Synchronicity, Mind and Matter
With Allan Combs, Roderick Main, Mathew Mather, Cruz Mañas Sabbadini, Remo Roth, Shantena Sabbadini, Yuriko Sato, Jean-François Vezina and special guest poet, Richard Berengarten
8 two-hour online sessions, one every Saturday and Sunday
February 13 – March 7, 2021
9:00 PST | 12:00 EST | 18:00 CET
All sessions are live, recordings will be available for any sessions you can not attend.
The term ‘synchronicity’ was introduced by C.G. Jung to denote those experiences in which a coincidence of inner and outer events appears to be particularly significant, transcending causal explanation and carrying a message that often has a remarkable, sometimes numinous, impact on the person experiencing it.
When confronted with such experiences we are drawn to look at physical and psychic events as subtly interconnected, perhaps even as manifestation of a common underlying reality. Such an intuition resonates with the findings of quantum physics, in which the description of physical processes inevitably involves the notion of an observer, and was the overarching theme of the correspondence Jung entertained with the Nobel prize winning physicist Wolfgang Pauli over a quarter of a century.
In this course we will focus on synchronicity as a gate to a deeper understanding of the relationship between mind and matter and as a guide to read the archetypal energy configurations we encounter in our daily life. This experiential approach to synchronicity will use the I Ching, the ancient Chinese oracle, as a tool for ‘inviting synchronicity’.
We are very fortunate to have poet Richard Berengarten as part of our Synchronicity series. Richard will be reading from two of his collections: Notness which includes a section of ten sonnets entitled ‘On Synchronicity,’ and his ambitious Changing, a homage to the I Ching. Richard will briefly introduce himself and his work and each session will begin with his reading from these two works.
Experiencing synchronicities is the observation of spontaneous incarnation phenomena in our consciousness.
Beginning with Jung’s Scarab Synchronicity, I show the conscious preconditions for the experience of synchronicities. Or in other words: What change of our consciousness is necessary for the observation of a multiplication of synchronicities?
I show this with the help of some of my most important synchronicities, which, so to speak, talked about how they work, their mode of operation, and in this way led me to the method I call today Synchronicity Quest.
People often enter our lives in mysterious ways. We have all met ‘by accident’ a person who crossed our path and radically altered our trajectory and opened a new door that helped us to enter a new universe. What predisposes us to such meetings? Who are these Trickster’s messengers—not necessarily people, as they can also take the forms of books or movies—that lead us to cross a new threshold?
In the light of the new sciences and cinema, this presentation introduces more than 20 yeas of research trying to understand the fascinating question of synchronistic encounters.
In this session we shall explore the implications of synchronicity for our experience of and relationship to the physical world. The presumption of disenchanted science is that matter is in itself inherently inert and devoid of meaning. Contrary to this, with the concept of synchronicity as well as his use of alchemical symbolism, Jung proposed that meaning and numinosity, as expressions of the psychoid archetype, could be inherent properties of not only the psyche but also matter. Such a view arguably fosters a more participative and respectful, rather than instrumental and exploitative, relationship to the physical world. We shall examine some of the experiences and underpinning philosophical assumptions that have been invoked in support of this view.
Since time immemorial, before C.G. Jung named the phenomenon, synchronicity has been perceived by people of various cultures. In the modern Western world view, mind and matter are clearly separated. Synchronistic phenomena, which cross the boundary between and connect these two distinct categories of reality, are therefore intriguing. However, in places where older world views have been retained in some way, such as in Japan, people seem to be less curious than Westerners about why and how synchronistic events happen; they seem to think of them more as natural occurrences—“just so” and “it happens.” I will approach synchronicity from these perspectives, using the Japanese psyche as an example, to explore its nature.
The intention of this workshop is to give you an experiential taste of reading events in a synchronistic perspective. Opening up to the experience of synchronicity is the essence of all divinatory practices. The divinatory practice we will explore in this workshop is the consultation of the I Ching, the ancient Chinese Book of Changes.
We suggest to approach divination not as a way to predict the future, but as a way to allow unconscious knowledge to emerge in order to illuminate a problematic situation or a specific question.
Due to the constraint of meeting online rather than in person, we ask you to do your I Ching consultation in advance of the workshop, so that the workshop time can be fully devoted to the interpretation of the answers.
After a brief elaboration on the history of the Tarot and its use as a divinatory tool, Mathew will relate a number of synchronistic experiences. Based on this he will describe how the Tarot can be used as a divinatory method allowing for an understanding and appreciation of the mytho-poetic language of the Anima Mundi, the Soul of the World. In this space, the possibility emerges of being initiated into a stitching together of the microcosm of our individual life myth within the macrocosm of the Anima Mundi.
The second part of the session will include an interactive Tarot workshop in which participants will be invited to respond in word and image to a ‘random’ selection of a card, individually chosen, from the major arcana. This will be followed by sharing in groups, and then a final discussion. Note that a pack of Tarot cards will not be required. Please have a sheet of sketch paper and a few pens (art materials) available during the session.
The trickster is a shadow figure, a dynamic archetype, hidden in every human psyche. It arises uninvited as impulses that urge us to “play the devil” with our own rational side and behavior. But it can also manifest as a sense of playfulness, when one becomes a clown in an otherwise “serious” situation. The trickster is projected in myths and stories of virtually every traditional culture, from the Native American crow and coyote, to the closely related Mexican/Aztec dancing Huehuecóyotl (or Ueuecoyotl), and on to the African spider trickster, Anansi, and Renard the trickster fox, popular throughout Europe during the late Middle Ages; and includes great trickster gods such as the Chinese monkey king, the Norse Loki, and the Greek Hermes, said to be the “friendliest of the gods to men.”
The trickster protects us as individuals, and society as a whole, form taking ourselves too seriously, and from growing rigid and inflexible in our traditional ways. Often by the event of synchronicities that trip us up at first, and make us stop and examine ourselves. If we are open to these seeming stumbling blocks, we often discover them to be treasures in hiding; gifts from the trickster to enrich our lives.
This lesson will encourage each of us to explore our personal experiences of synchronicity, share them with others, and question how they reflect the work of the archetypal trickster, often to our consternation at first, but ultimately facilitating our own growth and transformation.