Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Twisted Myth Files (1): Whiskey Jack

Trickster god and culture hero of Algonquian mythology. Virtually unknown in modern times, but at one point this dude was famous. Variations on the name Whiskey Jack include Wisakedjak and Weesack-Kachak. Very similar to Manabozho of Anishinaabe mythology; in many tales the pair are interchangeable.

No need to throw Wisakecahk into the muddle. One, no one can pronounce it, and two, that guy had problems. Unknowingly eating your own scabs? Wowza.

Most famous stories: (1) "Earth-diver" Creation Myth where he creates the world after a great flood. (2) Wesakaychak and the Ducks, where the Trickster requests wings from a flock of ducks, who reluctantly grant his misguided wish. After a series of misadventures (similar to but of a lighter tone than the Greek myth of Icarus), Whiskey Jack decides to stay earthbound.

Powers and abilities: Mostly unknown, but he can expand things already created.

Whiskey Jack is a Trickster, and in some stories comes complete with all the usual foibles. But he is sometimes portrayed as more than his archetype: a "Trickster-Transformer".

An interesting fact about Whiskey Jack: the name is a corruption. Newly-arrived Europeans, upon early encounters with the native tribes of what is today the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada, misheard a few things. And so "Wesakaychak" and its many lingual variations became "Whiskey Jack". Quick, English-speaker, say the names, one after the other, five times fast.

UPDATE - 4/9/12: There are no depictions of Whiskey Jack to be found with lackluster searches on Google, unless he's transformed into the bird he gifts his name to. The reports that he's been working as a colonial reenactor in Eden, Virginia, and had a role in the disturbance there last summer involving the Fountain of Youth and the Cosmic Dancer, have yet to be verified. Earthbound agents of the MythCourt are now closely monitoring his case.

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