Here Comes Trickster!

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“Since psyche and matter are contained in one and the same world, and moreover are in continuous contact with one another and ultimately rest on irrepresentable, transcendental factors, it is not only possible but fairly probable even, that psyche and matter are two different aspects of the same thing.” C.G. Jung, On the Nature of the Psyche, CW Vol. 8, para. 418.

My generation’s way of life has been drastically uprooted by constant technological advances that are both blessings and curses. Frustrating as it is for the elders among us to have to learn so many new tricks so often, there is a positive side. Rapidly changing technology gives the Self numerous opportunities to heighten our self-awareness through a mischievous archetype of change that is an expert at getting our full attention. Over the last several years, Trickster has highlighted my stress, anxiety, impatience, obsessiveness, and perfectionism so often that I’ve been forced to make room for these unwelcome emotions and expect regular reminders of them.

The primary so-called “advances” that activate my shadow and attract Trickster’s attention concern my computer and cell phone. I love them both. I hate them both. Both cause me daily aggravation except for times when I am so absorbed in reading that I make minimal visits to my sites. Otherwise, it’s open season for my technological vulnerability and I’m always fair game.

I blame this on my Myers-Briggs personality type. As an inner-directed, intuitive, feeling type, i.e. INFJ, my weakest, and therefore most shadow-laden function is sensory awareness. My inner world is very active and vivid and I want to spend most of my time there. I’m very aware of people and their emotions and needs, but clueless about how physical things work. I love the advantages of my computer and cell phone, but am not remotely interested in learning how they work. When someone tells me how to use them, if I don’t write their instructions down and keep track of my notes, I’ll soon forget.

Zoom, especially, should come with a warning and disclaimer:

“We are not responsible for malfunctions due to technologically challenged users. Our instructions are ridiculously clear. [Yeah, right!]  If you can’t remember your password, or don’t know how to invite people to a meeting, admit them to your meeting, unmute your audio, mute your audio and turn off your video when you need a body break, share your PowerPoint presentation, change the slides, turn off your PowerPoint presentation, read the chats, or end the meeting, it’s your own fault!”

I have over 200 passwords. How many times must I change them to avoid being hacked? How do I keep up with these constant changes? I think of myself as someone whose mind and life is relatively well-ordered, but after the sixth or seventh password rejection on a site, a switch flips in my mind, and I start cursing the computer. Enter Trickster who throws his foggy cloak of frustration and confusion over me. When this happens, I usually give up.

I know it’s my own fault. I tend to ignore annoying details and computer prompts, and honestly don’t want to fully address this shadow aspect of myself. In fact, I actively avoid it. Trickster knows this about me and takes advantage of my resistance at every opportunity. For example, during the coronavirus pandemic I had to launch my latest book on Zoom. I had used it successfully several times without learning anything beyond the basics, so I left the advanced technological details to a tech-savvy assistant. Minutes before the scheduled presentation, Trickster waltzed in and hexed the sound system. Fortunately, most participants hung around for the 20 minutes it took my friend to jury-rig an alternative way I could hear them. Headphones helped for a while, but they stopped working after we showed my video promo and asked for comments and questions. I heard nary a word of what anyone said after that. Apparently, my nodding and smiling convinced them that all was well, but I was miserable for the rest of the night.

Another time I stressed myself out making several important changes to my PowerPoint script on the day of the presentation. When two glitches occurred in the 30 minute pre-program check-in, I knew my heightened emotions were an invitation to Trickster. We resolved one glitch shortly before the presentation began, but sure enough, the other presented me with problems throughout the program. Apparently it came off well, but inside I was a wreck.

I’ve reused the opening quote from my last post here to demonstrate the truth of Jung’s extraordinary insight about the connection between psyche and matter. I’ve learned from experience that my psyche regularly influences circumstances beyond my control. Awareness of strong emotions alerts me to archetypal influences and helps me face most problems calmly. But awareness won’t prevent an unwelcome visit from Trickster until I get serious about understanding the technology I depend on every day. I’m way overdue in that aspect of my life.

