Amoral Tricksters that Enhance World Mythology and Entertain Cultures

Amoral Tricksters that Enhance World Mythology and Entertain Cultures


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Mythologies around the world speak of beings which cannot be defined as good or evil. German folklore mentions a household elemental named kobold. Even though he can be helpful, as a trickster, he can make mischief and play pranks on the members of his household. He can hide tools and other objects and he may push over the people who live in the house causing them to fall. On the other hand, he can also help with household chores, provide help in finding lost objects and, sometimes, he even is said to sing to the children.

Apart from the household kobold, there is another type of kobold which legends say resides in caves and mines and haunts them. In 1657, metallurgist Georg Landmann published a study entitled “De Animantibus Subterraneis” in which he explained that the belief in these kobolds dates back to at least the 13th century, but older accounts of similar spirits also existed in Ancient Greece where the mischievous entity was referred to as a “kobalos”.

All these examples discussed here are but a few out of the numerous types of tricksters appearing in mythologies, folklore and stories of the world. From fairy tale characters like Reynard the Fox or Rumpelstiltskin and up to jinn, elementals and trickster spirits, mischievous entities play an important part in the tales and mythologies to which they belong.

Reptilian humanoids known as Kobolds ( forgottenrealms.wikia)

  • Exploring the True Origins of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • The nature and danger of the legendary Kobold
  • Santa’s Horned Helper: The Fearsome Legend of Krampus, Christmas Punisher

Amoral Tricksters

The term “moral” refers to the human standards of good and bad to which each individuals has their own standards. Thus, behaving morally implies acting in ways most humans believe to be honest and correct. The opposite of moral is “immoral” which refers to something morally wrong, something which people do not regard as socially acceptable. However, there is another term which stands apart from both. It is the term of “amoral” which describes something or someone without moral principles.

The amoral category is the one that best defines mischievous trickster entities. What all these tricksters have in common, apart from their shape shifting abilities and the predilection for playing tricks, is the fact that they are all outside of the human concept of morality, thus they cannot be separated according to the good – evil distinction. Also, when it came to trickster gods or spirits, throughout time, they have been valued, respected, feared and, in some cases, even worshiped.

Dwarves were often known for playing tricks around houses.

From gods to spirits, tricksters exist in the mythologies all over the world. Leaving aside their many differences, they all have another thing in common: they love to play and, most of all, they love to play tricks. The form and appearance of the trickster varies from one legend to another, thus exemplifying the diverse character of these entities. In Japan, the trickster takes the form of the shape shifting fox, the kitsune, which can be either good or evil. In Europe, the role of the trickster is most commonly played by spirits which appear in many forms and classes. These are but two examples of tricksters present in cultures all over the globe.

Inari Ōkami appears to a warrior accompanied by a Kitsune.

The Legend of Jinn

There are many legends regarding jinn (aka. genies). They are masters of illusions, wielders of surprising supernatural powers and beings beyond good and evil born of the smokeless flame. Jinn use their illusions to trick those who ask for their help. Thus, in the ancient times, people did not just worship and revere jinn, they feared them. In 1997, Wes Craven released the first movie of his successful series “Wishmaster”. The beginning of the movie sets the background and presents jinn as follows:

Once, in a time before time, God breathed life into the universe. And the light gave birth to Angels. And the earth gave birth to Man. And the fire gave birth to the Djinn, creatures condemned to dwell in the void between the worlds. One who wakes a Djinn shall be given three wishes. Upon the granting of the third, the unholy legions of the Djinn shall be freed upon the earth. Fear one thing only in all that is… Fear the Djinn .”

An illustration of a male Djinn ( CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 )

The description the movie provides for jinn corresponds to the original mythological descriptions. The legends of old speak of how jinn were feared for not being too kind or friendly towards humans. Jinn never proved too eager to help humans or to fulfill their wishes. This is why people in the stories had to find ways to compel jinn into fulfilling their wishes. They used magic formulas to conjure jinn and to force them into obedience. It was only under such circumstances that jinn helped humans and granted their wishes. However, in case anyone lost control over the conjured jinn, the consequences proved to be terrifying. The same thing happened when the wording of the request was vague - leaving the jinn with room for interpretation to use against the human.

Jinn are often linked to the smokeless fire from which they have come into being and so they resemble elemental spirits and there are many types of jinn, just as there are several types of elementals. The Marid are jinn of water, while the Ifrit or Afreet are jinn of fire. Even though jinn resemble elementals to a certain extent, they also differ from this type of beings as they reside in the space between worlds, a space which does not make them as linked to nature as elementals are.

Appeasing the Elementals

In the present day, mass-media promotes the funny and softened image of Santa’s elves and dwarves, but the legends of the past offer an entirely different perspective on things. The peoples of the ancient times used to perform certain rituals in order to appease many of the supernatural entities especially the spirits of the elements - most commonly referred to as elementals.

Illustration of Santa Claus and Elves ( CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 )

Elementals are spirits of nature separated into categories according to the element which they represent: fire, air, water and earth. These spirits are attested to in many sources, but especially in Celtic and Norse ones. The classification of elementals according to the elements which they represent was first developed by Paracelsus in the sixteenth century when he distinguished salamanders as fire elementals, gnomes as earth elementals, sylphs as air elementals and nymphs and undines as water elementals. These are but few examples of such entities as the full list of elementals includes many more.

  • Is Makhunik an Ancient City of Little People?
  • Leprechauns: At the End of the Rainbow Lies Richness for Irish Folklore
  • Evolving Forms: An Intriguing Look at Shapeshifting

Queen of the Fairies

Irish mythology speaks of a female spirit who announces the approaching death of an individual through her screams. She is the banshee and her name, “bean-sidhe” in ancient Gaelic, means “woman of the fairy mounds” or “queen of the fairies”. Myths describe her as having long red hair and a beautiful appearance. In Leinster, she is also called “bean chaointe”, “the kenning woman”, thus making reference to her loud and piercing scream. The Greeks described how mermaids used to comb their hair; in a similar manner, the banshee stays in front of the house where someone is soon to die and combs her long red hair and she signals approaching death with her loud shrieking. Irish history contains numerous references regarding banshees. These entities have been said to announce the death of Finn McCool, Connor McNessa, Michael Collins (the commander of the Irish liberation army who fell into a trap during the civil war and died), and Brian Bohru (the man who put an end to the Viking domination on the territory of Ireland.)

Bunworth Banshee, Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland by Thomas Crofton Croker, 1825

Additionally, each respectable Irish clan of the past had a certain protective spirit whom they worshiped and, when the moment of death approached for a member of the clan, the respective spirit tormented the banshee who would scream. In other cases, the banshee herself was worshiped as the guardian entity of the clan. In such instances, she provided protection, warded off evil, and her habit of shrieking represented the final favor which she performed for a respected member of the clan when he found himself or herself on the brink of death. At times, in order to signal approaching death, the banshee was said to take the form of a woman, and wash the blood stained clothes of the person about to die.

