I awoke this morning, back in my digs after a hard night’s drive, to news that the Canadian Geographic Society has picked the Gray Jay as Canada’s national bird, rather than the Loon. That was a surprise. Most Canadians would probably think of the shy and reclusive Loon as Canada’s unofficial national bird rather than the gregarious Gray Jay, which we from the Northern backwoods also call “Whiskey Jack”. It was a surprise because there is a lot of unusual myth and symbolism around the Whiskey Jack, and it suddenly reminded me of Trump.
Having spent much of my life growing up in the forests of the North, Whiskey Jack is a fairly common bird, and indeed of a curious, friendly and gregarious nature because it’s a thief and a trickster. They will be upon you in no time if you’re preparing or eating food in the bush, plopping down on your head or your lap or your arm in expectation of partaking of the feast. They love bacon, I’ve found.
Sounds very charming, sharing your repast with the wildfolk of the bush. I’ve always found them delightful birds, but they also remind of the over-friendly conman also. I’m sure you’ve encountered the type, who tries to charm his way into your confidence in order to take advantage of you in some way. I’m pretty sure that’s how the bird became associated with Trickster.
The Cree name for the Gray Jay is Wisakedjak, which has been Anglicised as “Whiskey Jack”. That’s how its name sounds in English. It is a Trickster figure, comparable (as the Wikipedia article notes) to the Siouian Inktonme or the Ojibway Nanabozho. And that brought to mind Mr. Trump, if you recall my earlier post on the unusual association of the name “Trump” with foolery or deception. It fits, of course. Trickster is also associated with the magical, and not always in the most delightful sense. The Trickster spirit can also be very malicious and spiteful, and usually foolishly so — like your “creepy clowns”. Trompe l’oiel is a style of art meaning “fool the eye” that was very prominent with the beginnings of perspective representation in the Renaissance, as I relate in my post on “Trump”, and it’s one of the reasons I have identified Trump as a Conjurer.
No doubt those who selected the Gray Jay as Canada’s symbolic bird were thinking of its gregarious and sociable nature, but forgetting the polarity in the symbol. It can also be cunningly deceitful. It also has a pretty harsh song compared to the melodious call of the Loon, of which I do I pretty good imitation — good enough, in any case, to often bring the loons to me.
All this is just to say that you should probably study Trump as an avatar of the Trickster archetype. There are some dedicated books on the Trickster archetype that could prove useful in understanding Trump and “Trumpism”, and I do believe that the Trickster spirit is very much involved in the “New Normal” and especially “post-truth” society, and in those terms indigenous myths about Trickster — Wisakedjak, Inktonme, Nanabozho, and so on — will probably teach you as much about Trickster and our times as any scholarly book or essay. The stories teach, not only the meaning of Trickster, and the strengths and weaknesses of Trickster, and treat of the Trickster’s double-nature, but also teach how to outwit and survive Trickster, who can be also be very deadly.
And it’s in those terms also that Goethe’s Mephistopheles, in his great play Faust, wherein he describes himself as “part of that power that would ever evil do, but always does the good”, very much resembles Trickster’s duplicity or double-nature, the seducer, and I have described Trump in those terms also as a Mephistophelian character. So I believe that insight into the archetype of the Trickster will also give you insight into Trump and mastery of “Trumpism” in the pattern of the stories.
Consider that as an exercise in the “transparency of the world”, as Gebser describes it, and more besides, because Trickster is also a very narcissistic type in the stories, so you may well come to understand, in a truly deep way, the whole of “chaotic transition” as the Trickster’s work. In the stories, Trickster always faces “blowback” from the effects of his audacious trickery and foolhardiness. So, in that sense too, the stories are lessons about the workings of the karmic law of action and reaction.
The Emperor’s New Clothes is also a tale about the Trickster, only it’s not the Emperor, it was the tailors who persuaded the Emperor they were making him a fine set of new clothes. The tailors might be compared to guys in Trump’s entourage like Steve Bannon and the “ratfucker” Roger Stone.
So, don’t wallow in the Slough of Despond. Learn the meaning of the Trickster, its strengths and its weaknesses. Trickster is always blind to his weaknesses, and that’s often the meaning of the stories and how Trickster, while weaving illusions and snares and traps for others, often falls into his own snares and traps himself. It’s that dynamic process we’ve been calling “ironic reversal” — unintended consequence, perverse outcome, revenge effect, “blowback”, and so on.