Carl Jung on Synchronicity

Synchronicity is a word coined by Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung to describe seemingly coincidental, yet meaningful events in the external world that do not have an obvious cause.

Jung defined synchronicity as an “acausal connecting (togetherness) principle,” “meaningful coincidence”, “acausal parallelism” or “meaningful coincidence of two or more events where something other than the probability of chance is involved.”

Carl G. Jung (1960), Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, Princeton University Press, 2012, p. 44.

Jung believed that many occurrences labeled as “coincidences,” are not actually due to chance. Instead, he believed that these occurrences are directly related to the observer’s mind, and serve to provide powerful insight, direction and guidance.

Carl Jung’s own example of Synchronicity

carl jung synchronicity beetle

An example of a synchronistic event in Carl Jung’s life took place during a therapy session with one of his clients.

His client was a highly educated and rational woman with a serious demeanor. Jung knew he would not be able to get through to her on a deeper level unless an irrational event occurred in the form of a coincidence. Jung sought out anything he could use to get through to her.

Shortly after, the woman began describing a significant dream of a golden scarab (a costly piece of jewelry). As she was describing this beetle in more depth, Jung heard a tapping at the window behind him. He opened the window and revealed a live goldish-green scarab beetle, not native to the area.

Astonished, Jung quickly grabbed the beetle, and walked it over to the woman and said, “here is your scarab.” This event was enough to help break the woman from her overly rationalistic world-view and connect her dream world to her waking life– a fundamental revelation in Jungian Psychology.

Signs of Synchronicity

Have you ever been thinking of someone, and they called you the next minute? Or dreamt of finding something precious, and found it a few days later? According to Jung, these are examples of synchronicity.

Examples of Synchronicity can be observed in everyday life, it just takes a keen eye to observe it. For example, if you desire to have a relationship with the love of your life, you may be introduced to people that lead you in the direction of her/him. Each instance in meeting someone, is an event of synchronicity that is pointing you towards your goal.

Synchronicity can be recognized in the following signs:

  • Dreams
  • Symbols
  • Numbers
  • “Random” events
  • Conversations
  • Spontaneous encounters

Synchronicity can also aid in awakening you to your full potential and serve as a guide for getting in touch with your inner self, or in Jung’s words, assist you on your path of individuation.

An Image from Carl Jung’s Red Book.

Developing your awareness of synchronicity

Jung suggests that one’s ability to recognize synchronicity can be trained and improved upon. This comes from heightened awareness, and an ability to catch and analyze different circumstances that you find yourself in.

If you are able to develop an increased ability to recognize synchronicity in everyday events, you will uncover all kinds of motivation to propel you on your path towards success.

Through synchronicity, it is possible to uncover new ideas, meet significant people and open doors to a happier, healthier and more fulfilled life. With an awareness of Carl Jung’s concept of synchronicity, possibilities for you to come into contact with this magic are limitless.

“Synchronicity is an ever-present reality for those who have eyes to see.”

– Carl Jung

Uses and Purposes

Clinical Application: Carl Jung’s ideas on synchronicity can be used effectively in therapy. If a practitioner is able to help a client derive value from coincidental events, it will help assist the client in overcoming negative thought patterns and self-limiting beliefs. This is done with the fundamental understanding that the mind seeks to heal itself, and will derive direction and meaning from seemingly coincidental events.

Personal Application: If you are interested in witnessing synchronicity for yourself, you can increase the frequency of synchronistic events by setting and pursuing goals. Whatever your goal may be, it needs to be heartfelt, and fully worthy of your pursuit. If you are able to cultivate a burning desire to achieve that goal, you will find that signs will begin pointing you down a path of achieving that goal. This may come in the form of people you meet, unusual but related occurrences, and flashes of insight.

Have you had any profound events of synchronicity happen in your life? If so, it would be interesting to learn about your experience, please share your story below!