Featured image: Prince Arthur and the Fairy Queen by Johann Heinrich Füssli, c. 1788

By: Valda Roric


Tricksters, as archetypal characters, appear in the myths of many different cultures. Lewis Hyde describes the trickster as a "boundary-crosser". [1] The trickster crosses and often breaks both physical and societal rules: Tricksters "violate principles of social and natural order, playfully disrupting normal life and then re-establishing it on a new basis." [2]

Often, this bending/breaking of rules takes the form of tricks or thievery. Tricksters can be cunning or foolish or both. The trickster openly questions, disrupts or mocks authority. They are often male characters, and are fond of breaking rules, boasting, and playing tricks on both humans and gods. [ citation needed ]

Many cultures have tales of the trickster, a crafty being who uses cunning to get food, steal precious possessions, or simply cause mischief. In some Greek myths Hermes plays the trickster. He is the patron of thieves and the inventor of lying, a gift he passed on to Autolycus, who in turn passed it on to Odysseus. [1] In Slavic folktales, the trickster and the culture hero are often combined. [ citation needed ]

Frequently the trickster figure exhibits gender and form variability. In Norse mythology the mischief-maker is Loki, who is also a shape shifter. Loki also exhibits gender variability, in one case even becoming pregnant. He becomes a mare who later gives birth to Odin's eight-legged horse Sleipnir. [ citation needed ]

In a wide variety of African-language communities, the rabbit, or hare, is the trickster. In West Africa (and thence into the Caribbean via the slave trade), the spider (Anansi) is often the trickster. [3]

The trickster or clown is an example of a Jungian archetype.

The trickster is a term used for a non performing 'trick maker' they may have many motives behind their intention but those motives are not in public view largely. They are internal to the character or person.

The clown on the other hand is a persona of a performer who displays their actions in public intentionally for an audience.

In modern literature, the trickster survives as a character archetype, not necessarily supernatural or divine, sometimes no more than a stock character.

Often, the trickster is distinct in a story by his acting as a sort of catalyst his antics are the cause of other characters' discomfiture, but he himself is left untouched. Shakespeare's Puck is an example of this. Another once-famous example was the character Froggy the Gremlin on the early USA children's television show "Andy's Gang". A cigar-puffing puppet, Froggy induced the adult humans around him to engage in ridiculous and self-destructive hi-jinks. [4]

For example, many European fairy tales have a king who wants to find the best groom for his daughter by ordering several trials. No brave and valiant prince or knight manages to win them, until a poor and simple peasant comes. With the help of his wits and cleverness, instead of fighting, they evade or fool monsters, villains and dangers in unorthodox ways. Against expectations, the most unlikely candidate passes the trials and receives the reward.

More modern and obvious examples of the same type include Bugs Bunny in the USA and from Sweden the female hero in the Pippi Longstocking stories.

While the trickster crosses various cultural traditions, there are significant differences between tricksters in the traditions of different parts of the world:

Many native traditions held clowns and tricksters as essential to any contact with the sacred. People could not pray until they had laughed, because laughter opens and frees from rigid preconception. Humans had to have tricksters within the most sacred ceremonies for fear that they forget the sacred comes through upset, reversal, surprise. The trickster in most native traditions is essential to creation, to birth. [5]

Native American tricksters should not be confused with the European fictional picaro. One of the most important distinctions is that "we can see in the Native American trickster an openness to life's multiplicity and paradoxes largely missing in the modern Euro-American moral tradition". [6] In some stories the Native American trickster is foolish and other times wise. He can be a hero in one tale and a villain in the next.

In many Native American and First Nations mythologies, the Coyote spirit (Southwestern United States) or Raven spirit (Pacific Northwest) stole fire from the gods (stars, moon, and/or sun). Both are usually seen as jokesters and pranksters. In Native American creation stories, when Coyote teaches humans how to catch salmon, he makes the first fish weir out of logs and branches. [1]

Wakdjunga in Winnebago mythology is an example of the trickster archetype.

Coyote Edit

The Coyote mythos is one of the most popular among western Native American cultures, especially among indigenous peoples of California and the Great Basin.

According to Crow (and other Plains) tradition, Old Man Coyote impersonates the Creator: "Old Man Coyote took up a handful of mud and out of it made people". [7] He also bestowed names on buffalo, deer, elk, antelopes, and bear. According to A. Hultkranz, the impersonation of Coyote as Creator is a result of a taboo, a mythic substitute to the religious notion of the Great Spirit whose name was too dangerous and/or sacred to use apart from at special ceremonies. [ citation needed ]

In Chelan myths, Coyote belongs to the animal people but he is at the same time "a power just like the Creator, the head of all the creatures." while still being a subject of the Creator who can punish him or remove his powers. [8] In the Pacific Northwest tradition, Coyote is mostly mentioned as a messenger, or minor power.

As the culture hero, Coyote appears in various mythic traditions, but generally with the same magical powers of transformation, resurrection, and "medicine". He is engaged in changing the ways of rivers, creating new landscapes and getting sacred things for people. Of mention is the tradition of Coyote fighting against monsters. According to Wasco tradition, Coyote was the hero to fight and kill Thunderbird, the killer of people, but he could do that not because of his personal power, but due to the help of the Spirit Chief. In some stories, Multnomah Falls came to be by Coyote's efforts in others, it is done by Raven.

More often than not Coyote is a trickster, but always different. In some stories, he is a noble trickster: "Coyote takes water from the Frog people. because it is not right that one people have all the water." In others, he is malicious: "Coyote determined to bring harm to Duck. He took Duck's wife and children, whom he treated badly." [ citation needed ]

In online environments, there has been a link between the trickster and Internet trolling. Some have said that a trickster is a type of online community character. [9] [10]

Anthropologist James Cuffe has called the Chinese internet character Grass Mud Horse (草泥马)a trickster candidate because of its duplicity in meaning. [11] Cuffe argues the Grass Mud Horse serves to highlight the creative potential of the trickster archetype in communicating experiential understanding through symbolic narrative. The Grass Mud Horse relies on the interpretative capacity of storytelling in order to skirt internet censorship while simultaneously commenting on the experience of censorship in China. In this sense Cuffe proposes the Grass Mud Horse trickster as 'a heuristic cultural function to aid the perceiver to re-evaluate their own experiential understanding against that of their communities. By framing itself against and in spite of limits the trickster offers new coordinates by which one can reassess and judges one's own experiences.' [11]


Storytelling and Cultural Traditions

Storytelling is as old as culture. Many societies have long-established storytelling traditions. The stories, and performances thereof, function to entertain as well as educate.

Anthropology, Sociology, Geography, Human Geography, Religion, Social Studies, Ancient Civilizations, Storytelling

Passover Seder

The Jewish Passover celebration includes a storytelling ritual known as the seder, or order. While eating a meal, the story of the exodus of Jews out of Egypt is told.

Photograph by B. Anthony Stewart

This lists the logos of programs or partners of NG Education which have provided or contributed the content on this page. Leveled by

Storytelling is universal and is as ancient as humankind. Before there was writing, there was storytelling. It occurs in every culture and from every age. It exists (and existed) to entertain, to inform, and to promulgate cultural traditions and values.

Oral storytelling is telling a story through voice and gestures. The oral tradition can take many forms, including epic poems, chants, rhymes, songs, and more. Not all of these stories are historically accurate or even true. Truth is less important than providing cultural cohesion. It can encompass myths, legends, fables, religion, prayers, proverbs, and instructions.

Here are some examples of storytelling as a method of passing down cultural traditions.

Choctaw Storytelling

Like all Native American tribes, the Choctaw have an oral storytelling tradition going back generations. Their stories were intended to preserve the tribe&rsquos history and educate the young. For example, the Choctaw oral tradition includes two creation stories: One relates to migration from the west and another to creation from a mound. In addition, the oral tradition includes history as well as life lessons or moral teachings. Many of the Choctaw traditional tales employ animal characters to teach such lessons in a humorous vein.

