Throughout human history, there have been tales of tricksters (many of whom have found themselves eventually deified). You are likely familiar with a number of them, whether you realize it or not...Loki, Puck, Set, Cagn, Gwydion, Lugh, Robin Goodfellow, Prometheus, Iktomi, Hermes, Coyote, Crow, Raven, Fox, Spider, and various other crafty critter forms. Tricksters hold a special place in our hearts because they freely walk the thin line of moral ambiguity. While most gods and characters sway one way or the other--good or evil, light or dark, kind or cruel--tricksters dance around all of these things and laugh in the face of social expectations (and sometimes even in the face of the laws of nature).

Loki- This delightful, tragic misfit has always been a favorite of mine. In many stories, he was a child of a frost giant (jötunn) and a goddess. He was small and weak, by giants' standards, so the jötunn cast him out. When Odin happened upon Loki, he took an instant liking to him. In Loki, he found a kinship of intelligence and a hunger for knowledge. They took an oath and became blood brothers. Although the Aesir took him in as one of their own, he was still treated with cold regard by many gods and goddesses. There are conflicting accounts concerning Loki's interactions with other Aesir. In some accounts, he was a prankster who tends to fall afoul of his intended pranks, but he always strives to rectify his mistakes. In others, he is just a manipulative prick. I prefer the former because it makes more sense, from a psychological perspective. Take the story of Loki cutting Sif's hair, for example. If he were just doing it to be spiteful, then he wouldn't attempt to make amends. But if it were meant to be an innocent prank that incited far more of a reaction than intended, it seems logical that he would do everything he could to demonstrate his regret. I think this is how most people choose to view Loki today, not as a perfect god, but as someone who makes mistakes, someone relatable.

Puck- Also known as Robin Goodfellow or Hobgoblin, Puck is a mischievous woodland spirit that can sometimes be bartered into doing small household tasks. He is a good ally, until you try to hoodwink him; in which case, watch your back! Brian Froud seems to also favor tricksters, and Puck is prominent in his work. Pictured are examples of his Puck concepts (to the right of the initial Puck artwork).

....To be continued. My monotonous day has suddenly become burdened by unforseen events. I shall return to this card to finish it, as soon as possible.

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