Fate vs Destiny in Ancient Literature and Mythologies

Fate vs destiny all you need to knowFate vs Destiny has a very subtle line between them that separates the two terms. In shallow meaning, the two words are very similar and also represent a similar school of thought but when you go into the detail you will understand that the words have a very subjective and objective meaning. 

In ancient times, people had a very deep relationship with fate and destiny as decreed by their gods and goddesses. In the article, we bring you all the information about fate, destiny, and their interpretation in Ancient literature.

Fate vs Destiny Quick Comparison Table

MeaningA Pre-determined PathA Self-determined Path
Given atTime of BirthPlanned out with age
Can it be changed?NoYes
Can it be fulfilled?YesYes
Is it against your will?YesNo
Similar WordsGod’s will, KismetChoice, Aesthetic
Role in ReligionYesNo

What Are the Differences Between Fate vs Destiny?

The main difference between fate and destiny is that fate is pre-determined and cannot be changed whereas destiny is self-determined and is changed according to a man’s wishes. The other difference is that fate is decreed upon an individual when he is born whereas destiny is made as he grows.

What Is Fate Best Known For?

Fate is best known for its pre-determination and the fact that it is decreed by a higher entity. This entity could be a god, a priest, or any celestial being that you have faith in. Fate is something that urges you to be religious in the sense that if you are not religious and do not believe in a higher power, who controls your fate then? The doctrine of fate is the belief in a power that is greater than you and has ultimate control over you and everything in this world.

Faith in Ancient Times

In Ancient literature, people believed in the presence of various deities that governed their lives. From Greek mythology to Roman, Egyptian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and various other mythologies, each mythology had a significant leader, a god that decreed the fate of the men. In some instances, even the gods and goddesses had their fates written. This shows that the pre-determination of order in life is an ancient belief that has been passed down to through generations over the years.

A person who believes in fate, ideology, and its doctrines is called a fatalist. A fatalist believes in the pre-determination of one’s path from birth to death. A person who is a fatalist is also seen as someone who is religiously extreme. Nevertheless, the term is starting to be used in a common, non-extreme way and it has a long way to go.

No One Can Change Their Fate

One cannot change their fate. The main doctrine of fate is that it is controlled and decreed by a power higher than a mere man. You thus cannot change your fate.

Each and everyone has their own fate which may intertwine with each other. For example, the fates of soulmates surely intertwine with each other and form a single new fate that governs the life of the couple.

Before you are born, the deity or the higher power that you believe in has already written all of your life’s story. Your job is to live that story and not to get astray from the path.

You cannot question the path or its writer, just accept all of the lows and highs with utmost gratefulness. This is the basis of many religions in the world today as it was in ancient times.

Fate Different From Faith in Ancient Mythology

Fate is a part of your faith and this is how the two terms are different. Faith is a collection of beliefs that a person follows and bases his whole life on. Faith and Religion are also similar in meaning. In the world today, many different religions exist and each has its own way of life.

In most of these religions, fate is a mandatory pillar. It means that the divine god of the faith has decreed a fate on the person from the day he was born. The person thus believes in his fate and thus has firm faith in his religion. Hence the debate of fate vs faith is not a very legitimate one.

Some people, for instance, have taken it too far and believe that their god does not require them to do anything in this life because their fate would bring everything to them. This is surely a false interpretation made by lazy people.

The Three Fates in Greek Mythology

The Three Fates in Greek mythology are the three sisters that govern the fate of each person. Their names were Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos. Each sister has specific tasks that she performs. According to their legend, Zeus gave the sisters this power and control over human life.

Clotho is the youngest among the sisters and her job is to put the thread in the machine for spinning. This is what starts a life. Next, comes Lachesis. The middle sister, whose job is to dispense a certain length of the thread, becomes the lifetime of the person. Lastly, Atropos is the eldest sister among them all and is responsible for cutting the thread which also means death.

Atropos is known as the most inflexible and unkind of the three sisters because she does not spare a single minute for any person.

These fates are also known to sometimes govern the lives of gods and goddesses but the ultimate control is in the hands of Zeus. These sisters work in coordination with Zeus to get the job done. So in Greek mythology, the fates control the fate of each man, woman, and child.

Most Ancient Mythologies Accept Fate

No, but most of the ancient mythologies do. They believe that there is a higher power that controls your life and has written it in a certain way for you to follow. It may not be the best way of your life and it may not go according to your needs but it is of utmost importance that you live it according to your fate.

The ancient literature of different mythologies and literature that accept fate are Greek mythology, Roman mythology, Chinese mythology and religion, Islamic religion, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Sikhism.

On the other hand, a few religions and cults believe that the person is responsible for his own life and that all the decisions that he takes are his own. This is an interesting stance on human life which is also negated by many religious people. People are very intolerant toward the beliefs of others which causes them to say and do hurtful things. Whatever the teachings of any religion may be, each religion teaches us to be patient and kind towards our fellow human beings.

Control Over Fate According to Ancient Mythology

According to ancient mythologies, the god, goddess, deity, or a higher power that governs the mythology has prime control over fate or he divides this control between deities that he trusts.

In Greek mythology, for instance, the three sisters of fate control and determine the fate of a person. They decide his age, the contents of his life, and much more. This control of fate was given to them by Zeus, the prime deity of Greek mythology.

