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Mythic guidance for times when we are lost in the dark forest

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Mythic guidance for times when we are lost in the dark forest

“Midway upon the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.”

These are the words that open the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow).

Indeed, all of us, who have been around the block for a while, have encountered our own “forest dark.” Maybe more than once. And maybe for prolonged periods of time. Times when the “straightforward path” has been lost for us.

Typically, we encounter this dark forest at times of major life transitions. Although we may encounter the dark forest at any time in our life, there are some specific periods in life – times when we are about to leave a known way of being, and do not yet know how to be the next thing we are called to be – when we are most likely to enter the dark forest and be lost (for a time).

An example of a time when many of us enter these places of unclarity and unknowing is adolescence, when we are no longer a dependent child, but not yet a fully independent adult. Another such time is the proverbial “midlife,” when we may have accomplished many worldly things, but begin to chafe under the “persona,” (i.e., the “mask” we wear to tell the world who we are). It is ironic that it is the very persona that we had worked so hard in the first half of our lives to craft! And then of course there is that final transition, that twilight we approach when life begins to wane, and death’s shadow draws near.

These are times when we often feel confused, clouded, foggy… times when we are not sure how to proceed. Times when the “straightforward pathway” of an obvious next step does not stand out for us.

It is easy to lose heart at these times. It is easy to begin believing that life is always and forever going to be this muddy – this unclear.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture that has little patience with these dark, foggy, cloudy places. We want to diagnose these places as “depression,” or “lack of willpower,” and want to giddy up and gallop past the obstacle – if necessary, with the help of pharmaceuticals. Or, we (and those around us) give up hope, and accept ourselves as “a failure,” or “just mediocre,” with no unique spark that is our own.

The problem that really lies at the root of this quick diagnosis and attempted remediation is the fact that we, as a culture, have lost touch with the guiding myths that trace the long arc of a human lifetime.

Dark forest as a call to individuation

Instead of beating ourselves up, or mourning our bad luck (as if we are the only ones to ever encounter this dark forest), it might help us immensely to remind ourselves, and each other, that what we are encountering is in fact a known and well-marked spot on the map of the human territory – a spot that many before us have navigated.

Myths from diverse cultures across time and place, speak of this dark forest – this place with no clear way forward. Dante’s Divine Comedy is just one such story. The same story is encountered in a different garb in the Indian epic Ramayana – where the hero, Lord Rama, is banished from his rightful kingdom and into the forest, where he loses the two people he cherishes most – his beloved younger brother, and his wife. It is this loss that eventually sets into motion the rest of the story of Ramayana. Similar motifs show up again and again, in myth after myth, and fairy tale after fairy tale. Just think of poor young Snow White, abandoned in the middle of the forest at the behest of her evil stepmother (but also because of the kind-hearted huntsman who cannot bring himself to kill Snow White as ordered by his Queen)!

What we forget as we face our own dark forests is that without this loss of direction and clear path ahead, Dante would not meet Beatrice, Rama would not slay the demon king, Ravana, and Snow White would not be kissed out of her eternal sleep by the prince of real, lived life.

This dark forest is indeed an encounter with the end of a phase of life, and an invitation to enter another.

Carl Jung would have said – as we stand in this dark forest – that it is in fact a time to celebrate! For arrival at this dark forest may just be a sign that we have now completed the task at hand (childhood, active adulthood, or even this lifetime), and are on the verge of beginning our journey into the next adventure (adulthood, elderhood or ancestorhood). Finally, as we stand at this threshold, we are ready to embark on the voyage toward what Jung called “individuation.”

For Jung, individuation was about the integration of opposites – of no longer shoving things we didn’t like into the unconscious, and/or projecting it on to other people. Instead of seeing what we hate and pointing our finger at the abomination out there, we are encouraged to ask, “what is it that I am disowning in here?” In what way is the tyrant, the thief, and the murderer alive in me? Can I be a bit gentler with those that I disagree with? Can I walk the hard road of effort and failure and humiliation, instead of “stealing” the joy from others through my complaining or my envy? Whose hopes and dreams – and even future survival – am I murdering, by filling up the landfills and water bodies with unnecessary plastic that brings me momentary convenience at the cost of sustainability of our planet?

