Saturday, 30 January 2016

Destiny or not? How to tell the difference

Earlier I wrote about not giving away your power in life. But what if you are simply hit by a bout of bad luck, or some events are destined to happen and you can't direct them? None of us can win the lottery with sheer willpower, after all.

So, how to know whether you're dealing with a situation that can be changed, or are simply down on your luck and have to accept it - for now?

Firstly, I think there's two polar opposite world views in play here. The other edge says: it's all in the hands of fate/god/universe, there's not much I can do to change it. The opposite edge says: it's all up to me and there's no obstacle big enough to keep me at bay. The most realistic attitude to take is - IMO and quoting the Serenity Prayer: help me to change things I can change, accept the things I can't change, and know the difference between the two.

But, how to know the difference? Tarot to the rescue [drum roll]! Tarot contains cards to tell when things at play are brought to you by destiny - or luck or chance, whichever you'd like to call it.

Cards indicating destiny

The most "obvious" destiny cards for me are the World (successful and/or natural ending, completion of a chapter, lesson learned), the Wheel of Fortune (chance, luck, destiny, change) but also the Empress; she's often interpreted as the divine feminine or the principle of femininity (as in: ideal woman), but also creativity, nurture and nature. For me personally, the Empress is about divine guidance: what is heralded by the Empress is a blessing on its way.

I interpret the Wheel of Fortune to mean a situation that will have long-term impact on life. The Wheel moments in itself can actually go unnoticed. Often only after years it becomes clear that the specific encounter, decision, action or day was much more important than seemed.

Other destiny-related cards for me are the Star - hope, optimism and (spiritual/divine) guidance; the High Priestess - listening to one's intuition and inner wisdom; and Tower, inevitable, sudden shock to the system.

However, many tarotists believe that everything in life is part of destiny - destiny, after all, is the life's path. Cards can tell what's going on in your life in the spiritual or metaphysical level. Hence, any and every card tells about the spiritual, deeper meaning and a lesson in life a mundane event, mindset, feeling or action can have.

Is destiny unchangeable? 

Here we hit an interesting question: is destiny, as the name implies, pre-destined aka unchangeable, or is it merely the course of events that happen? The former assumes a fatalistic view: what will happen, will happen. The latter thinks: things that I do and things of happenstance are what form to be my destiny - I'm making my own destiny.

I think life is a mix of both, but most importantly, it always depends on our own and other people's choices and decisions.

The most common times for people to request a love reading are at the edge of a new relationship, or on a rocky patch in their current one. More than once I've pulled shiny happy cards telling that the couple will do just fine, and that's how it went - for a period of time. Until the situation changes. Sometimes it's a temporary glitch, sometimes it's final separation.

I've been pretty gutted by this because I've thought I've interpreted the cards wrong. Did I inadvertently encourage people to stay together, when they, in fact, separated later anyway? What was the point? However, when I've asked about this "wrong" advice I've received, the answer from the cards was: you helped them to complete a chapter in life, learn a lesson.

Every relationship happens for a reason

Sometimes the reason is to live happily ever after. Sometimes it is to learn about oneself and others, and about emotions and behaviours in general.

Even if you don't believe in any sort of divine guidance, every relationship does happen for a reason as they teach plenty about ourselves, for our own development purposes. It's up to everyone to decide what to take on board from a successful or a "failed" relationship. Should I take grudge, jealousy, anger, vengefulness, vulnerability, broken dreams? Or should I take improved self-knowledge and mental and emotional tools to make it work better next time?

Furthermore, even though almost every tarot spread contains the final card called "outcome", there's no such thing in life than outcome.

Temporary outcomes, yes, but because life goes on, situations evolve and change, too. And so do people. So even the happily ever after - stage (10 Cups in tarot) needs to be recreated every day, by the couple, actively. It doesn't just emerge and stay like that as an ever-frozen snapshot of time. This, of course, applies to negative "outcomes" too.

Can destiny be escaped? 

I personally believe that there are moments and circumstances in life we have no control or chance to direct, whatsoever. Take natural disasters, accidents, many illnesses, crime, etc. But even then we are not helpless. How to react and what attitude to take are completely up to each one of us.

So if a "destiny card" pops up in your reading, it doesn't mean: accept it meekly and passively. It means: look what you can learn from it, and if needed and/or possible, try to steer the outcome to the best possible direction. Don't just hang in there in the pin of the Wheel of Fortune and let it slam you around like an old dish rag! :)

Serenity Prayer Spreads (things I can and can't change)

These spreads are created by the Aeclectic Tarot Forum members Daisy Dragonfly and Embla, respectively, and they capture the essence of the Serenity Prayer in a useful manner:

1: What I cannot change?
2: What I can change?
3: Message/wisdom from the universe.


1: Serenity - How do I find serenity in this situation?
2: Acceptance - How do I find acceptance of the things I can´t change?
3: Courage - How do I find the courage to change the things I can?
4: Wisdom - How do I find the wisdom to know the difference between 2 and 3?

Destiny may have a path for you but  it's still up to you whether to follow it, take a short cut, detour or go meander someplace else. Photo via Freenaturestock

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