When does Trickster interfere with your plans?  How do you deal with this disrupter of your everyday life?

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Jean’s new Nautilus Award-winning The Soul’s Twins, is at Amazon and Schiffer’s Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit. Subscribe to her newsletter at www.jeanbenedictraffa.com. 

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Comments

14 Responses

  1. Dear Jeanie,

    Thank you for sharing this all too familiar (well for me), archetypal post, to which I found myself nodding merrily along! Ha-Ha! Your, “It’s your own fault!” response to those basic requirements needed for using zoom did make me laugh out loud, as this INFP found herself resonating deeply. I don’t know how things work either, and secretly, I’m not interested! It’s my typology I tell myself, the way I’m made. After all I’m a poet and a dreamer, not made for daily practical solutions … followed quickly by, hmm, perhaps I should learn a few basics, but that’s all, nothing more! Thankfully, I’m married to a physiotherapist whose sensate function is exceptionally finely tuned. I know that’s not the answer but it sure helps me in this life, a lot!

    So when does Trickster interfere? Well often with my laptop too, however, in the last four years he’s appeared most often in the form of a rabbit hole, uneven pavement and hidden rocks. The result being, I’ve tripped and broken my ankle four times in the past four years. A wound to the feminine (the left ankle) that kept me digging deeper into my Animus Diet. A blessing and a curse! When it’s happens, it’s always comes out of the blue and my whole world is shaken upside down as plans are hastily rearranged while I settle into weeks of little to no physical movement. How do I cope when Trickster visits? In a nutshell, I think I’ve got better at learning how to surrender and how to just “Be” (having a library of wonderful books helps!).

    As always, your article offers all your readers a deep dive into archetypal matters and the nature and naughtiness of the Trickster in our lives! Two hundred passwords, wow, I can’t even remember the six I tend to use. Hmm, tricking the Trickster comes to mind! Love and light, Deborah.

    1. Wow! The same ankle broken four times! That’s some serious trickstering! Yes we INF types surely do need a lot of reminding to get out of our heads and into our bodies once in a while don’t we? I bump into wall corners and ledges and door and chair and table edges and door knobs and towel bars and stairway banisters that Trickster enjoys nudging my way at least once or twice a week! I almost always carry a bruise or two somewhere on my body. And I can never remember where I got them! I bought my horse Shadow partly to fulfill a childhood dream, but partly in the hope he would help me be more aware of my body and surroundings. He did help somewhat in the limited 8 years he lived. But I had my share of bumps and bruises just taking care of him too! I guess this is the price we pay for having such rich inner lives. I guess it would be possible to trick the Trickster if we were less resistant to getting out of our heads, but honestly, if I had it to do over again, I’d choose to be the same way. As we both know, there are many rewards for being who we are, not the least of which is having partners who love us as we are and help us as often as they can! Much love to you, Jeanie

  2. Oh dear Jean, over 200 passwords. How do you do it? Oh don’t tell, in case some hacker listens in. Like Deborah, I only have few.
    And like she says, I trick the Trickster. The exact phrase came to mind. For example, I thank my little laptop every day. Well, I thank just about anything I rely on, car, house, heating. I fear hell would break loose if I cursed anything that irritates me, having well engraved memories of how my state of mind affects my surroundings. That said, Trickster is cunning, and since I never liked to be told what to do and how to behave, there lures a foxy child in me … https://courseofmirrors.com/2020/05/23/meeting-my-foxy-child-in-twilight/

    I still stubbornly refuse to follow the status quo..I don’t use Zoom. I only have a simple mobile, and I avoid ever new updates that promise technical improvements. So far I’m patient with WordPress. As long as I’m allowed the use of its classic editor, I ignore its endless novel templates, even though some improve the layout. Basically it’s basics for me 🙂 yes.
    Then again, our generation had to master so many changes, a little bravo for trying to keep growing up is in order.

