Synchronicity 436

Synchronicity 436
Carl Jung
卡尔 荣格

VI. Exposition

The extraordinary spatial orientation of animals may also point to the psychic relativity of space and time. The puzzling time-orientation of the palolo worm, for instance, whose tail-segments, loaded with sexual products, always appear on the surface of the sea the day before the last quarter of the moon in October and November,36 might be mentioned in this con-nection.


One of the causes suggested is the acceleration of the earth owing to the gravitational pull of the moon at this time. But, for astronomical reasons, this explanation cannot possibly be right.37 The relation which undoubtedly exists between the human menstruation period and the course of the moon is connected with the latter only numerically and does not really coincide with it. Nor has it been proved that it ever did.



of example, I shall mention an incident from my own observa¬tion. A young woman I was treating had, at a critical moment, a dream in which she was given a golden scarab. While she was telling me this dream I sat with my back to the closed window. Suddenly I heard a noise behind me, like a gentle tapping. I turned round and saw a flying insect knocking against the window-pane from outside. I opened the window and caught the creature in the air as it flew in. It was the nearest analogy to a golden scarab that one finds in our latitudes, a scarabaeid beetle, the common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), which contrary to its usual habits had evidently felt an urge to get into a dark room at this particular moment. I must admit that nothing like it ever happened to me before or since, and that the dream of the patient has remained unique in my experience.3S•


844 I should like to mention another case that is typical of a cer-
tain category of events. The wife of one of my patients, a man in his fifties, once told me in conversation that, at the deaths of her mother and her grandmother, a number of birds gathered outside the windows of the death-chamber. I had heard similar stories from other people. When her husband’s treatment was nearing its end, his neurosis having been cleared up, he de¬veloped some apparently quite innocuous symptoms which seemed to me, however, to be those of heart-disease.


I sent him along to a specialist, who after examining him told me in writ-ing that he could find no cause for anxiety. On the way back from this consultation (with the medical report in his pocket) my patient collapsed in the street. As he was brought home dying, his wife was already in a great state of anxiety because, soon after her husband had gone to the doctor, a whole flock of birds alighted on their house. She naturally remembered the similar incidents ~hat had happened at the death of her own relatives, and feared the worst.


845 Although I was personally acquainted with the people con-
cerned and know very well that the facts here reported are true, I do not imagine for a moment that this will induce anybody who is determined to regard such things as pure “chance” to change his mind. My sole object in relating these two incidents is simply to give some indication of how meaningful coinci¬dences usually present themselves in practical life.


SS8 [The case is discussed more fully below, par. g82.-EoITORS.]


The meaningful connection is obvious enough in the first case in view of the approximate identity of the chief objects (the scarab and the beetle); but in the second case the death and the flock of birds seem to be incommensurable with one another. If one considers, however, that in the Babylonian Hades the souls wore a “feather dress,” and that in ancient Egypt the ba) or soul, was thought of as a bird,39 it is not too far-fetched to suppose that there may be some archetypal symbolism at work. Had such an incident oc¬curred in a dream, that interpretation would be justified by the comparative psychological material.

There also seems to be an archetypal foundation to the first case. It was an extraordi¬narily difficult case to treat, and up to the time of the dream little or no progress had been made. I should explain that the main reason for this was my patient’s animus, which was steeped in Cartesian philosophy and clung so rigidly to its own idea of reality that the efforts of three doctors-I was the third-had not been able to weaken it. Evidently something quite irra¬tional was needed which was beyond my powers to produce.


The dream alone was enough to disturb ever so slightly the rationalistic attitude of my patient. But when the “scarab” came flying in through the window in actual fact, her natural being could burst through the armour of her animus possession and the process of transformation could at last begin to move. Any essential change of attitude signifies a psychic renewal which
is usually accompanied by symbols of rebirth in the patient’s dreams and fantasies. The scarab is a classic example of a re¬birth symbol. The ancient Egyptian Book of What Is in the NetherworId describes how the dead sun-god changes himself at the tenth station into Khepri, the scarab, and then, at the twelfth station, mounts the barge which carries the rejuvenated sun-god into the morning sky.


The only difficulty here is that with educated people cryptomnesia often cannot be ruled out with certainty (although my patient did not happen to know ~his symbol). But this does not alter the fact that the psychologist IS continually coming up against cases where the emergence of symbolic parallels 40 cannot be explained without the hypothesis of the collective unconscious.

89 In Homer the souls of the dead “twitter.” [Odyssey, Book XL-EDITORS.]



Meaningful coincidences-which are to be distinguished
from meaningless chance groupings 41-therefore seem to rest on an archetypal foundation. At least all the cases in my experience -and there is a large number of them-show this characteristic. What that means I have already indicated above.42 Although anyone with my experience in this field can easily recognize their archetypal character, he will find it difficult to link them up with the psychic conditions in Rhine’s experiments, ,because the latter contain no direct evidence of any constellation of the archetype. Nor is the emotional situation the same as in my examples. Nevertheless, it must be remembered that with Rhine the first series of experiments generally produced the best re-sults, which then quickly fell off. But when it was possible to arouse a new interest in the essentially rather boring experi¬ment, the results improved again. It follows from this that the emotional factor plays an important role. Affectivity, however, rests to a large extent on the instincts, whose for.mal aspect is
the archetype.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: