Tricksters

From: David Cake (davidc@cyllene.uwa.edu.au)
Date: Mon 05 Feb 1996 - 08:06:15 EET


Peter Michaels rants against the Trickster long form writeup (up to date
version in Questlines, which I recommend - excellent job of editing by John
Hughes) denounces it as a vile God Learner document.
        And write he is. But there is more than meets the eye here -
you say

>I must denounce it as the rankest of reductionist God
>Learner documents! It combines such diverse gods as Bolongo,
>Catsup Slob, Eurmal, Hare, Invisible Jayoran, Rankenveg, and
>Raven into one "meta-level" archetypal Trickster. If this is
>presently a valid approach to our understanding of Gloranthan
>deities, why not just combine such goddesses as Aldrya,
>Aleshmara, Asrelia, Dendara, Eiritha, Ernalda, Faranar, Voria,
>and Yanmorla into the archetypal Goddess?

        But remember, the God Learners where partly right. And the reason
why Trickster is put across in its God Learner form is simply because for
Trickster, at least, the God Learner thing works - an initiate of one
Trickster god is automatically an initiate of the others, at least for
magical purposes. I guess the Tricksters obligation to break the rules
allows him to ignore all the other differences between trickster cults and
act as if they are all Trickster. A Trickster can hardly cause trouble in
the Trickster cult by breaking the rules!
        You are right that cultural context is needed to understand how
Tricksters generally work in a particular society - but whereas in other
cults local differences are still THE RULES, for Trickster they are rules
made to be broken. A Catsup Slob worshipper who ended up occupying the
position of Eurmal for some Manirian king would still be doing a fine job by
Trickster standards if he continued to behave as a Catsup Slob, its just the
king who might get mad at his Trickster. Which is as it should be.
        Which is not to argue that Trickster should not be placed in a
social context, just that that social context does not necessarily need to
be in the cult writeup.

        Cheers

                David

        
Computing Officer |"Our machines are disturbingly lively,
Arts Faculty UWA |and we ourselves frighteningly inert."
davidc@cs.uwa.edu.au | -Donna Haraway
>Microsoft, meanwhile, denies that the problem exists.

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