Gaye Alkan – The Gates of The Fate


Understanding The Process of Life Through Aristotle’s Terms: Hamartia, Anagnorisis and Peripetia

Aristotle, as one of the Ancient Greek Philosophers was not only interested in Philosophy, he was a great thinker on different subjects too. One of his most famous works is “Poetics”. In this work, he creates a system on The Ancient Tragedy Form. When creating the system  about tragedy form, he uses critical thinking when he sees universal laws related to the mimicking characteristics of the art. He uses “the rules” of the nature for defining the mimesis of the nature. He defines these rules in an order, and with some special terminology, which makes his work interesting for historians, artists, philosophers for many many years.

Although he uses several terms originated from The Greek language, he especially uses “Hamartia”, “Anagnorisis” and “Peripetia” terms while describing the structure of a well planned tragedy. Well planned means a structure which is very close to a real life event.

Greek philosophers were really interested in “knowing self” and “questioning the existence”. The Famous Delphic Oracle on The Apollo Temple is a great example for this interest: “Know thyself”. There is also this famous sentence written, “Nothing in Excess” which explains Aristotle’s Hamartia term. Hamartia means “to err”, “to mistake” in Greek language and it shows an exaggerated quality of a personality which takes the person to the tragic end, which also causes enlightenment process and “Anagnorisis”. Anagnorisis means “recognition” in Greek. In Astrology recognizing oneself with the natal chart, that’s the Astrological Anagnorisis process.

When we think of “Knowing Thyself” statement, I assume that, it’s really the center of why all astrologers begin to learn Astrology Through science, universal systematic shows that actually everything has a structure just similar as a “machine”. So it’s possible to say that our life plan has a structure and a birth chart of a person is an instruction manual of that person. If you know your “chart”, you know a way that goes to know “thyself”. 

So let’s think of a case with chronological order: We have a hero, as in tragedies that Aristotle takes as basis, and this hero is a gambling addict. He is gambling with everything that he has, he has a belief that he will win the biggest amount one day and he is ambitious about it. The point is, he never listens to the people around him, who are the people who protects him or loves him for who he is.

One day, he really comes to a point that he loses his house and everything and moreover, he gets in a real big amount of debt. After all, he just loses control of his life and gets fired from his job. His wife takes their daughter away and leaves him. So:

In this example, we see our hero, that has an exaggerating quality, he is really ambitious about taking risks, playing and he doesn’t take any advice at all.  His unawareness and blind continuity are his Hamartia, his weakness point, his “error”. And his “loss” is bringing him to his Anagnorisis.

This is a pretty basic example, however, very accurate and we see similar cases everyday in our lives. Human being is a being that learns from “pain” and “loss”. We see many famous people that grow up fighting with difficulties and whose lives turn out better after this learning experience. Or we know many people who come to a time that they fight with a serious illness and end up finding themselves.

Anagnorisis in The Charts

The steps of the Aristotle’s terms that he used for tragedy form, are the steps of the one for living. We first get lost with our weakness (Hamartia) and then we “recognize” ourselves in that ground that we fall down. 

What happens we don’t understand that we are on that ground to think about what’s wrong?

If I know my “Hamartia”, my weakness point as an “everyday life” hero, I begin to recognize myself without walking down to the tragic end. That’s the opportunity which Astrology offers.

There is a divine systematic in the universe, even in the atoms of our body. We see its systematic everywhere, so that’s why I use Aristotle’s system with charts related to the charts in this article, because the universal laws are accurate for every being, that being may be a form of life, it can be a “poem” or a “human”, does not matter.

Knowing your weakness, gifts, the environment around you, the transitional process of time and finally knowing the great message for your being, the service that you were born foris recognition of the self, is Anagnorisis. 

It’s also possible to see each natal hard aspect or challenging transit as a road to Anagnorisis gate.

Peripetia, The Reversal of Life

How about Peripetia? We, as astrologers are used to get asked these questions very often: “Will my life change? Will my husband change? Will I be rich at last? Will I get married? Will I get out of debt finally?”

How does the Peripetia, the direction change occur? It’s needed to walk through the first two gates of fate for this.

Peripetia is the “reversal” of the life, “a sudden direction change in the life”. An awareness which comes with Anagnorisis changes life. So, the way to change the life or increase the realization / vibration level of the aspects or transits are really related to our Anagnorisis process. 

Sometimes, even after the most challenging events, people don’t get to a point that they learn the message from their life. So it’s needed to think with these gates to make our lives better. I believe these terms are universal and really helps to analyze the system of the divine plan; fate. This is a fate that we can change by knowing its structure.



Aristotle, Poetics

Gaye Alkan




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