Equinox, The Moirai, and making your own destiny
Anneliese discusses the role of fate in our lives, and the control we have over our own destiny.
Everyone lives a lifetime. No more, no less. The Moirai or Fates make sure of that. The Moirai, Fates, Parcae, perhaps even the Norns – call them what you will – are ancient, and they are widespread, appearing in many cultures…
What is the role of the Moirai?
These three goddesses guide the affairs of all humans and even the most powerful of the gods. The Moirai (the Greek form of these triple goddesses) had their own individual names: Clotho (“The Spinner”), Lachesis (“The Alloter”) and Atropos (“The Unturning”). The Greeks tended to show these figures as attractive, serious young women. In contrast, the Romans often saw them as elderly and implacable.
Regardless of appearance, the Moirai plotted the blueprint of a person’s life. Of course, it is up to us to decide what we do with this gift.
Unpicking the origins – or threads of the Moirai
Their name comes from the Greek word that means to share or proportion something. The question is, what do they share with us? Something sweet, like the white petal of the may tree – or bitter, like a sloe. Two sides of the same coin.
At this time of year (at the time of writing, that is), when the frosts lose their frequency and the first buds of may begin to bloom, we once more find ourselves facing the lacuna between that which we aspire to and that which we would prefer to avoid.
We may dream of their departure, but without those painful sharp frosts, the sloes remain bitter. Only the bite of winter can sweeten them enough to be added to gin or vodka to make a tasty Yuletide treat.
Could there be something for us to learn in this?
To find the balance and equilibrium which make life richer, must we study the equinox and learn to embrace both the bitter and the sweet? Without knowing the frosts, how could we appreciate the first weak warming rays of the winter sun? In life we must accept that sometimes – whether we are powerful or meek – we have little control over our situation, and the only way we can retain some sense of ourselves is by consciously choosing how we will react.
We can swing into the slough of despair; we can blithely refuse to confront the situation in which we find ourselves. Alternatively, we can seek equilibrium and accept what we cannot change whilst altering what is mutable. This may be difficult; we may feel that the Moirai have been unfair and placed too great a burden on us in comparison to someone else who always seems to sail on smoother seas.
Yet… consider how, during the equinox, the days and nights are equal. Who knows what happens in the dark or what lurks on the shadow side of another’s psyche? If we did we might find that the Moirai are guiding our faltering footsteps with brilliant flambeaux.
Finding balance, and finding power
Remember, too, that whilst the Moirai usually seal our fate, they do not interfere with our day to day life. True, the adventures of the heroes and even the gods were preordained; Orpheus was fated to travel to the underworld; Phosphine was always going to be the catalyst of the seasons… but the mundane aspects of their daily existence were their own. Even Hera could not kill Dido until the Moirai cut the thread of her life.
Once more in these myths we see the movement from light to dark and back again. As with the Taoist symbol of Yin and Yang we return once more to seeking balance. At this time of year we can begin to find it; day and night are in equilibrium. The weather begins to soften, and the sun climbs higher in the sky. We know that there will be hailstorms and frost, but these will be softened by sunshine and birdsong. The road of the equinox and its sister notion of equilibrium is not smooth.
The Moirai may have tests for us to face that will send us down to the underworld. Though this will hopefully see us rise to surface once more and to embrace the joys that will make life bloom. Remember, then, that whatever our fate we can all be heroes and heroines of our own story.