First, why do I care about this topic? I’m mostly concerned with Fate, the deities associated with Fate, and the Lot of Fortune (also the Lot of Spirit but that’s kinda secondary here). I am currently (as of 8/13/2021) working on a workshop that I’m presenting on August 21st on the Lots which you can find more info on my Twitter or Instagram @OracularJake. Anyways, the point is this stuff is on my mind because of researching the Lots lol.
Let’s talk about Fate and magic! The general goal of most magic is to change your (or someone else’s) Fate. You’re trying to affect what happens in a situation where you would otherwise have no control. “I’m going to do X so Y happens.”
The typical deities associated with magic are the ones that are also associated with Fate. If I’m trying to affect what happens then I’m gonna go ask the deity in charge of shit happening. Who is in charge of shit happening? Fate!
I also want to take a second to mention the fact that deities are generally born out of personified forces. Sometimes forces of nature, sometimes forces of the universe, etc. Everyone is subject to living on Earth and the human experience which is why a lot of cultures have the same types of deities.
Why does everybody have a war god? Because war is a common experience. Why does everybody have a love god? Because love is a common experience.
Not everyone has the same relationship to war or any of these other forces though. Which is why there are variances in what they look like, how they act, and what they do in stories.
There are basically three varieties of magic deities and approaches to Fate. There are the more lunar deities associated with Fate itself, magic, and water. There are also the more mercurial trickster deities associated with knowledge, cleverness, and subverting Fate. Finally there are the solar/jovial deities associated with Destiny, prophecy, creation, and willpower.
Mercurial, Trickster Deities & Necessity
(Hermes depicted on pottery)
This is a class of magic associated deities which use their knowledge and cunning to change the course of Fate. Mercury has its own connection to Fate however through its association with Ananke (aka Necessity), mother of the Fates.
Let’s think about that for a second. Necessity is the mother of Fate. What does that mean?
Let’s think about what “Necessity” is really referring to. The Lot of Mercury is aka the Lot of Necessity, so we know these were connected. Something that I also know is that a bunch of trickster deities are mythologically associated with the origin of hunger.
The stories are all generally “somebody fucked around so we all found out and now we don’t live in paradise anymore.”
This then leads to the reason tricksters are tricky; because they have to be! Imagine you’re lost in the forest, starving, and the only things you can find that’s edible are some rabbits. These rabbits are fast as hell though and you’re exhausted. What are you gonna do?? Are you just going to sit there and starve? Naw.
You’re gonna look for some rocks, some twigs, maybe some plant fiber, and figure it the fuck out. That’s Necessity. Necessity is neutral too. If it comes down to life or death then I absolutely will curbstomp the shit outta Thumper and cry about it later.
What happens when “figuring it the fuck out” leads to you farming for food because it’s more reliable? What happens when people come to live and work with you so you can farm more land but now you have more needs? What happens when those people start to argue and fight so you have to make laws?
My current Fate, being on the internet, sitting in an air conditioned apartment, using a computer; all that is built on centuries of humans “figuring it the fuck out.” Why? Out of Necessity.
You’ve heard that phrase “Necessity is the mother of invention,” right? Well momma gave birth to Fate too so put some respect on her name!
We have these mercurial, trickster deities associated with the divine force of “figuring it the fuck out,” being clever because they have to be, and fucking around and finding out. Of course they’re associated with magic!
This is that stolen from the gods kind of approach though. Like you damn right I’mma steal some fire from the gods. It’s dark, it’s cold, my food is raw, and I am straight up NOT having a good time.
Morality isn’t relevant when it comes to Necessity. It obviously varies on your level of desperation and context but your belly doesn’t give a damn if you’re a good person.
For example, is it morally right or wrong to share access to academic papers that are behind paywalls? If your answer is “well, I needed access and I don’t get paid much and it’s the publishing companies not the authors anyways” then congrats, you understand Necessity.
