Coincidental Chaos

Synchronicity, to the chaote looking for an edge to make reality wake up and take notice of their desires, can best be thought of as weaponised coincidence. Historically, it can also be viewed as an interlinking of events which betray some higher meaning whilst having no causal relationship in the material world. Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist whose work on the nature of the subconscious would make him a hero within the chaos magick meta-paradigm long after his death, first publicly discussed the concept at an Eranos lecture in 1951. Originally seen as an outward manifestation of the archetype rich inner landscape that he had championed for most of his career, the ideas that Jung outlined in his 1952 paper titled Synchronicity – An Acausal Connecting Principle would go on to influence occultists and parapsychologists alike for years to come.

While the skeptics might point to synchronicity as simply being a manifestation of the law of truly large numbers, whereby odd occurrences are more likely where huge sample sizes are in play, there is still much to be gained from utilising it as an overarching magickal model, flaws and all. In hindsight, even though much of what we do is perceived to be utter nonsense, meaningful coincidence still be a viable way of looking at the underlying nature of the world. This is especially true of chaotes, for whom the burden of proof lies not with sound scientific underpinning but the results that can be gained by implementing the idea itself. These mavericks exist purely within an experiential reality, and ascribe belief only to those ideas that can help them to move forward towards their goals.

That was one of the things which first attracted me to chaos magick. It seemed to promise an agnostic such as myself access to the very fabric of reality without the need for prayer or worship of any kind, and was instrumental to my continued occult development. While I am both a necromancer and a Technopagan, I also find it difficult to maintain any belief in a higher power for more than a few minutes at a time. Despite what the devotees of The Secret would have you believe, neither synchronicity or the allied law of attraction require any underlying cosmic consciousness to produce visible changes in your life. No gods, no goddesses, spirits or elementals. It is ritual as a mental monkey wrench that allows you to redirect the flow of abundance like a plumber on steroids. But while such synchronicity based reality hacking does seem to work, it tends to feel like using a minigun to crack a walnut, and as such I found it to be far too sloppy to form the core of my occult practice.

While many a theory has been presented to explain how a wizard can change their reality through a command of synchronicity, in truth it is a completely reflective process. As long as the faintest shadow of what you ask for is already present in your life then it may be possible to open the floodgates to allow it to fill your reality through dedicated occult ritual. But in many cases the long hours of psychological reprogramming prove to be much harder work than just plucking up the courage to take the plunge anyway. After a while many magickians will realise that they are actually changing their own internal viewpoint to home in on and act upon the relevant ideas within their life as opposed to altering the external weave of fate. While such self deception has its uses, said revelation will quickly lead to many losing interest and moving on to other more truly magickal things.

I do not agree with those who view such popular magick as pointless or in some way inferior by virtue of the sheer amount of non-occultists using it on a daily basis. Also, I am less inclined to walk away from the whole concept just because it might work for reasons other than those originally intended. The skeptics are right that coincidence can be explained as a form of selection bias, but wrong in thinking that such an accusation invalidates the results. In fact, it is the entire point. Without the human mind becoming aroused and aware of the probabilities swirling around it, nothing supernatural can come to pass anyway. Attempting to stack synchronicities works within the microcosm to influence the macrocosm. As long as the chaote is able to maintain a firm grip on their rudder while navigating the numerous eddies and currents along the way it should still generate viable, if unpredictable, results.

Methodologically any exploration of weaponised coincidence works best with a clearly defined goal from the outset. No specific rituals are required to start the process, though whichever suits the individual magickian and helps them to achieve the relevant mental state is acceptable. Before a single sigil is drawn, however, the basic steps required to achieve your goal must be thoroughly planned. If the desire was improve your cash flow for example, then a two-tier approach would be required. First you would need to concentrate on rebalancing your finances. Only once that has been achieved and a stable platform on which to work has been created would the focus shift to improving them. Reality rarely offers up miracles, and as such the same groundwork needs to be done regardless of whether you are using occult technology or not. The chaos paradigm teaches us that there is no safety net; if bad planning and lack of effort would destroy your chances in the mundane realm then no amount of ritual work can make up for it in the pseudo-spiritual one.