Native Hawaiian Storytelling

The Native Hawaiian word for story is &ldquomoʻolelo,&rdquo but it can also mean history, legend, tradition, and the like. It comes from two words, mo&rsquoo, meaning succession, and olelo, meaning language or speaking. Thus, story is the &ldquosuccession of language,&rdquo since all stories were oral. Native Hawaiian stories included the tale of the first Hawaiian, who was born from a taro root. Other stories tell of navigation across the seas.

Traditionally, Native Hawaiian storytellers, who knew history and genealogy, were honored members of society. Hawaiian storytelling was not limited to words alone&mdashit included talking but also encompassed mele (song), oli (chant), and hula (dance).

Hawaiians valued the stories because they were not only entertaining, but they also taught the next generation about behavior, values, and traditions.

Western African Storytelling

The peoples of sub-Saharan Africa have strong storytelling traditions. In many parts of Africa, after dinner, the village congregates around a central fire to listen to the storyteller. As in other cultures, the role of the storyteller is to entertain and educate.

Long part of western African culture are the griots: storytellers, troubadours, and counsellors to kings. They performed the functions of storyteller, genealogist, historian, ambassador, and more. Some of the most famous stories from western Africa are those of Anansi, the trickster spider.

The griots were traditionally hereditary, a profession or office passed from one generation to the next. There were also griot schools, where more formal training could be had. Both men and women can take up the profession (women are called griottes), although women have a somewhat lesser status.

The Jewish People and the Passover Seder

On Passover, families of Jewish faith celebrate the exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. The Passover celebration includes a storytelling ritual known as the seder, or order. During a meal, the story of the Exodus is told, an oral tradition passed down through generations to educate the young. An important part of the ceremony is &ldquofour questions&rdquo asked by the youngest children present, which are the impetus for telling the story.

Irish Storytelling

The seanchai were the traditional Irish keepers of story. They would travel from village to village, reciting ancient lore and tales of wisdom. They told the old myths as well as local news and happenings. Prominent in the Irish oral tradition are tales of kings and heroes.

Today, storytelling and interest in storytelling appears to be making a comeback. As one Irish storyteller put it: &ldquoIt&rsquos a need for connection &hellip I think storytelling nurtures connections with people in real life.&rdquo

The Jewish Passover celebration includes a storytelling ritual known as the seder, or order. While eating a meal, the story of the exodus of Jews out of Egypt is told.


Native Oral Traditions

Orality and Community. Most contemporary readers who are trained in the European tradition are likely to think of the literature of the early nineteenth century as something written, as poetry or fiction appearing in books. Among Native Americans, oral literature, still prevalent, enjoyed an exalted status in the nineteenth century. Those who performed stories, songs, and rituals were some of the most valued members of a community. Their performances served to remind the members of a community of their origin, how they came to be in a particular place, and how they should continue to live. Most native traditions distinguished between three oral genres: narrative, song, and ritual drama. In all these genres the oral tradition was informed by a central belief that human beings should strive for harmony with the universe. Because Native oral traditions were inherited and at times evolving, it is difficult and inaccurate to label particular songs and performances as belonging to a certain period. Thus the twentieth-century student of nineteenth-century Native American literature should proceed with caution: in addition to the difficulties that arise with the written translation of a verbal text, one

must keep in mind the timeless nature of the oral tradition.

Narratives. Oral narratives tended to be divided into “ true ” and “ fictional ” categories. True narratives often served a kind of Biblical function, a collection of central texts that defined communal values and from which other narratives branched off. The core story was the origin tale, a narrative that explained the creation of the world and the tribe. Among many nations of the Southwest the world was created by the Sky Father and the Earth Mother. The Papago origin tale celebrated the powers of the First Born, who “ finished the earth and then made all animal and plant life ” :

Long ago, they say, when the earth was not yet finished, darkness lay upon the water and they rubbed each other. The sound they made was like the sound at the edge of a pond. There, on the water, in the darkness, in the noise, and in a very strong wind, a child was born.

Other narratives told of ancestral migration, the adventures of cultural heroes, or accounted for the origins of specific rituals and ceremonies. Stylistically, narratives varied widely from group to group. A Papago narrative might have been broken into lengthy stanzas and told over a succession of nights. An Apache narrative, on the other hand, was often spare, compact, repetitive, and would have been told in less than an hour. Additionally, narrative songs might vary with each performance while Papago storytellers worked for years to memorize the canon of verse and song that constituted their bible, Cherokee storytellers were free to improvise if the spirit moved them do so.

Trickster Tales. The second type of narrative was often told at night by grandparents to amuse and instruct children. They were analagous to Western fairy tales but were often episodic, cyclical, and revolved around the adventures of a conventional character. The most popular character was the “ trickster ” character, so-called because of his mischievous and deceptive antics. Often appearing as a raven, rabbit, fox, or most commonly a coyote, the trickster was a humorous figure who sometimes outwitted others and sometimes outwitted himself. He typically embodied qualities such as lust, greed, and avarice. His tales entertained but also taught listeners the consequences of such foibles.

Songs. Songs were, and continue to be, a significant component of Native American culture, accompanying both ceremonial and everyday activities. Like narratives, ceremonial songs varied widely from group to group. The Navajo Nightway Ceremony, composed of about four hundred songs, filled nine days and eight nights:

In contrast, a Yaqui fiesta consisted of a dozen compressed, imagistic songs, such as the following:

Nonceremonial songs accompanied nearly all aspects of daily life. There were songs for traveling, housework, lullabies, or social occasions. Some ceremonial songs also had a nonceremonial function. The Navajo Nightway Chant, for example, might also have been used as a traveling song.

Ritual Drama. Ritual drama was a sacred form of oral literature that often combined song and narrative. These performances were ritualized attempts to communicate with natural and supernatural forces, to use the power of the word to achieve order in the spiritual and physical worlds. They might have been performed seasonally to celebrate the renewal of the earth, they might have marked communal events, or pertained to important personal events, such as birth, death, and marriage. Others may have functioned as purification ceremonies. Ritual dramas were performed by priests, respected singers, or shamans. Priests and shamans inherited ritual forms and songs from their family or, alternatively, underwent rites of initiation. In some cases certain rites were the responsibility of specially empowered societies. Among the Ojibwas, Menominees, and Winnebagos, for example, healing ceremonies were performed by the Grand Medicine Society.

Themes. Underlying the diversity of forms and language in the oral tradition were a number of common themes: the sense of the sacred, the sense of the beautiful, the sense of place, and the sense of community. To many Native Americans in the nineteenth century, all things were sacred this sacred power created a sense of balance throughout the universe. The patterns within songs and narratives, such as repetition and symmetry, reflected that balance. For each tribe, however, the sacred was often located in a specific place, sometimes described as a mythical dwelling place or the site of origin. For example, the Navajos and Hopis viewed some southwestern mountains as sacred dwelling places. As the tradition celebrated sacred places, it also reminded the individual that he or she was part of a larger whole, a whole that included not only the community but also all of creation. Spirit and harmony informed all life. The power of the word, given by and reflecting the sacred, affirmed and celebrated this unity, as in this Yokuts prayer:


Trickster

Wisakedjak is a spirit of mischief and deception, a trickster who is featured in various creation stories.

Depiction of Nanabush (Nanabozo ) from the Peterborough Pictograph Site in Southern Ontario. This monument in the Bill Reid Rotunda at the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, depicts the ancestral past of the Haida people. Raven, a wise and powerful yet mischievous trickster, found the first humans in a clam shell on the beach.

