My Trickster Security Blanket

My Trickster Security Blanket

Are you wondering what a trickster security blanket is? It is an idea I had. And it gets trickier (see the joke in this sentence?) because it’s actually my trickster security-blanket blue jeans. Keep reading for explanations.

A while ago, I posted the following on social media:

Moving to Italy is my dream but includes scary challenges.

I’m patching a pair of jeans. The decorated jeans will be a magical “security blanket” for me, here and in Italy.

I’d like to add a patch or two from friends. It would add such loving energy.

The patches need to be machine washable. Other than that, it could be a fabric scrap, piece of embroidery, commercial patch, wee bit of crochet, or anything else. I’d treasure it as a tiny keepsake.

Would love a Harley Quinn or Bugs Bunny patch. Trickster energy takes care of me. And these will be my Harlequin patched jeans.

Can anyone help?

Patches for My Trickster Blue Jeans Arrive!

The first patches arrive! A Bugs Bunny and two matching rabbits from my friend, Kathleen Marshall. The above photo shows Bugs and one of the rabbits sewn onto the jeans. Bunnies!

Forgive some blurred photos. They give you the gist.

Here’s a better picture of the rabbit. It is on a fabric scrap with embroidery that is possibly the first I’ve done in decades.

My Trickster Security Blanket
Starts to Come Together

If it’s fun or inspiring for you, the next photo shows the Harlequin-style security blanket starting to come together. I tentatively arranged patches, though I knew more would arrive. Wild trickster energy isn’t always unplanned. Feral magic can require planning. I arranged and rearranged the patches carefully, changing the design. The project took months. That’s okay, it is wearable art.

The fool is not only a symbol of chaos, but also of unlimited potential. There were endless ways to arrange the patches. I took time to find the way I liked best.

Actually, the project took a lot longer than months. Some patches are my art from years ago. I waited until the right time to use them. For example, in the photo below, the two patches on the right are prints of my paintings. I want to apply unlimited potential thoughtfully. Otherwise, I can scurry off on wild goose chases and down rabbit holes. Contrary to popular belief, a fool is thoughtful.

I see a fool’s clothes as talismans. I want to create mine thoughtfully.

Here, I’ve added almost everything I had made or already owned:

At this point, I was waiting for other contributions and the chance to also sew on the last pieces I made or already had. Then my trickster magic blue jeans could be completed, yay!

What is a Trickster, Sacred Fool,
Holy Clown, or Harlequin?

Often, this post directly or indirectly defines a trickster. My definitions tend to be unlike the prevalent ones. More about those difference momentarily. Indirect definitions are one way that I, a trickster, explain. Here are two examples of implied definitions from what you’ve read here so far:
* Trickster security blanket
* Trickster energy takes care of me.

Trickster Security Blanket Blue Jeans

I came up with the concept of Trickster security blanket blue jeans shortly after the project began. For one thing, I realized that many of the images I wanted were tricksters. And, contrary to most representations of tricksters, they make me feel safe.

I have a different view of the trickster archetype. I’ve already said a few things here that differ from typical Trickster lore and the usual ideas. Read more of my theories in my two-volume Book of Shadows set.

Fear of Tricksters

The Book of Shadows set has my pivotal trickster essay. It covers some of my trickster theories in depth. (Addendum: after finishing this post, I believe it is a pivotal trickster essay too. It turned into a lengthy piece. Not that a quantity of words creates value. Instead, the love my tribe showed by sending me patches for the blue jeans nurtured my spirit so much that I could maintain the energy, enthusiasm, and creative authenticity long enough to do a great deal of important writing. This blog started with personal tales. However, that was a perfect jumping-off point to explore some of my trickster archetype theories that are not in the Book of Shadows. Also, some theories in the Book of Shadows had the chance to reveal different aspects of themselves here.)

Here’s the background for a personal tale. Exu is a trickster God Who opens the channel so that you may speak to other Gods in the same pantheon as He. The pantheon is African. He’s somewhat like Papa Legba or Eleggua in case you know who They are.