Carl G. Jung (1960), Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, Princeton University Press, 2012, p. 44.
Carl Gustav Jung, Wolfgang Ernst Pauli, English translation: 1955, The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche first published in 1952 as Naturerklärung und Psyche

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35 thoughts on “Carl Jung on Synchronicity

  1. For the past week I’ve seen 1111, 111, 777, people I’ve thought about or thought about me contacted me. I’ve seen my dream vehicle at least 5-6 times this past week. My manifestation must be near.

  2. I have experienced what I feel to be profound synchronicity before. I was watching morning TV and there was someone being interviewed about a book they’d written about something called “cosmic ordering”. The basic premise of cosmic ordering was that you could ask the universe for something and you would receive it. I thought nothing more of it until I was driving to work that evening. To give a brief background, I was a university student at the tine. During the summer holidays I worked at a local holiday park called Centerparcs as a waitress. I went to university 2 hours away from where I worked at Centerparcs. During term time at uni I always worked part time. The day that I watched the cosmic ordering interview was my last day of working at Centerparcs for the summer. The next day I was travelling back down to university to start my third year. As I was driving to work I started thinking about the cosmic ordering interview. Whilst being open to spirituality, I was thinking it all seemed a bit far-fetched so decided I was going to test it. I was considering what I needed. As I always worked part time during university and I hadn’t found a job yet I decided to “cosmic order” that someone offered me a job that night whilst I was working. Towards the end of my shift in the restaurant, someone smashed a glass on the table of 16 people that I was serving. As I was sweeping it up, the man who was closest to me at the table told me that he was really impressed with my service and that I was exactly the type of person he would want working at one of their stores. I told him that I was looking for work and asked what they did. He told me that he was the regional director of a retail chain called Comet which sold electrical goods and that the group were all away on a management retreat (this isn’t the normal type of customer at the holiday lark, it was normally families) and asked where I went to university. When I told him, it just so happened that the person who sat next to him – the guy who smashed the glass – was the manager of the store 7 miles away from where I went to uni. He told me to just pop into the store the next week and that I would have a job. So I did just that, I walked into the store a few days later and was given a part time job without even having to have any kind of interview! I definitely believe this was synchronicity rather than just coincidence.

    • That is a great example of synchronicity. It is magical when you are able to recognize situations like that as synchronicity- interesting it was around the same time you watched the interview. Many blessings, thanks for sharing!

  3. These last few months I’ve been studying and exploring the unconscious passionately.

    The number of Synchronous events just keep pilling up and are increasing in a steady rate. The first loud one was when me and my significant other at the time were both drawing simultaneously. I started wanting to depict something like a black hole. She was at the beach and picked up a piece of natural charcoal. We both ended up drawing spirals. She on a physical rock and I drew a rock with a spiral on top. That felt like a sign that I must travel to visit her.

    In her home island (Aegina) the events started to escalate. Among the things I took with me were my dream journal, sketchbook and a piece of linocut depicting an olive tree. A few days ago in the final image of a dream I had seen a medieval-looking tower from a specific low angle which I had sketched in my journal. Wandering about in Aegina we came across a historic momument.

    The Tower of Markellos.

    I was sure that this was the building I had seen in my dream a few days ago and started writing photographing and drawing it. I interpreted this Tower symbol a month later as a way of expressing unprosessed childhood emotions (anger towards father) and finally clicked a couple months later through tarot interpretations (The Tower card) which became the other half of my thesis deliverables (hand drawn tarot cards through personal experiences).

    Back in Aegina even the conversations with ‘random’ aquantances that we stumbled on during our beach walks were so specifically current to the ideas and symbols I was trying to understand that nothing felt like it was by chance. The symbols I was desciphering were showing up constanly. The final piece of syncrhonisity was the strongest of all.
    Promted from the olive piece I ‘happened’ to bring with me we knew we had to investigate.

    We visited Aeginas Ancient Olive Grove.