Origin of the Term

Creek-Cherokee author Craig S. Womack argues that tricksters are not inherently Indigenous rather, they were “invented by anthropologists.” Womack is referring to the fact that often non-Indigenous scholars (starting generally in the 1800s) created a convenient, catch-all phrase — the trickster — to label Indigenous figures and stories that might not always fit into this category. It is therefore important to recognize and appreciate that Indigenous communities construct tricksters in different ways.

Definition of Trickster

While a general definition of “trickster” can limit the complexity and cultural specificity of this figure from nation to nation, recognizing cross-cultural similarities can help to explain what tricksters are and why they are important to most Indigenous cultures in Canada.

A common characteristic is that tricksters are foolish and childlike troublemakers. Some are harmless, while others are malevolent. Tricksters like Nanabush and Wisakedjak are considered heroes. Both are powerful and wise leaders who sometimes get into trouble and play jokes on humans. By contrast, tricksters like Napi are sometimes depicted as selfish and cruel.

Another key defining feature of tricksters is that they wander, spiritually and physically. They often travel between the spirit world and the tangible world, as well as the areas in-between. During these travels, some tricksters, such as Raven and Coyote, alter their shape, manifesting as powerful, sacred beings, animals, inanimate objects (such as rocks and trees) and humans. In these cases, tricksters are also referred to in the literature as transformers or shape-shifters.

Tricksters in Indigenous Cultures

There are a wide variety of trickster figures in Indigenous cultures in Canada. The following are a few examples of tricksters from various parts of the country.

Among the Cree, Wisakedjak is an adventurous and humorous trickster, afforded prestige as a teacher to humankind. Wisakedjak is also rebellious. According to one story, he disobeyed the Creator, who asked Wisakedjak to keep the animals and humans from quarrelling. The result was the Creator’s flooding of the world, to begin life anew. While Wisakedjak played a role in the remaking of the world, some oral histories indicate that the Creator reduced his powers, leaving him with only the ability to flatter and deceive. Other stories reveal that Wisakedjak always had great powers and was responsible for creating the moon and other elements of our world.

Nanabush from the Ojibwe traditions is a half-human, half-spirit figure that appears in creation stories and is greatly respected and revered as a hero among various Anishinaabe peoples. Nanabush could change forms and often did so to play tricks on people. According to some tales, Nanabush is also described as two-spirited. Nanabush is immortalized in pre-colonial pictographs in a sacred location in Bon Echo Provincial Park on Mazinaw Lake in southern Ontario.

The Métis also have tales about Wisakedjak and Nanabush, as well as another trickster — Chi-Jean — described by some as a cousin or close friend of the other two. The travels and adventures of Chi-Jean, featured in various oral histories as well as a series of graphic novels for youth, seek to teach about Métis culture and the connection between humans and the earth.

Glooscap, huge in size and power, features in many stories of various Algonquian-speaking nations, such as the Mi’kmaq and Abenaki. Glooscap is said to have created natural features such as the Annapolis Valley, in the process often having to overcome his evil twin brother who wanted rivers to be crooked and mountains impassable.

Raven is an important trickster in the cultures of various Northwest Coast Indigenous peoples. Appearing in origin stories and other tales, Raven is valued as a guardian spirit. The Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian have moieties (a type of kinship group) named for this figure. Raven also appears in Inuit stories, as does cultural hero Kiviuq. Described as a powerful wanderer and shaman, Kiviuq goes on many adventures, from tricking a hungry bear to kayaking through dangerous waters to encountering a giant bumblebee.

On the Prairies, the Siksika tell stories about Napi the trickster. Possessing great powers, Napi is credited by some Siksika people with creating the world and life within it. However, Napi is also foolish and can be cruel. Many stories describe him as possessing deceptive and destructive powers. In some Prairie and West Coast Indigenous tales, Napi is accompanied by another trickster: Coyote. Usually described as a pesky thief, Coyote is also a healer that received this special power from the Creator.

Purposes and Uses of Trickster Stories

Historically, trickster stories have served a variety of roles, from entertaining community members to transmitting traditional knowledge to teaching about right from wrong. Trickster stories illustrate the centrality of relationships between family members, clans and nations, while highlighting the tension between individual motivations and those of the larger social group. In bending the structures of society, tricksters reveal (and occupy) a realm in between those structures, one that demonstrates how social norms can be challenged, redefined and overturned.

In the modern era, the trickster has proved useful to those seeking a return to Indigenous approaches to learning. Educator Sylvia Moore wrote her book, Trickster Chases the Tale of Education (2017), in the style of a trickster story, contrasting Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledges. She argues that the space between these two world views (the “trickster space”) may permit for a respectful and collaborative approach to Indigenous learning. Similarly, law professor John Borrows has argued that the trickster, when used as a framework for understanding Indigenous ways of knowing, can be helpful in the teaching of Indigenous rights and legal traditions. For example, he argues that Nanabush’s narratives can reveal “Anishinaabe law’s hidden cultural assumptions,” and by doing so, “Anishinaabe people gain access to… viewpoints within their legal tradition.”

Tricksters have also found a role in urban society among off-reserve Indigenous peoples who identify with the trickster as an adaptable but authentically Indigenous persona. Tricksters can be empowering figures for those who are generally left outside of traditional power structures. For example, writer Eden Robinson has used the trickster archetype in her novel, Son of a Trickster (2017), to challenge patriarchal power structures and Eurocentric notions of women’s sexuality and domesticity. Similarly, for two-spirit people, the trickster is a relatable identity in some cultures, tricksters are non-gendered and consequently occupy the spaces in between traditional gender roles.

The Trickster in Canadian Literature

In the 1980s and 1990s, the trickster became a powerful symbol for those trying to celebrate Indigenous voices in Canadian literature. A variety of works about tricksters came out during this time, including Tomson Highway’s The Rez Sisters (1986), Daniel David Moses’s Coyote City (1988) and Thomas King’s Green Grass, Running Water (1993). A number of Indigenous artists formed the Committee to Re-establish the Trickster in the 1980s as a means of emphasizing the trickster’s role in Indigenous literature, while also offsetting stereotypical representations of Indigenous peoples in mainstream Canadian literature.

While the trickster continues to appear in modern Canadian literature, such as in Drew Hayden Taylor’s Motorcycles and Sweetgrass (2010) and Eden Robinson’s Son of a Trickster (2017), some contemporary scholars caution that the overuse of this figure can (or has) lead to the perpetuation of generic tricksters that are inauthentic to specific Indigenous nations. Edited by Deanna Reder and Linda M. Morra, Troubling Tricksters: Revisioning Critical Conversations (2010) encourages the appreciation and acknowledgement of culturally-specific approaches to Indigenous oral histories as opposed to vague “pan-tribal” tricksters.


11 Trickster Archetypes and Their Crazy Wisdom

My first ever Shamanic encounter in the spirit world was with a Trickster. Tricksters, like any archetype in life, are powerful spirit guides and facilitators of conscious expansion.

In my case, the Trickster I encountered was the ancient goat-man God, Pan. Guiding my vision, Pan&rsquos face changed drastically every few moments to happy-angry-sad-gleeful-suspicious-thoughtful-wizened-neutral-blissful-ferocious. As I focused on the ever-changing nature of his face, I was guided deeper and deeper into my own inner Underworld, my own hidden Shadow. Ever since then, Pan has remained my primary spirit guide, reminding me of the importance of embracing my own inner Trickster and multi-faceted nature.

Trickster archetypes aren&rsquot just limited to Ancient Greek mythology, however. In fact, they entertain a place in almost every civilization known to man. Tricksters are both man and anthropomorphized animal, half-man-half-beast, worldly and spiritual, god and goddess. They bring with them the gifts of illumination, playfulness, revelation, truth and balance.