Exu loves explosives, whiskey, and hot foods. In one tradition, His altar is not allowed inside the home. He is considered too wild and dangerous to bring indoors.

You can find lore about Him online. Some of it will contradict what I say here. I have never met anyone who perceives Him like do. For example, everything online, unless my influence has been felt more recently, will contradict what I say here about Him being gentle and kind to me. He’s not known for that, which is unfortunate.

A few years ago, a friend gave me a traditional statue of Exu that she acquired in the sixties. I was so happy. Exu owns my head. Owns my head means that he is my patron God, or one of my patron Gods.

Since many people fear Him and His magic, both readers who told me Exu is my patron were apologetic about it. I told them I had no reason to fear Exu. He’s never been anything but kind, gentle, and supportive to me. For example, when I was preparing an opulence ritual for my clients and myself, He helped, as He does in all my activities. He offers me unlimited potential, gentle guidance about using it well, and magic that is not “too wild and dangerous” to manage. For one thing, wild does not necessarily mean dangerous.

The Exu statue just being en route to me in the box brought more magic and abundance into my life. (Trickster Gods are often prosperity Gods.)

When the statue arrived, as soon as I lifted Him out of the box, and though He was still in His wrappings, I could feel His love and dynamic magic.

My heart was full with His presence and the generosity of the friend who gifted me the statue.

Important aside: If He does not own your head, His magic could be too dangerous for you, beyond His opening the gates for you to talk to other Gods. False egalitarianism is common in modern Paganism. This leads to the belief that any magic can be used by anyone. In ancient Shamanism, it was understood that each Shaman is born with different power(s). What is perfect, easy, and powerful for one Shaman was understood as possibly dangerous, unnecessarily difficult, or a waste of time for another Shaman. Use magic that suits you, and you can create miracles. If you don’t recognize your magic(s), make an appointment for Shamanic pastoral counseling to learn.

Why My Trickster Friends
Helped With My Wearable Art

One of the delights of this project was getting to know some people better. Another was learning why folks helped and how they chose their contributions. Yet another was sharing joyful energy with them.

It was wonderful discovering how much they enjoyed the project or were energized by it. It had been hard to ask for help. I have fun helping people and hadn’t remembered that other people do too.

They really gave their contributions thought. That touched my heart, demonstrating that the project and I meant a lot to them. Though it was hard to ask for this support, folks gave it willingly and abundantly.

Look at these darling flowers crocheted by Paula Amero. Aren’t they sunny and cheerful!? This was kind and generous of her. She gifted three pieces to me despite crochet being her profession. They suit me to a T. She even left little tails on as “thread” to sew the flowers to my blue jeans. Thoughtful!

Kerry Congdon was a Facebook friend that I barely knew until this project. I didn’t even know why we became Facebook friends. So I wondered what motivated her offer.

Then she wrote, “I would love to send you a few patches before your big move! I have been playing with the idea of enchanting clothing recently so this is so great!”

Ah, so enchanted clothing was part of her motivation, interesting!

Kerry also explained she decided to send a Harley Quinn patch because, “I have been a Harley fan since the beginning! I grew up watching Batman: the Animated Series and I’ve had a number of figures of her over the years. I love Batman villains!!!”

I had no idea how Kerry felt about me, until she added, “I have long admired your work and considered you a spiritual elder.  … I appreciate you and all you offer the world.”

Trickster Kindness, Enthusiasm,
Joy, and Generosity

My perception of the trickster archetype as joyful, enthusiastic, kind, and generous is unusual. Or rather, I perceive a different route to joy, kindness, enthusiasm, and generosity than the typical trickster archetype fosters. The usual trickster perpetrates cruelty that is supposedly for your own good. However, I see that as an excuse for malice—evil mischief. The idea that license—disregard for people’s feelings and other well-being—can generate joy, enthusiasm, and generosity is ridiculous.

