Loki is undoubtedly one of the most popular Norse gods. Even if it weren't for Marvel's portrayal of him opposite Thor, this trickster god has always had some kind of draw to people.
But he isn't the only trickster god. In fact, just about every single mythology has its own trickster. Tricksters aren't just pranksters. They possess an intense intellect or a secret knowledge that could bring everything down. They also don't obey rules or conventions.
And they aren't always bad guys, like Loki. In many cultures, the trickster is the hero. Even Odysseus, while not a god, was a trickster.
One could even say that Morgoth, who played discordant with the song of creation, is a trickster god, the in the mythology of Tolkien.
Here are some other trickster gods from all around the world:
Anansi from West African and Caribbean Mythology
Anansi's origins lie in Ghana, and his name come from the Akan language. It means, 'spider.' But as the slave trade came to the United States, so did Anansi. Today, you can hear tales of him from Sierra Leone to Aruba and Bonaire.
Anansi is often depicted as a spider, but also as a spider with a man's face and even a man. He is a powerful orator, which is no doubt why his stories are so beloved-- to tell them, you too, must be a great storyteller. It was Anansi who inspired Ghanese hunters to be swift and clever. But he also inspired slaves in the New World to fight against their captors. Anansi taught his followers to be swift and tricky, not to try to be strong. A great portrayal of this is in the TV show, American Gods, and its novel namesake.
Hermes from Greek Mythology
Hermes plays a great number of roles in the Greek Pantheon. He is the patron of merchants, trade, commerce, sports, travelers, athletes, and tricksters. Hermes played tricks in order to bully the bigger, more powerful Greek gods. But he also did it to help humanity, who he treasures. He also often tricks women, both human and god alike. The list of his lovers is pretty extensive.
Of note, his demi-god son, Autolycus gained his skills as a thief from Hermes. He then taught them to his grandson, Odysseus, who is one of the most notable tricksters in lore.
Kokopelli from Hopi and Pueblo Mythology
I'm willing to bet you know who Kokopelli is, even if you have never heard his name. It's this little dancing, flute-playing man who often shows up in headshops and at musical festivals.
Kokopelli is part of many Native American cultures in the southwestern United States. It's said that they come from the Aztec traders, once called the pochtecas. To this day, Kokopelli is a name given to those who come from afar bringing knowledge.
Lugh from Celtic Mythology
Lugh is a Celtic god, but more important than that, he is an Irish god. He is god of the arts and the light of the sun. He is the god of the forge and even more so, the god of witchcraft. He teaches artisan crafts, musicians, bards, and all craftsmen.
Maui from Hawaiian Mythology
If you liked Maui from the film Moana, you'll like the actual Maui that he is based on. Maui is considered to be a rascal or kolohe. He worked hard for the humans who worshipped him. Like Prometheus, who is from Greek mythology, Maui stole fire from the gods and gave it to the humans. He also slowed the sun by catching it with his fish hook, and tried to obtain immortality for humans.
Coyote from Navajo Mythology
Coyote is very important in Navajo mythology. He is kind of an enigma because he can sway to be either funny or terrifying. He's extremely powerful of his own accord, which is something that not a lot of trickster gods get. He created the Milky Way when he got impatient with the creation of the cosmos. He flung his sack of stars and scattered them across the sky, instead of placing them carefully. He uses his wiles to trick a giant that is terrorizing the land, created the calendar, and tricked Changing Bear, also known as Ursa Major, into being his wife.
Sun Wukong from Chinese Mythology
Sun Wukong is more famously known in the west as Monkey. He's the hero of a very famous Chinese epic tale, called Journey to the West. He is taught how to change his shape, in the 72 methods of heavenly transformation. He's also taught how to fly 108000 miles in a single bound. And finally, he is taught how to become immortal through a breathing technique. His weapon is a nine-ton iron pillar, called As You Wish Gold Banded Cudgel.
Loki in Norse Mythology
So now that you know about other tricksters around the world, what can we learn about our old friend, Loki? Well, most of the time, tricksters are around to help humans gain an upper hand over the gods. They are also often artists, who exist outside the laws of the society of their pantheons.
Do any of those things ring true for Loki? Who is your favorite trickster god, or what is your favorite tale about them? Who have we missed in this list? Let us know in the comments below!
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