Carl Jung

Carl Jung on Synchronicity and the Esoteric

There have been a plethora of new age writings these days, from the astrotheology and cosmogenesis of Helena Blavatsky to the Secret Teachings of all ages written by Manly P. Hall, the advent of occult literature has made its way into Psychology, grasping the tail of modern science and occultism. The revered psychologist and genius disciple of Sigmund Freud, C.G [Carl Gustav] Jung, created a bridge between psychology and esotericism, leading the new age of the 21st century toward a new direction. In his book Encountering Jung, Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal, Rodrick Main explains the inextricable aspects between Jung’s experiences with the paranormal and his monumental developments in Depth Psychology.

Synchronicity, Physics, and Gnosticism

Synchronicity (events between the observer and the observed) is one of the most provocative theories ever established by Carl Jung, whose theory was arguably first developed as a principle through the many correspondences with Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Wolfgang Pauli, who was just as passionate about physics as he was with Jung’s ideas. Believing that the classical theory of physics and empirical determinism has no meaning, Pauli knew that synchronicity was more than objective science, Pauli wrote:

I nevertheless, as a physicist, have the impression that the “statistical correspondence” of quantum physics, seen from the point of view of synchronicity, is a very weak generalization of the old causality… Although microphysics allows for an acausal form of observation, it actually has no use for the concept of “meaning.”

Science as it is today, is devoid of meaning, focusing more on the objective than the subjective aspects of what shapes reality. However, Quantum physics has made many improvements on the incredulous viewpoint of a ‘observational frame of reality.’ Pauli did not only agree with the theory of synchronicity, he knew that there is more to reality than an objective viewpoint. Physics, as one of the subsections within Main’s book, further extrapolated the theory of synchronicity. In a letter to Pascual Jordan, Jung wrote:

Physics has demonstrated, as plainly as could be wished, that in the realm of atomic magnitudes of an observer is postulated in objective reality, and that only on this condition is a satisfactory scheme of explanation possible. This means that a subjective element attaches to the physicist’s world picture, and secondly that a connection necessarily exists between the psyche to be explained and the objective spacetime continuum.

Jung’s references to Space-time and the psyche alludes to Einstein’s special relativity, for which Einstein was an actual influential figure in Jung’s life.

“It was Einstien who first started me off thinking about a possible relativity of time as well as space, and their psychic conditionality. More than thirty years later this stimulus led to my relation with the physicist professor W. Pauli and to my thesis on psychic synchronicity.” (Main,1997)

Synchronicity adds meaning to experience, it accentuates the present model of science and like the ‘Uncle Tom’ of an old epoch, places it into an old dusty box. Many of the significant theories of C.G Jung derive from his readings into the occult. “I naturally examined occultistic literature pertinent to the subject and discovered a store of parallels from different centuries with our Gnostic system.”(Chalquist) Later on, in Jung’s career, he studied Gnosticism, wherein such a religion and practice lies many connections to Jung’s Depth psychology and this esoteric religion. The Gnostics (from Greek, gnosis) were an ancient religion, persecuted by the church, whose teachings are laden with many obscurities. (For more on Gnosticism, see Foreword by Lance Owens in Ribi, 2013) Many Jungian terms are borrowed from the Gnostics, ‘Gnosis’ for instance, is the state of accomplishment, wherein one has attained the knowledge of spiritual mysteries. In Jungian psychology, it is a state in which the unconscious can reach its absolute potential. Gnosticism is filled to the brim with allegorical doctrines, such as the allegory of Sophia and the paradisiacal state of the Garden of Eden. In Jung’s The Red Book (Liber Novus), he expresses many sentiments alluding to the teachings of the Gnostics and their mysteries, such as the appearance of Philemon. Philemon is a part of Greek mythology, who is the partner to Baccus, who both hospitably receive Hermes and Zeus, disguised as travelers, in their house when their richer neighbors turned them away. (See, Britannica, Greek Mythology) According to Sonu Shamdasani, the writer of introduction to Jung’s Red Book, Philemon represented a three-dimensional expression of Jung’s innermost thoughts. After constructing a tower on the upper shores of Lake Zürich in Bollinger, Jung regarded this tower as “Philemonis sacrum-Fausti poenitentia” (Philemon’s shrine-Faust’s Repentance). Because Jung was so connected to Philemon, he became a personified aspect of himself. Jung wrote: “Philemon was a pagan and brought with him Egypto-Hellenistic atmosphere with a Gnostic colouration. His figure first appeared to me in the following dream.” (Main, 1997)