    The journey there felt like a trip to the unconscious, we even got lost as you of course are going to be when journing in that vast unknown sea. Huge boulders inwhich i saw stongehedge-like face characheristics were guiding us to our destination. When we reached a summit, we knew which way to go. Arriving at the grove, we were met with an Ancient olive tree. Its hollow trunk could easily fit five humans in it. Its branches were grotesque and swollen in places. I immediately saw a figure formed by the branches and saw this a sign to start looking for more. After I carefully and respectully approaced and greeted the tree I started photographing more faces in all of them. Pareidolia (tendency to impose a meaningful interpretation on a nebulous visual stimulus) became one of the central axis of my thesis project which was focused on shadow work at the time.

    I even see this writing as a synchronous event. I am close to finishing my thesis and presenting my findings and artworks in two weeks, but i couldn’t seem to write these events down. Suddenly after reading this article, with a simple ‘share your story bellow’ I was able to suddenly express some of the events that happened recently.
    Thank you for writing this and taking the time to read.
    Kind Regards, Vasilis

    @vasilisgalatos on ig, If you’d like to connect and chat at any time.

    • That is amazing! And a great story knowing that you followed and recognized the signs. Please do share your art work when you are ready, perhaps we could even share your work in article form here on Arts of Thought. Just send a message through the contact page if you are interested. Peace!

  4. Sting of the police introduced me to the concept of Synchronicity, sting was on a book signing tour at Harrods London and wasn’t sure if i wanted to go being a huge fan of his. Anyway morning arrived of book signing still hadn’t decided, there was this faint knocking sound at my window in between the glass and curtains it was a wasp in mid October wow what a coincidence sting got his name from a wasp… Went to the book signing met sting and got 2 books signed fantastic day. Another strange coincidence walking around the countryside on a summers day, listening to the song synchronicity by the police on my ipod, on this country lane this paint delievery truck passed me with 3 stripes on the side blue red and yellow same stripe colours used on the album cover of the police synchronicity album wow i freaked out and started laughing what are the chances of that happening same colours and design… Strange but true….

  5. I was not aware of the concept of synchronicity until I started experiencing strange coincidences that I could not explain away, one after the next, after the next…This also happened to coincide with my spiritual awakening that started about a decade ago.

    One example was when we were going away on a beach vacation as a family. My daughter who was a child at the time was a nature lover who was very focused on studying insects. She was extremely disappointed when she realized right before we left that she could not find her bug watch that she had planned to bring along, like she had many times before. We did not have much time to look for it and had to leave without it, with a very sad child in tow. I was preoccupied with last minute packing so I really did not give it a second thought once we got on the road. On our long drive to our destination, my husband pulled off of the thruway to fill up with gas. I took the kids into the small attached convenient store to use the restroom and as I went to leave, I walked out of the bathroom door and almost bumped straight into a display that was empty except for one item that happened to be at my eye level so there was no way to miss it….The item was a child’s bug watch!

    During this same period, I had started to have many questions brewing about psychic phenomena and had taken up an interest in reading about and learning from psychics. One day on my phone screen an advertisement for an event with a psychic close to my house popped up. I was immediately interested but only felt comfortable going with another person with similar questions/interests. I spoke with several people I knew but kept coming up empty. I determined that it was not likely my time, but I privately put out an intention that if it was meant to be, someone would come into my presence who was willing/able to go with me.

    Just as time was running out, as the event was rapidly approaching, I was at dinner with family when my husband’s relative asked me if I had been reading any good books lately. I did not want to say outwardly that I had been reading about psychics/mediums, so I put the question back on her. She happened to have a book with her and she pulled it out to show me that she had been reading about a psychic/medium. We got to talking about our mutual interest and the subject of the event came up. She told me she was interested and at the very moment I was thinking about this conversation the next day, wondering if she would follow up, she was leaving me a message that she had bought my ticket and would be there to pick me up and drive me to the event. We did end up going together and it all just felt like there was so much more involved with that “coincidence” than just mere chance.

