This was my submission for the recent ‘That Which We Do Not Understand’ open brief celebrating 10 years of the illustrated art, music and fashion periodical, Amelia’s Magazine.
The brief asked artists to be inspired by “mysticism, spirituality, alchemy, paganism, witchcraft, herbalism, shamanism, magick, voodoo, folklore, occult, esotericism, tarot, astrology, animal spirits, paranormal activities, the moon and much more”. A nightmare list there for Richard Dawkins perhaps, but a dream brief for yours truly.
My piece, ‘Synchronicity’ is inspired by my admiration for the work of that most mystical man of science, Carl Jung. Though he was a practising clinician and considered himself to be a scientist, much Jung’s life work was spent exploring areas such as Eastern and Western philosophy/religion, alchemy, astrology, and sociology. About four years ago I became fascinated with Jung’s studies into the occult and “that which we do not understand”. I was struck by his studies into the unconscious, his fundamental role in the recognition of art as therapy and in particular his theory of “synchronicity”. Jung coined the word to describe the experience of two or more events as meaningfully related, or a “meaningful coincidence”. I’ve recognised this phenomenon in my life many times in various manifestations, a few of which are symbolised in my illustration.
The golden scarab in my illustration refers to Jung’s most famous example of synchronicity where he was treating a psychiatric patient who described to him a dream she had the night before of someone giving her a gold scarab. As the patient described the dream there was a tapping at the window pane. Jung opened the window and let in a scarabaeid beetle, handed it to his patient with the words, “Here is your scarab.” This experience apparently “punctured the desired hole in her rationalism”- something I can’t help but feel would help many people today.