Eleven of the most common Trickster archetypes known to man include:

  • Loki (In Norse Mythology, he was the shape-shifting god who is portrayed as playful, nihilistic and self-serving)
  • Anansi (In African folklore, he was the sneaky, sly, but ultimately benign spider god of mayhem)
  • Kitsune (In Japanese mythology these are trickster-spirits that often appear as intelligent and mischievous foxes)
  • Eshu (In Nigerian tale, he is the sneaky god of uncertainty and change)
  • Krishna (Hindu god portrayed as seductive, entertaining Supreme Being)
  • Saci (In Brazilian folklore he is portrayed as a one-legged malevolent prankster dwarf)
  • Hermes (In Greek myth he was the cunning and thieving messenger of the gods)

Trickster animals include:

  • Coyote (As seen in Native American mythology)
  • Rabbit (Like &ldquoBr&rsquoer Rabbit&rdquo who features in African-American folklore)
  • Fox (Like &ldquoKuma Lisa&rdquo in Bulgarian folklore)
  • Raven (Famous among the Native Americans)

Coming across multiple Tricksters on your path through life is inevitable. But while the self-serving, deceptive shadow side of every Trickster is extremely apparent, it&rsquos also important to be receptive to their lessons &ndash to their crazy wisdom.

The truth is that we all have a hidden Trickster inside whether we are conscious of it or not. That is perhaps why we&rsquore so enamored and intrigued by figures such as The Joker or Mad Hatter.

We&rsquore all a little bonkers inside.

Deep down, our inner Trickster craves to break taboos, revel in the destruction of the known, and shatter decrepit ideologies. If there is anything Trickster archetypes teach us, it is to &ldquolighten up&rdquo about life and to not take ourselves so seriously. However, when we deny the crazy wisdom of the Trickster both within and without ourselves, we find ourselves becoming rigid, bull-headed, narrow-minded and humorless. The cracks in our perfect facades begin to shine when we intentionally take a nasty kind of pleasure in others pain and failure.

Shadow Work Journal:

Go on a journey through the deepest and darkest corners of your psyche. Embrace your inner demons, uncover your hidden gifts, and reach the next level of your spiritual growth. This is deep and powerful work!

When we fail to embrace the lessons of the Trickster archetype, we deny ourselves frivolity and the capacity to experience our Shadows. When we get lost in superficial appearances, the Trickster holds a mirror to our faces. When we get stranded in the ignorance of egotism, the Trickster, through his antics, lays out our faults on a platter with a smile.

It was once said that Krishna secretly stole all the clothing from a few milk maidens that were bathing. When they realized what happened, they begged for their clothes back. Krishna reprimanded them for breaking the vow about bathing nude. Then, he made them ascend from the water nude to find their clothes. In this way when interpreted, the women were forced to abandon their sense of shame or ego (clothing), allowing them to realize their ultimate divine union with Krishna. This story, like many others, represents the powerful unpredictability of the Trickster.

The power of the Trickster is in his (or her) ability to help us question life, embrace uncertainty and become receptive to seeing everything just as it is.

It can be so easy to fall into dogmatic traps and small-minded ideologies on our paths of soulful expansion. When a Jester, Clown or Trickster comes into your life shaking up all the pretensions, lies and illusions that you cling to &hellip pay attention! Your anger, sanctimony, and exasperation can be alchemized into humor, acceptance and even curiosity if you let it.

What is Your Flavor of Holy Madness?

Finally, I want you to take a few moments to think about your own inner Trickster. Has it been outlawed to your Shadow? Do you give it enough healthy expression in your life? What does it look like, sound like and feel like? You&rsquore welcome to share below.


There is no single mythology of the Indigenous North American peoples, but numerous different canons of traditional narratives associated with religion, ethics and beliefs. [1] Such stories are deeply based in Nature and are rich with the symbolism of seasons, weather, plants, animals, earth, water, fire, sky, and the heavenly bodies. Common elements are the principle of an all-embracing, universal and omniscient Great Spirit, a connection to the Earth and its landscapes, a belief in a parallel world in the sky (sometimes also underground and/or below the water), diverse creation narratives, visits to the 'land of the dead', and collective memories of ancient sacred ancestors.

A characteristic of many of the myths is the close relationship between human beings and animals (including birds and reptiles). They often feature shape-shifting between animal and the human form. Marriage between people and different species (particularly bears) is a common theme. In some stories, animals foster human children.

Although most Native North American myths are profound and serious, some use light-hearted humor – often in the form of tricksters – to entertain, as they subtly convey important spiritual and moral messages. The use of allegory is common, exploring issues ranging from love and friendship to domestic violence and mental illness.

Some myths are connected to traditional religious rituals involving dance, music, songs, and trance (e.g. the sun dance).

Most of the myths from this region were first transcribed by ethnologists during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These sources were collected from Native American elders who still had strong connections to the traditions of their ancestors. They may be considered the most authentic surviving records of the ancient stories, and thus form the basis of the descriptions below. [2] [ better source needed ]

Northeast (Southeastern Canada and Northeastern US, including the Great Lakes) Edit

Myths from this region feature female deities, such as the creator, Big Turtle [4] [5] and First Mother, from whose body grew the first corn and tobacco. [6] The two great divine culture heroes are Glooskap [7] [8] and Manabus. [9]

Other stories explore the complex relationships between animals and human beings. Some myths were originally recited as verse narratives. [7]

    – A confederacy of tribes located in the New York state area. – A North American tribe located in now eastern Wisconsin. – A North American tribe located around the northern shore of Lake Ontario. – A North American tribe located south of Lake Ontario.

Great Plains Edit

Stories unique to the Great Plains feature buffalo, which provided the Plains peoples with food, clothing, housing and utensils. In some myths they are benign, in others fearsome and malevolent. [10] The Sun is an important deity [11] [12] other supernatural characters include Morning Star [11] [6] [12] and the Thunderbirds. [13] [10] [14]

A common theme is the making of a journey, often to a supernatural place across the landscape or up to the parallel world in the sky. [11] [15]

One of the most dominant trickster stories of the Plains is Old Man, about whom numerous humorous stories are told. [16] [11] The Old Man, known as Waziya, lived beneath the earth with his wife, and they had a daughter. Their daughter married the wind and had four sons: North, East, South, and West. The sun, moon and winds then ruled the universe together. [17]

An important supernatural hero is the Blood Clot Boy, transformed from a clot of blood. [18] [19]

Southeastern US Edit

Important myths of this region deal with the origin of hunting and farming, [20] [21] and the origin of sickness and medicine. [21]

An important practice of this region was animism, the belief that all objects, places, and creatures have a soul. [22] Most death, disease, or misfortune would be associated with the failure to put the soul of a slain animal to rest. When this happens, the animal could get vengeance through their "species chief". Large amounts of rare materials found with this regions dead suggest strong evidence that they believed in a sort of afterlife. It is thought that when a member of a tribe died, their soul would hover over their communities, trying to get their friends and relatives to join them, so their funeral ceremonies were not just to commemorate the dead, but to protect the living.

The Green Corn ceremony, also known as Busk, was an annual celebration of a successful corn crop. Their fires were put out and rekindled, grudges are forgiven, and materials are thrown out or broken to then be replaced. It was essentially a renewing of life and community for these tribes. [22] [23]

Creation Myth Edit

There was a time when there was no earth, and all creatures lived in a place above the sky called Galunlati. Everything below was only water, but when Galunlati got too crowded, the creatures decided to send down Water Beetle to see if he could find them a new place to live. He obliged and dove down into the water, all the way to the bottom of the sea, where he picked up a bit of mud and brought it to the surface. Once above the water, the mud spread out in all directions and became an island. [22] The Great Spirit secured the island by attaching cords to it and tying it to the vault in the sky.

