The Moirae and I

The Moirae as depicted in various tarot and oracle decks

A small sample of tarot and oracle decks featuring the Moirae: X Fate – Robert Place Tarot of Vampires; X Wheel of Fortune – Derakkusu Ban Hihou by Kazumi Niikura; Fate – Ancient Feminine Wisdom Deck by Kay Steventon.

Zizi is back and did a marvelous post on Fate vs Free Will featuring the Moirae, the Ancient Greek personification of Man’s inescapable destiny. He did a reading on the nature of the Fates – Klotho, Lachesis and Atropos – which inspired me to do my own reading, examining the Fates and their impact on my life. With the Wheel of Fortune featuring prominently in recent readings, it seemed like apt timing. Maybe if I take a closer look at the nature of the Wheel it will back off already!

Remembering the excellent points Z made in his examination of the Moirae, I looked at the core nature of each –

    ( Greek Κλωθώ – “spinner”) spun the thread of life from her distaff onto her spindle.
    ( Greek Λάχεσις – “alotter” or drawer of lots) measured the thread of life with her rod.
    ( Greek Ἄτροπος – “inexorable” or “inevitable”, sometimes called Aisa) was the cutter of the thread of life. She chose the manner of a person’s death and when she cut the thread with “her abhorred shears”, someone on earth died.

– and drew the following (using the World Spirit Tarot):

Moirae Spread with World Spirit Tarot

Moirae Spread with World Spirit Tarot. By Lauren O’Leary and Jessica; Llewellyn 2001, 2006.

[1] Klotho – the thread and karma that make up the fabric of my life
Two of Wands – Initiative

The first thing I notice is that the suit here is Wands, the same as in Zorian’s draw. The suit of Fire is all about beginnings, creation, inspiration and impulse. Birth. As it is, there are two glowing torches in this card and a meteor blazing through the sky. Shooting stars have been linked to both birth (souls returning to earth) and death in folklore; the endless cycle.

This card, to me, is very primordial. I imagine a planet or place far away, where it is always night. The sea is a living thing; a symbol of the fluid, undefined, undecided state of un-being between lifetimes. The primaeval womb.

2 of Wands is the Explorer and is called “Initiative” in this deck. The figure uses the celestial fire to light his way, as he prepares to enter the sea and make his journey into another life. Applied power. This is just a start, a vision realised and acted upon, regardless of finessing the details; things can and will change along the way – just do it! Self-creation.

It is undeniably a card of Will, but not just the blind point-and-shoot style of the Magician. The inner voice of the HP speaks and the figure listens. I would think this points to some experience on the part of the soul; it’s not a first-timer. Young enough to still be fiery, but a controlled burn. Determined, bold, directed. Purpose? Yes! Aah, but what is it? I think I dropped it on the ocean bed during the long swim to consciousness…

[2] Lachesis – the span of my life and the path I follow as a result of active (or not!) Free Will
10 Wheel of Fortune

Seriously?? Comme c’est drôle, World Spirit.

Certainly, the WoF is something so far outside our realm of control it cannot be understood, only experienced. It is the very essence of the balance between Fate and Free Will: Fate says the Wheel will spin and you will go along for the ride, but you can choose to sit near the calm centre or hang onto the rim and get whipped around like a rag-doll. It is Saṃsāra, but we can choose not to suffer.

This is an amazing card to pull here. Intense. And hella funny. “Honey, you can wish me away as much as you like, but I’m here to stay!”

[3] Atropos – the inevitable end; the destination, regardless of the journey
Six of Swords – Passage

Once again, the same suit as Zorian’s draw.

A hot beginning and cold ending. A transmutation: fire leads to smoke/air. And a message that couldn’t be more clear: Passage. In my head I hear, “Life’s a journey, not a destination.” Duly noted. The end is the beginning is the end. But though this is a Swords card, it is one of the less stabby ones.

The 6 of Swords often makes me think of the ferry across the Styx, which couldn’t be more appropriate when dealing with the Moirae. I like that there is an old woman on the dock, about to make her (final) journey.The boat is packed with treasure which, being Swords, I take to be of a more ethereal nature rather than literal gold. The eye on the prow of the boat is wonderful – inner guidance taking control again as you shuffle off your mortal coil and head back into the sea (there is some evidence that Ancient Greek ships has eyes mounted or painted on the prow to ward of the Evil Eye).

And at the end, you are not alone.

Do you see all the water? A vast expanse in the first card, the river in the background of the second, and again in the third. And the darkness, with only a crescent moon at most in all 3 cards. There is a heavy, heavy sense of something unseen, working in the background. It’s… massive. Dense. It’s the same feeling I get when trying to understand my dream deck.

[4] Quint18 The Moon

How absolutely, bloody perfect!

Darkness is our beginning, darkness is our end and behind it all is darkness, the unknown. Again, the crescent moon and the sea is confirmed as a metaphor and the setting is a primal, wild landscape. The image of the crayfish heading up through the narrows and eventually between the mountains is very birth-canally.

The crayfish looks awfully vulnerable as it sets out on its journey and the landscape is desolate and forbidding. In the dark, you cannot tell for sure if the path you are following is the correct one, you simply have to trust your inner compass. And there is terror in the night, fear of the unknown that stretches on forever before you.

Z mentions the word “illusion” several times in his post, when speaking about the illusion of Free Will; the illusion of control; the illusion of death being the end. The Moon card is so closely associated with the concept of illusion that it has even been renamed as such in some decks. I would add to the list, the illusion of your Shadow.

Even in the palest moonlight, we cast a shadow, but the Moon’s light is an illusion. The thought came to me while meditating that, at Dark Moon there is no light source for throwing shadows and thus we are whole, integrated. It is only in the darkest night that we are truly ourselves, whether by choice or circumstance. There is nothing to fear, nothing to run from; it is illusion.

Le Parche by ScarletGothica (click to enlarge)


6 thoughts on “The Moirae and I

    • submerina says:

      It was a very deep thing that came to me, but like all meditative realisations, it’s very hard to explain properly. Making connections, though.


    • submerina says:

      Oh yes, the cards are having a really good laugh at my expense. Ha ha, okay, joke’s over, kids. ENOUGH WHEEL!! :D


  1. Helen says:

    I really liked the WOF in its position show us that life is every changing and it’s how we adapt to those changes whether we have control over our destiny or not.


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