    1. Well as I look over my list of sites and passwords I realize that while there are over 200 sites listed, I did repeat some of the same passwords. And I often use the safe passwords some sites suggest. These automatically come up on the sites when I ask them to. Plus, many of the sites are ones I haven’t visited in years. And I always have my list with me, so I don’t have to memorize any. That would do me in. Despite all this, I still have a lot of problems responding to posts now that security has become such a big issue throughout the internet. For example, I wrote a long response to your latest blog post only to have it tell me to enter a password. I tried several with no luck, and finally gave up and posted my comment on your Facebook site! I’ve had to do that with Aladin’s blog too. And Deborah’s. That issue is probably Trickster-related.

      I commend you for having the self-awareness to withhold curses and replace them with thankfulness. Thank you for that hint! I never felt Trickster’s influence much in my life until I became active on the internet and starting using more advanced technology for speeches and other presentations. I will try to remember to practice your practice the next time my state of mind gets out of sorts!

      I have also resisted updating my WordPress account. I dread having to learn something new all over again. It took me about a year to master its classic editor and I refuse to change it now. Basically it’s basics for me too. As you can imagine, publishing and having to market books in this era is a nightmare for me.

      But yes, a little bravo to us for trying to keep growing up! Again, congratulations on your new upcoming book. I can’t wait to hold it in my hands!

  3. I have been confronting (awake or not) the trickster a lot these past couple of years. My very elderly in-laws moved in with us and have been needing more and more care. My days seem to be spent in wait-mode for the next issue to deal with, never knowing how many hours will be spent dealing with that concern. As an INFJ, this has been very stressful – at times “grit your teeth all night” stressful.
    These days, I get up very early to have a couple of hours alone — and to have time to get out of my wild, full of strangers, anxiety-filled dreams.

    MBSR basics have helped me play the role of caregiver — being in the moment, non-judgmental, and open — and mentally shutting the door on the trickster, knowing he will be back the moment I step out of that role. My FIL has moderate dementia, so I have studied how to communicate with compassion, and that really helps.

    What else has helped? Being more aware of what is happening in my head/psyche has been helpful. My awareness has developed through reading your blog/books, Pema Chodron, Robert Johnson, and other’s. Looking at it as a period of intense internal growth for me (at age 66) has been helpful. When it’s all too much, I seek counsel from my husband — always starting my initial rant with “Do you have a minute? I need your help with dealing with…..” He is a good listener and advisor. The occasional wine and whine night with a friend who is also a caregiver helps. Knowing I am blessed to have a rich inner and outer life helps.

    1. Oh my dear! I have experienced something of what you’re going through now but not nearly to the extent you are. I can’t imagine, and am so sorry. I’ve learned from a few friends how difficult the life of a full-time caregiver can be. One friend wrote a book about it. Life used to seem so easy until I moved my mother from her town to an assisted living facility near us. Despite the fact that she didn’t want to live with us, those last eight years of her life triggered the first need I ever felt for a tranquilizer! Dear God. How fortunate I’ve been.

      It sounds as if you’ve done some amazing work on yourself to learn how to deal with this phase of your life in a healthy way. I really appreciate knowing that my blog and books have helped you develop your self-awareness. Robert Johnson is one of my beloved mentors too. I have others now. I believe growing self-awareness and meaning are key to an enlarged life of increased empowerment and authenticity. I still work on that regularly myself. And yes, it is a blessing to have a partner who listens and helps. And friends to whine and dine with! I love that!