Though the land was now stable, the ground was too soft for any of the animals to stand on, so they sent down Buzzard to scope it out. He flew around for some time until he could find a dry enough spot to land, and when he did the flapping of his wings caused the mud to shift. It went down in some places and up in others, creating the peaks, valleys, hills, and mountains of the earth. The rest of the creatures were now able to come down, but they soon realized it was very dark, so they invited the sun to come with them. Everyone was happy except Crawfish, who said his shell turned a bright red because the sun was too close, so they raised the sun seven different times until Crawfish was satisfied.

The Great Spirit then created plants for this new land, after which he told the animals to stay awake for seven days. Only Owl was able to do so, and as a reward, the Great Spirit gave him the gift of sight in the dark. The plants tried as well, but only the pines, furs, holly, and a select few others were able to stay awake, so he gave them the gift of keeping their leaves year-round. Great Spirit then decided he wanted to have people live on this island, so he created one man and one woman. The pair did not yet know how to make children, so the man took a fish and pressed it against the woman's stomach, after which she gave birth. They did this for seven days until Great Spirit felt there was enough humans for the time being, and made it so a woman could only give birth once a year. [24]

    – A North American tribe that migrated from the great lakes area to the southeastern woodlands. – A North American tribe from the area of modern-day Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana. – A North American tribe from the area of modern-day Georgia and Alabama.

California and Great Basin Edit

Myths of this region are dominated by the sacred creator/trickster Coyote. Other significant characters include the Sun People, [25] the Star Women [26] and Darkness. [27]

A few of the most distinctive ceremonies of this region were their funeral customs and their commemoration of the dead. When a death occurred, the house in which it happened would be burnt down, and there would sometimes be bans on speaking the name of the dead. Widows would be smeared with pitch and their hair would be cut until the annual mourning releases them. This mourning came to be known as the "burning", the "cry", or the "dance of the dead". During these ceremonies, multiple properties are burned while the tribe dances, chants, and wails, in order to appease the ghosts. [28]

Another common ceremony is one that takes place when adolescents hit puberty. Girls go through a series of grueling tabus when her first period starts but is followed by a celebratory dance when it ends. Boys will undergo an official initiation into the tribe by participating in ceremonies that recount the tribes' mysteries and myths. [28] [29]

    – a religion in Northern California practiced by members within several Indigenous peoples of California. – a North American tribe in Northern California. – a North American tribe in Northern California. – a North American tribe in Northern California.

Southwest Edit

Myths of the Navajo, Apache, and Pueblo peoples tell how the first human beings emerged from an underworld to the Earth. According to the Hopi Pueblo people, the first beings were the Sun, two goddesses known as Hard Being Woman (Huruing Wuhti) [30] and Spider Woman. [30] [31] It was the goddesses who created living creatures and human beings. Other themes include the origin of tobacco and corn, [32] and horses [31] and a battle between summer and winter. Some stories describe parallel worlds in the sky [33] and underwater. [33]

    – a North American tribe located in both the Northwestern and Southwestern United States. (Navajo) – a North American nation from the Southwestern United States. – a North American tribe in Arizona. – a North American tribe in New Mexico.

Plateau Edit

Myths of the Plateau region express the people's intense spiritual feeling for their landscapes and emphasize the importance of treating with respect the animals that they depend upon for food. [34] [35] Sacred tricksters here include Coyote [36] and Fox. [37]

Arctic (coastal Alaska, northern Canada, and Greenland) Edit

The myths of this region are strongly set in the landscape of tundra, snow, and ice. Memorable stories feature the winds, the moon, and the giants. Some accounts say that Anguta is the supreme being, who created the Earth, sea and heavenly bodies. His daughter, Sedna created all living things – animals and plants. She is regarded also as the protecting divinity of the Inuit people. [38]

Subarctic (inland northern Canada and Alaska) Edit

Here some myths reflect the extreme climate [39] and the people's dependence on salmon as a major food resource. [40] In imagination, the landscape is populated by both benign and malevolent giants. [41]

Northwest Edit

In this region, the dominant sacred trickster is Raven, who brought daylight to the world [42] and appears in many other stories. Myths explore the people's relationship with the coast and the rivers along which they traditionally built their towns. There are stories of visits to parallel worlds beneath the sea. [43] and up in the sky [44]

    – an Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. – a North American tribe from the Pacific Northwest, Washington state area. – a group of indigenous peoples living on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. – a nation living in Haida Gwaii and the Alaska Panhandle. – an indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast living on the British Columbia Coast and Alaska's Annette Islands.

Aztecs Edit

The Aztecs, who predominantly inhabited modern-day central Mexico, had a complex system of beliefs based on deities who directly affected the lives of humans, including those who controlled rain, the rising Sun, and fertility. Voluntary human sacrifice was a central piece to the order of the universe and human survival.

The Aztecs viewed people as servants and warriors of the gods, whom were not merciful or generous, but all-powerful beings that needed to be fed and appeased in order to avoid disaster and punishment. [45] Thus, the concept of human sacrifice emerged. This practice was not new and had been used in other cultures such as the Mayans, but the Aztecs made this their main event, so to speak, in their ceremonies. These sacrifices were mainly to appease the sun god.

Creation Myth Edit

According to the Aztecs, the creation of the earth started with a god called Ometeotl, otherwise known as the dual god, as they were made from the union of Tonacatecuhtli and Tonacacihuatl, whom the Aztecs believed were the lord and lady of their sustenance. Tonacatecuhtli and Tonacacihuatl had four children: Xipe Totec, which translates to "the flayed god" in Nahuatl, is associated with the color red. He is the god of the seasons and all things that grow on the earth. Tezcatlipoca, which translates to "smoking mirror", is associated with the color black. He is the god of the earth and the most powerful of the four children. Quetzalcoatl, which translates to "plumed serpent", is associated with the color white. He is the god of air. Finally, Huitzilopochtli, which translates to "hummingbird of the south", is associated with the color blue. He is the god of war. [46]

The four children decided they wanted to create a world with people to live in it. Quetzalcoatl and Huitzilopochtli made the first attempt, starting by making fire. This fire became the sun, but only half a sun, because it was not big or bright enough to light their entire world. They then made the first man and woman, which they called Cipactonal and Oxomoco respectively. Their many children were called macehuales, and were to be the farmers of the land. From there they created time, and then the underworld known as Mictlan. They made two gods to rule this underworld called Mictlantecuhtli and Mictecacihuatl.

Eventually the world needed a real sun, so Tezcatlipoca took it upon himself to become the sun. This is known as the age of the first sun. During this time they also created giants to walk the earth. Quetzalcoatl, believing his brothers reign had lasted long enough, struck him from the sky with a club, and he fell into the waters of the earth. Angry, he rose from the water as a Jaguar and hunted all the giants to extinction. Once he finished, he rose back up into the sky and became the constellation Ursa Major. Quetzalcoatl then became the sun, birthing the age of the second sun. In order to get revenge on his brother, Tezcatlipoca threw a giant blast of wind at the world, blowing his brother and many of the macehuales away. Some macehuales survived, but they were turned to monkeys and fled to the jungles. In the age of the third sun, Tlaloc took over and became the worlds new sun. He is the god of rain who makes things sprout. Quetzalcoatl came to destroy the world again, this time with a rain made of fire, turning all people in this age to birds. He then gave the world to Tlaloc's wife, Chalchiuhtlicue (goddess of rivers/streams, and all manners of water). During her rule as the sun, a great rain came and flooded the world, turning the macehuales to fish and causing the sky to fall, covering the earth so nothing could live there, therein ending the age of the fourth sun. Finally, seeing how they had failed as a result of their bickering, Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca settled their differences and turned themselves into giant trees on either end of the world, using their branches to hold up the sky. Their father, Tonacatecuhtli, saw this mending of their mistakes and gave them the heavens to rule, with a highway of stars that we now know as the Milky Way.

