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Jung and The Tarot – Part II – SYNCHRONICITY

Synchronicity

 

What is Synchronicity

Jung coined the term ‘synchronicity’ to describe simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no apparent casual connection.

In his book “Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle,” Jung wrote:

…it is impossible, with our present resources, to explain ESP, or the fact of meaningful coincidence, as a phenomenon of energy. This makes an end of the causal explanation as well, for “effect” cannot be understood as anything except a phenomenon of energy. Therefore, it cannot be a question of cause and effect, but of a falling together in time, a kind of simultaneity. Because of this quality of simultaneity, I have picked on the term “synchronicity” to designate a hypothetical factor equal in rank to causality as a principle of explanation.

Synchronicity was a principle, which, Jung felt, gave conclusive evidence for his concepts of archetypes and the collective unconscious.  It described a governing dynamic which underlies the whole of human experience and history – social, emotional, psychological and spiritual.

Meaningful Coincidences

Most important is the fact that Jung considered synchronicities to be “acausal”.  That means that synchronicities have no cause-and-effect relationship.  For example: you think about your sister and at that moment she calls.  Or as you are thinking about your high-school friend, you see his photo in the newspaper. Jung considered these meaningful coincidences. Here we need to understand the concept of ‘meaning’.  Let’s say you hear the word ‘bright.’ You might think of the sun, or a bright-sunny day.  Or, perhaps, you think of someone who is very smart. Whatever the case is, the word itself is just a collection of sounds.  It is your understanding of it that give it meaning.

We might wish to divide the concept of synchronicity into three parts:

  1. Coincidence – two or more events that may seem to be related, but in reality, are not
  2. Acausality – Even when events appear to be related, one does not cause the other
  3. Meaning – our minds give sense to something (be it symbol, word or sound)

Tools of Divination

Jung suggested that synchronicity could be responsible for the way that divination tools (like the I Ching or the Tarot) might work. To Jung there was a connection between physical objects (i.e. Tarot Cards) and the images one sees in one’s mind. Because synchronistic events usually entail physical objects, they provide an explanation for the Tarot readings. The problems arise with the fact that synchronistic events are almost impossible to study as their occurrence is random and unpredictable. Therefore, can we say that synchronicity can be harnessed and used by the tarot reader in a conscious, directed manner?

Jung conducted a number of experiments involving ESP and astrology.  He had made observations that the results of such experiments largely depended on the state of mind of their subjects.  For example: if a subject were a skeptic or just uninterested, he or she scored worse than the ones that were enthusiastic about the project. Therefore, it was logical to conclude that to make use of synchronistic approach, one has to be of a receptive frame of mind. This is also suggestive of the fact that Tarot readers need to direct their thoughts along the appropriate paths to get meaningful results.  Think about this: if we’re all part of the collective unconscious, unless we focus on one particular individual and his issue(s), the result can be just about anything – and having nothing to do with the person for whom the cards are being read.

 

Synchronicity and The Tarot

I usually tell my clients that it doesn’t matter how they shuffle the cards; it doesn’t matter from where in the deck the cards will come from – the ‘right’ cards will come out anyway.  That’s because as a Tarot reader, it is my job to concentrate on the energies surrounding the client’s concern.  It is also my job to give meaning to the symbols and the pictures as they relate to my client. So as long I concentrate my energy and intent in the right direction, synchronicity takes over. Then the picture emerges from the Tarot that illuminates the energy and dynamics at work surrounding a particular situation.

 

So, in conclusion, we may even say that the Tarot is the very epitome of synchronicity:

  1. Coincidence – the cards that come out
  2. Acausality – the scenarios that emerges from the cards
  3. Meaning – the reader’s interpretation of the spread
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Jung and The Tarot – Part I – Carl Gustav Jung

Jung and the Tarot

Who was Carl Jung

Carl Gustav Jung (b. 1875 – d. 1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology. His work has been influential not only in psychiatry but also in anthropology, archaeology, literature, philosophy and mysticism.

Unfortunately, today, not too many people have heard of Jung – while most are quite familiar with Freud. Yet it was Jung, who coined many terms used not only in psychology, but in every-day life: introvert, extravert, synchronicity, anima, persona, archetype, individuation and more.

Early on in his career, Jung was an admirer of Freud and the two men even collaborated, as Freud, likewise, was quite fond of Jung’s work. However, by 1913, their relationship soured as Jung found some of Freud’s conclusions incomplete and somewhat negative and unrealistic.

Freud believed that everything in our lives goes back to a primal sexual urge, and is shaped by our relationship with our parents. He insisted that the human unconscious is a repository of repressed emotions and desires. Jung, however, downgraded the importance of sexuality and childhood conflicts in our reaction to daily life for the sake of individual psyche and quest for wholeness.

Jung’s system of Analytical Psychology

Jung operated on the premise of what he called ‘self-regulating’ psyche, which is composed of tensions between opposing attitudes of the ego and the unconscious. According to Jung, a neurosis is a significant unresolved tension between these contending attitudes.

Jung took great care to define the unconscious of a person as comprised of both, a personal unconscious (proceeding from the experiences of the individual) and a collective unconscious (issuing from the inherited structure of the brain, and common to humanity). This is important to esoteric study in that it goes some way towards explaining the power of archetypal, symbolic systems like the Tarot. Indeed, the concept of archetypes – potent universal symbols appearing in myths, fairytales and dreams – is a significant part of Jung’s concept of the unconscious.

