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The Shieldmaiden Blog

May - 11

The Cry of Destiny

Today I have some thoughts to share about destiny. This post has actually been brewing for some weeks before I found the time to write it down; if you’ve read my postings before, you’ve probably noticed that I’m a writer only after my other vocations, and sometimes the blog goes by the wayside while I’m busy chasing my destiny. So then, on the subject of destiny.

From Failias was brought the Lia Fail, which is at Tara, and which used to cry out under each king who assumed the sovereignty of Ireland.
The Four Jewels of the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Yellow Book of Lecan

We might tend to think of destiny as something rare that belongs to special people, those who are ‘chosen’ for some greatness that is beyond the reach of most of us. Destiny might feel like a concept for heroes of myth that seems out of place in our ordinary lives. But this is not so. Everyone has a destiny on them. You, reading these words, you have a destiny on you. Simply put, your destiny is that thing you were made for. That thing you are uniquely equipped and gifted to do, that without you will not be complete; and that you
will not be complete without doing. I really want to emphasize this, so I’ll say it again: There is something unique and meaningful that only you and no other being can give to this world. I don’t care who you are or how empty you may think you are of gifts; this is still true of you. Whatever that thing is, that is your destiny. It may be subtle; it may not be the kind of thing that is recorded in history books, but it is a destiny, and it is meaningful and it is yours.

Do you know what it is?

If you don’t, isn’t it perhaps time you should find out?

Let me put that question another way. What have you got to do that is more urgent or more important than discovering your life’s purpose? If you can answer that, you may already know your destiny.

If not, here are some things to contemplate. The Lia Fail, the Stone of Fal which was also called the Stone of Destiny, would cry out under the true king, who held the sovereignty of the land. Sovereignty is the holding of power by virtue of right relationship to its source; in the case of an Irish king, the land itself. So ask yourself: In what place does the rightness and truth of your action cause such power to flow through you that your soul cries out? Have you felt that? That was the cry of destiny. If you have never felt that, if till now you have only heard the silence of the stone, it may be time to seek new experiences, try out new ways of serving the world until the cry comes. Drew Jacob, in his Rogue Priest blog (which I highly recommend), talks of the heroic path, and his first piece of advice for those who have not discovered their heroic purpose is to travel. If travel seems out of reach because of cost, and it may indeed be for many of us, there is still nothing stopping you from going out of your established routines and experiencing something new. I would add that service is more likely to open us to destiny than pleasure. We find our purpose, paradoxically, by going outside of ourselves.

The next thing I want to make clear is that destiny is not fate. It isn’t predetermined. It’s what you’re meant for, but you can fail to fulfill it, or you can choose to ignore it and do something else with your time and life energy. We are all endowed with will, and if we’re diligent at liberating ourselves from social and media manipulation, we can even aspire to possess free will (or even better, be possessed by it). I do not believe in fate, at least not in the fixed sense.

So – your destiny is not predetermined: It is yours, but it will not just happen to you. That is one way that we differ from the people in story. We must court destiny like a lover, or a muse; chase it like a quarry; most of all, serve it. This is work. Nothing is born without labor, and this thing you have within you may take a life’s labor to bring forth. This may be why so many of us prefer the aimless comfort of the consumer life to the purposeful striving of the destined life. It is hard, and it’s scary, too. Dedicating yourself to fulfilling your destiny means sacrificing some things you might otherwise put more of your life energy into, things that are easier and more comfortable. Things that are more predictable. Most frightening of all, there is no guarantee of success. You might spend years serving this destiny, only to see it partially born; it may not come to fruition or be recognized for its value until after your death. It is up to you, and the allies and resources you can muster, to fulfill your purpose and give to the world what you have to give. And to do so we have to struggle against not only our own fears of failure (or fears of success), but against very great and subtle forces in our civilization that derive enormous profit from an aimless population accustomed to thinking themselves small, and content to fill their longing for meaning with stuff. For all these reasons, it may be easier not to know your purpose. And as I said, you do have that option. You can turn your face away from destiny. But I will venture to say that it will haunt you until you step into it.

Why do I care so much and why am I lecturing you about pursuing your destiny? Well, because I myself have been haunted by a growing sense that difficult times are coming. That is to say, difficult times are here already – most of us know at least a few people who are out of work; costs of living are rising faster than incomes; the unsustainable economic and political structures of much of the Western world are beginning to crack; and in the US at least, we are seeing clearer and clearer the emergence of the national security
police state. I have a persistent sense that these are signs of harder times to come soon, that our lives will get tougher for a while before they get better. And my Gods, most especially the Morrigan whom I serve most closely, have been haunting me too, with a message that I need to be doing anything I can to help prepare our people for difficult and transformative times. That we, the spiritual-minded and magickal folk, have something needful to offer the world in these crises, but that we are not ready, and that unless we can get prepared to ride the tides of change, we can’t hope to help the rest of the world through it.

To explain what this has to do with destiny, I will quote Viktor Frankl, the Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor. Informed by his experiences observing what inner powers helped people to not only survive in the hells of the concentration camps, but even find the strength to help others, he wrote:

What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.
Man’s Search for Meaning, 1946.

