Fate, Providence and Free Will (1)

The question about fate, Providence and free will in astrology is an old one. There are probably others over the centuries who have answered it more elegantly or more concisely. Even so, I will address it, as it is one of those questions that should ever and again be taken up and answered anew. I certainly won’t be able to answer it in one short article. Instead as an introduction I would like to tell the following story:

A snail slowly made its way along the rim of roots of an overturned tree. The soil had dried and was beginning to crumble. The snail tumbled down into the deep pool that had formed in the hole where the roots had once been. The surface was quiet and it could find no purchase. It sank just below the surface. It was drowning. Shortly afterwards a wanderer passed by, saw the snail and had compassion. With some difficulty, the pool was wide and deep and slippery on the edges, the wanderer pulled the snail out of the water and placed it on dry ground, leaving it to crawl where it would.

Suppose the snail was aware of its predicament and recognized that it was hopeless. It knew it would die unless it was saved by a miracle. Now when the wanderer transported it out of the water and set it on land it knew nothing of the agency that had saved it, nor how it could be meters away from where it had been a moment before. Was it fate that it should be saved? Was the wanderer’s compassion an act of free will? Or was it Providence that he should come by in time to save the snail? As we see this question is like a Gordian Knot. If you try to unravel it on one end the other end only tightens.

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