I don't do a whole lot of fortune telling with tarot. Predicting the future is the least interesting aspect of tarot I can think of. I prefer to live in the NOW of existence, and use tarot to contemplate and organize thoughts about that, rather than trying to project my ego into the future. But... for those who are inclined to use The Numerical Tarot as a fortune telling device, there may be some interest in how this study of the universe views the concept of Destiny.
The Numerical Tarot is not designed around 22 paths, or 12 signs. It is designed around 9 numbers. We use 9 numbers to label the parts of a fundamental, abstract model of existence breaching the continuum of infinity around it. Like a fish in water, each 9-part entity moves through a sea of infinity. Some paths don't end until the entity ends. Some paths have a beginning, middle and end that are completed within a lifetime, or a day, or a moment. Whether life-long or moment-to-moment, each completed path becomes an entity itself - an entity whose nature can also be described in 9 parts.
In the 9-part numerical system being offered everywhere on this site, Fate is associated with the number 1 and Destiny is associated with the number 9. Everything inbetween is what we go through, and what we get on our path of destiny. As a path with a beginning, middle and end, there is a cause and effect, or "reap what we sow" relationship between the two halves of any number line. There are also different kinds of number lines, depending on whether we are talking about Fate vs. Will.
In a traditional tarot deck:
1) The Magician would begin the number line of will, order and determination, ending with The Hermit's culmination of knowledge and experience.
2) The Wheel of Fortune would begin the number line of fate, randomness and chance, ending with the dark unknowns of The Moon.
In a traditional tarot deck:
1) Seeing The Magician as a symbol of will is easy. Likewise, seeing The Hermit as a symbol of the culmination of an ordered path is also pretty easy.
2) Seeing The Wheel of Fortune as a symbol of fate is easy for me, but may lead to arguments from others. Likewise, seeing The Moon as a symbol of the chaos and confusion (or lunacy) of a random path seems reasonable to me, but may also lead to arguments from others.
In both number lines, the 1 and 9 are equidistant partners, and as such share some similarities. Likewise, every number along the way reveals cause and effect similarities. Between each number line (the Magician/Hermit line vs. the Wheel/Moon line) similarities can also be seen, but with an order vs. chaos differences:
The Emperor symbolizes the stability of an ordered path. The Death card symbolizes the changes that occur along a random path. The Lovers card symbolizes the predictable influences that are typical of an ordered path. The Devil symbolizes the unpredictable influences that are typical of a random path. The Chariot symbolizes realizations that occur along an ordered path (the result of stable and predictable influences). The Tower symbolizes accidents that occur along a random path (the result of changes, and unpredictable influences). The Hermit symbolizes culminating order and sanity. The Moon symbolizes culminating chaos and insanity.
The entire sequence of each path cannot be shown, using a traditional tarot deck. But the entire sequence can be shown, using The Numerical Tarot deck! In The Numerical Tarot, the two paths of destiny are very clear. In contemplating destiny with The Numerical Tarot:
1) The Will number line is governed by Order.
2) The Fate number line is governed by Chaos.
But, the underlying theory states that we are not governed exclusively by one or the other as people tend to argue. The theory is that:
1) It takes effort to willfully alter the course of a destiny.
2) And it takes no effort to go with the flow and take whatever destiny comes our way.
Likewise, we are not locked exclusively into one destiny. The theory being:
1) The kinds of destinies that are not forgone conclusions are the ones that begin and end within the realm of Order and the exertion of Will.
2) The kinds of destinies that are forgone conclusions are the ones that start and end completely within the realm of Chaos and taking whatever Fate we get.
Most destinies are a combination of both fate and will.
This combined/hybrid nature of destiny becomes apparent when we consider how impossible it is too maintain a continual and persistent force of will. Eventually we have to sleep, or otherwise divert our attention. Every time we do this we put ourself into the hands of Fate. But... we can take back that control with more applied effort, and our destiny will change accordingly. As we fluctuate between these two modes, or number line paths, we create a hybrid destiny.
If I were doing readings I would make it clear to someone that:
1) Applied effort in the form of will can change a destiny.
2) While doing nothing will certainly lead to forgone conclusions.
So, determining the probable outcome of one's destiny would be a matter of determining:
1) Just how much effort or will a person is capable of, specific to the subject matter of the reading.
2) Or, how fatalistic they are, or will choose to be.
If we consider how fundamentally lazy the general population of the world is, then it is no wonder that people tend to perceive destiny as something that is a forgone conclusion and cannot be avoided. But it can. It just takes effort.
This is why we sometimes reach situations where we don't always know if it is good to:
1) Exert will
2) Or wait and see what happens.
1) Sometimes too much effort/will can take us right past a golden opportunity - i.e. a fork in the road that could have made all the difference.
2) Sometimes a wait and see attitude can float us down river to a new course where we can resume effort and paddle to a new destiny.
1) Sometimes a willful path can cut right through the fog.
1) Sometimes a wait and see attitude will take us right past a golden opportunity and get us lost in the fog.
By being a hybrid of order and chaos, destiny is both unknown and deserved.
We can look back in regret at each twist and turn. Or look back with delight at every wrong move. We can try and turn things around. Or we can go with the flow.
1) Keep both oars in the water (order).
2) Or don't (chaos).
As long as we remain a 9-part, manifest, fish-in-water-like entity, breaching the continuum of infinite possibilities that surround us wherever we go, there will always be some kind of destiny "out there." As other 9-part, manifest, fish-in-water-like entities interact, they contribute to the chaos by continually changing, diverting and otherwise influencing in a random fashion any individual's path (like billiard balls criss-crossing a pool table, we collide, and change each other's destiny).
1) An entity on a Willful path will push and shove through the chaos to somewhere predictable and known.
2) An entity on a Fateful path will be pushed and shoved through the chaos to somewhere unpredictable and unknown.
But even the most organized, devoted and willful entity can be blindsided by another 9-part, manifest, fish-in-water-like entity pushing and shoving its way through the chaos. So:
1) Watch out!
2) Or, don't.
And see where it gets you!
Like predicting the weather, the dynamics of Destiny are fluid. Like the weather, systems can become "organized" entities pushing their way across the country. And without notice, that "organization" can dissipate, or be diverted by some other system pushing through from somewhere else. Weather patterns are indeed patterns - i.e. predictable. But still fluid - i.e. random.
One reason this question gets so much attention is because people crave easy definitive answers out of life. They want to know if their fate is a forgone conclusion or not, so that they can either stop trying to change it, or, exert the will necessary to make a change. If someone can convince people that their fate is out of their hands, they will be comfortable knowing that, and take whatever comes. If someone can convince them that their fate is the result of their willful participation in life's matters, then they will take responsibility for what happens or doesn't happen. They just want to know WHICH one it is, so that they know what to do, or not do. This theory says it's both. Sorry. No easy answers. Do something, or don't - our destiny takes shape either way.