      Thank you for writing. It’s lovely to hear from you. I wish you and your extended family peace and love on your continuing journey. Jeanie

  4. Passwords. The bane of my life. So is anything techie. Reading your story Jeanie with presentations raised my bp. The trickster is ever present but does sometimes has an agenda not immediately present. A long time ago I was at a print shop, making copies of a story I was submitting to a magazine. The deadline was looming. I was checking the pages, a page was missing. Not possible. But I charged home to look there, not there. Back to the print shop, another check and in fact all pages were intact, incorrectly numbered if I remember correctly. But, there was a person in the print shop who I knew from many years ago. This story is getting toooo long, but it was a rather momentous meeting in many ways, the synchronicities blew me away. Aside from synchronicity, that trickster was in modus operandi that day – had all been in order and I’d done my copies first time round – and left – I would never have met that person a little later – the stress was worth it!

    A joyous festive season to you and family Jeanie. With love, Susan

    1. Hi Susan, that’s a great story. It’s got me thinking that maybe Trickster and synchronicity are related in some way at the deepest levels: both in the psyche’s collective consciousness and at the quantum level of matter. They’re both messages from the ‘universe’, both trying to get our attention. I think the alchemists would have attributed both to Mercurius (or Hermes), the messenger god (also called Trickster), because it seems like they both have the goal of furthering our psychological and spiritual growth, even though Trickster’s manifestations, especially, are not always pleasant by any means! Deborah’s experience of spraining her left ankle FOUR times is an example of that. But the fact that she sees that as a blessing that helped her dig deeper in her work would suggest that Trickster’s intentions are ultimately benevolent. Well, it’s a mystery.

      A joyous season to you too! Love, Jeanie

  5. This really hit home, Jeanne. I too could care less about HOW the mighty Phone and computer works, but that they do. I am an ENFP, so it isn’t comfortable to me to sit at my computer or iPad for hours. I very much prefer interacting with people.
    I don’t always understand your posi, but this one I relate to.
    I’m always looking to learn more about myself.
    Donna G

    1. Hi Donna. I didn’t know you’re an ENFP! Of course! It makes perfect sense. Yes, I don’t see you spending hours a the computer, whereas that’s just about my favorite thing to do. 🙂 Cheers to our differences! Life would be very boring indeed if we were all the same type.

      Love to you and your family this holiday season. We have so much to celebrate!

      Love, Jeanie

  6. Thanks Lynnea. As you well know, horses are often Tricksters too, in that they connect with our emotions at the deepest level. If we get anxious, angry, or frustrated, so do they, and that’s when they start acting up, causing us all sorts of unwanted trouble. Wherever Trickster appears, whatever form he uses, I think he shows up to make us more self-aware, which helps us to more balance and wholeness! Holiday blessings to you and yours….and to your horses! 🙂 Jeanie

  7. Oh my goodness! I feel how your volcano is busting and spitting lava out of your soul all around! I think the reason is your latest (Webinar) meeting plan, isn’t it? Technological tricksters also challenge me constantly, though I try not to look so old in front of my son! However, your overview of the tips by Jung to get rid of such stress is marvellous. And that which the passwords are concerned (as I have begun to forget them now and then!), I save them in Google, and when I don’t remember one of them, which is mostly the case, I look into the Password manager by Google and find it out. Anyway, I think on these holy days, it would be nice for reconciliation. I wish you and yours a leisurely season, my dear lovely teacher, Jeane. 🤗💖🙏😘🥰🌹🦋

  8. Hahaha! You’re right, Aladin. There is definitely something volcanic my over-reaction to technological glitches. Yes, the problems surrounding my latest presentation really unsettled me. I don’t know how to think like a robot and probably never will, so I regularly swallow my pride and seek my son’s help. I do have a list of my passwords, and my computer does save them for me, but several have changed in recent years and although I try to update them, sometimes I forget, and sometimes when sites ask me for my password and I give them the one my computer tells me, it doesn’t work. Maybe they mean some other password, but I often still don’t know which one to use. I’m hopeless. You’re also right about me seeking a reconciliation during these holy days. I shall try to reconcile myself with my challenged brain, technology, and Trickster, and vow to accept the inevitable clash with humility and grace!!! I’m proud to be your teacher, Aladin. You’re a very apt student! Wishing you and yours all the blessings of this holy season. Jeanie

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