"We manipulate his path so that he stumbles over certain books."


When you begin to see the Universe as a living entity and not a barren void, you come to understand the subtle patterns in life. What's more, you begin to move in time with them to a certain extent. 

I think becoming aware of Synchronicity and the like is just a part of this-- I think a vigorous program of meditation or a similar practice is equally important. But eventually the masks of causality and chance fall away and you begin to see the deeper currents moving beneath the sliver of consciousness that most people content themselves with.

I think reading and writing are equally important aspects of all this as well, which is probably there's been such an aggressive effort to render the general population illiterate in the past several years.

Today was a rare day off for me after a very busy and frustrating week (a blackout that also managed to burn out our fiber optic equipment, endless car trouble, etc) and it just happened to coincide with a local book sale. I used to go every year but stopped more recently simply because it felt like I was seeing the same old stuff over and over. And I always seemed to be busy for the past few go-rounds. But I took advantage of the free time today.

At the same time I was also wrestling with a post on Gnosticism and the present dilemma of American religion, particularly that of the Evangelical movement, which is currently seeking to esotericize itself (for lack of a better term) a strategy I don't believe church leaders have really thought through very carefully.

I couldn't get anywhere with that because the fact is it's none of my business. My point, that the Evangelical movement can't take on the trappings of Gnosticism without eventually (if not inadvertently) developing an explicitly Gnostic belief system, didn't seem worth the time of doing a full piece. And I was much more interested in my haul at the book sale anyway.

There was a lot more than the same old same old. One of the books I got- for 50 cents a shot- was The Gnostics by Tobias Churton, a book I'd not yet read. I got two nice companions to it; a copy of The Other Bible, the phonebook-sized compendium of the Apocrypha and Gnostic and Hermetic texts (a book I always glanced through but never actually committed to buying) and Dan Burstein's surprisingly meaty Secrets of the Code, an anthology of essays built around themes in The Da Vinci Code (both of which I had already read). 

For good measure I also got an unabridged audiobook of Inferno. I don't expect much but, hey, I've got a lot of hours to fill.

There were other surprises: Nevill Drury's Magic and Witchcraft and The Illustrated Book of Signs and Symbols by Miranda Bruce-Mitford. Neither book looks like it has much in the way of new information but both are lavishly illustrated and will make nice additions to the reference library. I do have a lot of these books but have found that there'll usually be something to set me down a useful path.

Another surprise was The Druids by Stuart Piggott. This looks like a lovely read, and is also filled with some fascinating imagery as well. So little of any real value is known about ancient Celtic religion and it's been a while since I've read into the subject. I'm looking forward to refreshing myself on it once I get some things off my plate.

There were a lot of DVDs and a few graphic novels but all I got were DVDs of the recent War of the Worlds and- speaking of surprises- a DVD of Doctor Who: Pyramids of Mars. For good measure, there was a British book on Doctor Who from the Tom Baker era that I picked up for nostalgia's sake.

There were a number of other books I was eyeing but given my shrinking shelf space I marked them for library takeouts. I'm in the middle of a few different books right now, so most of these will have to wait. But what was important to me was their symbolic value. I've been attending these sales since the early 90s and never before had I grabbed anything like this haul, esoterically-speaking.



The funny thing is is that just a week or so back I found myself near the used book shop for another reason and decided to drop in. It had been a while since I'd been there (for much the same reason that I'd missed the past few sales- boredom with the stock) and lo and behold what do I find but a first edition hardcover of Flying Saucers and the Three Men, Gray Barker's seminal book that brought the Men-in-Black into the cultural lexicon.

Not only was it there waiting for me, I picked it up for $7.50, about a tenth of what you'd pay for it from an online dealer. This wasn't the first time I'd found a treasure at this spot- I also picked up a first edition Passport to Magonia for a mind-boggling 5 dollars there as well.

