Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: trickster?



That day in the woods when I was looking up at the otherworldly looking fungi on a tree, I nearly stepped on this feathery mask on the ground not far from it. A child may have dropped it... was it part of a Mardi Gras costume?


Curious thoughts of a west coast forest spirit or a trickster played on my mind... and still do whenever I look at these photos.

Added a few hours later: It has been dawning on me that this reminds me of my owl-woman in my print ARKEO #4 (see the fabulous comments) and also repeated in ARKEO #7.

At the time I was making ARKEO #4, I was thinking vaguely of our Northwest Coast First Nations' trickster, the raven, but later it dawned on me that it was also the Kalevala owl-woman Louhi. It was wonderful for me that readers saw other cultural mythic figures or tricksters in the work. Fascinating - I just love these kind of connections and exchanges.

Marja-Leena | 04/04/2011 | 8 comments
themes: Arkeo, Folk Legends & Myths, Found Objects, Photoworks



In American Indian stories trickster is usually a coyote. You could very well start weaving a story about coyote party in the woods!

As we know, coyote is also a shape changer, which fits the picture very well.

Beautiful and sinister at the same time. A good find.

Yes, very strange with its resemblance to a dead bird, and the way it looks up at you...

Ah, the poor thing has had its Mardi Gras and now must suffer the fast and suffering of Lent.

Hei Ripsa, yes, the coyote is the trickster for the Southwest US natives. Further north along the Pacific, and up along the BC coast to Alaska, it is the raven. Your comment got me thinking more about this and so I've added more thoughts to the actual post above.

Joe, thanks, it was a find that had to sit with me before I knew what it was saying to me. It does have a sinister side to it, doesn't it, in spite of its party clothes?

Lucy, yes, the feathers made me think of a bird, dead but still looking....

Marly, but if it's a trickster, it's still coming back to tease and tempt, right?

How strange. Maybe a visitation from a spirit?

Don't the faeries set sail from the farthest point west? Perhaps as they danced along their magical path one of them leaped so high her mask drifted down to the forest floor. I wish we'd been worthy enough for them to stay.

Hattie, maybe, something like that...

Susan, fairies sound sweet and happy, like they may have jumped out of your paintings. Not scary like tricksters.