Carl Jung, was a brilliant psychoanalyst. He was a contemporary of Freud, but unlike Freud, his genius, in my view, was precisely because he departed from mainstream psychology and explored the idea of a Collective Unconscious, which now appears to have been correct in light of recent research into unconscious processes by Bargh and others, as well as his unorthodox concept of the "acausal" principle of "synchronicity." Besides Viktor Frankl,Carl Jung seemed really to be one of the few who really grasped "spirit" and the spiritual aspect of the human being - though it should be said William James made a serious contribution with his concept of "sense of reality."
The genesis of Jung’s concept of “synchronicity,” a rather fancy name for bizarre coincidences that can happen in a person's life, as the story goes, was given birth by the uncannily, well-timed appearance of a golden scarab beetle. One night, a patient and client of Carl Jung, the famous psychologist and psychotherapist, had a vivid dream of a golden scarab beetle (cetonia aurata). The next day, while the patient’s psychotherapy was going on, a real insect, a beetle in fact, happened to hit against cabinet window of Jung’s office. Jung got up from his chair and walked across the room up to the window. He reached out with his hand and caught the insect in the palm of his hand. Much to Jung’s surprise, Carl Jung discovered with some amazement that the insect was, in actuality, a golden scarab whose presence was very rare for that particular climate. So, the idea of synchronicity is all about coincidence: in this case, the coincidental occurrence of the golden scarab in the patient’s dream together with the incredibly unlikely appearance of a golden scarab in
reality, during psychotherapy the next day. The idea of synchronicity springs from the understanding of the universe being connected by unknown forces in which there is no such thing as chance or coincidence. There is a unity to the ALL and we are all connected in some way to everything else. That is synchronicity is the sense of destiny.
In a sense synchronicity is rooted in the cycles of nature, the universe, as well as human nature, history, and myth, and finally of creation and rebirth. That Jung’s synchronicity began with the golden scarab beetle would seem almost to be also of a synchronous-consciousness immersed in divine creation, rebirth, and human myth. In the ancient religious and spiritual beliefs of Egypt, the scarab is a symbol saturated with divine meaning and spiritual symbolism. Archaeologists have excavated millions of amulets and stone stamp seals in Egypt which portrayed the scarab beetle. As a token of worship of the Egyptian gods, a jewel-golden scarab was uncovered that belonged to the famous Egyptian queen Nefertiti. The scarab beetle (kheper) was worshipped as "Khepera", which means "he was came forth.” The reason for that is because scarab beetles seemed to spontaneously appear from holes where the scarab dung beetles had buried their balls of dung in which the females had laid their eggs. The creator god, Atum, was thought to generate creativity through the scarab beetle. The dung beetle, from the
Scarabaeidae family with its variety of 30,000 different species, rolls dung into a ball as a source for food. The female dung beetle lays its eggs in a “brood chamber” in the ball. In this way when the larvae hatch,
food is right there to devour.
In ancient Egyptian religion, the sun god Ra journeys across the heavens every day, and in doing this also
transformed both bodies and souls. And perhaps the most famous member of the family, the sacred scarab, was actually worshiped by the Egyptians as the embodiment of the sun god Khepri. The Egyptian god Khepri, which represented the sun god Ra as the rising sun, was frequently illustrated in royal and sacred paintings as a scarab beetle or alternatively as a scarab-beetle-headed man. In Egyptian mythology, the god Khepri rolled the sun above the horizon similar to dung beetles rolling their balls of dung after renewing the sun by transporting the sun through the other world after sunset. Also, the scarab-beetle god Khepera in Egyptian mythology pushed the setting sun along the sky in the same way as a dung beetle pushed his ball of dung. In archaeological excavations the scarab is portrayed pushing the sun along its path through the sky. In a synchronicity-mirrored-way, the scarab was viewed as symbolic of the processes of rebirth and regeneration mirroring the divine heavenly cycle and spiritual journey.
