Wind stirs the low dark clouds as sunlight pierces the grey. A shift is afoot. Seasonal change, like that of the vernal equinox on March 20 at 4:34 am PST, provides outward evidence of the pull of destiny on every living thing.
"Destiny," "fate" and "providence" are words not often heard in contemporary conversation except in the circumstance of an extraordinary tragedy (or the avoidance of it). But what of destiny in the everyday toils of mankind? Does providence smile upon the attendant at the fast food restaurant in the same way it does the newsmakers in today's headlines? Can you really "miss your calling?"
Humans have always been concerned with destiny. The Romans felt that destiny is the individual image or pattern that each soul is born to fulfill. The Daimon or Genii accompanies the soul to guide and assist it in recognizing that inborn pattern, the Call to one's original destiny.
Around 406 AD, a sixteen year old boy named Magonus Sccatus was kidnapped from southwestern Britain and made a slave in Ireland. During the six years of his captivity the boy tended sheep in the west of Ireland. With hardship his one companion, the boy found solace only in his prayers. Over time the prayers in his head took the form of a voice that advised and comforted him. On the urging of the voice, the boy escaped Ireland and returned to Britain and was reunited with his parents, wanting nothing more than to remain in Britain for the remainder of his days.
When we are young, we often have an idea of what we might do when we are older. Sometimes that idea persists long enough to become the subject of university studies or extensive experience and thereby becomes our vocation. For a few, a consciously chosen career does manifest the Call. However, for most the path is not so clear. While a life's work can reveal the soul image, it just as often disguises it.
Although the Call can manifest at any time during life, it is in middle to older age that the deep path is more likely to be gained or lost. By this time choices have been made and costly experience gained. The routine of life and the reality of expectations are better known. One has gained a sense of oneself and one's place in the cosmos and is more likely to take an authoritative stance on accepting or rejecting a numinous message from within.
To many, the nature of the soul's journey is experienced in a sudden awareness, a deep awakening to something new yet altogether familiar. It is not a moment of discovery, but of recognition. Only in hindsight comes the realization that one has always known the mystery, like a precious treasure hidden in plain sight.
The Call can be whispered in the language of the imagination such as dreams or music. In the instance that the path of destiny and the current path of reality greatly diverge, the message may be borne in a sudden change in circumstance such as an illness, accident or an egregious error in the workplace or in a significant relationship.
To hear and understand the Call is to be transformed. There is no mistaking the shift in consciousness that occurs as a result. It is as if one has lived forever on one side of a great river and the next day one lives on the other side. There is little drama, everything appears to be the same, yet life is forever changed.
Language is wholly insufficient to describe the experience. The creative arts are better suited to convey the effusive but profoundly deep joy, the release and the pain that result from recognizing the divine path within oneself.
The Call is a spiritual directive to create one's own reality in the material world. Life is a metamorphic process. It is filled with deaths and rebirths, passages and initiations. Unfortunately our culture falls short in meaningfully marking these moments in life and when change is visited upon us, it is often greeted with trepidation at best, fearfulness at worst.
The boy tried to regain what he had lost in captivity. His boyhood friends had gone on to fine educations and prominence where he remained illiterate. But the voice that guided him back to Britain was not yet done. He received theological training and was directed to return to Ireland by the local church authority. His poor education bothered him and forever after he regarded himself a "poor ignorant orphan." For eighteen years after his escape from Ireland the man now christened "Patricus" bemoaned the thought of returning to the "heathens" from which he had escaped.
The response to the Call is as important as the message itself. When understood, the Call throws into high relief outdated relationships, life paths and inertia that many feel impossible to leave behind. Those that cannot accept the death to this life of their old reality oftentimes reject the new life that appears before them. They cannot or will not make the changes that are asked of them, they reject the message and the vision fades.
There is a Navajo proverb that states that it is impossible to wake someone who is pretending to be asleep. Just as acceptance of the Call allows the divine to flow through waking life, so rejection conjures its terrible opposite. Refusal to give up misaligned attachments results in a suffocating ennui and the eventual dissolution into waste of the very lifestyle or relationship that were so desperately clung to.
To others, the Call may be too quiet to hear buried beneath a lifetime of psychological build-up. In both instances the wondrous seeds of destiny planted in the psyche before birth remain as seeds, the call is missed.
By around age 40, then considered old age, Patricus capitulated to the inner voice that directed him back to the land of his confinement. By the time he arrived in Ireland a Christian missionary effort was ongoing. Though he led a successful mission, he wrote near his death that he lived "among barbarians, a stranger and exile for the love of God."
To live one's destiny does not require great accomplishments, it requires soulful understanding and constancy. The response to the Call is the path of a lifetime -- the acceptance of the outer world as fueled by the inner vision.
The equinox approaches, the tides are changing. Though all streams lead to the ocean, each journey is unique. May the equinox awaken a new season in all of us.