For decades now I’ve been exploring this question, and my understanding of it continues to grow and evolve to this day. That said, as I begin preparing for my upcoming Boulder Event From the Dark Night to Rebirth – Starting Over from Soul: Intuition & Potential, I thought it would be interesting to share some of my latest insights which I’ll be teaching in much more depth that weekend…

I’d first start by saying that, while I consider my book Transforming Fate into Destiny a foundational work on Fate, Free Will, and Destiny, so much more is now moving within our Soul Contracts than I could have conceived of 8 years ago. Most notably the archetype of the ‘Dark Night’ has radically changed.

For starters, as I’ve taught for some time now, the Dark Night is not, nor really has it ever been, a Dark Night of the Soul. I think that when our lifespans were shorter and 40 years old was considered end of life, the intensity of this transformational cycle may have made it seem like it was in fact our Soul that was going through this often painful, confusing, and dark process.

But it has ALWAYS been our ego that’s been alchemically blackened and dies during this transformation. Thus this process has forever been a Dark Night of the Ego, as it’s a facet of our ego identity that’s going through the death and rebirth — not the Soul per se.

This is not to say that our Soul isn’t somehow transformed. It is per the evolutionary growth it signed up for before coming to this planet. But I’d have to say that, for the Soul, the Dark Night of the Ego experience is actually a lightening not a darkening.

Returning now to the question When does Fate become Free Will? – let me first explain what that question even means…

It means:

When does an addict get sober? When does a co-dependent let go of controlling others? When does an Entrepreneur take a leap of faith? When do you make a choice to turn the other cheek and forgive? 

When do you forgive yourself and move on? When do you finally say YES instead of NO? When do you finally say NO instead of YES? When does your intuitive voice finally become the loudest one in your head? 

When do you surrender to the larger plan and its timing? When do you stop being invisible and become seeable? When do you finally tell yourself inconvenient truths without losing worth? When do you let go of procrastination and stories of failure and just do it? 

When do you go for a walk instead of eating a bag of potato chips? When do you finally take responsibility for the things you can control and let go of the things you can’t? When do finally choose the requiting lovers and leave behind the unrequiting ones? 

When do you decide to stop chasing shame driven perfectionism and turn unconditionally toward the life that you have? When do you make decisions that are so radically different than your parents and family legacy that you change your entire life? 

When do you leave behind shadow loyalties to your ancestral suffering and pain? Etc, etc, etc…


All those questions come from your Fate: the agreement your Soul made to fuse to the creative energy and momentum of this world; to the history you were born into and its march forward.

And make no mistake, family and cultural history are powerful, far more powerful than many of these bullshit self-help new age formulas that would have you believe shifting this Fate only requires a vision board. And you know what I’m saying is true because you’ve lived it, and my friends it’s your experience that counts most of all.

So how do we get to conscious choice/free will?

It all depends on the level of choice were dealing with. Yet, what I’ve learned from thousands of intuitive readings over 20 years is that Life Changing choices (choices that transform your Fate into Destiny) requires nothing short of a Dark Night of the Ego.

That said, I’ve often taught that we have a Soul Contract with both Fate and Destiny, which is true. We’ve already taken a glimpse at what our Soul’s agreement with Fate can look like, but what exactly is a Soul’s Contract with Destiny?

Here’s the deal: I could bluntly point out your Soul Contract with Fate and you would recognize it immediately. You may have already recognized it in the list of questions I presented above. But what most of us don’t realize is that our Soul’s Contract with Destiny is the same as an agreement to fulfill our Optimal Potential.

You may have heard Optimal Potential described as your Highest Potential or Best Life – both are terms that I avoid as I feel they are often connected to someone’s shame based notion that they are living some sort of lower potential or lesser life because they are worthless right now and thus must chase a better life to be enough. Optimal Potential means the potential that is most favorable, holistic, alive, and available for the choosing.

And there’s that word again: choice. Yes, Optimal Potential is the potential you choose to manifest within what’s possible for your Destiny. So Optimal Potential requires two important elements to incarnate: knowing what’s possible for your Destiny, and then the capacity to actually make choices to fulfill that.

How do we actually know what’s possible for our Destiny?

