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The three sisters of fate, the moirae

The Moirae

We are the thread of awareness in chaos

Have you ever wondered about the forces of fate and destiny, of how the world has come to be the way it is?

Have you ever felt, from time to time, there were forces guiding you?

The ancient Greeks believed in Fate. They said there were three sisters of fate, the Moirae, tripple Moon-goddesses robed in white, whom Erebus begat on Night. They were not the children of Zeus, but parthenogenous daughters of the Great Goddess of Necessity, against whom not even the gods contend.

Moira clotho


spins the thread of life from the cosmic forces.

lachesis.WMF (26958 bytes)


measures the tread of life and assigns each man his destiny.

Moira atropos


the smallest in stature, but the most terrible, cuts the thread of life with the abhorred shears.



The Origins of the Three Sisters of Fate

The Greek version was probably built around the ancient meaning of the word moera;  a share or a phase. The ancients believed the moon had three important phases, associated with three personalities that resemble the three sisters of the Moirae:

The full moon. NASA image.New Moon, the Maiden-goddess of the spring, the first period of the year, when the crops appeared from the soil and wove their welcome patterns into the air.

Full Moon, the Nymph-goddess of the summer, the second period, was the measure of the harvest, and

Old Moon, the Crone-goddess of autumn, the last period before life subsided into the winter season.

The Three Sisters appear in various guises in mythology.

In Athens,  Aphrodite or Urania was also known as "the eldest of the Fates." She was the Goddess of Desire who rose naked from Chaos and danced on the surface of the sea.

In Syria and Palestine, Aphrodite was worshipped as Ishtar or Ashtaroth.

In any guise, the role of the fates was easily recognized and nearly everyone believed in the concept of destiny.

The modern view of the three sisters of fate.

For a short time, a mere hundred years or so, a small number of philosophers have tried to sell the idea that life, in all its diversity and complexity, is the result of an evolutionary process of random chance. As silly as this idea seems, their challenge was a serious one, because science is based on objective verification. And how does one verify the forces of fate? Or the unseeable, unknowable forces that we all sense at special moments of our lives, guiding us.

The problem was that we didn't know how to think about the forces that created all that you see and the mind that you see it with. To make matters worse, there was a conspiracy, of sorts, blocking us from thinking clearly about these issues.

We live in a complex world and each of us wonders what the future might hold, and how we might alter that future to match our dreams. There have been individuals who have claimed to see into the future. And there have been individuals whose lives have been filled with sequences of events that could only be called destiny. There have even been a few people who believed they could, using one form of magic or another, summon up the forces of destiny and make the fates work for them.

Some scientists dismiss these people as crazies. But there are many others who have had their own brushes with destiny and don't take the matter lightly at all.

The Biology Of Fate

Destiny implies control. Control over the behavior of individuals as well as populations of individuals. The Greek's story of the Three Sisters has surprising similarities to the networks of controls that influence all living creatures.

Layers upon layers of controls delineate the destined actions of a herd of elephants or a culture of blue-green algae. Or a whole ecosystem like a coral reef. These nested webs of controls assure that, in the end, the development of every minute detail of every individual creature will assume the proper form and function for its environment - even if the creature is a complex atoll 60 kilometers in diameter and millions of years old. This is what the science of ecology is all about.

All biologists recognize the vast network of interactions that weave plant and animal behavior into the patterns of life. What is difficult to understand, and is not so readily accepted, is how this principle results in such fineness of detail as to enable a single human to perceive an event in the future as if it was a frame from a movie; an episode previously unimagined by the human; an episode which cannot be avoided.

By definition, life is non-random but how can the Moirae weave the tapestry with such precision that I will be directed through a series of impossible coincidences in the voyage from Florida to the Solomon Islands?

We have enough experimental evidence to say that life does, somehow, do this. Within the model of existence found in the voyage of the research vessel Moira, the explanation is not hard to imagine. For at each level of awareness, the behavioral complexities and selections leap to new plateaus of potential.

In the language mind of Man we achieve a level of control beyond the ability of any one human to imagine. This language system is the consciousness of our planet-sun. But there is more to awareness than consciousness. There is a vast ocean of awareness; a magic sea beyond the horizons of conscious perception. A sea which surrounds us and carries us in currents and eddies we can only know in brief moments when our own awareness filters down into their depths, like a diver trying to see in a sea lit by phosphorescence, with a desperate ache to return to the surface to breathe again.

As the diver knows there is a wealth of awareness within that dark sea, so we know the deeper layers of awareness exist for each of us and for all of us together. We may not be able to control them, but we can detect them through their impact on our existence. We are on one side of the tapestry of the Moirae, but there is another side. And more, there is the phenomenon of the tapestry itself. The Moirae exist and grow stronger and smarter with each moment of existence, with each new thread of awareness woven into the tapestry of life.

I offer you an opportunity, now, to learn about these forces - how to percieve them, understand them, and perhaps control them.

In our voyage we will never be far from the Moirae for the myth is derived from the  intuitive understanding of the process of life,

To Be is the process of spinning the thread of awareness by Moira clotho.

To Change is the process of segmenting the continuous thread by Moira lachesis, measuring being the essence of dividing the continuum into recognizable parts.

To Have Direction is the change in change, it is that which remains after Moira atropos cuts the thread of awareness, that which we learn as individuals, that which we evolve into as species.

The Observer, spun by the three sisters, is the thread of awareness in chaos.

Return to the thread in the South China Sea


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