The entire Red Book is an obscure book, laden with allegories and allusions, most of which cannot be understood without a comprehensive knowledge of Greek mythology and the esoteric philosophy of Manly. P Hall and Cornelius Agrippa. Jung’s inspiration for science and synchronicity were the quantum physicists of his time, who ended up turning the head of modern science. In Main’s book on Encountering Jung, the Paranormal and Synchronicity, Jung’s study of the concepts of physics began to show a more clear picture of physics and its connection to esoteric literature. What makes Jung such a genius are not his works on occult literature, but how Jung managed to use his research in the occult and ancient philosophies and combine them with science. Jung was not only a Psychiatrist who wanted to know about dreams and their symbols, but he also transformed the way people look at themselves, giving people today something other than the mirror to look at.

Parapsychology and the Paranormal

Not only did Jung spend much of his time on the theory of synchronicity and physics, but he also wrote about his experiences with the paranormal. At the beginning of Main’s book, he writes about Jung’s paranormal experiences, unlike the skepticism that haunted Sigmund Freud, Jung found out first hand what he was dealing with, and from an early age, he had a keen interest in the paranormal. In an old country house, where Jung was to stay for a couple of weeks, there were a series of hauntings. The room that Jung stayed in particular, was the most active. Every night as Jung tried to rest, he heard loud noises in his bedroom, and one night was too unbearable and daunting that he spent the rest of the night sleeping in an armchair. Regarding this account, Jung wrote, “I had the feeling there was something near me and opened my eyes. There, beside me on the pillow, I saw the head of an old woman, and the right eye, wide open, glared at me. The left half of the face was missing below the eye.” (Main, 1997)

Jung insisted that such experiences were not ‘delusions of the senses’ and when he could not handle the hauntings anymore, he insisted his skeptical companion, Dr. X to spend a weekend alone in the cottage. The result of this led to Dr. X’s confession that the cottage was indeed haunted. After he had given up the cottage, the cottage was torn down, after having been considered unsaleable. The person who owned the cottage found out that a woman who used to live there, in fact, was murdered. “These remarks are only meant to show that parapsychology would do well to take account of the modern psychology of the unconscious.” (Main, 1997)

It may be possible that these paranormal experiences that Jung had, had an influence on him and his research. Jung began to spiral down a rabbit hole, arriving with answers and more questions about the psyche. To Jung, the psyche is analogous to the concept of the soul, which is an entity in of itself. Jung argued that thoughts and emotions, although such feelings may seem like our own, are entities of themselves, little critters that provoke thought, “From my experience with unconscious phenomena I must even admit that what we call thoughts or emotions could be in a way independent psychic agencies of which we perceive only their psychological aspect, but not their potential physical nature.” (Main, 1997) Some may argue that Jung’s involvement in the occult has made him a rambling dogmatist, however, Jung provides more answers than he does questions, mixing the objectivity of science with parapsychology and experience. One must consider that the present scientific model can only prove empirical phenomena by building an apparatus fit for objective judgment. What Jung proved in his lifetime, is that, like Newtonian physics, the scientific notion of objectivity is broken.

Jungianism and The Media

The Occult literature of C.G Jung is usually in the shadows of the analytical psychology of Sigmund Freud. However, Jung’s depth psychology permeates every aspect of thought within contemporary culture, usually, Jung’s philosophy is underrated by modern scientists who cannot fathom the mysteries quantum physics and much like Nikola Tesla, Jung created a new way of looking at science through the lens of ancient philosophers. What some may fail to see is just how much Jung has influenced the way the public see the world through media. For instance, Dr. Phil introduces the underlying aspects of the unconscious symbols and the formations of sand.

Jungianism and the New Age

New age philosophy is at the apex of its popularity now, and Jungian depth psychology has paved the way toward a new cycle of thought. Whether the discipline is science or religion, like a razor blade, Jungianism cuts through the barriers between empiricism and esotericism. Jung is the ultimate teacher of the 20th century who had paved a path of new psychology, showing the modern mind the picture of the soul. As it is essential to know the world, what one must know first is oneself. Jungianism teaches the mind that man/woman is a reflection of all things external from him/her. We cannot trade Jungianism for anything else, because if we did, we’d be lost in an old paradigm.

Works Cited

Chalquist, Gnostic Antecedents of Jung’s Key Concept’s

Popova Maria,  Atom, Archetype and the invention of Synchronicity.

Main, Roderick, Encountering Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal

C.G Jung The Red Book, Liber Novus

Author: Yasmine Allen

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