One person may be ‘born with a silver spoon in their mouth’, while another may not have a penny to their name. Is this how it is and always will be? How much control do we really have over our ‘lot in life’?
Watch the video for more thoughts on this.
I was not brought up in a religious household – quite the opposite! Religion, I was told, was the ‘opium of the people’. If people are seduced by the promise of a beautiful afterlife, then they are likely to be more content with their lot. Opium keeps the proletariat half asleep and malleable. A state religion was useful politically, as citizens would learn to accept their status in life. As one of the verses goes in the famous hymn, All Things Bright and Beautiful:
The rich man in his castle
The poor man at his gate,
He made them high and lowly
And ordered their estate.
These lines were penned by the Anglo-Irish poet, Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895) who was wife to the Bishop of Dublin. They were included in her Hymns for Little Children, published in 1848. (She also wrote the very popular There is a Green Hill Far Away, as well as the Christmas Carol, Once in Royal David’s City). I remember singing all these hymns when I was attending a Church of England primary school in the 1950s – a hundred years after they were written.
Cecil’s lines concerning the ‘estate’ of every individual soul tell us a great deal about the traditional Christian message concerning our ‘agency’. Agency means having the ability to change what you don’t like. The rich man likes what he’s got (we assume), so he doesn’t need change. On the other hand, the poor man has to be persuaded that poverty is his destiny. How useful to brainwash small children into believing this! They’re telling you: Don’t strive to change what has been pre-destined. Accept your ‘lot’ in life willingly.
Although this is a Victorian Christian injunction, the ancient Greek Stoics, who lived at least two thousand years ago, would have agreed. In the Hellenistic period, plenty of intelligent people accepted the idea of ‘lots’ and believed each natal horoscope would show the individual what is ‘written’ as their destiny. Unlike the Christians, the ancient Greeks didn’t think of a single father ‘God’, but they certainly believed in ‘fate’ or ‘fortune’.
The Wheel of Fortune
The tarot image of the Wheel of Fortune is based on the archetypal concept that ‘what goes up must come down’. This is also a crucial theory in astrological lore, which developed because we watch the cycles of time and see constant changes in the natural world. We notice the Sun as it rises, then shines and eventually sets. So human destiny can be experienced as a similar sequence – being born, creating our lives, then dying.
Astrology marks out the potential patterns for your individual destiny based on the time and place you were born. Over many generations, celestial watchers identified these patterns and calculated the activities of the wandering stars – the planets. When we consult a birth chart, or choose a day for a wedding or a book launch, we rely on very ancient observations and considerations. We can consult a treasure trove of wisdom, handed down to us from the early astrologers, who wrote their textbooks in Greek, Latin and Arabic.
The Lot of Fortune
In Hellenistic astrology we find many ‘lots’ – sometimes called ‘Arabic parts’. Calculating these is a complex mathematical process, although nowadays the maths can be easily done for you, if you consult online astrology sites (astro-seek.com is a good one, if you would like to try this for yourself).
Of special concern right now, particularly for those who want to make changes in their lives, will be to investigate the so-called ‘Lot of Fortune’, for which the Moon is the primary luminary. Ancient philosophers understood that we earthlings live in a ‘sub-lunar’ arena, and the rapidly changing phases of the Moon will be highly influential in our path of fortune, or destiny. In a natural birth, the moment the baby emerges to take its first breath is down to the lunar rhythms at work within the mother’s body. Mother provides nurturing as food and love. Any modern psychologist will tell you that the extent to which we get what we need or desire from our nurturing parents will colour our sense of being at ease in the world. Our m other also donates packages of inheritance, which is why, in evolutionary astrology, the Moon is sometimes associated with family karma. An astrologer will look at your natal chart and identify aspects to the Moon from ‘benefics’ or ‘malefics’. The horoscope can also reveal the ‘Lot of Fortune’, said to describe how your personal fortunes may shape up.
Pre-destined to be rich or poor?
Whether we take on board the notion that ‘God’ has already decided our ‘estate’ in life, or that the changing motion of the Moon can describe our destiny, we are faced with the very same, very big philosophical question: Do we have any free will? Do we have ‘agency’?
In recent decades, the ideas of New Thought have become popular. Here are some famous, and some not so well known, statements, concerning our individual ability to make our own fortune:
It is no stigma to wear rags; the disgrace is in continuing to wear them. – Muriel Strode (1903).
It depends upon yourself entirely whether you remain all your life in poverty, and it depends upon the prince entirely whether he becomes a man or merely remains a prince in name. – Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1909).
All men are created equal; but it is your own fault if you stay that way. – Dr. Long (1953).
It doesn’t matter if you’re born poor and you die poor, as long as you’re rich in between. – Joey Adams (1972).
If you born poor, it’s not your mistake, but if you die poor it’s your mistake. – usually attributed to Bill Gates.
My favourite quotes date back earlier than these. One of my all time favourite writers is George Bernard Shaw (1856 -1950). He once wrote:
People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.
Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.
Earlier still, Shakespeare wrote:
the fault…. is not in our stars, but in ourselves that we are underlings…
I suggest the Bard used the word ‘underlings’ because, for him, we are ‘sub-lunar’, in other words ‘under’ the influence of the Moon.
The Egyptian pyramid texts also speak of a person ‘drawing himself out of himself’. So how do we create ourselves? It’s clear we arrive in the world under certain circumstances, with a particular DNA inheritance, with specific family histories. But do these dictate how things will unfold in our lives?
In astrology, another ‘lot’ is the ‘Lot of Spirit’, for which the Sun takes the lead. The Sun represents our creative vitality and spiritual passion. If we take the relationship between the Sun and the Moon as a description of our potential, perhaps we can remove ourselves from the idea that we are, somehow, fated. When we meditate regularly, we discover the sunshine in our own Soul and we can begin to create a life we choose, rather than being ‘under the influence’, of inherited lunar tendencies, and therefore ‘fated’. The creative intelligence that sustains the cosmos is available to each and every one of us. The Shefa Method not only takes you on a journey to experience your inner Divine sunshine, it gives you the tools to create your best possible life.
You can learn how to work with the great Archangels of the Tree of Life by enrolling on my new course, Accessing Angelic Realms, either as Self-Study or with personal supervision from me. During May, if you take up the FREE Shefa Method offer, you also receive a 50% Discount Voucher valid against Accessing Angelic Realms if you purchase during May 2021 (you can start the course itself whenever you wish).
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