Another essential feature of individuation is becoming who we really are – at our very core! It is our journey to find and own and inhabit our unique selves. Until we enter the dark forest and lose the straight path ahead, we can be assured that we have been traveling the communal path, the path chosen for us by our family, our teachers, our institutions, our society. But as we enter this dark forest – we are finally confronted with the potential of our own unique selves. Our very own flavor, our very own color, our very own taste.

To the extent that we are able to then find our path out of this dark forest – through its many false turns and hidden snags and snares – we start to become truly ourselves. We let go of our persona, whose main goal is to fit in! We become who we truly are – and have always been – although we may not even have known it ourselves!

Admittedly – this finding one’s path out of the dark forest is no small matter. It is, in fact, an archetypal journey for our soul.

But as with all matters archetypal, help exists – only if we stop and look – and trust!

To quote the comparative mythologist, Joseph Campbell:

"We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known ... We have only to follow the thread of the hero path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a God. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outwards, we shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.”

Hermes: the patron God of travelers

In Greek mythology, Hermes is the God who lives at the thresholds, at the liminal spaces of between and betwixt. He is a patron God of all travelers – whether they be travelers from one place to another, or travelers between this world and the next (the latter role is described as that of the “psychopomp,” i.e., guide of souls from the realm of the living to the realm of the dead).

Hermes is a God of immense complexity and opposing qualities. He has been alternately described as the trickster, the thief or bandit, and the magician. He is depicted as a young God, and as the oldest of all Gods. His child with Aphrodite is Hermaphroditos – the original symbol of the unity of both genders.

The Jungian analyst and author, Murray Stein, in his essay, “Hermes and the Creation of Space,” describes Hermes so:

“Hermes as servant and messenger of the sky god Zeus, Hermes as swift and winged, Hermes as thief and bandit, Hermes as inventor of the pipes and lyre, Hermes as guide of souls and as god of dreams and sleep, Hermes as promoter of fertility among plants and animals and as patron of health, Hermes as god of good fortune, Hermes as patron of traffic and business activities on water and land.”

In ancient Greece, crossroads were marked with heaps of stone in honor of Hermes. In fact, the name Hermes derives from these stone heaps, which were called “herma.” Thus Hermes is “he of the stone heap.” These stone heaps at the crossroads reminded the wayfarer of the presence of divine guidance on the path. Upon arriving at a herma, the traveler would present offerings to propitiate this God of duality. For Hermes is known to have quick changes of mind! (Indeed, in later Roman times, Hermes transforms into Mercury – the God who is equated with quicksilver – neither solid nor liquid – and one of ever-changing hues!)

“Eccentricity:” a lesson we learn from our encounter with Hermes

So, we may ask, “how does Hermes serve as the patron God of the traveler – especially the one who is lost in the dark forest?”

Of course, there are as many answers to such a question as those who seek such an answer. Here is my version.

Hermes intercedes by inviting the lost traveler to let go of fixed positions, fixed identity, and fixed destination. As the dweller at the threshold, Hermes teaches the traveler – the seeker – to move away from the “center” – where things are clearly defined. At the town center, at the place where we know who we are – where we know our roles and professions and what is expected of us – we are unlikely to meet this God with his winged slippers and his unpredictable comings and goings.

Indeed, James Hillman, the post-Jungian thinker, writer, and beloved teacher of many, would often urge his students to stop being so obsessed about becoming “centered.” In his uniquely trickster-ish way, he would challenge his students to instead become more and more “eccentric” – to become their unique selves – rather than a culturally sanctioned cog in the wheel!

The intertwined snakes of Hermes’s caduceus

Hermes carries with him a staff along which rise two intertwined snakes. The caduceus is a symbol of bringing together and “integration” of opposites. Integration is not averaging, it is not about becoming mediocre. It is an invitation to bring together the light and the dark, the masculine and the feminine, the spirit and the soul, the earth and the sky. Indeed, it is the bringing together of life and death – of time and timelessness. It is a “compromise” in the original Latin sense of the word: “com” (with, or together) + “promittere” (to promise). Through the task of individuation, with the help of Hermes’s caduceus, we bring together the promise from two opposing realms – so we may inhabit both and disavow neither – and be able to dance between the two polarities. We become both the earth and sky, both fire and water, both male and female, both lover and beloved.

Discernment and revelation: a practical interpretation of the intertwined snakes

As we become ready to leave to center of the dark forest, we need to pick our path with care, and in consultation with the Gods. This is where we are invited to use the two opposing tools - as symbolized by the two serpents on the caduceus.

