[The trickster] is a forerunner of the savior . . . . He is both subhuman and superhuman, a bestial and divine being, whose chief and most alarming characteristic is his unconsciousness. [“On the Psychology of the Trickster-Figure,” CW 9i, par. 472]

The so-called civilized man has forgotten the trickster. He remembers him only figuratively and metaphorically, when, irritated by his own ineptitude, he speaks of fate playing tricks on him or of things being bewitched. He never suspects that his own hidden and apparently harmless shadow has qualities whose dangerousness exceeds his wildest dreams. [Ibid. par. 478.]

A definition and history of the trickster figure as he appears in myth and in emotional disturbance are illustrated by examples of it in American Indian myth, alchemy, the Bible, and parapsychology. In his clearest manifestations the trickster figure is described as a faithful representation of the absolutely undifferentiated human psyche which has hardly left the animal level.

In psychopathology the trickster figure is manifested in the split personality, in which a collective personification of traits which may be better or worse than the ego becomes active in the psyche. The trickster figure is represented in normal man by counter-tendencies in the unconscious that appear whenever a man feels himself at the mercy of apparently malicious accidents; this character component is the shadow.

The myth of the trickster is explained to have been preserved and developed for its therapeutic effect: the earlier low intellectual and moral level is held before the consciousness of the more highly developed individual to remind him of the past.

The trickster is defined as a parallel to the individual shadow, and the same trend toward meaning seen in the trickster figure is felt to exist for the shadow. Although the shadow appears negative, sometimes traits and associations arising from it can suggest a positive resolution to conflict. ~Carl Jung, Conscious, unconscious, and individuation. In: Jung, C., Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Vol. 9, Part 1. 2nd ed., Princeton University Press, 1968. 451 p. (p. 275-289).

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