Beginning around the 11th century BC, during the Egyptian New Kingdom, amulets depicting scarabs were often placed over the heart of the mummified body of the deceased. These "heart scarabs" were supposed to be counterbalance for the goddess Ma’at’s feather of truth during the final judgement of the person’s soul. So, the synchronicity of the earthly processes in the eternal cycle of rebirth and re-creation mirror the heavenly divine and spiritual processes of rebirth and creation. A symbol within a symbol, as it were, and the endless cycle of synchronicity within the matrix of inter-connectivity intrinsic in the spiritual world seems very fitting, perhaps, even, with a touch of poetic justice to it.
Some Personal Experiences of Synchronicity
In my experience synchronicity can get downright spooky at times. In fact, finding the reference to Jung above occurred when I opened an encyclopedia on "Mythology" to an article in the book about Jung and his concept of synchronicity - almost on the very page in which Jung’s golden scarab experience was highlighted. This occurred on the very day, a friend I made on Facebook had just emailed me an article about Jung. I had heard of Jung and synchronicity but I had not read anything about it.
Synchronicity with the FBI (lucky me - that's sarcasm, by the way)
Perhaps the most mysterious and bizarre synchronicity involved the FBI. It was very telling because my most significant experience that I do feel was an expression of the Holy Spirit, my notarized and very detailed precognitive “What a nightmare” warning involved both terrorism and the FBI. There were several illustrations of synchronicity which took place over a period of twenty years.
In Toledo, Ohio where the “What a nightmare” precognitive experience occurred and I sat down with a FBI agent went over the document with the agent, my mother’s law office happened by chance or coincidence to be directly next door to the FBI office. While I was building a house for myself in Fredericksburg around 1997-1998, by chance or fate, I lived directly next door to former FBI agent John Douglas, who is a pioneer in FBI profiling. Even more telling is that in his book, The Mind Hunter, he states of psychic capability, “I’ve seen it work!” On one occasion when I spoke to him he told me that Beverly Newton, a Fredericksburg psychic had begun her career with a perception as her first child was born. By chance I spoke to a man who said that when in high school his friend had been told that his pickup truck would have a problem on the way home which turned out to be true. Also, after I hired my sales manager in Fredericksburg I learned she was a former FBI agent.
But most significant, I met my wife, Kathi, in 1984, and it wasn’t until I had been with her for at least 6 months or so that I learned her father was a former FBI agent. Family folklore had it that her father was given the choice by FBI Director Hoover between the FBI and his womanizing. It seems her father decided to stick with womanizing. Kathi, a lifelong Lutheran, as it turned out has had several of her own spiritual-psychic experiences, one of which she views as essentially direct intervention by God. When she was pregnant with her first child, a doctor on a routine checkup told her that the fetus had stopped growing and recommended aborting the baby. She felt strongly she shouldn’t do that and prayed to God. When she went for her next checkup, the fetus had resumed growing. Later, during our marriage, she felt strongly that she needed to go see her Aunt Katherine, who she hadn’t seen in a long time. When she went to go I asked her to take the children with her, but she felt strongly she should not, so she refused to bring any children with her. When she reached her Aunt Katherine, she found her dead on the kitchen floor. She had a couple other experiences like that.
The cherry on the FBI-synchronicity-cake is that Kathi’s father, who is Native American, abandoned her and never once sent her a birthday or Christmas card. In spite of the fact that I have letters from U.S. Senator Van Hollen and Maryland Governor Hogan expressing interest in research into spirituality, it seems I cannot, for the life of me, get an FBI agent to return my phone call. It is incredibly crystal clear that the FBI has abandoned me in a simulacrum-synchronicity of Kathi’s former FBI-agent-father having abandoned her.
A Little Lutheran Synchronicity and Witchcraft
An inherent difficulty and thorny issue in spirituality - especially transcendental spiritual experiences - is that views are extremely polarized. The exact same transcendental experience can be viewed in three very different and polarized views. A transcendental spiritual experience can be viewed as "divine." The same exact transcendental experience can be viewed as "mental illness.' Furthermore, that same exact transcendental spiritual experience could be viewed as the product of demons or "witchcraft." Even today, there are some people who believe that 'saying something' can cause it to happen - in spite of the fact that it is clear that the almost universal practice of 'witchcraft' "pointing sticks" used Australian Aborigines simply could not possibly have worked. Also, even when Ezekiel, the Old Testament prophet "said" and "prophesied" that the ancient city-state of Tyre would fall to the Babylonians and be utterly destroyed, that did not come to pass. As Tim Callahan, the religious scholar, pointed out, historically, Tyre made a deal with the Babylonians and in actual recorded history Babylon did Not destroy Tyre, as Ezekiel had "prophesied." So, just saying something doesn't make it so, and does not necessarily mean that it is "true" in reality. From a different perspective, Christian theologians, if they had asked the right question would have realized that "God does not put prophets on earth to make predictions!" - which is the emotional-intellectual source of the idea that saying something makes it so.