Authentic tricksters are not mean. Their power ultimately is gentle kindness. That generates enthusiasm, joy, and generosity.

That is all I need to refute about the usual trickster archetype for now. I negate it in depth in my aforementioned trickster essay.

It ended up that most—if not all—of the contributors to the security blanket are tricksters, or seem to be by my measure.

They exemplified joy, enthusiasm, kindness, and generosity.

For example, Kerry’s package moved me deeply. I’ve already shared part of how I reacted to her gift, but here is more.

Kerry enclosed a doll she made. She explained, “She is just a little spirit that came to me, and with Her being pregnant with new life, and having the protection and growth of the serpent, seemed perfect for your new adventure in Italy!”

That she, in addition to the patch, would gift me a doll she made was so generous. It was also thoughtful: the doll’s nature and size are perfect. The latter because I am paring down radically to move to Italy. In fact, one reason I asked for the blue jean patches was because it meant tiny keepsakes from friends.

The biggest contributor was my dear Kathleen Marshall. She is always there for me! And Kathleen knows me so well. Along with a Bugs Bunny patch, I also wanted cute bunny energy! Lo, she sent those cute bunnies.

As soon as my new trickster garb began, Kathleen’s energy was in it. Someone had made a cartoon of Kathleen. Well before the trickster project, I asked permission to make the cartoon into a patch. It was a way to bring Kathleen’s love with me to Italy.

Here the cartoon patch and one of the cute bunnies has been sewn onto the jeans:

Kathleen embodied trickster enthusiasm and generosity in a few chats we had. And, as I said, sharing joyful energy, learning why people got involved, etc., was lovely. The conversations demonstrated that too:

Me: I’d love anything you make, but I don’t want you to overdo it. I know how busy you are.

Kathleen: Sometimes taking time to make things is therapeutic, especially if I know it’s for someone who will appreciate it.

Unbridled enthusiasm is a joy to be around. A few times, she couldn’t restrain herself and sent yet something else. She saw a pic of the jeans when they were about 3/4 of the way done.

Then she told me, “I think you may need more tiny rabbits!”

Me: Ahahahahaha! That’s perfect! … Not only would it be a great design visually but, hey, rabbits proliferate, right? I’m off to look for more tiny rabbits, LOL. … Or are you offering?

Kathleen: Mwa-ha-ha! Check your mail Monday!

Me: Ahahaha! I love you, you are so much fun and so generous. Thank you. These trickster security blanket blue jeans are a wonderful project for me. Part of that is getting to share joy with my friends who are helping. Including the joy of your trickster energy, you rabbit-sender you!

In boundless trickster creativity, enthusiasm, and love, Kathleen also sent a bunch of teeny tiny plastic bunnies. It’s wonderful when friends know your quirks and support them, I decided to stick the wee rabbits all over the apartment, in all my suitcases and purses, and everywhere, I’ve already stuck about six bunnies in odd places, they’re so tiny that one fits on a very slender door jam top. Did you hear this paragraph as one long breathless statement? I was so happy and excited and thankful.

Kathleen: “I thought you could find something to do with them.”

Happy bunnies are cracking me up, tucked around the apartment like mischievous wee stealth guardians.

Kathleen also crocheted stars, even more beautiful than in the photo she took of them (below). They are happy.

So much enthusiasm and support from my cohorts made me feel safe enough to share a vision with Paula. When we discussed what she might make, I explained, “I wouldn’t want overtly Pagan patches because I’ll be living in an Italian town that might be very conservative. I love girlie stuff so flower(s) or something lacy would be perfect. A flower or flowers could symbolize Mother Earth, and that I am at home on Her wherever I go. Lace could symbolize the loving weave of the cosmos holding me in safety wherever I go.”

Everyone’s kindness was so nourishing and continues to be. It is exactly the sense of safety and being loved I wanted from this project.

