The coyote, often called the sacred dog by First Nations peoples in America, is the cunning, the trickster and the prankster.
He is the one who plays tricks that often turn against himself. There are thousands of stories in Native American mythology about the coyote and his magical powers that often backfire. No one is more amazed at the results of his tricks than Coyote himself, and despite all the bumps and scrapes of his thousands of adventures, he always survives to see another day of holy madness.
It is Coyote who has defined the art of self-sabotage to perfection. He is sometimes so serious and caught up in his illusions that he fails to see what is obviously in front of him. He gets run over by a truck and doesn’t believe it: “Was that really a truck?» He gets back up to go look and gets run over again!
Coyote medicine is the humor of the ages. The medicine of laughter is very important in indigenous communities in America. The ability to know how to laugh at oneself allows for rapid evolution. Laughter is the ability to dislodge old traumas in the solar plexus and transform them. It allows us to unravel, to de-crystallize old patterns of behavior that have been built on past traumas and misperceptions.
First Nations people often teach proper conduct through teasing. When a person behaves inappropriately, rather than using punishment that arouses instinctive rebellion in a person, they tease them. In this way, the person learns to laugh at himself, even if he sometimes laughs rather uncomfortably, rather than closing in on himself, which often happens when a person who displays disturbing behavior is corrected, which is not conducive to transformation. In teasing and laughing, there is no direct attack on a person, who then remains more often open. If there is understanding, transformation takes place by itself. This teaching method does not work as well in Western societies because the system teaches humiliation to condition behavior. It is an abject method that has caused thousands of children to suffer in schools and families. So laughter is often seen as an attack on the person. This is not the case in indigenous communities where respect and freedom of the individual are sacred. It is very important to know this nuance because laughter is a powerful motor for transformation and evolution. When wrong behavior was affecting people in the community, one tool often used to change this inappropriate conduct was the comedy sketch. A few people would prepare a short comedy sketch that illustrated the behavior and the discomfort caused by this. At a community meeting when everyone was present, these people would perform their little play where everyone would recognize the people involved. Seeing disturbing, and therefore illogical behavior out of context is hilarious. These are very funny moments where everyone is having fun at the expense of the person concerned. Since there was no direct attack on the person yet often extreme discomfort of being laughed at, the person changes their behavior much more easily and quickly. This method is much more humane and effective than the Western reward-punishment system.
This is also the magic of the coyote stories. Through their stories, the people illustrated in a very funny way the follies in which we indulge, these neurotic and egotistical traits that we have all experienced. Laughing about it lightens the mood and allows you to learn quickly. It’s called coyote medicine.
We are but a speck of dust in the universe. Yet so many of us walk around with an inflated ego. Knowing how to laugh at ourselves puts us back in our rightful place. So we can work with joy and wild humor to increase our vitality and learning capacity.
Those who have coyote medicine are sometimes called contraries. Few women have this medicine and with good reason: it is one of the most difficult medicines and ladies have other things to do! For those who carry future generations, it is not the best medicine. The contrary’s role is to make others laugh, and he often does so by doing everything opposite to what others do. He rides the horse with his face facing the tail, without looking where he is going; he covers himself with thick clothes in summer and light shirts in winter; he stands up when others sit down and sits down when they stand up! Several nations had these sacred clowns, which were called heyokas among the Sioux. They were without doubt the most powerful shamans, and the most amazing! If you want to read the biography of such a man, there is this wonderful volume written by Richard Erdoes: Lame Deer: seeker of visions. Just an anecdote from this book to illustrate the power of these shamans. Lame Deer was a rodeo clown, the one who deflects the wrath of the bull or bronco after the rider has fallen to the ground. A very dangerous job. Lame Deer was particularly spectacular, literally taking the bull by the horns and making the crowd laugh at his clownish acrobatics. Very often he would get his bones broken. In fact, he boasted that every bone in his body had been broken at least once. He always had his medicine teepee beside the rodeo grounds, it was a requirement of his to perform at any rodeo. After breaking a bone, he would retire to his teepee and emerge an hour later completely healed!
Such is the power of coyote medicine.
Use coyote medicine to understand the funny messages that life sends you. Every time something bad happens to you in life, use Coyote Medicine and you will learn something about yourself! Any event that you can laugh at and use with humor will be easier to turn into something positive. Use humor to spice up family and community life! But be careful not to use humiliation, which is contrary to the laws governing human development.