This seems to be a pattern. I was in the neighborhood for another reason another time a few years back and found another esoterically-inclined UFO book, one that inspired a bit of impromptu bibliomancy that Mike Clelland ended up blogging about:

Christopher Knowles: So for some strange reason I had to take my son somewhere today. So since I had to go way out of my way I stopped at the used book store. And what's waiting there for me? An unread copy of UFOs and the Psychic Factor by Ida Kannenberg...
Mike Clelland: Get ready, this book is WONDERFUL! That sweet old grandmother has such a delightful take on this subject!
Christopher Knowles: What are the odds?
(a little while later)
Christopher Knowles: OK, so I pick up this book, thinking "what's this all about, what's it got to tell me?" and open the book up at random as I do with new non-fiction books. I open the book up to page 103 and my eyes focus on the second paragraph...
Mike Clelland: Ha-Ha! Seems "they" manipulated your path! I love this kind of stuff. Really and truly, it just slays me.
Now check out the funny part. Here’s the first two sentences on page 103 of that cool book, this is what the the second paragraph says:
"An example of these mysteries may be that we want him to read a certain type of book. We manipulate his path and so that he stumbles over certain books, which he feels “inspired” to read."


Well, I don't know if that's the case but it all certainly feels like much more than random chance. 

But then again I've also been wondering if Synchronicity is not simply misdiagnosed psi, as David Hufford advised me in 2008 (Eric Wargo has been working on that thesis as well). If that is the case it's a form of psi we don't know how to work with yet, since we are only aware of it after the fact. 

But in the end what matters is results. And I'm certainly happy with those. Now all I need is time to read all this wonderful material.


48 comments:

  1. CLK - in regards to synchronicities: I dig them when they happen to me and granted they have not occurred to the levels that they have occurred to you or to, for example, Vallee and his Melchizedek repititions - but - what is the relationship that we have with the universe that they hint at? What is the nutritive aspect of synchronicities that goes beyond them just being another breadcrumb in an endless line, something serving as an opiate in the guise of giving us a feeling of gratification in our quest for understanding? Are they just the Matrix giving us a gold star for effort though nothing has changed? Sorry for the cynicism but, man, it's turned into a big question for me. Would appreciate your response, links, references, etc. - Thanks!

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    1. Well, you need to learn to distinguish between the syncs that are going to get you somewhere and the ones that just seem to pedal in place. It's a question of experience, really. You learn to see the signifiers after a while and toss the guppies back in the synchrosea.

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    2. Chris, like CLK I've been exploring this exact question. You might check out this post -- http://thenightshirt.com/?p=2661 -- and let me know what you think. (Basically I think syncs connect us with our unconscious "enjoyment," a psychoanalytic concept that is different from desire.)

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    3. Eric, love your work at The Nightshirt and think your concept of enjoyment as a link in psi - synchronicity to be elegant and fascinating.

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    4. Thanks Chris - I appreciate having faith in my intuition. If a medium puts me in contact with a deceased relative and tells me personal info as a preface to new info I'll take that message and be thankful for it. However I'd still keep in mind the (Christian or Cartesian) possibility of a malevolent, perhaps all-knowing spirit being manipulative. Ready to keep working, though, and tell that cynical side of me to take a chill pill!
      Checking out your work now, Eric, thanks!

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  2. That's a cool situation with the UFOs and The Psychic Factor. On the human level, I feel that synchronicity is a form of psi. I feel our subconscious mind energy puts out a beacon or sonar for what we want to attract and or what we need for this life path. The spiritual/alchemical factor is the other equation. Are we continually adjusting to our circumstances/choices from freewill, therefore energetically creating synchronicity as a road map/confirmation of moving in the best direction? Are there angels, guides, spirits of the deceased, etc. helping us in our endeavors/unlocking clues? This is a mystery, but it sure feels cool when these synchronistic situations happen.
    On another note, the Secret Sounds Bvdub-Serenity makes for awesome listening. Cheers.

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    1. It's almost impossible to discern the source-bed for your sync-seed, since it could be a number of different potentialities. In the end all we have are the results- the resonations- of the sync-splash and that's what you're left to work with. It's like a package that shows up at your door without a return address. In the end you need to evaluate the contents therein and proceed from there.

