Essay about The Trickster in Myth

2146 Words Dec 2nd, 2005 9 Pages
The Trickster in Myth
Trickster myths, a significant part of most cultures if not all, have permeated the legends and folklore of peoples since the early days of civilized man. The ancient Greeks had Hermes, the Chinese the Monkey King, and the Native American Indians the coyote. These diverse tricksters found within cultures often have many commonalities with each other, and then, often they do not. But this illustrates the very nature of the trickster; ever changing, shifting, shaping, disguising, and tricking his or her way into the lives of the Gods as well as the mortal people. The trickster is often seen as a physical presentation of a God, or an anthropomorphic animal, that which can walk and talk; breath and die. However, as
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"Trickster is the mythic embodiment of ambiguity and ambivalence, doubleness and duplicity, contradiction and paradox," (Locke, Transformations of the Trickster) and Locke adds, "and can thus be seen as the archetypal boundary-crosser."(Locke, Transformations of the Trickster) The trickster has been studied extensively within the discipline of anthropology by researchers such as Paul Radin and Lewis Hyde. A great wealth of research exists for the student of the trickster myth and as I end this general introduction to the trickster we shall now move on to a more focused look at tricksters in culture.

The Hopi Indians of southwest America paid homage to perhaps one of the most popular tricksters of recent time: the Kokopelli trickster. Kokopelli is the hunched back flute player also known as the "Casanova of the Cliff Dwellers".(Zodiac Master, Trickster) In the past, Kokopelli was characterized on cave walls with a large phallus which some tribes considered to be detachable so the trickster could send it upstream and impregnate unsuspecting girls bathing in the water.(Wikipedia, Kokopelli) The Kokopelli god can be found in many Native American myths throughout tribal culture, although they usually exist under different names and guises. Spanish explorers first learned of the Kokopelli from the Hopi, and thus

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