The first tool is one of thinking and perceiving, of staying present to what is arising in the moment. This is what has been called “discernment” in the spiritual literature. It is about paying exquisite attention to the choices in front of us, and choosing between them with intention and attention. Do I turn right or left at this fork? Do I rededicate my effort at my current job, or do I quit to follow a newly arisen passion? Do I move to the countryside and live a more monastic life, or do I jump into the sociopolitical fray with both feet?

But as we discern, we need to be equally aware of the presence and importance of the second tool: that of “revelation.” This is what the ancients called “fate,” from Latin “fatum,” meaning “that which has been spoken.” It was understood, of course, that it is the Gods that are doing the speaking. This idea is by no means a Western one alone. In Islam, there is the notion of “Maktoob,” an Arabic word meaning “that which is written.”

Sometimes, our fate is revealed to us with breathtaking intensity. We all know of people - maybe even ourselves - where one outside event has turned around the best-laid plans! Just as someone is contemplating this or that – weighing the pros and cons – separating pennies from dimes – they receive a medical diagnosis that grinds the whole machination to a halt! All the weighing and measuring and balancing are no longer of any use, once the Gods have spoken. When the Gods speak like this, all we can do is drop to our knees in front this immensity!

But we must also remember that not all revelations speak with the voice of thunder. Sometimes, the revelation could just be a simple smile from a stranger, a word on a billboard, or a symbol in an “ordinary” dream. Things that the contemporary dream teacher, Robert Moss, delightfully calls “Sidewalk Oracles.” We must remain open to these omens and oracles that accompany us daily, if only we will listen.

Lila: when fate becomes destiny

The risk, once again, is of becoming too one-sided. We can get so caught up with discerning, that it becomes our next ego project. We can be zoomed in so close to the facts of our life that we lose all perspective. Then, we are deprived of divine grace, or if you prefer, blessings that come from our own souls. Equally, we may just sit around and wait helplessly for the next revelation, for “our ship to come in,” and thereby never embark on the journey out of the center of the dark forest.

But, when we wield Hermes’s caduceus – with discernment and revelation playing off each other – then life becomes an adventure. It does not guarantee a smooth passage or a lack of failure and suffering – but we finally feel that we are taking our fate – the words that the Gods have spoken for us, and transforming it into our “destiny” (Latin: “destinare,” meaning “to make firm, establish”). We are thus finally neither passive followers, nor heartless leaders, but co-creators with the divine will!

The Hindus call this way of being “Lila,” which means “divine play.” And the fruit of Lila is Ananda, or bliss.

May each of us have the courage to inhabit the Lila of our lives! And may we share our Ananda with all our fellow beings everywhere.

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Dancing with fate and freedom

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Dancing with fate and freedom

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of self-help books (and self-appointed gurus touting them) that promise us the moon and the stars on a platter, in ten easy steps, for $19.99! It all looks so easy… fantasize, keep your focus on that Red Ferrari, or on that tumor shrinking and disappearing… do not let any negative thoughts break through… and before you know it, your wish will be manifested! With prayer, with positive thinking, with gratitude practice – you will cure your cancer, your child’s autism, lose those twenty extra pounds, and find your neighbor’s lost cat while at it!

And then, when after weeks and months of focusing and fantasizing and praying, you do not manifest your goal – you start to feel like a failure, a good-for-nothing who can’t even get ten easy steps right! You are sure you are the only one who read that book who couldn’t manifest what you desired. It’s all your fault; you are essentially and fundamentally defective – unlike everyone else around you!

So goes our self-narrative, in myriad variations of this stock story.

The problem with this brand of positive thinking is just that – it is relentlessly positive, with no space whatsoever allowed for what the ancient Greeks would have called the “tragic vision.” Or what a teacher aptly calls a “terminally cheerful” attitude! John O’Donohue used to urge people to move away from the “neon glare” of bite-sized spirituality, and to sit instead in a space illuminated by moonlight, or candlelight – the types of light which, in his words, have a “hospitality for the shadows.”

Like it or not, life teaches us soon enough that it is not all party and pink balloons!

Importantly, too, we can learn that it is also not all doom and gloom. Miracles do happen. Tumors do go into unexplained remission, and lost pets are found and joyfully reunited with their loving families.

