Luck

Recognize fortune (Τυχην νομιζε)
Be fond of fortune (Τυχην στεργε)

Luck.  Chance.  Fortune.  Hellenic thought has a lot to say about the concept, such as the two Delphic maxims quoted above.

  • Recognize fortune is not so easy, at least before it’s past.  That moment is governed by the two swiftest beings in the pantheon, Hermes Eriounios (luck-bringer) and Kairos, daimon of opportunity.  The former is prayed to by gamblers and all those who desire good luck, but is also something of a mischief-maker.  Kairos is a lesser-known spirit who, like Hermes, has winged feet; his is the name for the “perfect moment” when all things come together.  Kairos is perhaps more difficult to catch:  the only hair on his naked form is a forelock, by which he must be grabbed as he comes at you, lest it be too late.  Foresight is needed to recognize fortune.
  • Be fond of fortune doesn’t just mean jumping up and down upon winning the lottery.  Fortune may be kind to others, and it may be (seemingly) unkind to us.  Chaos is part of the framework of the universe, and it’s best to accept that truth, rather than spend one’s energy alternately rejoicing and ranting.  Be fond of fortune because it is the touch of the gods, and it’s impossible to see enough of the big picture to understand if its consequences will be for good or ill.  As mortals, it’s not a good idea to blow our stacks because we think we know how things are going to turn out.  Be fond of fortune, and be patient enough to see how it unfolds.
Some Pagans eschew prayer, because it “feels like begging,” Judy Harrow has told me.  Praying for good luck must feel doubly so!  But then there are Pagans like myself, who have been slow to embrace magic, for it feels like hubris to try to take into my own hands the things that the gods oversee.  Working a spell for luck seems like, frankly, a dicey proposition!
But magic often manifests itself as luck; so too does the answer to prayer.  It seems that luck is not so much a force to be manipulated directly as it is an expression of the energy of the universe.  Even Felix Felicis, the luck potion depicted in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, simply pushes its user to be in the right place, at the right time; that’s Kairos all over again.  To me, it seems more a tool of the gods and the unseen world than it is something we can manipulate directly.

Celebrate luck, but do not judge it.  Recognize it when it happens, but don’t be too quick to interpret it.  Do not be so arrogant as to believe that nothing can ever go wrong, because fate is prone to temptation, it seems.  However, living life as if there’s a dark cloud overhead always seems to give that cloud power.

Luck.  It’s going to happen, there’s nothing we can really do about it, and it’s part of what makes living life so terribly interesting.

This post is part of the Pagan Blog Project, a yearlong exploration of spirituality.  This specific post is brought to you by the letter L.

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