My friend and student Chris nourished me with her hard work on a heartfelt contribution. She created a cloth leaf modeled on the leaf pin from Lord of the Rings. It’s in the lower right-hand corner of this photo:

She even wrote the Tolkien line Not all those who wander are lost on the back of the leaf, even though no one would see it once it was sewn on. I asked her permission to show it here though.

She chose a perfect line and image for me because I love traveling, have moved so often, and now am wandering off to Italy.

Friends sent more than I could use for the jeans. Generosity! These gifts will grace other endeavors.

Trickster Synchronicity

Trickster energy creates wonderful coincidences. The crochet from two different artists combined beautifully. Three people (myself included) happened to contribute leaves, which created a theme. I was already planning on using my little leaf painting, which is in the above picture next to Chris’s leaf.

Deb sent the third leaf. Speaking of Deb, let’s go back to why people contributed: I asked Deb what motivated her to get involved. She said that I had appreciated the Tree of Life quilt she had made. So she thought I would enjoy a leaf on my blue jeans. Below is a photo of it is after I sewed it on, which Deb made much easier because she backed it with HeatNBond to turn it into an iron-on patch.

The photo’s Barbie-style letter D is another enthusiastic contribution from Kathleen. Knowing I wanted a Barbie addition to the jeans, she offered to send a Barbie patch of my choice. D for De Grandis!

Another synchronicity. Chris embroidered with silver thread. I happen to have an identical thread. I used it to sew her leaf onto my jeans. The consistency looked sweet.

More Trickster Fun and Synchronicity

Again, I disagree with the trickster lore that cruel tricks of Gods and humans are sanctioned when they are meant to teach you lessons. My Book of Shadows essay shows that’s not really a trickster. In any case, working with real tricksters is actual fun, and they add beautiful energy to an event.

Backstory: I committed to buying no art supplies this year. I have a lot already. It’s easy to let it sit unused and buy new ones instead of figuring out creative ways to use my old ones. End of backstory.

Trickster Kathy Crabbe surprised me with silk scraps from items she had dyed and painted.

Divine, fun synchronicity aka trickster energy was at work. Kat’s scraps don’t suit the blue jeans, but were perfect anyway. I really really really needed something for other wearable art pieces and didn’t have it. Let’s not forget my commitment to not buy new craft materials. Her scraps are perfect for the other pieces.

I made the first of them—a necklace. To make it, I ripped up some of Kat’s scraps into strips and tied them together for the cord and tassel. I painted the necklace’s wooden spool. The necklace is called I love and am loved. I only expected one or two people to contribute to my project. I was blessed by so much love instead. Here’s the necklace:

All my activities are trickster projects in some ways. Synchronicity aka beneficent chaos rules my life.

Trickster Speed and Competence

Tricksters are portrayed as lazy incompetent loafers, but it’s not true. Everyone quickly sent me their contributions—again showing generosity and enthusiasm.

Speed was important. I needed to wrap up the project quickly. My entire apartment is about 250 square feet. That includes space occupied by kitchen counters, refrigerator, stove, shower stall, etc. Plus it is a live/work space. It’s crammed. 

That is fine, this is a transitional home between a three-bedroom house and my new home in Italy.

But space is at a premium. The trickster project occupied areas that I’d need soon for other activities.

I didn’t take anyone’s kindness or artistry for granted. So I didn’t want to hurry anyone. Different artists need different time frames. Heck, I took ten years to write a single song.

I figured if anyone needed more time than was within my framework, I could use their piece on later trickster clothing. … I make myself a fair amount of trickster clothing.

And if a timetable made anyone change their mind about contributing, their loving offer was the important thing. I had requested support, and they’d given me that by wanting to contribute.

There were no changed minds or delays. Do you know how amazing that is in a bunch of artists?

I had to bend down to photograph myself, so the jeans are bunched up and tight, but the project was completed, and I’m in my trickster magic wearable art talisman:

Trickster Reciprocity

There was a sense of reciprocity in this endeavor. For example, at least one person gifted me in appreciation of the Shamanic work I’d done over the years.