How do we, then, inhabit our real lived lives, with its exquisite interweaving of what we can do and what we need to accept?

The twelve-step Serenity Prayer says it best:

“Grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”

Let us explore our relationship to fate (and destiny), and the freedom we may find within the limits of fate.

Encountering Fate

In this day and age, when we are daily promised that a “cure” for every known ailment is just around the corner, we have come to hate the word “fate.” It sounds so old-fashioned, so fatalistic! Surely “they” will find a cure for my cancer before it is too late. And if they can’t, surely “they” can cryopreserve my body and wake me up when the cure becomes available…

What a letdown, then, when death stares down at us in its final victory!

Or maybe we don’t have to be that extreme. It may simply be that we do not get the job or the promotion we crave, the beauty or the life partner we feel we deserve, or the fame that should be rightfully ours, because we have worked so hard to achieve it!

At these times, we suffer.

But what is it that we are really suffering from?

The loss of myth and story in our times

I posit that our real suffering comes from the fact that we are telling ourselves an impoverished story.  A story based solely on our experience of the moment, rather than laying it on the altar of something larger, something grander than ourselves. We have forgotten the hero’s journey – the journey that individuals from all cultures have undertaken. We forget that this journey includes a period of being in the belly of the whale, or rotting in the underworld, as an essential ingredient. The myths of all peoples from all times and places tell us that we do not get to the prize until we have negotiated our passage with the gods that guard the doors at the thresholds.

And even with the blessings of these threshold guardians, we only get, at least in this lifetime, what we are destined to get!

Meeting the Fates

The concept of fate is found in most cultures. In Greek Homeric poems, one encounters Moira or Aisa meaning limit or end of life; in the Hindu Vedas, we find many references to Ṛta, meaning order, rule, truth; in Egypt we find Maat or Ma'at, meaning truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality, and justice; and in Islam, we encounter Kismet, meaning the predetermined course of events.

In ancient Greece, there was not one, but three Moirai (plural of Moira).  Their story is rather delightful. The three moirai are sisters, who together determine our fate as follows:  

  • Clotho (the "spinner"), spins the thread of life from her distaff onto her spindle. Her Roman equivalent is Nona, (the “Ninth”), who was originally a goddess called upon in the ninth month of pregnancy.

  • Lachesis (the "allotter" or drawer of lots), measures the thread of life allotted to each person with her measuring rod. Her Roman equivalent was Decima (the 'Tenth').

  • Atropos (the "inexorable" or "inevitable", literally one who is "unturning", sometimes also called Aisa), is the cutter of the thread of life. She chooses the manner of each person's death; and when their time has come, she cuts their life-thread with her “abhorred shears". Her Roman equivalent was Morta (the 'Dead One').

There are many versions of the parentage of the moirai, but the one that is most apropos to our discussion here is that they are the daughters of Chronos (Father Time) and Ananke (meaning “necessaity”). Interestingly, too, the moirai in some versions of the myth have three other sisters who compensate for their roles. These sisters are: Eunomia (“lawfulness,” “order”), Dike (“Justice”), and Eirene (“Peace”). Thus, if we acknowledge and act according to the dictates of the moirai, we also invite in order, justice and peace!

The three  Moirai , or the triumph of death (Flemish tapestry c. 1520, Victoria and Albert Museum, London). Note how the thread of life is being spun by  Clotho , measured by  Lachesis , and finally cut off by  Atropos .

The three Moirai, or the triumph of death (Flemish tapestry c. 1520, Victoria and Albert Museum, London). Note how the thread of life is being spun by Clotho, measured by Lachesis, and finally cut off by Atropos.

Fate vs. Destiny

The contemporary Jungian analyst and writer, James Hollis, has written extensively about fate and freedom. He writes in the Parabola magazine issue entitled “Free Will and Destiny” (Winter 2015-2016):

“Etymologically our word fate derives from the Latin fatum, meaning “to speak,” in the sense of something spoken or decreed by a god. That something has been spoken does not mean it is inevitable. One may have a tendency to depression, for example, and that genetic probability will surely be experienced in the course of one’s life. But how that plays out is strung along a broad spectrum of chance and choice.”

The word destiny, on the other hand, derives from Latin destinare, which means “to make firm, establish."

