In shamanic practices, we encounter and work with a variety of spiritual allies. Developing relations with these allies is not only key, there is also a communion of respect and devotion that is entwined into that relationship. Our spiritual allies become personal to us, can become like family to us, and develop deep personal bonds with us. When we are standing in these relations and have these bonds with them, we are with our “tribe” when we work and feel as if we are surrounded by those who understand us on very deep levels. But what happens when spiritual allies appear that bring up feelings of resistance in us, feelings that make us want to reject them, or even an aversion to working with them at all? These are the allies that we often need to work with the most.
Spiritual allies choose us, we do not choose them. There are always reasons for this on many levels, some of which we know, and some we do not. In general, allies always show up in their own ways to communicate with us. And often, just when we think we have a solid “tribe” of allies, an ally comes to shake up that mix—for reasons of growth and further development in shamanism.
In my shamanic work I have felt very solid with my “team” of guides and allies, and I’ve often thought that this was definitely the group I was supposed to work with. Over many years I’ve continually worked on developing deep relations with them. I thought, “I finally have this.”
A Surprise Arrival: Trickster
Then one day Coyote decided to walk into my life and he shook this up completely. I had always had a resistance to Coyote spirit. I feared it, thought it was trouble, and although beautiful, have had an extraordinarily strong aversion to it. But I learned to walk through this and come to a place of acceptance with this ally that, initially, I had absolutely no interest in. He was unavoidable and I can now say after working with Coyote, accepting him, honoring him, and seeing what he was all about, I’ve been able to embrace a whole new level of growth and depth in my shamanic work and life. Coyote has given me a different perspective that has assisted me in the next step of my process and journey.
So let us look at the “idea of Coyote” in the sense of a “trickster” or a spiritual ally for whom we have an aversion. Needless to say, tricksters are in a category all their own. Many people often balk at the trickster type of spirit ally, and often go to the places of judgment and resistance to them. However, tricksters carry an incredibly unique medicine.
On the one hand, they have both wisdom and folly, a combination that is easily misinterpreted in spiritual work. They can be a very formidable force of discernment, that looks underneath to discover what things really are. They disguise and shapeshift from places that are not so noticeable, a skill that really comes in handy when you are dealing with exceedingly difficult spiritual and /or shamanic situations.
On the other hand, tricksters can be mouthy, out-spoken, and very cynical in nature. They can entice or deal with situations from a place of humor and folly that shifts or lightens a load and carries many mixed meanings. This also has its place, depending on the spiritual situation.
Trickster types of spiritual allies have a “wild card” energy about them which embodies both the tame and the freedom of the wild, wrapped up into one. And both aspects can be especially useful when honored for what they really are and for the true purpose of it. This is very individualized to each trickster type of spirit and energy. They may all have a “common code” in the trickster category, but each spirit ultimately has its own personality, characteristics, and pros and cons.
So, if a trickster or any spiritual ally shows up in your life that you have a complete aversion and resistance to and want nothing to do with it—what can you do? I recommend embracing the following:
1) Surrender. Spirits choose you for a reason. Sometimes this reason is known, sometimes not, given the circumstances. Being open to surrender to the “bigger picture” is very key here. Acceptance, without judgment, is the first step to opening an opportunity for a relationship, even if at first you do not understand it.
2) Show honor and respect. I cannot state this enough. If a spiritual ally has shown up, it has made an effort to approach you. Spirits can see and know things that humans don’t or can’t see. That’s why we rely on them in our shamanic work. So even if you have feelings of aversion or rejection, they see something deeper there to work with and they will bring that to the table. Honor them. Honoring them can start amazingly simple, such as saying, “Thank you, and I respect you for what you need to show me.” Giving them time, interactions, or simple offerings are good ways to begin.
3) Pay attention to how this ally is mirroring you. Quite often our spiritual allies will have qualities that display aspects of ourselves. Often, if we have an ally show up that we have difficulty with or an aversion to, they may very well may be mirroring aspects of our “dark” or “shadow self.” Part of our relationship with tricksters is to learn to embrace, heal, and honor shadow aspects of who we are and accept their value. Pay attention to this, it is important, and an extremely valuable lesson. Keep your eyes open honestly with yourself, and you will see the true aspect of the ally, and of yourself.
4) Actively work on developing a relationship. Once you begin to do this, you will see a deeper understanding of who, what, where, and why this ally has come into your life. And you will begin to appreciate it and see the value in it, rather than resent it. But this means work. It will take a concerted effort to make this relationship form and grow. Conversation, prayer, honoring, and ceremony are some of the ways to do this. These can be simple or complex, but always make them personal and unique.
5) Grow and Develop. Quite often these types of allies appear in order to assist in our growth and development. If we have been in a stagnated place, have not been really “digging” in our work to move forward in our lives, or we have become resistant to change, an ally like this will most likely arrive to “shake up” this process. For good reason. We cannot stay stagnant. Life changes, cycles change, and circumstances change. It is all part of growth. So, when an ally like this appears, it is also a sign that it is a period of growth and learning as well.
So, if a trickster appears in your life, if spiritual allies appear that you absolutely have an aversion to or want no part of, take a second look and gaze deeply into their eyes. They have something to offer you that you would never have thought of, dreamed of, or accepted as possible. And they can take you on your next step in shamanic work and healing, a step you thought you could never comprehend or accept. They are a wild card gift. You never know what part of the deck they will hand you in your next journey. But I can tell you, it will be a lucky card, if you are open and willing to accept and work with the hand you are dealt.