I should preface this piece about witchcraft by saying that David, who seemed to reflect a bit of uncanny synchronicity has let me know a couple of times, that he feels for my 'plight' as it were. Another example would be when David, a writer, showed up at a writer’s group meeting I was attending. In introducing himself to the group, he used his blog about witchcraft in Maryland as an illustration of his writing. As it turned out, David was from my wife’s former Christus Victor Lutheran church, where I used to attend myself. Since my writing focuses to a large degree on spiritual-psychic experiences, it was really rather uncanny to say the least. While Pastor Chris of Christus Victor and I enjoyed several discussions about the issue of prophecy in which I argued that the narrative and the message of prophecy were far more important than the "prediction" part of prophecy, we hadn’t quite seen eye to eye, I teasingly joked with David that perhaps Pastor Chris had put him up to this in order to mock me (all in fun).
From time to time, I run across some "Christians" who seem to believe that all spiritual-psychic experiences are witchcraft in some way. For the record, I would point out that in my notarized, precognitive "What a nightmare" warning-prediction, at the end, there was a reference to Jesus Christ as well as the "Mustard Seed." Further the exceptional detail in the “What a nightmare” experience would seem to suggest that there may well have been some extraordinary forces involved. My personal interpretation is that the "What a nightmare" experience is an expressions of the Holy Spirit, Father Tom agreed that“What a nightmare” is an expression of the Holy Spirit. In any case, in the end a person is objectively judged by the "fruits" they produce. I believe my writing sheds light on spiritual-psychological questions which can be beneficial to comprehension and understanding.
As long as we are talking about the issue of witchcraft, we should do a quick analysis of the precognitive "What a nightmare" warning-prediction. It would be blatantly obvious I did not create the Weathermen terrorist group, and since they had been robbing armored trucks prior to the incident, then I could not have put the thought of robbing an armored truck into their head. And it is simply beyond any physical possibility that I could have led them into having a shootout with the Nyack, New York police force.
In general, while there is a self-fulfilling aspect to all human consciousness, and while I, personally, believe that in a sense, thoughts and psychic is very real, as most people understand witchcraft can have direct physical effects. The majority of Australian Aborigines used to all have "pointing sticks" by which pointing those sticks could cause physical harm. When a man dies in a village, sooner or later the medicine man will 'divine' who caused this evil deed and a raid of revenge was carried out by blood-line relatives rigidly decreed to have the duty of revenging a death. I would argue that that could only, even hypothetically, take place in the sense of witchcraft as most people would understand it, only in the most exceptional circumstances - like in the realm of possibilities along the lines of wining the mega-mega-mega million lottery.
"Pointing sticks" don't work. Pointing a stick at a person and wishing them physical harm is, in fact, superstitious nonsense - simply ludicrous. If pointing sticks worked the population of Australian Aborigines would be greatly diminished historically. From what I understand, all Aborigines used pointing sticks. I might mention that the prophet Jeremiah during Judah's fight with Babylon threw some scarps of paper into the river running beside Babylon with curses on them. While Babylon did fall. the political-historical forces arrayed against Babylon at that time were incredibly huge compared with Jeremiah's scraps of paper - which were just that, scraps of paper.