Regardless of how many stages the desire requires to be made manifest, the chaote will need to remain in an aroused and observant frame of mind for at least a week or more, and a nightly reinforcing of the original ritual can assist the process greatly. During this time they must trust in their instincts to help them navigate through the abstract tide of seemingly meaningless coincidences which will begin to stack around them. Divination becomes a worthwhile skill here, though overuse can lead to confusion and poor decision making. The magickian must ultimately trust their intuition above all other things. Just because the chance to rob a bank comes up while stacking synchronicities around the concept of financial gain does not mean that it would be in their best interests to go and do it. Overconfidence is not a virtue after all, and neither is a lack of common sense.

Ultimately, a certain degree of mental stability is required to weather this storm of chance and change, and it can become overwhelming for inexperienced practitioners. This is especially true if they also have a mentally taxing day job to hold down as well. That said, aborting such a reality hack part way through due to the strain involved is not a sign of weakness, but in fact an indication that the chaote has a well developed faculty for self preservation. All the sorcery in the world can not repair the bridges burned through ignoring the demands that the mundane world places upon you, and there are few great occultists sleeping on street corners because they forgot to pay the rent. As long as the magickian learns something from the experience that can be applied to subsequent rituals then it was not a failed exercise in any case.

Concentrating on mundane tasks is the most efficient method of cancelling the aroused frame of mind. While such a return to your normal waking state is the easy part of bringing a coincidence based working to a close, knowing exactly when you have achieved all that you can tends to be much trickier. Thus we are brought back to my original comment about miniguns and walnuts. While synchronicity can deliver what the chaote desires, it rarely takes the form they originally expected. A lottery win to keep the roof over your head might instead become a well paid job selling those tickets to others, while the yearning to be with the guy of your dreams might lead to a one night stand and an unwanted pregnancy. To paraphrase Nietzsche, once you gaze into the abyss, it gazes right back at you, and that is especially true of a paradigm that requires the magickian to become one with the ebb and flow of reality itself.

4 thoughts on “Coincidental Chaos

  1. I am very enthusiastic about synchronicity and I always acknowledge Jung’s teachings as the original ones that drew attention to this concept.

    Have you ever read ‘Moonchild’? It’s one of only a few Aleister Crowley books I’ve read. In it he describes an outstanding example of synchronicity: the main character does a magical experiment which he symbolises as catching a butterfly, and when the experiment is successful, he sees a story in the newspaper about someone having caught a rare butterfly.

    When I bring out my self-published books I often see synchronicities like that with the book on internet sites, and I often share them to my Facebook author page. I always put something of chaos magick in the books- either a hypersigil or a sigilized title, and I think that is why these effects appear so strongly.

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    • I’ve not read Moonchild, to be honest I’m completely disinterested in Crowley’s work, though I might give it a look if it plays back into synchronicity like that.

      In fact, that example sounds very similar to the scarab beetle that helped Jung solidify the ideas that would go on to become the main body of his writing on the subject – a coincidence in it’s own right I suppose.

      Hmm… insects and synchronicity. I wonder of there is anything to that.

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  2. In my case it was not that we “forgot” to pay the rent, but rather were in the midst of the so-called “economic recovery”, that didn’t translate into many jobs at the “official” skill level of my husband or myself. We HAD skills, but not the paper to back those skills up so the better paying jobs didn’t want us and so we became homeless with our child — not QUITE the same as “sleeping on street corners”

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    • And your point is what exactly?

      You put together a good article on what to do if you have limited resources with which to approach your gods that was linked here because it will likely be of use to others who have a similar road ahead.

      If you choose to read some form of personal insult into that, then honestly, that reflects more on you than me.

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