O! That Gnome

Trickster. Creative chaos. Wild gifts. Breaking habits and patterns.

This is the Trickster, who exists in every world. He comes to us wearing our own faces to fool us into thinking that his ideas are our own. He brings creative chaos into our lives. He helps us break down old habits by showing us how silly they are. He encourages us to fall on our faces so that we get a different point of view, looking up past our mud-smeared noses. He helps us get ourselves into situations in which we discover gifts we never knew we had – often because there is no other way out of the mess we got ourselves into.

As Brian mentions, That Gnome is unreliable and sometimes encourages drunkenness. This is true… he certainly doesn’t always do as we expect – but our expectations are our problem, not his, he says. As for drunkenness, in vino veritas (in wine, there is truth). When we let down our mental censors and filters, we sometimes come up with discoveries about who we really are and what we really want that we hadn’t let ourselves know. When he appears, it is breakthrough time, and all too often, the first step in breakthrough feels just like breakdown. There are better ways of doing this than getting drunk or going through a psychotic break, but the better ways take skill, and he has to work with what he has – us, just as we are.

“That Gnome tells wild and wonderful long-winded stories, complete with demonstrations of the action and much arm waving,” an on-line group member says. He adds, “That Gnome is full of knowledge, but the trick is sorting out the truth from the fiction. It takes a lot of good sense to be able to listen to him. He isn’t known for his patience.”

If That Gnome breaks a vase, the pieces will fall into patterns of great significance and meaning – but it is up to us to read and understand it. He is the potentially constructive force of chaos. That Gnome is also the keeper of our wild talents, the ones we may not even know we have. When he appears, it is often to call our attention to our latent gifts.

In a nutshell, which is where he claims to belong, his job is to help us get lost from our comfortable ruts so that we will explore wonderful, exciting, and strange new paths. He is a good friend of Raven, the philosopher-trickster, and Coyote is one of his many disguises. He is so smart that he sometimes outsmarts himself.

Can you laugh at yourself sometimes? And let the laughter carry you into new insights and new ways of being? Then That Gnome within you is waving his faery wand gleefully.

It’s time to leap into the air, letting the earth turn beneath you, and discover where you come down again. Reasonable risks are okay. Even unreasonable risks are probably okay. Use your head and look before you leap, of course, but do so understanding that the actual jump is likely to be very rewarding. No guarantees, but then there never really are anyway, no matter how pretty the paper they may seem to be printed on and the scrollwork around the edge.

In a reading, the presence of That Gnome tells us that the forces of chaos are at work. Things may not be as they seem, and this may very well be a good thing. Look for the unexpected, find the opportunity in it, and go for it. He says that no matter how confused things may seem, there is a way to make them better – but it is a creative way, one you haven’t tried before. He says, “Think amazing new thoughts!”

In a way, a trickster is always reversed, and sometimes even perverse. Sometimes, the reverse is even reversed into other dimensions. Standing on his head, That Gnome could be say:

Be careful – there is trickery going on, or

He who hesitates is lost, or

Play it safe, or

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread – but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because sometimes “fools” accomplish things that “angels” thought impossible, or

Complete honesty may not be the best policy, but lying is definitely not the best policy, or

Discretion is the better part of valor.

But which, you ask, is the real answer?

Oh, you want that kind of an answer? A neat one in a box? I’m sorry, but That Gnome doesn’t do those kind of answers. He is just here to shake you up, jolt loose some preconceptions, help you to see yourself and your situation as it really is, and aid you in finding a new and unorthodox response. That’s all.