The ancients viewed the natal chart not as a detailed blue-print on how to navigate your future to best advantage but more like a fortune cookie bearing a pithy observation of a generalized ‘truth’ relating to you. For the ancients, how this ‘truth’ unfolded remained always in your hands even though sometimes it might appear as if ‘fate’ of some kind was involved.
In reading Greek tragedy, we cannot escape the constant repetition of words like necessity, fate, chance, and destiny, as well as ‘ills given by the gods’. Certainly these might describe how we’re feeling about the corona virus – the ‘fate’ which we are faced right now – the ‘fate’ we so did NOT deserve!
Yet in Poetics, Aristotle reminds us that the cause of tragedy is attributed not to ‘fate’ but instead to personal character flaws: excessive pride, lust for power, cruelty, ignorance and/or uncontrolled passions.
When faced with a difficult situation such as the corona virus and the hardships following in its wake, the victims of Greek tragedy were forced to make a choice, take a decision. But if in making that choice – taking that decision – the character was unable to gain control over his/her character flaw, then inevitably he/she became the victim to some bitter and gruesome end.
Aristotle reminds us that if only this character had been better prepared regarding his/her flaw(s), he/she could have fared better. As he noted in Poetics, to see a virtuous man face unmerited misfortune is not tragic, but shocking; no good play has used such a situation nor relied on mere chance for its outcome.
This is where that fortune cookie comes in.
The advent of the corona virus has made it clear that however much we like to think that we are in charge of our own fate – our future – we remain tethered to that of the collective. This does not mean that your choices no longer matter. Indeed, during times when the collective is struggling as is the case now, they matter even more. But if, as in the Greek tragedies, the choice(s) you make stem from your inability to get the upper hand on your own character flaw(s) – the one(s) so aptly suggested in your fortune cookie – then you risk becoming an unwitting, unnecessary victim.