This is where I see the difference between Fate and Destiny. Fate is what is decreed by “the gods.” It is the limitations of life – the conditions imposed on us either internally (e.g., tendency to certain illnesses, or even the psychological “inferior function”) or externally (e.g., accidents, wars). Astrologically speaking, Fate is the rings of Saturn; it is limitations imposed by Chronos. Fate is the given, the spoken.

But within those limits, we can make concrete and significant choices that allow us to not only live out our destiny to its most positive manifestation – fulfilling the reason we are on this planet – but to live it out with joy and élan.

How do we embrace our fate? By practicing Amor Fati

Here, we come to the Greek philosophical idea of Amor Fati (literally meaning "loving fate"). Contemporary new age discourse has taken a lot from ancient Greece, but has, for the most part, carefully sidestepped the idea of Amor Fati.

Amor Fati is about loving the Fate we have been assigned – the length of the thread of life that has been cut off for us by the three moirai.

So how do we love our Fate?

According to James Hollis, we do so by taking charge of our story. By owning all of who we are – which includes our limitations – internal and external.

As an example of Amor Fati in practice, Hollis cites Albert Camus’s take on The Myth of Sisyphus. Camus takes the well-known story of Sisyphus, the “lonely prophet” who is fated to forever roll the boulder up the hill, only to watch it roll back down again, ad infinitum.

But, here Camus adds a genius twist! To quote Hollis, again from his article in Parabola magazine:

Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the mountain (Image courtesy Gerard Van der Leun)

Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the mountain (Image courtesy Gerard Van der Leun)

“Yet Camus adds a radical defiance, a cri de Coeur, a hope. He imagines that at that moment when Sisyphus descends the hill once again, forever once again, he pauses and smiles before pushing that stone back up. In that smile, Camus fantasizes, is our existential revolt against fate. In that moment, rather than being doomed, fated, Sisyphus chooses to push the stone. In his choice he takes the autonomous power away from the gods; he reacquires his freedom, and his dignity.”

Hollis continues:

“Camus is on to something more than revolt, a gesture which may remain forever futile in the face of fate. In that mysterious, inexplicable smile, Sisyphus says yes to his life, a condition he cannot choose, but an attitude which is entirely his. This yes is the achievement of amor fati, the love of one’s fate.”

Thus, in that inexplicable smile on the face of Sisyphus, his Fate turns into his Destiny, and creates for him a life well-lived.

Kairomancy: the dance partner of Amor Fati

In my previous post, Befriending Time, I briefly mentioned the contemporary dream teacher, Robert Moss, and his concept of Kairomancy. Here is a closer look at this idea.

In our previous essay, we explored how we live in “chronic” time, under the dictates of the god Chronos, who rules our lives and the time allotted to us, using the tools of the clock and the calendar. Chronic time is linear and finite – forever moving from past, through present, to future – until it runs out for each one of us.

But we also spoke about how, within this chronic time, we are often graced with another kind of time – the time that is under the auspices of the god Kairos. We said that Kairos represents the "right, critical or opportune time." It is the time when something can be done, or done well. It is “time out of time,” it is nonlinear and infinite.

Here is a passage from James Hollis's book, What Matters Most: Living a More Considered Life, that beautifully describes a Kairos moment:

"One African dawn, while on safari, Carl Jung slipped away from his tent and walked out into the veldt. He heard the sound of scavengers pursuing and eating their prey; he saw in the crepuscular dim great, gray streams of beasts sliding by before his astonished eyes. He knew that at that instant he had stepped from chronos to kairos and had entered a timeless moment... The Swiss psychiatrist stepped out of ordinary time and, for a moment, became the first human once again, staring on nascent brutish nature but bringing consciousness to it, recording it, observing it, conferring on it a reality (as Rilke also concluded) it could never have achieved on its own. So in that moment the unique gifts of our transient tribe are celebrated: an endowment of recognition, a conference of consciousness upon brute being, and the grant of enhanced, reflective awareness."

Robert Moss teaches a practice where we develop a discipline to invite in Kairos into our lives on a frequent basis. He calls this practice, Kairomancy. It is about seizing the special moments that drop into our lives, and really taking advantage of these gifts from the beyond – thus “making magic!”

Here are Robert Moss’s twelve rules of Kairomancy, and if this idea fascinates you, I strongly urge you to read his book, Sidewalk Oracles: Playing with Signs, Symbols, and Synchronicity in Everyday Life.

