No deck would be complete without a trickster card, and especially a deck for mothers would be wanting if it did not pay homage to the mischief-makers in our midst. So it happened that the Monkey card came to be with much fun and a couple of new gray hairs. And, so it followed that I did not choose the Trickster card today, rather it chose me.
I have a favorite book about tricksters by Lewis Hyde that begins, “The first story I have to tell is not exactly true, but it isn’t exactly false, either.” This elusive statement perfectly captures the energy of Trickster; you cannot predict, control, or neatly describe this playful and disruptive quality that we all possess.
What I can say is that when the tidy boxes in our lives become too confining, Trickster slips the trap. At each new stage of becoming, children summon their inner tricksters to break down the walls and create themselves anew. They tell jokes, cry wolf, break rules, play tricks, and make mischief. And, they fall prey to their own wily plans.
For instance, in a crowded store the other day, my son was curious what would happen if someone pushed on the door that warned, “DO NOT OPEN. ALARM WILL SOUND.” Having opened that very door unknowingly when he was little and not gotten in trouble, his smart but devious plan this time was to enlist his innocent younger sister in the experiment.
Afton, of course, did her big brother’s bidding. The piercing alarm caught us all by surprise and sent shoppers running. I miraculously kept my cool and Afton just hid between my legs, but poor Haven was caught in the clutches of his own guilty conscience. As soon as the chaos subsided, he confessed and repented with “I think I made a mistake,” and made good with his sister by playing horsey with her all afternoon.
I am awed by the fraught path we each must navigate to spur our own growth. How can we mamas embrace the sacred tricksters at work in our homes (not to mention within ourselves)? I bow to the humor, spontaneity, and good fun they thrown into the mundane mix. But some days, all I want is a little peace and quiet.
As I endeavor to make peace with the wise fool, I eagerly anticipate the second grade Enki curriculum that awaits my son next year. Honoring this age set for its predisposition toward stirring the pot, Trickster tales are presented to let the child explore his clever and mischievous nature in a safe context while Sage stories show how the same inquisitiveness and cunning can become a source of courage and strength to meet the world with compassion.
Any other ideas for how to get in the game so that Trickster doesn’t get the best of us?