There are many stories of how the age of the fifth and final sun came to be. One story tells of how Tezcatlipoca took flint and used it to make fires to light the world again, before discussing with his brothers what should be done. They decided to make a new sun that feeds on the hearts and blood of humans. To feed it, they made four hundred men and five women. This is where the story goes into different directions. Some say that both Quetzalcoatl and Tlaloc wanted their sons to become the new sun, so they each threw their sons into one of the fires created by Tezcatlipoca. Tlaloc waited for the fire to burn out before throwing his son into the embers, so his son became the moon. Quetzalcoatl elected to throw his son directly into the fiery blaze, so he became the fifth and final sun that we see in the sky today. [46] Another story tells of the gathering of the gods at the ancient city of Teotihuacan, to discuss how to make a new sun. A god by the name of Nanahuatzin, god of disease, offered to throw himself into the fire and become the new sun. Being a weak and sickly god, the others thought he should not be the one to do it, and that a stronger and more powerful god should be the sun. Tecuciztecatl, a very wealthy god, stepped forward and said he would do it, but was not able to find the courage to jump into the flames. Nanahuatzin, with little hesitation, then threw himself into the fire. Seeing his bravery, Tecuciztecatl decided to jump in too. They were both transformed into suns, but the light was now too bright to see anything, so one of the other gods threw a rabbit at Tecuciztecatl, dimming his light and turning him into the moon. Nanahuatzin, now the new sun, was essentially reborn as Ollin Tonatiuh. The problem they now had was that he would not move from his position in the sky unless the other gods sacrificed their blood for him. [45] [46] So a god by the name of Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, lord of dawn, threw a dart at Tonatiuh, but missed. Tonatiuh then threw one back at Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, hitting him in the head and turning him into Itzlacoliuhqui, god of coldness, frost, and obsidian. Realizing that they could not refuse, the other gods offered their bare chests to him, and Quetzalcoatl cut out their hearts with a sacrificial knife. With the blood of the gods, Tonatiuh began to move across the sky in the same pattern that we see to this day. Quetzalcoatl took the clothing and ornaments of the sacrificed gods and wrapped them in bundles, which the people then worshipped.


There is no single mythology of the Indigenous North American peoples, but numerous different canons of traditional narratives associated with religion, ethics and beliefs. Such stories are deeply based in Nature and are rich with the symbolism of seasons, weather, plants, animals, earth, water, fire, sky and the heavenly bodies. Common elements are the principle of an all-embracing, universal and omniscient Great Spirit, a connection to the Earth and its landscapes, a belief in a parallel world in the sky (sometimes also underground and / or below the water), diverse creation narratives, visits to the ‘land of the dead’, and collective memories of ancient sacred ancestors

Kwakwaka’wakw Cedar sisiutl mask.

A characteristic of many of the myths is the close relationship between human beings and animals (including birds and reptiles). They often feature shape-shifting between animal and human form. Marriage between people and different species (particularly bears) is a common theme. In some stories, animals foster human children.

Although most Native North American myths are profound and serious, some use light-hearted humor – often in the form of tricksters – to entertain, as they subtly convey important spiritual and moral messages. The use of allegory is common, exploring issues ranging from love and friendship to domestic violence and mental illness.

Some myths are connected to traditional religious rituals involving dance, music, songs, and trance (e.g. the sun dance).

Most of the myths from this region were first transcribed by ethnologists during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These sources were collected from Native American elders who still had strong connections to the traditions of their ancestors. They may be considered the most authentic surviving records of the ancient stories, and thus form the basis of the descriptions below. The sources quoted are available to read online through websites such as archive.org.

Northeast (Southeastern Canada and Northeastern US, including the Great Lakes)

Coyote, and Opossum appear in the stories of several tribes.

Myths from this region feature female deities, such as the creator, Big Turtle and First Mother, from whose body grew the first corn and tobacco.The two great divine culture heroes are Glooskap and Manabus.

Other stories explore the complex relationships between animals and human beings. Some myths were originally recited as verse narratives.

Great Plains

Stories unique to the Great Plains feature buffalo, which provided the Plains peoples with food, clothing, housing and utensils. In some myths they are benign, in others fearsome and malevolent. The Sun is an important deity other supernatural characters include Morning Star and the Thunderbirds.

A common theme is the making of a journey, often to a supernatural place across the landscape or up to the parallel world in the sky. One of the most dominant tricksters of the Plains is Old Man, about whom numerous humorous stories are told. An important supernatural hero is the Blood Clot Boy, transformed from a clot of blood.

Southeastern US

Important myths of this region deal with the origin of hunting and farming, and the origin of sickness and medicine.

California and Great Basin

Myths of this region are dominated by the sacred creator / trickster Coyote. Other significant characters include the Sun People, the Star Women and Darkness.

    – a religion in Northern California practiced by members within several Indigenous peoples of California. – a North American tribe in Northern California. – a North American tribe in Northern California. – a North American tribe in Northern California.

Southwest

Myths of the Navajo, Apache, and Pueblo peoples tell how the first human beings emerged from an underworld to the Earth. According to the Hopi Pueblo people, the first beings were the Sun, two goddesses known as Hard Being Woman (Huruing Wuhti) and Spider Woman. It was the goddesses who created living creatures and human beings. Other themes include the origin of tobacco and corn, and horses and a battle between summer and winter. Some stories describe parallel worlds in the sky and underwater.

    – a North American tribe located in both the Northwestern and Southwestern United States. (Navajo) – a North American nation from the Southwestern United States. – a North American tribe in Arizona. – a North American tribe in New Mexico.

Plateau

Myths of the Plateau region express the people’s intense spiritual feeling for their landscapes, and emphasise the importance of treating with respect the animals that they depend upon for food. Sacred tricksters here include Coyote and Fox.

See also: Salish mythology – a North American tribe or band in Montana, Idaho, Washington and British Columbia, Canada

Arctic (coastal Alaska, northern Canada, and Greenland)

The myths of this region are strongly set in the landscape of tundra, snow, and ice. Memorable stories feature the winds, the moon, and giants. Some accounts say that Anguta is the supreme being, who created the Earth, sea and heavenly bodies. His daughter, Sedna created all living things – animals and plants. She is regarded also as the protecting divinity of the Inuit people.

Subarctic (inland northern Canada and Alaska)

Here some myths reflect the extreme climate and the people’s dependence on salmon as a major food resource. In imagination, the landscape is populated by both benign and malevolent giants.

Northwest

In this region the dominant sacred trickster is Raven, who brought daylight to the world and appears in many other stories. Myths explore the people’s relationship with the coast and the rivers along which they traditionally built their towns. There are stories of visits to parallel worlds beneath the sea. and up in the sky See also:

    – an Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. – a North American tribe from the Pacific Northwest, Washington state area. – a a group of indigenous peoples living on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. – a nation living in Haida Gwaii and the Alaska Panhandle. – an indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest Coast living on the British Columbia Coast and Alaska’s Annette Islands.