Jung and The Tarot

Jung was familiar with the Tarot (although not, necessarily their history).  He referred to the cards in a number of letters and lectures. He believed that divination systems, like the Tarot or the I Ching, descended from the archetypes of transformation. Therefore, they were useful in providing that layer of unconscious that we cannot grasp with our human minds. Jung believed that the pictures and symbols of the cards, through the synchronicity of their appearance and position serve as a link. They are a connection, with the collective unconscious we could not, otherwise, attain.

Jung maintained that the archetypes presented in the Tarot, as they fuse with regular elements of life of the cards lead to an intuitive understanding flow of life. A flow of life to which we may not, otherwise, be privy.

In his words

“The original cards of the Tarot consist of the ordinary cards, the king, the queen, the knight, the ace, etc. Only the figures are somewhat different. And besides, there are twenty-one cards upon which are symbols, or pictures of symbolical situations. For example, the symbol of the sun, or the symbol of the man hung up by the feet. Or the tower struck by lightning, or the wheel of fortune, and so on. Those are sort of archetypal ideas, of a differentiated nature. They mingle with the ordinary constituents of the flow of the unconscious. And therefore it is applicable for an intuitive method that has the purpose of understanding the flow of life. Possibly even predicting future events, at all events lending itself to the reading of the conditions of the present moment.

It is in that way analogous to the I Ching. I Ching is the Chinese divination method that allows at least a reading of the present condition. You see, man always felt the need of finding an access through the unconscious. Access to the meaning of an actual condition. That’s because there is a sort of correspondence or a likeness between the prevailing condition and the condition of the collective unconscious.”*

Today, Jung’s theories of archetypes, ego functions, anima and animas and others, can help us further our understanding of the Tarot. With that understanding, our readings can be more meaningful, spiritual and profound.

 

*[from Visions: Notes of the Seminar given in 1930-1934 by C. G. Jung, edited by Claire Douglas. Vol. 2. (Princeton NJ, Princeton University Press, Bollingen Series XCIX, 1997), p. 923.]

Are We Living In “Westworld?”

Westworld

 

We are “Westworld.”

If you’re like me, you’ve spent a great part of fall 2016 musing over the new HBO series, “Westworld.”

“Westworld” is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin. Set at the intersection of the near future and the reimagined past, it explores a world in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged.

To put into simpler terms: “Westworld” is the name of a futuristic type of theme-park.  Set in the Wild West, the park allows visitors to pretend to be part of history while being entertained by the time-period ‘locals’. The locals are actually very sophisticated robots that are given a ‘conscience.’

Spoiler Alert

I am about to discuss the finale – so SPOILER ALERT for those that are yet to see it.

All through the season, we’ve watched as the robots (called ‘hosts’) are struggling to understand their purpose and find the source of what drives them. Some of them swerve from the script the park writers designed for them. Some stick to it to the last letter.  My ‘eureka’ moment, however, came at the end, when Dolores – a ‘salt-of-the-earth’ host and seemingly docility itself, discovers that the voice of Arnold (God), she’s been hearing in her head, prodding her forward, teaching and guiding her – was, in fact, her own.  While, she did, in fact have a script written for her by the powers that be (park writers), it was her internal voice that either kept her to it – or urged her to deviate and actually encouraged her to make her own choices and decisions.

I had chills run down my spine as I realized that what this show portrays is our world; our humanity – our own universe as I know and understand it.

Just like “Westworld’s” hosts, humans come into their current lives with a script.  The difference is, unlike in the show, where the writers are distant entities, in reality, WE are the writers.  We write our own life script before we take our first breath on this planet.  We choose our friends, our family our virtues and vices.  Yes, we do have help from our guides. These guides are further along in their spiritual development than we are. They work with us to develop situations and affiliations that can ultimate contribute to our advancement or failure in this life. However, once here, on Earth, we, humans, have a free will.

We Have Free Will

It is that free will that either propels us to greatness or doom us to mediocrity or baseness.  And yes, just like the hosts of ‘Westworld’ – we often FEEL helpless because we sense that someone is pulling the string.  All we do is react to the pulls.

On the other hand, if we follow Dolores’ lead and start listening to the voices in our minds, we might just find that the ones calling the shots are us.  No, not the us that are way too busy making ends meet and trying to cope with harsh realities of daily lives.  It is the US that chose these harsh realities ahead of time for a reason.  It is our Higher Selves that know that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and that there is a purpose for everything in life.

If only we stopped, every now and then, and listened to our Higher Selves, then like Dolores, we would realize that we have choices.  And it is by exercising a free will that these choices will manifest into our Soul’s lessons.

Unfortunately, it is often much more convenient to ‘live out a script’.  If I believe that my life is predetermined – then I can’t do anything to affect it, right? It is a lot easier to follow the script handed to me than to create your own.

And so, we keep going – year after year – decade after decade; marching to someone else’s drum – dancing to someone else’s beat; while, all along, stifling the voices in our own hearts.

Is “Westworld” art imitating life – or is it, indeed, the other way around?

Heaven And Hell

Do Heaven and Hell exist?

heaven and hell

I often have conversations with people about what happens when we die.  Where do we go? What do we see? How do we feel?

However, by far the question that I get most is: “What about Heaven and Hell?” Is that real? If so, how does one get into one and avoid the other? Read more

Gut Knows Best

Do you listen to your gut feeling? Gut Feeling

Gut Feeling

How often have you had that gut feeling? You know something is wrong or right—at least, something is telling you that. Read more

Can A Medium Predict The Future?

The New York Medium on Predictions.

Can mediums predict the future? Read more