Many different examples exist, moreover, all religious people have had a firm belief in the supremacy of their deity over their fate since ancient times. This firm belief keeps them going and makes them content in their life. It is a very important part of their lives and they carry it till their death after that, it is passed down to many generations to come.

What Is Destiny Best Known For?

Destiny is best known for giving a person the power to make his own life. Fate and destiny differ over the determination of life and its choices in ancient mythologies. As we know, fate is pre-determined and destiny is self-determined so destiny makes use of one’s abilities, traits, and characteristics to shape a future.

Destiny in Ancient Mythology

According to ancient mythology and literature, destiny is not something that you are born with but is highly circumstantial. The word destiny is a derivation of the word destination.

Destiny may be a physical, emotional, theoretical, or metaphorical place that is a goal set by a person in his mind. All his life his destiny can be changed according to his will or he can continue on a set path by himself. This means that we are in ultimate control over our destiny and it is in our hands to change it and make the most of it.

As destiny is self-determination of one’s own future, a lot of people argue that believing in destiny is disbelief in religion. This is not true for a person who is conscious and believes in his religion, he may also believe in his own strengths. It is crucial to keep in mind that the concept of destiny, fate, and religion can be very subjective at times, and giving concrete statements on the matter is not really a sensible move.

Ways to Fulfil Your Destiny

You can fulfill your destiny by staying on your true path, according to different mythologies. To elaborate further, the person who wants to fulfill his destiny should not wander off and start a new journey every other day but he must stay firm on his belief that he chose destiny for himself and he will reach it after all the highs and lows.

Nonetheless, this would give him utter strength and passion for his destiny and the universe will help him in mysterious ways to fulfill it. The phrase, for example, where there is a will there is always a way, can be very helpful in understanding the situation here.

Another way to fulfill one’s destiny is to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. As long as you are in your comfort zone, you will not know what is waiting for you out there. You can imagine but imagination will not get you too far. So the best way to get started on the path of your true destiny is to get out there and make the most of it.

Changing Destiny

You can change your destiny by your sheer will to do so. As destiny is self-determined you do not need the help of anyone but yourself. In ancient literature, there are many instances of heroes and warriors that challenged life and fulfilled their destinies. They went face to face with their fate and got what they wanted.

Another way to change your destiny is to ask for the help of your god. They surely have influence over the universe and have a lot to give. This phenomenon can be seen in ancient mythologies as well. If a person in ancient times did not believe in fate and wanted to make his life on his own, he would still ask the deity for help in whatever he had trouble with. This only confirms his religiousness which was a big part of ancient mythologies.

Not all Ancient Mythologies Deny Destiny

No, not all ancient mythologies deny destiny. Ancient mythologies mostly focus on the supremacy of the divine and celestial entities which is why the concept of self-determination and individual authority is looked down upon.

A person who believes in fate is called a fatalist while there is no word for a person who believes in destiny rather than a dreamer or a fantast from the word fantasy. There may be a deeper plot against the unconventional people here which is not fair.

The only way to understand the concept of destiny is that one could think of destiny as something people discover as they grow up in their life. Nevertheless, this can come in handy to them or also make them overwhelmed.

On the other hand, some people find it really helpful that all of their life is planned out by someone else and all they need to do is just walk on a straight path. Ancient mythologies explain the same notion using different stories and different characters.

The One Who Has Control Over Destiny in Ancient Mythology

According to ancient mythologies, the divine and celestial beings had control over their destiny. This might sound surprising to you since we have discussed what destiny is and how it is related to us but here is the truth: ancient mythologies iterated that even the thought of having a destiny and the power of self-determination of your future was your fate. This is a never-ending debate because anyone can argue the supremacy of fate over destiny and vice versa.

Nevertheless, destiny and fate can both co-exist and have a part to play in the lives of every person. Even if that person does not believe in any of the two terms or believes in both terms or even one, it is his personal choice.

However, it is important to note that he is the controller of his thoughts and can have an individual belief that is unlike anyone else’s. The world needs to show kindness and patience to everyone irrespective of their beliefs, color, and race.


Do the Three Sisters of Fate Exist in Roman Mythology?

Yes, the Three Sisters of Fate exist in Roman mythology. The reason is that Roman mythology absorbed a lot of Greek mythology, its storylines, characters, and timeline. Because of this most of the characters that exist in Greek mythology exist in Roman mythology. The Romans have kept the features of many characters intact but have given them new names and personas.

Can a Person Believe in Fate and Destiny at the Same Time?

Yes, a person can believe in fate and destiny at the same time. Acceptance of one doctrine does not mean the denial of the other. Both of the terms and their meaning can be taken hand in hand without a problem.

ConclusionFate vs destiny what to expect

Fate vs destiny is a debate that can only be answered while being totally unbiased to one’s own beliefs. Here we have tried to explain both the terms in a manner that would not harm anyone’s sentiments. The ancient literature of many religions contains some very harsh guidance and presses its followers to accept it wholeheartedly. This is the reason why ancient literature is biased toward fate which is the pre-determination of one’s life and death.

Here we come to the end of the article. We have learned that according to ancient literature, fate is the pre-determination of life while destiny is the self-determination of life. A person can believe in both ideologies at the same time or not believe in any of them without a problem. This debate is very subjective and requires a very deeper understanding of ancient literature and mythologies.

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