Blind Man's Elephant
Free Will, Fate and Destiny
Four Men and an Elephant? [part two]
In the second part of his article, Steven Birchfield concludes his discussion of Free Will, Fate and Destiny in the light of various religious and philosophical teachers, while giving the issue some clarity under the light of astrology, ancient and modern.
According to an old Indian tale, they showed four blind men an elephant and asked them to describe it. One of them felt the tail and he said, "Behold, I perceive the elephant is like a rope!" Another one felt the trunk and said, "No, he is like a serpent!" The third felt the leg and said, "Oh nay, but he is like a tree!" And the fourth felt his side and said, "No, he's like a wall!"
Well they were all right. Each according to his own individual perspective. Each describing their perception of the same thing, an elephant. So the question I pose myself is, "are we doing the same thing?" Is each "perception" just a part of the whole? The apostle Paul wrote:
"For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." 
I hope no one will misconstrue me here and think that I’m insinuating that every one is "blind". I am not, and that is not my intention. What I hope to accomplish is perhaps to negotiate a bond between opinions. And by so doing perhaps expand the horizons of our collective understanding. This long-winded disertation is no more than this astrologers humble opinion, for what it’s worth.
So what is my "perception" of this "elephant" we call Fate?
In the Beginning . . . . . !
Whether or not one adheres to Biblical teachings, the Bible is nonetheless an inexhaustible source wisdom and knowledge. What I found interesting in one verse in the opening book of the Bible was it’s relevance to the question of fate. In the book of Genisis we can read:
"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." 
Here we are told that "the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground". What is the dust of the ground but the particles, atoms, molecules and elements which makes up all of our cosmos and which is subject to all the laws of physics and chemistry which governs our "natural" existence. It is the "physical" boundries that describe us. Just as the natural laws rule our "physical" fate. We are born and we will die. As a part of creation, we too are subject to "fates" dictates. But just the physical body alone is not complete.
It then says that God, "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life". Now the hebrew word for breath here is the same as the words used in the Bible for "spirit". Literally translated meaning "air" --"rouach" in the Old Testament and "pneuma" in the New Testament. So we find here that the other factor in order to make a "living soul" was spirit.
And what is this "air"? Modern psychology aknowledges that we’ve got something that thinks and controls our body. And they assert that that is the real you, the personality of you, the person that really controls the body but that you can't see. So we’ve come to call it the mind or the psyche. The Esoteric will call the same function in man as "spirit", and subject not to physical laws, but to less distinct but nevertheless active "spiritual laws". But it is what distinguishes the physical body from the essence of that soul. Because it takes both these factors to make a living soul. Body and spirit.
I might even go so far as to say that the "breath of Life" was that part of God we received which gives us our affinity to His qualities -- that of choice and decision. It is that part of us, the majesty of choice, that is in "His likeness". We then are likewise subject to His laws,which are quite simply summed up by the apostle Paul:
"Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." 
Whatever you wish to call "spirit", it is a necessary part of making a living soul. Without the "spirit", the body is dead and without the body there is no physical existence. Both are a necessary and functioning part of a living soul.
In simple equation form, then, the physical + spirit = a living soul. And if we then take this one step further, we could conclude that both realms of "fate", the physical and the spiritual, are a necessary and integral part of what I would call our "destiny". Our living fullfillment.
In one of Jesus’ many parables is found a story that perhaps best speaks of this principle:
" • For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
• And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
• Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
• And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
• But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money." 
Here we see the mechanics of my proposition. First is dealt out the potential, that which we have to work with. It is the physical or material "fate" we have to work with. That which you might say is predetermined and set, the shell which is to hold the spirit. And we see that to each is given different "gifts", but all have the same potential as a starting point.
Next we see the part that makes it "living", what each did with his talent/talents. This is the part which is directed by the free agent or "spirit" if you’d like. Here is a clear picture of choices and decisions. And we can read from versus 19 - 29, which continue the story, of the the "fate" as a result of their actions.
In Conclusion . . .
Many more examples could be found I think, if we took perhaps a little more time to examine. But I think Steven Forrest sums up my ultimate opinion on this subject when he writes:
". . . . even with the astrology of a hundred years from now staring us in the face, a neo-classicist and I would still disagree about what had actually transpired. That astrology won't be "modern." It won't be "neo-classical." It'll be better than both, and claim both for its funky ancestors."
"There's one point, however, about which I'm personally sure: in the quantum astrology of the twenty-first century, a delightful degree of unpredictability will be assumed as the birthright of each individual man and woman, just as we now recognize it to be the birthright of every subatomic particle." 
I guess the conclusion of the whole matter is that I do believe in fate after all is said and done. I think perhaps though that fate, both subject to natural laws and spiritual laws, is rather an agent used in the fullfillment of our destiny. With the re-awakening of the neo-classical lines of astrology and the continued advancement of the esoteric/psychological/archetypal astrology, it won't be long I think before we find them converging into what will be our children's children's astrology.
This concludes Steven Birchfield's contribution to our ongoing dicussion. Click to return to the start of Free Will, Fate and Destiny.