How do we arrive a capacity to choose that? I mean really. Do you really know? And what keeps us from knowing this?

If you take a truthful look at our cultural shame and wounding, denial of fate, promised land mythologies, ‘go big or go home mentality’, perfectionism, family shame and wounding, consumerist spells that sell us on how we can have it all, religions that tell us were not worthy of having anything, and self-help seductions that promise us it only takes one special key formula to deliver us a magic genie who grants all wishes…well, you’ll see something very important: After we begin to identify all those voices in our heads it can become quite challenging to discern what is or isn’t possible for our Destiny! We simply can’t be all things, but we are born with the possibility of being somethings! What’s one of the greatest clarifiers of what we can be? The Dark Night of the Ego…

So not only does it often take a Dark Night to clarify what’s possible regarding our Optimal Potential, it can also take a Dark Night to develop a capacity to choose it!

What is it that happens during a Dark Night that offers us these massive shifts? Well that’s something very complex that I’ll be exploring in my workshop this April…

Having said that, mythologically and archetypally it’s always been understood that we cannot get through a Dark Night alone, we are sent helpers. Sometimes they’re therapists, teachers, ministers, pets, communities, healers, etc. But what’s needed more than anything is a Guide that sees us outside of our conditioned reality and helps us break that down.

Why? Because that’s what we’re under ‘contract’ to do during a Dark Night so that something new can happen. We need a Guide that sees our shadow, and can helps us see in the dark, for it’s only in learning to see in the dark that the light begins to dawn…


Robert Ohotto
Intuitive Life Strategist

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Annette Brandle
Annette Brandle
4 years ago

I think, perhaps,for Now, you have just said It All! Profound. Totally Insightful. From the Heart? … The Soul. … From a Forever Past, and yet, Totally Into the Future.
And Beautifully!……
Thank You,

Ellen-Sue Diamant
Ellen-Sue Diamant
4 years ago

I’ve been re-reading my second copy of your Fate/Destiny book this past month. Every time I read it, of course, there’s more to my understanding of it.

4 years ago

Dear Robert, thank you for your insightful words. I have been fortunate to have made it through the Dark Night of the Ego in my transformation to my, what i believe to be, true self. Having battled years of sexual abuse, a wide variety of addictions, a myriad of illnesses, and complete desperation, I hit bottom. I went to a retreat in the jungle and confronted all of my demons, gave hell to all those who hurt me including myself, and then forgave each and everyone of them. Since that time, I have not suffered any illness, have not had… Read more »

4 years ago

Thank you sooooooo much for your teachings.

Jan Dupuis
Jan Dupuis
4 years ago

There’s a lot here that can be valuable to absorb even for those of us who do not believe we come here with soul contracts. I especially like the ‘dark nght of the ego’ rather than soul. I’ve been through that exact process where all my fiercely held spiritual beliefs disintegrated before my eyes and it was very painful and frightening. Many years later I accept that I don’t have (and don’t need to have) all the answers to life’s big mysteries. Thank you for this article Robert.

4 years ago

Hello Robert, I agree with everything but have a question or thought. How do we know when these “helpers” show up? And how do we know someone is a helper vs diversion?

Mary Louise Ardam
Mary Louise Ardam
4 years ago

Thank you, Robert!
I follow you, because you of all my teachers you say it true. No BS. I get it.
We are part of the world, not just our families and history.
You woke me up.
Love you.
Thank God you are YOU.
You are a diamond shining in the darkness, in this very complicated world.
I have the power to choose, no matter what. Discipline is an important part of life.
I pray for you and your work to continue.
Much Infinite Love & Gratitude.
Mary Louise

3 years ago

twice now, my new comment , on being profoundly touched by the depth and beauty of your previously read, and commented on “How Does Fate become Free Will?”.. has disappeared- not to be found…something altered state of consciousness appears to have happened.. Love You. Ever.

3 years ago

Yes, it must have been my Guide who took over from the outside. I had no idea what kind of process I was in, but I could only follow … Somewhere in the dark I started to follow your teachings. Thanks to you Robert, for providing insight and support in my deeply healing transformation process.

Shohreh Nouri
Shohreh Nouri
1 year ago

 ‘go big or go home mentality’ talk about perfectionist. are you enough yet :)))