The Trickster: Ufology’s go-to concept for almost everything UFO-related
Copyright 2013, InterAmerica, Inc.
Challenged by JR and Lawrence here for not really understanding The Trickster archetype, I’m presenting what I know, and they don’t, about the Trickster idea.
Jung considered The Trickster to be an archetype of the Unconscious, while Joseph Campbell, Mercea Eliade, and Roslyn Poignant found The Trickster to be a divine element from the mythology of ancient peoples, especially North American Indians, which is dealt with particularly by Paul Radin in his book, The Trickster [London 1955].
From the many examples and illustrations of The Trickster in Mythology: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, Edited by Richard Cavendish [Orbis Publishing Limited, London, 1980] and the commentary by Jeffrey Burton Russell in his book, The Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity [Cornell University Press, London, 1977] one can only conclude that The Trickster has to be equated with religions and theology, even the “religious beliefs” of AmerIndian cultures.
Elaine Pagels, in her book The Origin of Satan [Vintage books/Random House, NY, 1995] doesn’t refer to The Trickster as such, obeying the scholarly approach by placing the concept within the category of ancient religious writings dealing with angels or messengers of the divine (mal’ā k or benē’ elōhīm) in The Hebrew Bible.
While The Trickster is supported by theological references and antecedents, UFO buffs tend to eschew the exegetical references, out of ignorance or because they pretend to eschew anything that has a patina of a religious belief system.
That The Trickster is considered by academics to be a diluted aspect of Satan or the Devil is a given, and while UFO mavens choose to ignore that designation, we might conclude that the idea of Satan or the Devil (aka The Trickster) being the cause of UFO sightings or UFO encounters is utterly ludicrous.
That’s the reason I choose not to consider suggestions which bring The Trickster into the mix.
The Trickster idea is just one more idiotic explanation for flying saucer or UFO sightings.
The mythological machinations of various Trickster entities, from many cultures, are interesting from an anthropological standpoint, surely, but to insert them into the UFO topic, as an explanation for the phenomenon and its many attributes, goes against the intellectual grain.
JR and Lawrence would do well to read the material extant about The Trickster in order to escape the idea as a valid hypothesis for anything to do with UFOs.
If Loki, the half divine and half demonic foster-brother of Odin fascinates JR and Lawrence, so be it, but don’t try to insert Loki into the UFO subject.
If Legba, The Trickster of Dahomey, intrigues JR and Lawrence, let it be, but don’t try to bring it into the UFO lore; it doesn’t fit.
While the Indians west of the Rockies were concerned with animal beasts such as Coyote, the anti-hero and Trickster, analogous to the Great Hare or Nanabush of the Algonquins, the entities are deceitful, greedy, bestial with erotic mania, but not inclined to engage in the exotic machinations reported by UFO witnesses and exampled by the many accounts provided to us by Jose Antonio Caravaca.
The Raven of the Northwest Coast Indians, along with the Micronesian gods, such as Olofat (aka Yalafath, Iolofath, or Yelafaz) or Nareau the Younger, from the myths of the Gilbert Islands are known for their sexual mischievousness, not the kind of activity that makes up the reportage one finds in UFO accounts.
Some of The Tricksters noted here are just mischievous while others are evil or Evil and may be identified with The Watchers in the Book Of Enoch as Pagels notes [Page 38 ff.].
The Satanic association is palpable for the well-read.
When UFO hobbyists insert the Trickster inside the panoply of UFO tales, they (the hobbyists) show how little they know about Trickster myths, and how such myths, if they were versed in them, could not and should not be applied to UFO accounts, of any kind.
The qualitative differences between Trickster mythology and the UFO oeuvre is so striking that it amazes me how anyone could try to make a connection between the two.