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Synchromysticism, a portmanteau of synchronicity and mysticism, is "the art of realising meaningful coincidences in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance". The word was coined by Jake Kotze in August 2006. Synchromysticism has been described as a phenomenon "existing on the fringe of areas already considered fringe". Steven Sutcliff and Carole Cusack describe synchromysticism as "part artistic practice, part spiritual or metaphysical system, part conspiracy culture", while Jason Horsley describes it as "a form of postmodern animism" that "combines Jung's notion of meaningful coincidences with the quest for the divine, or self-actualization through experience of the divine."
Precursors and concept
Synchronicity is a concept first introduced by analytical psychologist Carl Jung, which holds that events are "meaningful coincidences" if they occur with no causal relationship yet seem to be meaningfully related. Jung defined synchronicity as an "acausal connecting (togetherness) principle", "meaningful coincidence", and "acausal parallelism."
Jung's belief was that, just as events may be connected by causality, they may also be connected by meaning. Jung used the concept in arguing for the existence of the paranormal. A believer in the paranormal, Arthur Koestler wrote extensively on synchronicity in his 1972 book The Roots of Coincidence.
Mysticism, in turn, has been loosely defined as union with God or the Absolute. An influential proponent of this understanding was William James (1842–1910), who stated that "in mystic states we both become one with the Absolute and we become aware of our oneness." James popularized this use of the term "religious experience" in his The Varieties of Religious Experience, contributing to the interpretation of mysticism as a distinctive experience, comparable to sensory experiences. Religious experiences belong to the "personal religion", which he considered to be "more fundamental than either theology or ecclesiasticism".
Synchromysticism, as the union of synchronicity and mysticism, is thus the sense of interconnectedness and oneness with reality that comes from a heightened and enhanced awareness of synchronicity. A form of "postmodern animism", Horsley argues that synchromysticism "underlines a common theme beneath three apparently disparate areas: that of the religious quest for meaning or 'signs,' the shamanic/animistic relationship with Nature, and the schizophrenic's inability to distinguish between reality and fantasy."
Within chaos magic
Chaos magic is a contemporary magical practice consisting of "techniques" (most frequently, entering into an altered state of consciousness and manipulating symbols) to attain objective "results" in physical reality. From the beginning, the founders of chaos magic were explicit in stating that these "results" take the form of synchronicities, with Peter J. Carroll stating in Liber Null & Psychonaut (1978):
All magical paradigms partake of some form of action at a distance, be it distance in space or time or both... In magic this is called synchronicity. A mental event, perception, or an act of will occurs at the same time (synchronously) as an event in the material world... Of course, this can always be excused as coincidence, but most magicians would be quite content with being able to arrange coincidences.
Essentially, chaos magic consists of a set of techniques for deliberately engineering synchronicities. As Carroll makes clear in later texts, magical "results" consist of "meaningful coincidences" or "a series of events going somewhat improbably in the desired direction." Later chaos magicians have made the link between chaos magic and synchromysticism more overt. Gordon White, for example, writes in Synchromysticism as Kabbalah:
How does the Technical Hermetica 'work'? How did Ficino's system of planetary ritual magic 'work'? Simply put, both work because some things are associated with other things. Symbols recur, patterns repeat, sounds heard on a radio associate with similar outcomes in your life. An Animist universe speaks a language of symbol and synchronicity. To you, to itself, to the birds. This awareness underpins systems of magical correspondence the world over—such as practical Kabbalah or Technical Hermetica... These systems are indications that the universe speaks in a symbolic language... use them in a wider synchromystic context.
Elsewhere, White speculates that this may be "the secret of kabbalistic apotheosis"—"hearing the language behind the words, connecting the things that aren't connected... a mystical framework for exploring and encouraging synchronicity."
- On May 9, 2008 Reality Sandwich published The Cryptic Cosmology of Synchromysticism, a long article on the ideas, movement, and its origins." It notes "Jake Kotze's work got a boost in exposure after Henrik Palmgren's Red Ice Creations site began featuring articles and videos from Brave New World Order. Henrik also recorded a series of podcast interviews with Jake throughout 2007. In addition, Kotze was the guest for the premiere edition of the Occult of Personality podcast in October of 2006 and was interviewed on Kent Bentkowski's The Kentroversy Tapes podcast in October of 2007."
- "The Secret Life of Movies: Schizophrenic and Shamanic Journeys in American Cinema" by Jason Horsley and published by McFarland Publishing in July 2009 makes multiple references to Synchromysticism and writes "The recent but rapidly growing movement known as "synchromysticism" is anything but an academic discipline. Rather than emerging from the hallowed halls of academia, synchromysticism was born on the Internet, a new, more "upbeat" development in the paranoid community (i.e., among occultists and conspiracy theorists) that attempts to see beyond the darker aspects of society, politics, and popular culture, to a cosmic design. A form of postmodern animism, as the name suggests, synchromysticism combines Jung's notion of meaningful coincidences with the quest for the divine, or self-actualization through experience of the divine. Not the first thing most of us associate with movies, and yet nor is it the last. Martin Scorsese was surely not alone in comparing the experience of sitting in a movie theater with attending church."