And elsewhere in the same book:

A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the “why” for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any “how.”

In other words, the human being who knows her purpose, who knows she has a destiny to fulfill, carries that meaning within her like a talisman, and through that can find the strength to survive anything. She can bear almost any conditions. She has heard the cry of the Stone of Destiny, and so the strength of the stone is hers, the grounding force of sovereignty. My friends, this is how heroes are made. How kings and queens are made. This simple thing: the knowledge of one’s destiny, and a commitment to it. That is all it takes.

Don’t worry if you aren’t ready. No one ever is. The cry of the stone will carry you, and you’ll find a way.

12 comments on The Cry of Destiny

  1. Pingback: Fire in the Head
  2. I've found my destiny. Thanks to reading this, I will be able to hold it as a Talisman as well in times of turmoil, thank you. :)I don't consider myself spiritual-minded, except in my devotion to Humanity. And I wish I was more attuned to the magical ebb and flow that I think exists(though cannot be sure…). I've known that my destiny was to be more Earthly, but along the way I am finding folks like you. One of my best friends is a Celtic Druid, I consider him my spiritual advisor…The more I progress and find people like you of sound mind, heart, and wisdom, the more I feel that my destiny is tied to uniting us behind a practical solution to the turmoils at hand – the turmoils you described. 5% of the World's population, 25% of the world's prison population… America is backwards from what we were supposed to be….Though my path seems to shift, my destiny(or life-goal as my usually non-spiritual self tends to put things. :P) has been pretty steady, I even have it written down – "In any way possible, position America to remain the strongest nation in the world, and with her beacon of freedom be a guiding light to all others. If confidence is high, unite us further and further until we are one human race. Offensive war not allowed."To reach further into my destiny… I want to position us to be able to someday go to the stars, but first learn in our solar system. Of course, there's a whole lot of sub-goals to make the big-goal happen. My point is, it's fantastic to meet you, my name is Brandon. :)There are many injustices in the world I'd love to talk with you about, I'm sure you know them already… But I'd love to have a chat with you. :)

  3. Stephanie says:

    I love this post and thought about it as I was driving to Bend today. I do believe we all have a certain destiny in us and must embrace that but where I started to ponder this was as a child I was raised in a very structured, scolarly home. My parents were very aggresive about making sure I was independent but at the same time were very controlling in the studies I could take. I always had a craving for artistic endeavors but science was always pushed upon me. I did indeed have an apptitude for science also but didn't have the self esteem to fight against my parents so of course the scientific route was chosen. Becoming a nurse was something I loved and put my heart, soul and body into it. I had within me an ability/an intuition if you call it that to know when someone was really ill-a very necessary sense working in an ER. I always felt something was lacking in my life though. I have always been an empathetic nurturing spirit but never embraced spirituality the way you have. I have studied Budhaism and as I said before found K.Gibrahn more influential to my life. What I am getting at is how much of our desiny is within us naturally and how much is influenced by our enviornment/upbringing/parents? I truly feel my destiny now is to open my self to more artistic realms while still maintaining my empathetic nurturing nature. I am not sure you will understand where i am coming from or if I am way off base with what you wrote but it has made me really think about what my destiny is. Good job you made me think and we may not agree but that is ok…just wanted to say this.

  4. Well you are definitely speaking my language here! Indeed, even just the practice of striving to live a more meaningful life, even if we don't know what to do or what our destiny is, leads us there. I am reminded of Cuchulain on the Plain of Ill Luck. He had no idea how he would get across the Plain, with the blades of grass literally as sharp as knife blades, until a mysterious youth brought him a wheel, which rolled just ahead and flattened the path for him step by step. He didn't know where it was leading but he took the first step. And then another. And gradually the way became clear. We must only take the first step – choose one action that feels in keeping with our values, and the way becomes clear. And YES for Drew Jacob's suggestion on travel. As for it being too costly, there are nifty "think outside the box" tricks for traveling on a shoestring – indeed they make it possible for me to do what I do – and I am compiling them as we speak. Will be sharing them soon as I get it more organized. LOVE LOVE LOVE you and am so proud to call you Friend.

  5. Shieldmaiden says:

    Hi Drew – That is pretty funny about the trading typos. Sorry about that! I have fixed it. :)I've been really enjoying and inspired by your blog and pleased that you took the time to read this.

  6. Haha, and I see that I misspelled *your* name in my comment about misspelling *my* name. Unintentional, but ironic. I guess we're even? :P

  7. chemalfait says:

    fate and destiny are intertwined.fate is like a river, destiny is how one rises up to meet it.

  8. Wow Shieldmaden, great post. Thanks so much for the mention! One thing I should point out: my name is actually Drew Jacob (no "s") :)

  9. M.Moore says:

    I feel inspired. Good job!

  10. Mrs. Oddly says:

    Excellent post! I too have been haunted by the same warnings about hard times. I am doing what I can do when I can do it, but often times I feel over taken and feel that time is running shorter and shorter. I will continue to keep my nose to the grind on this, hopefully things will fall into place.

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