and unequivocally equivocal. There’s a snarl in your smile and laughter in your glare. You are so absolutely uncertain of all things that Doubt has become a sword you use to cut through the false certitude of others. No idea is off limits, no belief is safe, no faith is sacred to the terrible cut of your sword.

2.) You are a deceptive sharper sharpening a dull world:

“With people of limited ability modesty is merely honesty. But with those who possess great talent it is hypocrisy.” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

You are not a trickster with love. You are a trickster with life. You are a trickster in love with tricking life into divulging its secrets. Your trickster tactics are actually an act of love. For you bring the magic elixir back to the tribe as a gift of hard-earned love gleaned through amoral acts of lofty deception. 

You don’t deceive to harm, necessarily. You deceive to awaken, to rattle, to create commotion in still waters and blow hot smoke through black and white prison bars. You deceive to stir the pot, to push the envelope, to stretch the comfort zone, to think outside the box, to shatter rigid paradigms that keep people stuck in willful ignorance. You deceive to crush out complacency. 

But your deception is love-laced, flaneur-fleeced, bricoleur-backed, fortified with High Art. Indeed, you distort the line between Art and artifice with uncompromising glee. 

3.) You are a shapeshifter and master of disguises:

“Very few people are artists in life. The art of life is the most distinguished and rarest of all the arts.” ~ Carl Jung

You blur the line between self and other. You are as much moon as man. As much wolf as ape. As much crow as mammal. You prove that the paradox of self is more a house of mirrors than a stable foundation, more a precarious perch than firm ground.

But, and here’s the rub, you own it. The self is masks all the way down perceiving delusions all the way up? So be it. Might as well enjoy donning and discarding masks. Might as well have fun with delusion.

Everything in life is metaphor, and you’re here to prove it. Irony is sieved through metaphor. And you are a mighty sieve. From your shapeshifting comes world making. Life becomes art, and art becomes life. Forget genes. Forget memes. You’ll carry mythemes and astonish the world.

Through their astonishment you climb to heights unfathomable. You eclipse their sun. You toss out their moon. You dangle the carrot of jest and apocalypse. And, oh, how they drool, blind and tideless. Rigid and ireful. How they slip around in the mess you’ve made. But only then do they realize they were blind before. Only now, through your filter of mirrors, do they finally see the forest for the trees. 

4.) You persistently invert situation:

“We must examine everything, stir up everything without exception and without restraint.” ~ Denis Diderot

You are a contrasting contradiction. You split all heirs. Nobody “deserves” a damn thing in this life. You know this – balls to bones. You feel this – root to crown. The universe is inherently meaningless? So be it. You are here to inject meaning into it despite. But not because anyone deserves it.

You do this through stubborn inversion. You smash thesis into antithesis and come up with synthesis. You teardown outdated meaning with mercurial teeth. You bury old gods in new gardens. You plant the Yggdrasil upside down. You flip the script into flippancy. And they loathe/love you for it. Their hearts split with original angst. 

Planted in thunder and rooted in cosmos, your heart is a mighty pivot that flips the world around it. Your throat is pillory and acid. Your soul is razored ratio. Your words shatter swords. Gold melts into lead when you step on powermongers necks. Nothing is safe from your sacrilegious synergy. 

5.) You are a messenger and imitator of the gods:

“When destiny comes to a man from outside, it lays him low, just as an arrow lays a deer low. When destiny comes to a man from within, from his innermost being, it makes him strong, it makes him into a god.” ~ Hermann Hesse

You may not ever become a true trickster god, but your training is deep and disciplined. Part of this training is learning how to become a bridge between worlds. You link mortality with immortality through a-mortality: a kind of mythopoetic design space, a Locus Solus, a solitary or unique place, where you are free to go Meta and create the extraordinary.

In this space you receive, sieve, and sometimes even deceive the gods. You’ve been known to create gods, kill gods, and even become gods in this design space. Your Ersatz knows no bounds. You are free to ingeniously crush out. 

In the end, you are the embodied message. No matter how mixed the message has become, it is you and you are it, transformed and transforming. People would be wise to question it. The inverse lesson is this: maybe they shouldn’t believe everything they hear/see/feel/smell/taste/imagine. Better to think instead. Better to reason. Better to play, dance, laugh and grin.

6.) You are a sacred and lewd bricoleur:

“If one calls bricolage the necessity of borrowing one’s concept from the text of a heritage which is more or less coherent or ruined, it must be said that every discourse is bricoleur.” ~ Jacques Derrida

trickster god

The world is a playground, and you are on recess. Everything is a toy. Everything is a puzzle piece. Everything is procrastinating art. You just need to figure out how to fit it into the overall masterpiece. 

You are the thousand-footed dancer, dancing betwixt and between all realms. In your mesmerizing dance you kick up dust, knock off rust, and smash through glass houses. All the while collecting truth and razors, seeds and ladders, ashes and mirrors. Your dance is hot magnetism, attracting everything in a pirouetting web of synergy. 

No world is off limits. No knowledge is so sacred that it cannot be tamed by the profanity of your art. And so, you pull nails out of the palms of martyrs. You pluck arrows from the heels of heroes. You dig up ancient goddesses. You laugh at abysses. You blink at blinding light. You wear apocalyptic sunglasses. You snatch out the devil’s heart and swap it with God’s.

7.) You are your own worst enemy:

“A man of genius makes no mistakes. His mistakes are volitional and are the portals of discovery.” ~ James Joyce

Trickster Gods have made mistakes. More than most people, actually. But ever since you surrendered to the path of trickster training, you’ve given your heart up to Fate. You’ve gone beyond right and wrong, good and evil, black and white, life and death. You dance between all that tripe. If you have a god, it is Destiny. But not even Destiny is immune to your vital virulence.

Having left “Being for-itself” and “Being in-itself” behind, you’ve launched yourself into Being-in-fate. Full surrender. Full disclosure. Full of courage and vulnerability, you have learned how to improvise through the vicissitudes of life. 

You’re ahead of the curve precisely because you know how to strategically shoot yourself in the foot. You adapt to and overcome unexpected change. You roll with the punches and learn from the bruises, licking your sacred wounds like a cat nursing its eight deaths. 

This is your Ninth Death. So you better get busy living. 

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Season of Bird Beaks

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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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