Fate, Destiny and Free Will

The Vengeful Fates cackle
While spinning their eternal web
Objective achieved
The plot in place
They watch and wait

From The Eagle’s Saga – A poem from Weird Tales: Otherworld Poetry by Dr. G. Michael Vasey, 2006

Free will.

We all very much like to believe that we have freedom of choice. That we have the power to make the decisions in our lives. Indeed, those decisions are our life as they weave the patterns, twists and turns of our existence. But do we?

Hermes, when asked about the nature of ordinary man – that is, of man that had not entered the stream of development that leads to initiation – he said that such a man or woman was merely a ‘procession of fate’. from The Zelator by Mark Hedsel.

A procession of fate. An orderly movement of events beyond a person’s control.

You know, if we think of time as being linear starting at the beginning and ending at the end then it is entirely possible that we have free will. As we move down this timeline, so to speak, that is our life, we can make choices. We are our own master. But if you see time as an illusion – a creation of the mind to provide some context – then doesn’t free will somehow become nonsense? If the past, the now and the future all exist at once but it is just our perception that sweeps along this eternal now creating the illusion of time then freedom of choice is an illusion too. Time helps our conscious mind to delude us into believing we are in control when in fact, we sleep in a procession of fate.

In the stillness of the eternal moment there is an understanding of sorts that we already have a destiny – a fate – and as we feel the illusion of moving through time, we think that we made a choice. It’s like an LP spinning on an old record player. The needle tracks a pre-ordained path but to our ears we hear a stream of music from beginning to end. It all exists at once of course on that LP.

The threads which the Fates spin are so unchageable, that, even if they decreed to someone a kingdom which at the moment belonged to another, and even if that other slew the man of destiny, to save himself from ever being deprived by him of his throne, nevertheless the dead man would come to life again in order to fulfil the decree of the Fates … He who is destined to become a carpenter, will become one even if his hands have been cut off: and he who has been destined to carry off the prize for running in the Olympic games, will not fail to win even if he broke his leg: and a man to whom the Fates have decreed that he shall be an eminent archer, will not miss the mark, even though he lost his eyesight.” (Flavius Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 8.7).

Hecate - whose three heads look to the past, the present and the future and is the Goddess of those who have yet to find their way

Hecate – whose three heads look to the past, the present and the future and is the Goddess of those who have yet to find their way

It seems to me then that man is destined to experience something pre-ordained – his fate. It might well be that it is the essence of the person who devised this plan – a plan of descent into the material realms in order to experience. And if so, then surely, once we have eyes to see and ears to hear, this becomes understood and in a sense, our freedom of choice is once again restored to us except that we gladly decide to accept our fate. We accept the will of God.

After a short while, I imagined being with Asteroth and there we were. I asked about being attuned with the will of God. She stood with me, arm around my shoulder and pointed to some trees. “Does the tree not express the will of God?” she asked. “Look how the trees grow towards the light, tall, strong and straight. Do you see them struggling to break away from the will of God and grow sideways?” I saw a terribly deformed and frail tree. “OK – but how does that apply to me?” I asked. “Stop struggling and listen. Attune to your inner self, become who you truly are and stop struggling,” She said.
Diary Extract.

From Inner Journeys: Explorations of the Soul, Thoth, 2005

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