Some Historical Observations about Witchcraft
In reading anthropology it appeared to me that a frequent theme in anthropologists' analyses of witchcraft is that accusations of witchcraft seem to emerge fairly often in cases of disease. The most classic case of this would be the Black Death, the bubonic plague, which caused millions of deaths and killed off about one third of Europe's population. The stories are of the carnage the Black Death wreaked on Europe's people are utterly horrific - stories of cartloads of bodies being driven through the streets, as well as huge mass graves. Needless to say in this atmosphere of unreasoning fear, some baser instincts took over. Though much of the witchcraft trials took place in post Black Death time period of the reformation, according to some reports tens of thousands of "witches were executed by burning them alive at the stake. Outsiders, such as Jews were frequently targeted. A Roman Catholic Pope was even accused of witchcraft during the reign of the Black Death. In the literature about 'primitive' or traditional religious beliefs regarding witchcraft I noticed several cases where a person who contracted serious disease or illness tended to attribute their illness to witchcraft.
A powerful negative event would seem to evoke in the human mind a need for providing a powerful explanation to "match" that event. It would seem almost a self-preservation tactic. A serious injury or disease would seem almost naturally to stimulate the mind to provide some reason to explain this injury or disease. It could almost be portrayed as the reasoning capabilities being pushed remorselessly to 'say something' and the lack of information or evidence would lead to the reasoning processes into providing "an" explanation whether right or wrong. The neuroscientist, Martin Brune, observes: "Humans also tend to ascribe causal links, even when there are none. They do so by using the law of similarity: "big effects have big causes.....So, if big and unexplainable effects (like lightening, earthquakes, etc.) are witnessed, a search for a big cause is inevitably set in motion. (p.234 bio evol) lastly, I would mention that spiritual-psychic experiences also at times seems to invoke this "law."
In my situation, since there would seem no ready explanation, people can get quite irrational simply because they have no easy explanation. My sense of it is that the lack of an explanation is the real cause of some 'knee-jerk' reactions more than the actual experience or phenomenon itself. Being a bit cynical, at times, I sometimes express this with the statement that frequently people believe what they "want to" believe and not "what is" in reality. In the history of Christianity, my perception is that Christian leaders haven't been all that "responsible" in dealing with spiritual "gifts" as in Corinthians or even in prophecy. My wife, a lifelong and loyal Lutheran agreed with my perception that Christian leaders have been rather myopic in dealing with prophecy in that all the leaders talk about are the prophecies about the coming of the Messiah and the Christ.
I would also comment that it seems apparent - to me - that a lot of people into spiritual gifts as in Corinthians or "psychic" - such as mediums, dowsing, energy medicine, remote viewing, and pendulum divining - often seem to avoid organized Christian churches precisely because of that issue. Because of the prejudices and ignorance of a few Christians, Christianity is losing a number of good people. surveys vary but most indicate that somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of people believe or are open-minded to mental telepathy.
Synchronicity and Anglican Father Tom
A good illustration of my experience of synchronicity would be in my connection with Anglican Priest Tom Burr. After I met Reverend Tom, I learned that his son, Steven Burr, wrote a book titled "Finite Transcendence." The book’s focus on meaning remarkably mirrors much of my own writing about meaning - except his is from a philosophical perspective rather than psychological. The thought crossed my mind that perhaps this was God tapping me on the shoulder in order to let me know He was there, and to remind me not to forget to deal with transcendence in my writing - a challenging question to describe, analyze, and grasp. I should note that Father Tom did, in general agree with my argument that the narrative (the story) of the prophecy and prophet, as well as the message of the prophesy are very salient and powerful forces, in which the prediction-prophecy is only one part.
Jung described synchronicity as an "acausal connecting principle" in which events, both large and small, in the external world might align to the experience of the individual, perhaps mirroring or echoing personal concerns or thoughts.
In psychology, synchronicity is defined as the occurrence of meaningful coincidences that seem to have no cause; that is, the coincidences are acausal. The underlying idea is that there is unity in diversity. In psychology, Carl Jung introduced the concept in his later works (1950s).
Synchronicity may be as simple as seeing a word repeatedly and looking for meaning in that experience. In a more complex example, imagine that someone has a dream about an old friend; shortly after, he runs into her.
Jung wrote, “Anything a man postulates as being a greater totality than himself can become a symbol of the Self…” (Jung, 1942/1948: par. 232). He also argues that not every image is fully adequate. For him, the figure of Jesus Christ is not a symbol of totality because it lacks evil and sin.