Kathleen and I were continuing a decades-long tradition of crafting things for each other. It is not reciprocity as a trade but as mutual love and support.

I think that reciprocity is part of trickster generosity and enthusiasm. In gratitude, I sent one contributor a digital talisman—a digital file of my original shamanic art. Circling around, in a circle of sharing.

More Trickster Synchronicity
aka Chaos Magic

This may seem completely random, but nothing is random (and I will delete it if it proves insignificant to the matters at hand): Three contributors enclosed stickers in their packages. I adore stickers. … Do all Pagans adore stickers? I’m not saying that everyone who contributed is Pagan. I’m saying maybe I’m just like all other Pagans. Chissà. (That is Italian for Who knows.)

Ah, I just saw the connection between stickers and patches. I’ll get to it in a moment.

What Does The Harlequin Pattern Symbolize?

The harlequin pattern is a checkerboard comprised of diamonds, not squares. I imagine it symbolizes a fool’s patchwork clothing and is a stylization thereof. It is worn by the Harlequin of the Italian commedia dell’arte. I capitalized Harlequin in the previous sentence because it refers to the commedia dell’arte character.

I created a meaning for the harlequin pattern that is personal to me: it represents the trickster’s freedom requiring self-control, but not perfection. Here’s how I came by that meaning.

Wanting a harlequin pattern patch, but committed to not buying supplies, I painted the harlequin pattern on a piece of cloth.

This commitment to not buying blessed me because I had spiritual realizations while painting. Art really is about the process. My thoughts went roughly like this:

I’m not good at painting perfectly symmetrical geometrical rigid patterns on cloth.

… How can a rigid geometric pattern represent a trickster, someone comfortable in chaos?… The historical reason is it’s probably a stylization of fool outfits for theatrical and court performances.

But, for me, it also represents that the trickster is part of the whole.

There is a saying in the alternative schooling community: Freedom, not license. Freedom requires being engaged in ongoing disciplines. The rigid geometric diamond pattern can represent that for me.

Moreover, the trickster contains all things within, according to my view of trickster and my belief that each item of existence contains all other items.

So discipline is within the Trickster archetype. Thus, being disciplined does not rob power from a trickster.

The Harlequin Pattern:
Trickster Freedom Doesn’t Require Perfection

I continued painting and thinking:

Though discipline is important, painting exact symmetry repeatedly on cloth would physically hurt. That wouldn’t be healthy discipline. That would be self-abuse. (Dear reader, I could physically manage it digitally. I don’t mean AI. I will never make AI art. AI art and digital art are not synonymous. For example, I use my finger or stylus as a paintbrush or pen, with the screen as my canvas or paper, so I actually draw and paint.)

… I don’t need my usual high standard because I’m not selling these jeans—they are for me.

… I deserve a high standard for the art I wear.

… I love the painting exactly as is. It’s beautiful.

And trickster clothes get ragged on the fool’s endless, marvelous adventures!

Here is my harlequin pattern patch. I ended up using it in a later wearable art piece. Ignore the blue ink, which was from my initial sketch and will wash out.

Trickster Clothes for a Patchwork Ragtag Harlequin Fool

Here are more pictures of the finished wearable art. A tribe can create wonderful magic.

Patches start near the bottom, leaving the very bottom clear for when I cuff the pants.

Patches sweep up on the outsides, so the top and mid center are clear. Here is the right outside:

This is the left outside. Years ago, I hand-dyed lace and had a green scrap left:

My security blanket took a lot of hand-sewing. I am proud of that. I’m not good at sewing, let alone by hand. But I accepted my sewing as it is. My sewing machine was among many objects I released to move to Italy lightly.

I love the medley of patches. It ranges from my embroidery to commercial patches to crochet. There’s a medley of themes too.

I’m obsessed with patches. That makes sense. Harlequin costumes suit a trickster.

It’s occurred to me that both stickers and patches are easy methods of adorning items. Used in abundance, they create a lovely raggle tag appearance. Many a clown, fool, or other trickster has a raggle tag look.

So my love of stickers is consistent with my trickster soul. There’s another connection that I’ll get to in a moment.

Coincidences and Shamanism
Go Hand-in-Hand with Trickster

There was a tradition that a Shaman would never perform a ritual without a trickster by their side. After the ritual, the Shaman would split the fee with the trickster. I do not know if the tradition, which was possibly Hopi, continues.

I work toward my goals while remaining flexible. Shamanic culture integrates goals with happenstance … and there is no happenstance. Here’s a story about that.

This project fed my obsession with patches. Once it ended, I started painting more patches.

Painting a rabbit trickster totem, I was surprised when it turned out both cute and fierce. The latter was not my goal.

But I sewed it on a T-shirt, while trying to learn a cute Leporid-trickster-warrior’s ferocity. In doing so, I was attempting to embody coincidences, shamanism, and trickster hand-in-hand.

Angels Catch the Fool Who Falls Off the Cliff

The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck has a card called The Fool. They are dressed in patchwork and stand at a cliff’s edge. Decades ago, I don’t remember where, I learned that if the fool falls off the edge, angels catch them.

Here’s how this connects to my love of stickers. Thinking of stickers led to thoughts of fools. Thoughts of fools led to the angel lore. I need it right now. It is reassurance from the Goddess that my crazy move to Italy—which is a fool’s choice—will be protected by angels carrying me safely.

Seemingly random connections from thought to thought to thought, or feeling to thought to intuition, are process-oriented. These processes are innate to us and create wisdoms as important as those more overtly logical connections provide.

Fools Symbolize Unlimited Potential

There are many reasons I believe trickster Gods offer unlimited potential. One is that the Fool card represents, among other things, unlimited potential. Another is that trickster Gods are so loving, and love holds all power. There are plenty of other reasons, but here are two:

* In embracing whatever occurs in the moment—supposed coincidences—we access unlimited potential.
* When we risk foolishness, as long as we keep our feet on the ground, miracles occur.

A Trickster Blessing

One of the final steps for the security blanket was to pray to my trickster Gods to bless my blue jeans. Talismanic blue jeans. Clothing can be amulets. I prayed that the jeans make me feel safe and loved wherever I am.

However, they were already blessed by magic. The efforts contributors made, whether by purchasing something or by crafting something, are pure love. Love is pure magic.

My trickster Gods added Their love in answer to my prayer.

Gratitude and Blessing to Trickster Friends

My final step is to thank contributors again. To you all:

Grazie mille! Vi voglio bene, amici miei. That’s Italian for “thanks so much! I love you, my friends.” Italians don’t use the word amore with friends. Amore is for romance. And that’s your Italian lesson for today.

For All Tricksters

My trickster colleagues, we travel together, whether we’ve met or not, and even if we don’t know about each other. Fools, clowns, Harlequins, or whatever you call yourself, thank you for walking the joyful path with me. Thank you for being of service. All our acts of service support each others’ efforts.

… Instead of saying, “I am obsessed with patches,” I want to say, “My trickster enthusiasm kept me painting patches.” I painted Totoro from Studio Ghibli. So here’s more bunny energy for you. Look at how happy and adorable the rabbit Totoro is, and their Trickster love for you.

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2 Responses to My Trickster Security Blanket

  1. Paula Amero says:

    Well I just learned more about Trickster energy–thank you and thanks again for giving me the opportunity to be part of that! I love the rag-tag look and the way that long strip goes up the side ….so randomly perfect!

    I love the Trickster bunny Totoro at the end too! Thanks for sharing! You are the Energizer Bunny (Organic version)!

    • Francesca De Grandis says:

      Hahahahaha, organic energizer bunny! Hello, Paula, thank you for such supportive words and, again, for your contribution to the project. I’m glad you posted your fabulous comment here so that others see its beauty. ❤️

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