Trickster Magick – Be Careful What You Ask For!
Across cultures and throughout human history, the trickster plays an integral role in myths, legends, and magick. Sometimes this role takes a positive turn, and sometimes the trickster gives you more than you bargained for. The key to trickster magick is to remember that you may not always get what you asked for – or even what you wanted – but you’ll get what you need.
In recent years, we’ve seen Loki in a favorable light in the Marvel movies, as portrayed by Tom Hiddleston. As swoon-worthy as Hiddleston is, Loki isn’t always so charming and captivating. Hailing from Norse mythology, Loki can change both his sex and form. He is the companion to Odin and Thor, and can sometimes bring them trouble or embarrassment. Also, unlike the movies, Hel – the goddess of death – is his daughter, not his sister. His other offspring include Jörmungand, the snake that surrounds the world and kills Thor during Ragnarok, the wolf Fenrir who kills Odin during Ragnarok, and Sleipnir, Odin’s horse with eight legs. Not the most wholesome group of children.
Depending on the story you read, Loki is mischievous, scheming, and favors shallow pleasures. He can be helpful, but in a playful, irreverent, and sometimes, nihilistic way. His biggest motivation is self-preservation, and he’ll go back on his actions or words when threatened. He’s the patron god of spies, double agents, and those who work undercover…although he may not be a reliable patron. If you choose to work with him, be sure to consider all angles that your magick may take. He’s the king of double-crossing others, so he may bring you results that weren’t exactly what you had in mind.
The Greek god of trade, luck, sleep, animal husbandry, travel, and thieves, Hermes, is among the most clever of Greek deities. He is the messenger between the earth and Mt. Olympus. As such, he can cross from the mundane to the heavenly and back again. Hermes is a trickster, but not an evil one. When he was a baby, he stole Apollo’s herd of 50 sacred cattle as a prank by reversing their hoofmarks to make it challenging to track them. Hermes kept the herd secret until satyrs discovered the cows in a cave. Zeus allowed him to keep the cows if he gave Apollo his lyre in exchange.
When working with Hermes, it’s important to remember that his tricks are for fun! He’s also known for being a friend to all people – that includes anyone else you might want to work magick on. So, if you’re having a hard time with a coworker you despise, Hermes doesn’t see anything wrong with them. According to those who have worked with him, Hermes will defend and support you, but he will also remind you that you’ve got an attitude problem about someone you think is beneath you. He’ll also remind you that things are simply that: things. They don’t belong to you, even when they’re in your possession. So, maybe stick to asking the fae for help finding lost items.
One of my favorite trickster legends is that of Coyote. Across the Plains and Southwest of North America, Coyote is a creative force who makes fateful decisions, brought fire to humans, and created the arts. Depending on the oral tradition or story, Coyote can either be extremely helpful – as in the case of bringing fire and the arts to humans – or quite tricky. He can get himself into trouble, but because he’s clever, he can usually get himself out of trouble when it’s all over.
Call on Coyote if you need help with a challenge, need to see a way around a problem, or if you’re struggling with creativity. Coyote can also help with cooperation and is a magick keeper. Just remember to be very specific when working with Coyote magick – other legends associate him with Loki!
An analog of Coyote is Raven for the First Nations of the Northwest Coastal region. Other equivalent legends include the Northeast and Southeast tribes’ tales of the Great Hare and enslaved Africans’ stories of Brer Rabbit.
In many cultures, the Fox is seen as a trickster. Cunning and clever, Fox knows his way out of any situation and is very quick on his feet. In the Celtic and Asian cultures, Fox is a shapeshifter, able to transform back and forth between fox and man. For the Native American culture, Fox is revered as wise and noble, but also a trickster, often teaching lessons through his pranks.
Fox can be called upon when you are in need of wisdom, adaptability, and quick-thinking. He reminds you to stay determined in your endeavors and adjust to new situations as quickly as you can to remain motivated.
Magician Tarot Card
In tarot, The Magician is card number one in the deck. In the upright position, the card symbolizes resourcefulness, power, and inspired action. In the reversed position, it can signal untapped talents, poor planning, and even manipulation. The card’s number, 1, is a sign of new beginnings, so don’t worry too much if you pull this card. One arm stretches toward the heavens while the other one points to the earth, symbolizing the connection between the two.
As a master manifestor, The Magician helps bring you tools to make your goals a reality. In the upright position, the card practically screams, “The time is now,” for a new idea. It’s time to take action. When it’s in the reversed position, The Magician can signal that you aren’t clear enough on your new idea for action yet. It may also signal that trickery is taking place. If you pull a reversed Magician from your deck, it may be that you’re tricking yourself about something – that you may be acting one way, but your heart wants to go another direction.
Remember, when working with tricksters, don’t take things at face value. Sit with and consider how your magick may be interpreted or manifested – and make sure you aren’t tricking yourself!
As always, you bring the magick to your practice.