Layman, I appreciate what you’re pointing to here, and yet, I have a considerably different perspective on this.
First, as you sort of point to, the relationship between shamans and political power (as well as military-warrior power) has a very long history, of course, one alleged example during the 12th century being that of a Mongolian shaman who foresaw and told the warrior Temujin that he was to be the “master of the world,” and gave him the title Genghis Khan. (The shaman later changed his mind and said Genghis Khan’s brother should be master; the shaman was put to death.)
Second, many of the words you use–reversal, surprise, shock, stunts, performative non-sense, irrational, carnival-like, uncanny–are more befitting the Trickster than the shaman. Granted, some shamans, certainly not all, have had and do have a trickster element to them, and also engage in theatricality and performance artistry. But to focus on this is to place emphasis on the superficial forms–the surface structures–rather than the content of shamanic activity–the deep structures. The tricks and stunts of shamans, like their costumes (if they wear one) or equipment, are not the main point.
I do not see Trump as any kind of shaman.
But, I do see elements of trickery in him. While you may be fully aware of Trickster spirits/energies/myths, I’m going to detail some information anyway, in case other readers might be less informed but interested.
The Trickster is a spiritual motif or recurring pattern that shows up in the mythologies of many cultures. Often considered a demi-god, Trickster takes both animal and human forms. Coyote is perhaps the most well-known trickster animal among native people of the Southwest and the Plains. Burt for tribes in the Northwest, it is the “thief” raven, or blue-jay, and among the Dakota tribes, it’s Spider Woman. Then there are the “contraries,” the human clowns, called Heyokah by the Plains tribes and Koshari by the Hopi and Pueblo. The False Face Societies of the Northeast are also tribal tricksters.
But there is also the god Maui among Hawaiians, part villain, part hero; among the Norse, there is the god Loki who constantly changes what side he’s on in any disagreement or conflict. Hermes is the Greek trickster god (called Mercury by the Romans), and is thought of in myth as the messenger between all the gods and goddesses of Olympus, and between the gods and humans. Even Krishna of Hinduism and Sikhism has a trickster aspect. And of course, Trickster shows up in folklore and fairy tales: there is the wolf, for example, in “Little Red Riding Hood,” and Robin Hood is a manipulative thieving trickster who serves, as many trickster spirits/energies/characters do, noble goals.
Regardless of the mythological form or culture/place, the Trickster energy has similar components, and I think it’s in considering these components that one can legitimately ask, not ‘is Trump a dark shaman,’ but ‘Is Trump a Trickster?’
In general, Trickster is viewed and serves as a “wake-up” call through the occurrence of the Unexpected. Tricksters deliver both minor jolts and major shocks, functioning through the element of surprise, both “good” and “bad” surprise. Trickster can be playful and humorous, but in a mischievous, prank-ish, mocking, ridiculing, embarrassing, even rough sort of way. Trickster is also associated with luck, both good and bad luck, and also with cross-roads and transitions.
Trickster is also thought of as a chaotic creative power, or “crazy wisdom,” that helps in the reconciliation and integration of contraries, or opposites, such as the opposites of villainy and heroism of Maui, or the “this-side, now-the-other-side” nature of Loki. Trickster operates through any and all pairs of opposites:
the opposing forces of good and evil; the male and female or masculine and feminine poles; the sacred and the irreverent; the wise and the foolish; unconscious motive/drive and conscious intent, etc. (In this regard, Trickster can be thought of as somewhat of an Integralist, encouraging integration of dualities/opposites within and without the self; this is also akin to shadow work.)
And often with Trickster energy, there is an element of the obscene or offensive, and sexual lust is frequently a theme in Trickster mythology. Coyote is well-known for this, but so is one aspect of the young Krishna, the “blue cowboy” making all the cow-maids fall in love and lust with him, persuading them to leave their homes and husbands to spend the nights dancing with him. The ‘noble goal’ here is to support and encourage their bhakti, or spiritual devotional love.
While trickster energy challenges our egoic stances and structures, as well as our attachments and aversions (contraries again) in some quite humbling ways, the intent is essentially to wake and grow us up. Some people say that it is only by trickery that many people ever awaken spiritually; consider the surprise, out-of-the-blue, unexpected spiritual awakening that many people have had. This kind of sudden jolted awakening (softly, usually) then presents the opportunity to reconcile and integrate the beliefs and views of reality we’ve been accustomed to with the view we’ve had of reality from the new experience/awareness.
At a minimum, the Trickster energy helps liberate us from our conventionality and tendencies to take ourselves, others, and life so seriously. Among some native groups with a Trickster myth, it is said that when one is able to laugh at having been tricked–laugh purely and whole-heartedly without any taint of wryness or sarcasm–the needed lesson has been learned.
So is Trump a Trickster figure? I think if you go down the line of elements of trickster energy listed here, you’ll be saying, yes, there’s that, there’s that, there’s that…
But if he is, he’s a very unconscious Trickster with few discernible (conscious) noble goals in terms of the intent to wake up/grow up others, and he’s not doing so well at reconciling the opposites (left and right political wings, for instance.) Further, Mr. Trump himself is also being constantly tricked, rudely surprised and jolted by the unexpected, mocked and ridiculed, so if he is a Trickster figure, he’s also tricking himself (which is not unusual; there are lots of tales of coyote tricking himself). He’s also, at least as judged by his public persona and behavior, not learning the lessons of trickery–I’ve yet to see him in a humble state or to laugh in a pure and whole-hearted way; have you?
But the other question is, if he is a Trickster, are we laughing yet?? I do occasionally (when I’m not ranting, or rapping my own aggressive song: “They call it falsehood Or misstatement Or fabrication But the word is LIE!” lyrical refrain, to the tune of Roy Orbison’s “Crying”–“He’s been ly i i i ing, Yes it’s true Ly i i i ing To me and you He doesn’t have a clue about the truth.”…). It’s all pretty absurd.
I don’t know that I answered your specific questions, Layman; maybe another time. Thanks!