Aztecs

The Aztecs, who predominantly inhabited modern-day central Mexico, had a complex system of beliefs based on deities who directly affected the lives of humans, including those who controlled rain, the rising Sun and fertility. Voluntary human sacrifice, was a central piece to the order of the universe and human survival. See also:


53 Best Trickster Names For Your Mischievous Troublemaker

If you are someone who loves to play the trickster, it is very likely that your cute angels will have that tendency to stir trouble and play cute little tricks.

So why not have fun with by giving them fun trickster names or nicknames? It is something that will undoubtedly make letting loose more fun to witness, as well as create that person that knows how to let go and have fun once in a while, even in adulthood.

Looking for ideas for baby names meaning trickster? We have a long selection of the wittiest, most mischievous trickster names. Whether it's the name of mythological trickster gods from Greek mythology, Native American belief, or its other more recent iterations, we have you covered. Sometimes names that mean dreamer, such as Abhidhyan or Aislin, can be used synonymously to trickster.

If you like the list below, you can also check out our list of magical girl names and magical boy names.

Girl Trickster Names

Boys aren't the only ones that love to have some fun. A child is, after all, a child. And being carefree and getting into mischief is a universal thing. The girls are in on it too as it's good for every child to let go once in a while and have fun. Here are girl trickster names you could give your baby girl:

1. Aella (Greek origin) means “Whirlwind”. This name evokes the chaos and childlike abandon.

2. Aleah (Arabic origin) means "exalted". Also used to depict wiseness which can be deployed in trickery.

3. Balbina (Italian origin) means "stutter". Whilst it may not have the coolest meaning, we think it sounds lovely.

4. Blaise (Latin origin) means “fire”.

5. Briar (English origin) means “thorny” or “prickly”.

6. Fox (English origin) means “sly one”. This means downright trickery.

7. Harlow (English origin) means “meadow of hares”.

8. Medea (Greek origin) means “cunning.”

9. Penelope (Greek origin) means “weaver”. For the younglings that seem to always be planning yet another trick, weaving yet another prank.

10. Raven (Scandinavian origin) means “dark-haired” or “thieving”.

11. Rebel (English origin) means “defiant”.

12. Rhonda (Welsh origin) means “noisy one”.

13. Roxie (Persian origin) means “sassy”.

14. Shabina (Arabic origin) means “center of the storm”.

15. Sophia (Greek origin) means “wise”. Again, wisdom should be deployed in wise trickery.

16. Tempest (English origin) depicts “a storm” or “a lack of calm”.

17. Trixie (English origin) means “explorer”. This is such a perfect name for a trickster character that likes to search out new things, even if that sometimes gets her in trouble.

Boy Trickster Names

There are a whole lot of boy names that mean trickster or otherwise allude to that the tricksters that every child has in them. Whether its for the boys that are always breaking things, or always praying pranks on their siblings or parents, there is definitely something on the list for everyone. Below is a list, names that mean trouble in one one way or the other.

18. Aiden (Irish origin) means “the fiery one”.

19. Buster (English Origin) means “Someone who breaks things”. No wonder its such a popular name.

20. Cameron (Scottish origin) means “follows a crooked path”.

21. Crash (American origin) means “Maverick” or “Wilder”. This one is almost only used as a nickname.

22. Dagger (English origin) means “sharp edge”.

23. Draco (Greek origin) means “Dragon”. Also used in the widely popular Harry Potter books.

24. Fachnan (Irish origin) means “malicious”.

25. Fogarty (Irish origin) means “the exiled one”. Mostly reserved for the really troublesome boys.

26. Foley (Irish origin) means “plunderer”.

27. George (Greek origin) means “someone who stirs up dirt”.

28. Gunner (Scandinavian origin) means “bold warrior that looks for trouble”. This one is very self-explanatory.

29. Iniko (Nigerian origin) means “Time of Trouble”. For those kids who seem to always find their way into trouble.

30. Jett (English origin) means “fast-paced” and “full of wit”.

31. Mac (English origin) means “wise guy”. Once again, a skill most trickster children seem to share.

32. Maverick (American origin) means “nonconformist” or “unruly” or “stubborn”.

33. Mischief (French origin) means “naughtiness” or “playful misbehavior”. Also a very funny that its a prank just on its own.

34. Odysseus (Greek origin) means “wrathful”. Odysseus is a figure in Greek mythology known for his bravery as well as his tempestuous acts.

35. Osman (Arabic origin) means “son of the cunning serpent”. This name is for those kids who are especially good at having you fooled.

36. Rekker (American origin) means “wrecker” or “destroyer”.

37. Riot (English origin) means, well. “riot”.

38. Rocket (American origin) means “supercharged”. Initially a nickname, it has come to be adopted by many parents as first names for their sons.

39. Rogue (English origin) means “unpredictable”. We all know how kids can be unpredictable in their mischief.

40. Saxon (German origin) means “sharp-edged”.

41. Terach (Hebrew and Latin origin) means “wild goat” or “silly”. This is a very funny one.

42. Thorton (English origin) means “a place of thorns”

43. Tornado (Spanish origin) means “whirlwind”.

44. Wilder (American origin) means “untamed” or “untameable”.

God Trickster Names

Over the years, many cultures have incorporated trickster gods in their mythological pantheon who are considered to sometimes trouble others for fun or to achieve their objective by any means. Even though these names mean trouble, they have followers around the world. From ancient Greece to Scandinavia, to West Africa. Here are a few trickster god names from different cultures.

45. Anansi (West African origin) is the Akan trickster God that manifests in spider form.

46. Curupira (African origin) is a naughty jungle genie that protects animals and trees.

47. Eris (Greek origin) means “Goddess of discord”.

48. Dolos (Greek origin) is the Greek god of trickery.

49. Hermes (Greek origin) was the patron god of travelers and thieves. One of the most mischievous gods.

50. Indra (Indian origin) was the king of gods that normally used tricks and supernatural powers to preserve his kingship.

51. Loki (Scandinavian origin) the famous Loki means “trickster” and adopted son of Odin, is one of the most mischievous Greek gods. Loki was also featured in the ɺvengers' franchise, he's definitely one of the most famous gods of mischief.

52. Maximón (Mayan origin) was the god of trickery in Mayan mythology.

53. Mecury (Greek origin) was the god of commerce, financial gain, luck, messengers, travel, borders, and trickery.

53. Heyoka (Native American origin) is considered a jester.

Kidadl has so many great articles exploring names that might make you smile and inspire you. If you liked our suggestions for trickster names, then you should certainly check out our articles on psychic names or, for something different, try fantasy cat names.

Disclaimer

At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.

We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it’s important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.

Kidadl provides inspiration to entertain and educate your children. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.

Sponsorship & Advertising Policy

Kidadl is independent and to make our service free to you the reader we are supported by advertising.

We hope you love our recommendations for products and services! What we suggest is selected independently by the Kidadl team. If you purchase using the buy now button we may earn a small commission. This does not influence our choices. Please note: prices are correct and items are available at the time the article was published.

Kidadl has a number of affiliate partners that we work with including Amazon. Please note that Kidadl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.

We also link to other websites, but are not responsible for their content.


Watch the video: Tricksters: An Introduction: Crash Course World Mythology 20


Comments:

  1. Tomeo

    the answer Excellent, congratulations

  2. Svec

    excellent quality you can download

  3. Rutledge

    I'm sorry, but I think you are wrong. I can prove it. Email me at PM.

  4. Malakree

    the very quick answer :)



Write a message