Liminal Book Review: Summoning the Fates

Summoning the Fates: A Woman's Guide to Destiny. Zsuzsanna E. Budapest; Three Rivers Press, New York, NY. 1998. 242 pages.

I do not put much stock in Astrology, especially since taking an Astronomy class in college and learning about the Earth's precession; making me a Taurus instead of Gemini. But as anyone who has years of experiencing magic and psychic workings knows, we become more sensitive to the energy vibrations present in the universe the more we attune with these currents. Without consulting a natal chart, I have intuitively experienced the presence of two powerful, planetary energies in my life: Mercury and Saturn, both probably considered the most intense heavenly currents from our solar system.

Naturally Mercurial, I am constantly changing and swift in mind. A constant communicator, manipulator of energies and quick to learn new technologies, Mercury is very active in my life. It influences my impulsiveness, instinctual actions, and sharp silver tongue. Unfortunately it also goes retrograde three times a year, effecting me in the most strange ways (more on that in a future blog). Mercury is the most eccentric of our solar systems' planets, taking the most imperfect path around the sun. It's orbit is every 88 Earth days, a fast traveler through the sky. I describe this energy to juxtapose with the energies of Saturn, which is in some ways quite the opposite.

Saturn is a rather large planet, and one which orbits very slowly around the sun; coming back to carry us off into another life every 29-32 years. It is the energy of the harvester, reaping what has taken so long to grow; even the symbol for this planet looks like a sickle: ♄. Because it takes so long for this presence to appear on the horizon, the energies have a chance to build up over time; this may be why Saturnine energy is so heavy For those who believe in it, Saturn is connected to our destiny or fate, the path/lesson we are given at the time of birth in this lifetime. When it returns to a place in orbit, at the time we were born or at other points of our lives, the energies of this planet either manifests as an acceptance, or forces us to take our medicine the hard way. Either way we choose, and there is always a choice, it is not going to be necessarily easy but will guarantee change.


Although this book is aimed at being a guide for women, I truly believe the information and stories are accessible for everyone, no matter their sexual identity. In typical Z fashion, the Goddesses are invoked and worked tas words on the page. The Fates, no matter which culture they are experienced in, will always have a similar attitude towards mortals. Z expresses this point, almost as if the Fates are speaking THROUGH her:

“Guess what? The Fates don't do details. Wiping things off the Earth is not their beat. They only do the big picture, turn the wheel of the ages, and facilitate our souls' choices. The Fates don't create evil. Evil is a perception from our point of view. It belongs to the small picture. To us it is overwhelming, but cosmically it is the bat of an eyelash. It is a knot, a rough thread in the Fates' hands, but they don't tangle it. Despite everything we can do to snarl up the works, they turn the wheels and keep everything moving, flowing, spinning. Surviving” (p.51).

So when Urdh hands over the reigns to Verdandi around the age of 29-32, we return to the crossroads. Some people go back to school, others divorce or have babies, start a new career... there's a multitude of changes that occur during this tumultuous time. Everything up to this point was in preparation for what our life's work is to be and now we get to be more of who we truly are. Z offers up prayers, small rituals, and reflections that give hope and meaning to difficult periods in our lives. In helping us to understand these cosmic energies, Z is giving us the tools in an age when information empowers.

As someone who has JUST passed through my first “Saturn Return” (as they call it), I can attest to the transforming energies which take over things. My life completely changed; I got married, had a baby, stayed home and went back to school for a Master's... I also gained weight, lost some friends, and moved far away from family. It was at this time Hekate came into my life as well. By accepting what was presented to me, I have opened up more potentialities and opportunities for spiritual and financial growth in BIG ways; everything with Saturn is larger than life. With Verdandi in charge, we hone our talents... blooming under the immense pressure of the crown as we become masters of our selves, or buckling under it's weight. I, for one, hope to turn into a diamond.