Changing the Future - Mythology of The Flash and Once Upon a Time

As a tarot reader, part of what I do for myself and clients is peering into the future. Many people want to know what will happen in the future. Will they get the job they just interviewed for? Will they find the love of their life any time soon? How will their financial investments turn out? Those who do have a desire for some prognostication will turn to psychics or people like me, tarot readers.

Is there really a future? Does the future exist? If so, can it be predicted? Could we change the future if we knew what was going to happen? These are deep questions which can be addressed from different philosophical perspectives. However, as a tarot reader, I would answer, yes there is a future which is always in the process of creation. The future is an extension of the present, what we are doing in the present, impacts the creation of the future. Can it be predicted? Yes, I think it can to some degree, but predictions are not absolute, they are generally changeable.  

Can we change the future if we knew something bad was going to happen, something which displeased us? If we knew something horrible was going to happen what should we do? Stop living and spend our time focused on the future? Do we dread about the future? For the answer to this, I turn to pop culture. In two of the shows I watch regularly, Once Upon a Time (ABC) and The Flash (CW), this specific concern arises for the main characters. SPOILERS

In both shows, the main characters Emma Swan (Once) and Barry Allen/The Flash (Flash) both see a future which show their lives turning for the worst. Emma has reoccurring visions of the future in which she battles a black cloaked figure and dies. Emma’s lover in the show is Killian Jones (Captain Hook) and both of them desire to start a life together. In episode three of this season, knowing what her future could be, and keeping it hidden from Hook, she asked him to move in with her. The concern is though, Emma has seen her future, knows she will likely die in and thus would end up devastating Hook. Why do such a thing Emma? Give a man a false hope for a future together with her? Hook eventually finds out about Emma’s visions. However, they both move pass the deceit and we see the two of trying create some roots together.

Barry Allen is a speedster superhero known as The Flash. Because he runs so fast, he has the ability to run to the past. Throughout the series his romantic interest has been Iris West, who he is supposed to eventually get married to. In the current third season, Barry battles a villain speedster “god” known as Savitar. With the help of Jay Garrick (The Flash from Earth 3, there is a multiverse of earths) Barry gets his hands on the mystical stone which allows Savitar to enter his reality. Trying to prevent anyone from getting their hands on the stone and brining Savitar back, he throws it into the “speed force”. However, doing so throws Barry into the future (the first time ever for him) and in the future, he sees his future self failing to save Irsis, who is killed by Savitar.

Back tracking a little now, while communicating with Savitar through his human host, Savitar gives the Flash team a prophecy, “once shall betray you”, “One shall fall”, and "One Shall Suffer A Fate Far Worse Than Death!", Barry sees the future where Iris dies, “one shall fall” appears to be accurate.

Barry is brought back to the present by Jay where he explains to Barry how what he saw is but one possible future. There are Infinite possibilities he tells him. Barry does not tell the group what happened. Barry later bring Iris to an apartment and reveals to her that it is their new apartment, inviting her to live together. Barry tells Iris he does not know what will happen in the future, be he wants to spend every moment he can with her.

These two shows are good examples of modern mythology. Complex, timeless human issues are worked out in a fantasy world. They battle monsters and teach us lessons just like the myths of Greece. Both deal with the issue of seeing something in the future which they want to avoid, because each character suffers a great lose. Barry loses the love of his life, and Emma loses her own life. However, as we see in the show the message that is being given, the lesson or advise is that, the future is not set in stone. You do not have to accept what we saw as the be all end all. You have an option, you can be present right now, live your life to the fullest, love the person you love, proceed with your plans and so forth. Each character moves forward inviting their lover to live together and plant roots.

What will happen in each show, we do not yet know yet. But the message is clear, do not fear the future, live in the now. Which is very Buddhist in thinking. The Buddha taught that you should focus your attention in the present moment, and not to be distracted by the past or the future.

So, next time you shuffle your tarot cards and peak into the future. If you see something you do not like, want to avoid or cringe to see. Remember, you live in the now, you must live life to the best of your ability and never shrink away from the possibilities that life can offer and the do your damn best to create the future you want.