the fool vs trickster


I was wondering if anyone can help me please with any links or information regarding the fool/trickster in history and their characterists please? I was looking at the fool card and trying to relate it to peoples actions movements but couldnt think of releveant people in society/films who have played the roles. Or depictions in mythology/religion can anyone help me? I found their are certain gods/goddess'.

thank you

am i posting in the right place?


Here's one that just crossed my mind as I was reading your post: Charlie Chaplin. In the silent films in the early 1900's, he was a simple man who ended up in a world of trouble, with hilarious results. I could easily relate this to the fool, who is just walking along, minding his own business, and comes across life as it happens, without planning his course or taking a map or guide with him. Many other comedians have similar set ups in their shows and movies, and the fool could easily apply to any of them as well.

In mythology, he is often compared to Loki, the trickster. While this may not be the most direct correlation (I would personally see it as the fool reversed) Loki is one who pranks others, without thought of the potential consequences.

In Rachel Pollack's "78 Degrees of Wisdom," she compares the Fool to the court jester of medieval times, one who could point out the foibles of the king and kingdom where propriety wouldn't allow others to do so. He tells his jokes and performs like a child, but his message can be an important one. Our modern day comedians often embody this aspect of the Fool.

That should give you a starting point, and I'm sure others can think of many more instances of the Fool in action. :)



you have certianly got me thinking MoonlitKim. TY I just found that Loki is used as The Devil in The Norse Tarot. ( that is gorgeous looking deck!)
Trickster in searches are producing Heyoka / Magician /Hermes.
Charlie Chaplin how could I forget him, such a turning point in history too!


In the history of Tarot, until Waite changed that card, the trickser is Arcanum I - knowadays called the Magician, originally il Bagatto, le Bateleur - aka the Mountebank or Trickster. But the Fool as the "initiator-trickster" also has a history - a more mythological type of trickster, and far more worrying than the fairground trickster-Magician.

In mythology, the Fool might be related to Loki (Norse), Anansi (West African- Akan), Eshu (Yoruba), Fudugazi (Zulu), Baubo (Greek), Bes (Egyptian). There are many others. The Fool lives outside of society, he walks between worlds, and that gives him both an advantage in what he can say and do, and a disadvantage, as he is an outsider. He also represents thresholds - and indeed, in Yoruba mythology, Eshu is both the guardian of thresholds and crossroads whom we must all honour as we cross a threshold (e.g. stepping inside or outside our front door) or reach a crossroad in our lives, and the trickster who delivers necessary, sometimes cruel, sometimes gentle and funny, lessons to humans.


Wow...fabulous info, Fudugazi!

For me, the trickster/fool is well represented by the Native American tales of Coyote.
Coyote often tricks People, but his tricks can backfire, and make him look foolish ...but he also succeeds in spite of himself.
When he doesn't try...when he plays the innocent fool...after trying to hard to trick the other People, he finds ways of creating new things in the world.

There are tons of Coyote stories available on the internet. Some are pretty racy, but I think many of them are great representations of the Fool.


Actually I've been thinking about the trickster recently too. About whether the trickster is more present in the fool or the magician.

I recently read the Neil Gaiman novel 'Anansi Boys' and it gave me a great understanding of the trickster persona, especially in relation to modern everyday life. The insights I got from the novel tends to be more akin to the Magician than the Fool. Add to this the fact that the Magician is often related to Hermes, I'd think the Magician is a better embodiment of the trickster persona.

But on the other hand the image in most Magicians are so stationary, while the Fool with its number 0 is able to transgress boundaries of the norm. So I think the trickster is sort of split into both cards, each embodying an aspect of the trickster.

I'm a little sleepy so forgive me if I don't seem to have a solid point in this post. Anyway I think the trickster is an interesting topic. So I'm looking forward to further posts in this thread.

Popular culture (which is sort of like modern day mythology) also has its share of tricksters. It is interesting how characters like Bugs Bunny or The Mask can be so rude but still win the audience's sympathy. In that way they are much like the trickster gods people love and hate.


there is a lot to think about there, wow I didnt expect such a response. Wily Coyote, The Joker in Batman is springing to mind as the trickster. Hermes I dont know enough about but aim to and Loki. It's amazing how many cultures this spans.
amazing stuff.ty
so theres now the subject of animals vs humans mind you its not hard to see humans who can act as animals that is another topic its self.


If you want some wonderful information on the role of the Fool in all ages and all societies, there's a fascinating study on that topic called "The Guizer" by Alan Garner. I bought it maybe twenty years ago, and go back to it frequently.

I don't really see the Fool a the trickster archetype. In his positive aspect he is too innocent to want to trick, and in his negative aspect he's much more likely to be the *target* of tricksters (and bullies). For me, the Magician as conjurer, door-to-door salesman and shyster is much more the trickster, as is the Devil card (in his incarnation, obviously as Pan or Loki, not so much his Chthulu or Baphomet mode). A lot of the Knights are tricksters: Cups the womaniser, Swords, the silver-tongued devil, etc.


I will be looking at the various books thank you. The Geezer/Del Boy/ roland Rat lol. ( i can see del boy falling through the bar as he leans on it)
I have images of The Joker in Batman. So a Sorceror would be the trickster not the fool. The fool is of innocence and not meaning to hurt others but will moreso end up hurting himself. The Joker always seems to have someone else around him one he can play off of.
Im thinking out loud here feel free to stop me if im making no sense at all.

There is one thing concerning gender that both The Magician and The Fool are male in traditional tarot decks. Also on tv/history when you reffer to the geezer.
Are there images depicting women in films/history as the trickster?. That is proving much harder to find.

Thank you


The Guizer

The Guizer is now also on my wishlist...

a list of contents of the Guizer, you can find on:

maybe it is a help for you. You can search on google to the names of the contents (fe.: "chulyen" or "Tondi" etc.) and you will be able to find all fools you want to find ;-)

You also can have a look on a website about Trickster Mythology:
This is a worldwide collection of tricksters.