Robert Moss’s twelve rules of Kairomancy

  1. Whatever you think or feel, the Universe says yes. In this rule, the idea is to be very aware of what we are carrying, what we are thinking and feeling, and what we are projecting onto others or onto circumstances. It is much more than wishing and praying for that red Ferrai – it is about exploring what is it that we are inviting into our lives through our thoughts and our actions.

  2. Chance favors the prepared mind. I think it is clear enough so as not to need further elaboration.

  3. Your own will come to you. This rule states that we will receive unexpected support from within and without, once we start investing our psychic energy into our passions and activities. When we “show up” and take our seat in the round of life, we draw powers far greater than ourselves to manifest our tasks at hand.

  4. You live in the speaking land. We live in an interconnected web – a conscious Universe, where everything is alive, connected and ensouled. Once we truly internalize this perspective, everything “mundane” becomes an oracle. The crack on the wall, the bird on the lamp post, a snatch of overheard conversation – brings us new understanding and insight, and provides concrete guidance on steps to take, and steps to avoid.

  5. Grow your poetic health. We are encouraged here to take life as poetry rather than mere prose; to hear for the unspoken cradled between words, to hear the multiple layers of meaning in ordinary life and ordinary conversation. This rule invites us to find home in ambiguity and paradox, and in stories with many possible endings.

  6. Coincidence multiplies on the road. Again, this is quite self-explanatory. When we are ready, strange things assist our journey in apparently coincidental ways. Joseph Campbell had this to say about positive coincidences: “When you follow your bliss...doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors, and where there wouldn't be a door for anyone else.”

  7. By what you fall, you may rise. Every setback is an opportunity to start anew, with new knowledge and wisdom.

  8. Invoked or uninvoked, gods are present. Moss takes this from Carl Jung, who had this line carved at the entrance of his home by the lake: “Vocatus atqua non vocatus deus aderit” (meaning “called or not called, god is present"). For Jung, these gods were the archetypes of the collective unconscious – the dynamic forces deep in our collective psyche that periodically rise up to consciousness. The less we are aware of these gods of the deep, the more likely are we to be “possessed” by them, and being drawn completely off course (which, incidentally, may be exactly where we need to go)!

  9. You walk in many worlds. This rule posits that we do not live in this world alone, but in many worlds. It is up to each one of us how we would like to image this diversity of worlds. Some may consider this purely psychologically (we have many inner personalities and even our inner “family systems”). Others may think of a world populated by gods, ancestors, fairies or spirit beings. Still others may take refuge in the scientific possibility of a multiverse. The bottom line, though, is that it is a very helpful philosophy if we can authentically inhabit it – a philosophy that tells us that we are not alone and adrift in a dead Universe, hurtling towards eventual oblivion!

  10. Marry your field. Here, by “field,” Moss does not mean field of expertise, or what we “do.” Rather, our field is what enlivens us, brings a spark in our eyes, makes us wake up excited for yet another opportunity to engage in it! Our field is what we do for the sheer joy of doing it! The entreaty here is to commit to this field.

  11. Dance with the trickster. The trickster is the keeper of the crossroads – the threshold guardian. A trickster is not always easy to engage with, but is a necessary ally if we are to move from one territory to the next. The trickster asks us to pause as we begin a new venture – to really examine our motives – to clarify our reasons for taking that step. It is a great place to be confronted with agendas that are not in the province of Kairos, but are rather ego-driven, and are thus doomed for failure in the long run! Every culture has its own flavor of the trickster – which I will explore in another essay.

  12. The way will show the way. When we become a Kairomancer, and navigate our life based on synchronicity, we cannot rely on any pre-drawn map. We may start with a map, but very soon, we will be called to either throw away the map and follow the new synchronicities, or continue to follow the map and thus move farther and father away from the territory we wished to enter in the first place!

In the end, a dance between Amor Fati and Kairomancy

Just like everything in life that truly matters, we end here with a paradox. Fate is real. We come into this world with limitations – of time, space, power, ability. But we also come into this world to create something that has never existed before, and that can never exist without us doing our part.

How do we find this freedom to create while limited by fate?

I believe we do it by learning the dance of Amor Fati (loving what is given to us) and Kairomancy (navigating our lives through synchronicity).

At the end, I leave you with a message from Martha Graham, given to a fellow dancer, Agnes de Mille:

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.”

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