Necessity is a beautiful and dangerous spectrum of desperation with technology and magic on one end and cannibalism on the other.
Lunar Deities of Fate
(Statue of the goddess Tyche)
The other main category of magical deities are typically associated with the moon (or Venus), magic, water, abundance, fertility, and Fate (sometimes death too). These are the ones actually in control of Fate.
The idea with this category of deities is that they control the flow or the current of Fate.
In a magical sense, instead of asking Hermes for some secret knowledge to change my Fate, why don’t I just ask the one in charge of Fate to be nice to me? Why steal what I can ask for?
This is the more theurgic or relational approach to magic and Fate. Fitting for lunar/venusian deities, right? You’re trying to make the deity like you so they’re nice to you and don’t rock your shit.
The moon is the closest heavenly body to earth so it was considered to have more of an influence on mundane life. Which it does i.e. the tides. This is why the moon in horary is a “co-signifier of all things.” The moon signifies everything physical and the changes that everything physical inevitably goes through.
The moon grows and dies each month. Everything living grows and dies. Even rock gets eroded and changes over time. We aren’t talking about time itself though. We’re talking about the current of the cycle of life.
That’s what your Fate is though. The concept of Fate has more of a past-tense connotation, like an inevitability. To meet your Fate is to see what awaits you at the end of the journey. There’s even a tone of judgment.
It’s way more fucking terrifying to think that bad things just happen to anyone, at anytime, completely randomly, and that there’s nothing you can do about it, than it is to think that bad things happen to bad people.
“The neighbor’s house was destroyed because they weren’t pious enough so all I gotta do is keep going to the temple to pray and I don’t have to worry about it.” This line of thinking can and has been taken to an extreme of victim blaming.
Still, this is partly where the idea comes from that you can petition Fate to be kinder to you. The gods like virtue?? BET! Guess who is now living virtuously cause they want nice things?
Solar/Jupiterian Deities of Spirit/Destiny
(Bust of Serapis)
This last category is somewhat similar to the mercurial approach in that there is more of a knowledge aspect involved. The difference is this is more manifesty and “I see it, I want it, I got it” of an approach. We get prophecy here too. Divine revelations, not divination though.
The sun is divine cause it just shows up and creates light. It makes that shit from nothing (not really but as far as we’re concerned). This is that pure creation energy.
It’s also something that humans do in fact possess. Consciousness, that spark of humanity, your inner genius, these give you the power to create. You can invent something new because you can think and have original thoughts and receive divine inspiration.
This is where we get that “I’m gonna just do whatever and it’s gonna work because of willpower” approach to magic and Fate. This is the idea of being able to tap into your own divinity as a sovereign, independent being to choose your own Destiny. You can put “manifesting” in this category.
Think about “Manifest Destiny” and that idea of just claiming a fucking continent cause you feel entitled. That’s basically the extreme end of this spectrum. The more positive end is “I have limitless creative potential and I can influence the world (hopefully positively).”
This is connected to the idea of Destiny. It’s like this big accomplishment in life that’s the will of god, which is also your will because you are god and can do whatever you want. You don’t really know your Destiny until you achieve it (unless you go off of faith or divination).
So, to recap, we have three different categories of magic deities associated with Fate, Destiny, and the subversion of those. These aren’t just approaches to magic though. These are how the concepts of Fate and Destiny were thought of in a practical sense.
Whether you practice any kind of theurgy or magic, know that the course of life, Fate itself is magic. Just fucking existing is magical. The fact that anything can happen at any time, and your life could completely change tomorrow is exhilarating, terrifying, and amazing.
However you choose to think of Fate/Fortune, whether it’s something you have a relationship with and trust, whether it’s something you command as your own, whether it’s something to be cheated, or whether it’s something else entirely, I wish you the best of it!
If you want to learn more (and you’re reading this before August 21st, 2021) make sure to check out my workshop. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-cycle-of-spirit-fortune-tickets-165555104775