  6. I THIRST FOR……. Revelation Of My Soul. LIFE… What An Integral Unexplained Journey. The Complexity Factor Of IT. ??????

  7. My husband and I are from the U.S. We visited Scotland on vacation and fell in love with it, so when we retired early 2 years ago we bought a flat in Edinburgh and spend 6 months a year here–the most we are allowed on a visitor’s visa. A few days ago we decided we want to live here all the time, and I will look for a job here. Two days later, a job notice popped up on one of my job search engines. The job is at a university and is EXACTLY the same as my last job at a U.S. university, with even the same job title! I’ve applied and we’ll see what happens. Amazing!

  8. Hi everyone,

    I’m new to the world of Jungian psychology and its concepts. I have an anecdote that I always viewed as an amazing coincidence but now I’m wondering if that wouldn’t be synchronicity?

    I made a friend on social media and immediately felt a deep connection to her. Once I was looking for a tattoo idea that would include the number 7, and I thought of an imaginary flower with 7 petals. I thought 7 petal flowers didn’t exist but when I looked it up online, I saw that there is such a flower, called a trientalis (or starflower). I told my friend about my tattoo idea, and she told me the trientalis was her namesake flower.

    Would you call this synchronicity or a different concept?

  9. I wrote a song for a famous rock band, based on an earlier association, which they recorded in 1977. In 1985, I was invited by a professor of architecture friend to join him and his graduate students for two weeks in Greece. One day in Athens, I saw a Virgin Atlantic Records store across the street and entered. Knowing that my band friends were popular in Greece, I checked through the racks and found several copies of their albums. Among the familiar titles was one I had never seen before. Upon examination I discovered that it was a compilation album that included my song for which I had not yet received royalties. I made a note to myself to check with Columbia Records about that when I returned to the States. Back in the US, I got in my car to drive from Washington, DC to home in New York when I saw the sign for a diner. Pulling in, I had my breakfast, then headed for the door. On the way out, something told me to turn back toward the diner window. There, clear as day was a guy siting with his back to me wearing a t-shirt on which was emblazoned the album cover I had just seen in Greece. I had an impulse to go back in and ask where he’d gotten it, but decided to let it be.

  10. I call this my Greek Trilogy, the first story of which I just related. I live in a small, Upstate New York town with a famous Ivy League university. I got into the apartment business in 1972, and one of my apartments was occupied by a family of brothers and sisters from Ethiopia. The eldest was a PhD candidate, and the three younger ones attended high school and a community college. In 1985, my friend, the architecture professor in Washington, DC asked if I wanted to join him and his graduate students for two weeks in Greece. The answer was an enthusiastic yes. I had relatives just north of DC, so I asked them if I could leave my car in their driveway. Doing so, I called a limo service for a ride to the airport, about an hour away. A shiny Town Car arrived and the driver ushered me into the back seat. Some silent time passed. Then, I noticed his name on the license. “Are you Ethiopian?” I asked. He said that he was snd we struck up a conversation. It turned out that he was a PhD candidate in mathematics who drove limos at night to make ends meet. Meanwhile, I was racking my brain to remember my tenant’s full name, and about 15 minutes later it came back to me. When my driver heard it he said: “Yes, he is my PhD advisor, now the Minister of Education…in Ethiopia! A series of random coincidences or a visit from Mr. Jung…you tell me.

