In many plains and southwestern cultures, Coyote is an ancestral kin. In many stories, Coyote’s antics introduce pain, suffering and chaos into the world. In comparative mythology, Coyote-like characters are often portrayed as Tricksters. A Trickster often subverts the norm, plays tricks, and holds secret knowledge. Coyote can also be a Hero figure where he slays a monster like Thunderbird. The astrological season of Gemini (May 21-June21) is also Trickster sign, at least according to the folks at the School for Mythopoetics where I have just enrolled as a Founding Member.
Today, I was walking home from the library through Queen Elizabeth Park. I was walking slowly up a hill, and was mostly in my head as I thought about the day’s tasks. As I came to a fork in the steep path, I looked right, and there squatting in the middle of the path was a large coyote taking a shit. We locked eyes as the turd flopped to the ground. I recoiled in disgust and started laughing hysterically. Had I arrived seconds earlier or seconds later and I would have avoided the encounter, and probably felt more of a sense of wonder than of aversion.
I love to find beauty and meaning in the natural world, my writings at Holyscapes is all about this. But today, I was reminded not to take myself too seriously. Reminded that our plans don’t always go the way we expect. Seeing the Trickster in the act of defecating was the ultimate overturning of order and my expectations of natural beauty. Long live the Trickster!