- Since 2010 conceptual artist "Jim Ricks has developed the method of synchro-materialism as a means to consider the territory where art meets capitalism". This method is directly inspired by synchromysticism. In 2018, Onomatopee published Ricks's book Alien Invader Super Baby (Synchromaterialism VI)
- In 2011 The Sync Book: Myths, Magic, Media, and Mindscapes: 26 Authors on Synchronicity was published and the multimedia website thesyncbook.com was launched. "The Sync Book 2: Outer + Inner Space, Shadow + Light: 26 Essays on Synchronicity" was released the following year.
- On October 1, 2012 BirthMoviesDeath published Fantastic Fest Review: THE SHINING FORWARDS AND BACKWARDS and similarly on October 21, 2012 Screencrush published 'The Shining Forwards and Backwards' Review. Both discuss synchromaterialism and the experimental film "The Shining Forwards and Backwards, Simultaneously" made by John Fell Ryan and Akiva Saunders.
- In 2015 IDigitalTimes interviewed Joe Alexander, filmmaker and member of the synchromystic community, about the viral video "BACK TO THE FUTURE predicts 9/11". Alexander claims that "Rodney Ascher, while making Room 237, found the sync community".
- The Washington Post wrote that synchromystics "... believe that 9/11 and 'Back to the Future'—and everything in the universe, really—are connected by a vast Web of unseen, mystical, esoteric ties." Good Magazine also covered the video and synchromysticism in Did 'Back to the Future' Predict 9/11?
- In April 2017 Synchromysticism, an album influenced by the movement, was released on Skin Graft Records by St. Louis prog rock band Yowie.
- Valis. The Cryptic Cosmology of Synchromysticism
- Sutcliffe, Steven & Cusack, Carole. The Problem of Invented Religions
- Horsley, Jason. The Secret Life of Movies
- Tarnas, Richard (2006). Cosmos and Psyche. New York: Penguin Group. p. 50. ISBN 0-670-03292-1.
- Jung, Carl G. (1993) . Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle. Bollingen, Switzerland: Bollingen Foundation. ISBN 978-0-691-01794-5. Since included in his Collected Works volume 8.
- Rushnell, S. (2006). When God winks. Atria Books.
- Koestler, Arthur (1973). The Roots of Coincidence. Vintage. ISBN 0-394-71934-4.
- McGinn 2005.
- Moore 2005.
- Harmless 2007, p. 14.
- Hori 1999, p. 47.
- Sharf 2000.
- Harmless 2007, pp. 10–17.
- James 1982, p. 30.
- Chryssides, George. Historical Dictionary of New Religious Movements
- Drury, Nevill. The Watkins Dictionary of Magic
- Carroll, Peter J. Liber Null & Psychonaut
- Carroll, Peter J. Octavo
- White, Gordon. Pieces of Eight
- White, Gordon. Twilight Language: The Quest for the Grail
- Horsely, Jason (July 2009). The Secret Life of Movies: Schizophrenic and Shamanic Journeys in American Cinema. McFarland Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 978-0786444236.
- Carroll, Peter J. (1987). Liber Null & Psychonaut. Weiser Books. ISBN 9781609255299.
- Carroll, Peter J. (2010). Octavo: A Sorceror-Scientist's Grimoire (Roundworld Edition). Mandrake of Oxford. ISBN 9781906958176.
- Horsley, Jason (2009). The Secret Life of Movies: Schizophrenic and Shamanic Journeys in American Cinema. McFarland. ISBN 9780786454624.
- Sutcliffe, Steven; Cusack, Carole (2017). The Problem of Invented Religions. Routledge. ISBN 9781317373353.
- Valis (2008). "The Cryptic Cosmology of Synchromysticism". Reality Sandwich. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- Chryssides, George (2012). Historical Dictionary of New Religious Movements. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9780810861947.
- Drury, Nevill (2011). The Watkins Dictionary of Magic: Over 3000 Entries on the World of Magical Formulas, Secret Symbols and the Occult. Duncan Baird Publishers. ISBN 9781780283623.
- McGinn, Bernard (2005), "Mystical Union in Judaism, Christianity and Islam", in Jones, Lindsay (ed.), MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religion, MacMillan
- Moore, Peter (2005), "Mysticism (further considerations)", in Jones, Lindsay (ed.), MacMillan Encyclopedia of Religion, MacMillan
- Harmless, William (2007), Mystics, Oxford University Press, ISBN 9780198041108
- Hori, Victor Sogen (1999), Translating the Zen Phrase Book. In: Nanzan Bulletin 23 (1999) (PDF)
- Sharf, Robert H. (2000), "The Rhetoric of Experience and the Study of Religion" (PDF), Journal of Consciousness Studies, 7 (11–12): 267–87
- James, William (1982) , The Varieties of Religious Experience, Penguin classics
- White, Gordon (2016). Pieces of Eight: Chaos Magic Essays and Enchantments.
- White, Gordon (2013). "Twilight Language: The Quest for the Grail". Rune Soup. Retrieved June 14, 2018.