The Fates ~ Is Chronic Pain Your Destiny?

Once upon a time we may have thought that our destiny was dictated by the Fates.

Back in the day, without Pain Doctors or Surgeons or medicine or shoot, even the idea of a God or the Bible or Koran our lives, our futures, given a chronic pain condition, would have been, to state it mildly, precarious.

But then again…

Don’t we make sense of it all, as best we can, for this day, today, for our tomorrows and our yesterdays.


The Fates or Moirai were the three Greek goddesses of fate who personified the inescapable destiny of man. They were supposed to appear three nights after a child’s birth to determine the course of that life, the child’s divine privileges and mortal limits. At the birth of every man the three Fates appeared spinning, measuring, and cutting the thread of life. Our good and bad moments in life were considered predetermined by the Fates, incarnations of destiny, and it was impossible for anyone to get more than his ordained share.

The Fates were three sister deities-Clotho was the sister who spun the thread of life; she carried a spindle or a roll (the book of fate)…

; Lachesis, the sister who drew the lots, determined how long one lived, by measuring the thread of life; and Atropos, the inevitable, chose how someone died by cutting the thread of life with her shears. At other times the three were shown with staffs or sceptres, the symbols of dominion. Often described as ugly, old women, they were known to be severe, inflexible and stern, probably due to their awe-inspiring and fearsome power over men’s lives.

In an alternate theory of the myth of the Fates, at a man’s birth, the Moirai spun out the thread of his life, followed his steps, and directed the consequences of his actions according to the counsel of the gods. It was not a completely ironclad fate as Zeus, if he chose, had the power of saving even those who were already on the point of being seized by the destiny preordained by the Moirai. The Fates did not abruptly interfere in human affairs but availed themselves of intermediate causes, and determined the lot of mortals not absolutely, but only conditionally, man himself, in his freedom was allowed to exercise a degree of influence upon his own fate through his actions.

Zeus was the entitled the Leader of the Fates, and the three goddesses sat in attendance at his throne, presiding over the sacred laws of heaven. They were the distributors of good and bad fortune to mortals and to nations. Some Greek historians claim that the Moirai were the daughters of Zeus and the Titan goddess Themis, the goddess of divine order. Despite their forbidding reputation, the Fates could be placated. Brides in Athens were known to offer them locks of their hair, and women swore by them. They also were symbols of the Greek desire for health which was connected with the Greek cult of the body. It is thought they may have originated as birth goddesses and only later acquired their reputation as the agents of destiny.

The Ancient Greek word moira (μοῖρα) means a portion or lot of the whole and is related to the Latin roots for “part”, “fate”, and “reward”. Similarity, in the Muslim tradition, Kismet, the predetermined course of events, seems to have a similar etymology and too, became associated with the idea of Fate or destiny. Interestingly, when tracing the etymology of the term moirai you come across the idea of “natural law” and “justice”, which in Ancient Greece meant you should respect your own boundaries, otherwise known as your pre-ordained, ” natural limits”.  If you over-stepped them, there would be consequences, as was foretold.




Author: ChronicPainDailyReflections

I manage a web-site, Chronic Pain Daily, created for and in support of those living in chronic pain. The site helps with the day-to-day spiritual, mental, emotional and physical needs of those with constant pain, whatever its source.