  11. So, I just related stories One and Two from my Greek Trilogy, albeit in reverse order due to not initially intending to tell all three stories, but here I go. While in Greece, we visited the small, mountainous village of Delphi, famous for the ancient female oracle who foretold the fortunes of many notable historical figures, Alexander the Great among them. The story goes that she would sit in a mountainside stream perched on a tripod that exuded a gas that induced her to enter the realm of visions. A group of priests on the shore would interpret her ravings into a coherent story for the client. One day, I found myself alongside that very stream remembering the stories of old. It was deathly hot and I was carrying a plastic Greek water bottle. Inspired, I emptied the contents and filled the bottle with the mythical, magic water. Back home in NY, I was reunited with my girlfriend at the time. She told me that she’d been seeing “a witch” to work out some personal issues about her future. Never having believed in witches, I asked her to make an appointment for me. I found the woman to be incredibly intuitive and insightful to an astonishing degree. After our session, I told her I’d drop off a gift for her. Did she have a small container? She handed me a perfume bottle encrusted with “jewels.” She had waitressed in a local Greek restaurant for years and the owner had brought the bottle from Greece as a gift. I took it home and filled it with my special water. She was not home to receive it, so I left it on her porch with a note. That night, she called me near midnight, profusely apologize for the late hour, but she just had to tell me. Upon holding the bottle, her brain had exploded with light as she put it, although I had yet to tell her what was inside. And that’s…the rest of the story.

  12. I may as well enter the third story of my Greek Trilogy. The first two are in reverse order because I did not initially intend to relate all three. In Greece, I found myself in the small, mountainous village of Delphi, home to the famous Delphi Oracle of mythology. The story goes that she would sit on a tripod in the middle of a mountain stream that exuded a gas which caused her to enter the world of visions. Many famous ancient names came to visit her to have their futures told, Alexander the Great among them. A group of priests on the shore would interpret her raving to the client. Finding myself there, I filled a plastic water bottle with the mythical water and eventually took it home. Back in the States, my girlfriend at the time told me that she’d been visiting “a witch,” to work out some career issues. It was nothing I’d ever considered, but I was intrigued. I found the woman to be astonishingly intuitive and really enjoyed my audience with her. I asked her if she had glass container and she produced a small, jewel-encrusted perfume bottle. She had worked in a Greek restaurant for years, and the owner had brought it from Greece for her as a gift. At home, I filled it with my special water and left it on her porch, not revealing what it was. That night, I received a very apologetic midnight phone call from her. She said as soon as she touched the bottle her head had burst with light and she almost fainted. And that’s…the rest of the story.

  13. Sorry for the repetition, but my first attempt to tell the third story did not seem to register with your website. Therefore,I did it again, only to find that my first telling appeared after some delay. Oh, well.

  14. I recently drew an illustration that included a Hawk. I had no idea how the Hawk was to complete the story, but it came to me at the end of the drawing like an aha moment. The illustration was/is to be used in a class I am teaching on how to connect the dots to your imagination. But I had doubts about using the image for the class example – which at first, I loved. So, I pondered what to do. A few days later, I saw a Hawk perched in a tree in my backyard! (No leaves on the tree as it is winter.) It was a breathtaking sight. And when it stretched its wing slightly, just a glimpse of it instilled awe. In the 20 years living here, I’ve never seen a Hawk in my back yard tree! The sight of it also brought out a primal fear to be so close to it. I’d seen Hawks further north in my area flying/gliding high in the sky on rare occasions and always marveled at their elegance and power. I wonder what this amazing synchronization is trying to tell me. How do we use these magical moments to help us gain inner knowledge?

    • Hi Pascale, that is truly an instance of synchronization. It is amazing reading these comments. I remember I had a similar experience when I was laid off from my job in 2020 and feeling hopeless, I also stepped outside and noticed a hawk in my backyard tree. It was a very peculiar sight as the tree was only 20ft from my house, and I had never seen one there in the past two years I had lived there. I instantly felt better and took it as a sign to see things from a higher perspective, sort of a reminder from God that everything would be alright. Throughout many cultures and traditions, wild animal sightings have strong value. Take it as you will, let it speak to you as it’s your own experience. Thanks for sharing!

      • Thank you for sharing your Hawk experience! Your words gave me chills – “…see things from a higher perspective…reminder from God that everything will be alright.” Not only is your thought profoundly inspirational, it reminded me of an old friend/father figure who always said, “Everything is going to be alright.” He would say it aloud sometimes, even if there was no particular reason, like an affirmation. Wow. Thank you.

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