The Heyoka

The Trickster archetype described in the Indian Lakota culture, found this  here. I especially like the Wakinyan or thunder being.

The heyoka is a part of Lakota culture: the sacred clown, the jester, the trickster and storyteller, whose role is to bring absurdity into the tribe, to illuminate reality by subverting assumptions. They play an essential part in the Sundance ritual. Heyokas have been seen drying before bathing, burning themselves and yelling about the cold, dancing backwards, and, often, running around naked in the winter.

A man becomes Heyoka through an encounter with Wakinyan, the Thunder Being. This being is terrible to behold, and lightning shoots from his eye. An encounter with Wakinyan invariably drives a man into a state that the white man calls “insane“.

Whatever the heyoka does will be done with the intent of bringing the absurd into the Tribe. Of shocking people into an awareness of the fine balance between extremes that creates the energy tension of life.

Heyoka may encounter Wakinyan a second time. In the second encounter, Wakinyan appears as the hugely exaggerated, archetypeHeyoka. This encounter shocks the Heyoka into an awareness of the Truth, and the Heyoka is restored to “sanity“.

After restoration, the man is blessed by the spirits with the true humility of Knowledge. A “sane” Heyoka is capable of almost any behavior. The boundaries and limits of social intercourse disappear.


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