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    2. Good observation Chris. After reading these comments, I noticed (and it has happened to me too) that a lot of sync happens in book stores and libraries.

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    3. 'Are there angels, guides, spirits of the deceased, etc. helping us in our endeavors/unlocking clues? '
      I think there are. To say that the Gods work in mysterious ways doesn't cover it does it.

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  3. Some days, I am loving the synchronicity, and others, it can be plain just hard to take!

    Needless to say, halfway through reading this post, personal synchro struck, to the tune of all three children, (at 10:30pm, no less!)......... it seems "they" have a sense of humor!!

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    1. Well, there you go. The synchro-mesh widens and takes in the observer. Could it be any other way?

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  4. Nice post. "We manipulate his path and so that he stumbles over certain books, which he feels 'inspired' to read." This is my new favorite sentence.

    Do you know if David Hufford wrote about the idea of synchronicity as misdiagnosed psi?

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    1. I don't know. What happened was we were talking on the way to breakfast, I started talking about syncs, I gave him a bunch of examples and he said, quite bluntly, "that sounds like psi."

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  5. Great post, Chris. I'm of the same opinion as you and appreciate your mysterious package analogy. Synchronicity is often just like that. You don't know where it came from so you gotta analyse the contents and see if they're useful. They CAN be incredibly useful though. Synchs have saved people from plane crashes and assorted disasters/problems, etc. And there are those synchs that seem less pointed, a kind of metaphysical accompaniment more like a melody than a 'sign'. I also think there's some truth to this thesis of synchronicity being unrecognised PSI, but I also think it's way bigger than that. I think life is like a multidimensional, multi-faceted novel - with themes, tropes, motifs, mirroring, etc, but mostly unknown to the main characters and only to the reader. Synchronicity is like atemporal perception, where for a moment consciousness is both the main character and the reader. So yeah, PSI on one level for sure. But I think we'd really be missing a trick if we ignore things like story-analysis, film-theory, depth psychology as it relates to narrative structure. As far as Gnosticism goes, I think you have to trap consciousness in a story before you can trap it in a box...or keep it there at least. We know our stories, myths and visions are powerful, profound and 'real', but we're still arguing over their ontology. Just how real is the realness? And that's useful only up to a point. Take a militant atheist away from his stories and we'll see how godless he remains. He'll be conjuring spirits and signs pretty quickly in an effort to create meaning. Maybe we're all writers, and maybe sometimes we remember that for brief moments. Maybe that's what synchronicity is. Maybe we're writing each other in a luminous fractal of narrative synchro-mesh. Imagine That.

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    1. Synchromystic- recognized PSI. Dennis.

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    2. "But I think we'd really be missing a trick if we ignore things like story-analysis, film-theory, depth psychology as it relates to narrative structure."

      We shouldn't ignore sexism and the like. Jungian psychology and film theory are fields where women have gained a foothold, making it harder for men to commandeer their ideas. Remember that film Agora? We haven't changed much since Hypatia.

      Setting aside the historical accuracy issues, that's one nicely put together syncrhromystic script about libraries. It resonates synchromysticly for me b/c my old library was ransacked in 2013 and my ownership of the library was disputed by one of the culprits b/c the collection was too exotic I guess for a teenage girl to have amassed. Nasty, vicious sexism.

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  6. Well, that is the heart of the matter. You get a phone call from the void and the number doesn't show up on your caller ID. Do you pick it up? Do you follow the instructions given on the other end? It becomes an issue of trust, of instinct, of a kind of knowing beyond knowing. The point again are the results. By hook or by crook you are after results. Those can't be argued away by sniffy skeptics. In fact you don't have the time or the inclination to bother. You move along to the next stop on the road.

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    1. " An issue of instinct." Oh, well played Sir!
      To me, that is the whole ball game; gut/heart calls.
      If you don't/can't trust your instinct, why the hell not? Work on that, and nothing else, until you can.
      Instinct is you artificial horizon when flying in cloud. Without it, you have, on average, 135 seconds to live.......

      Also,"...don't have the inclination to bother."
      Yes, yes, yes! So much angst and argument ends right there.
      The true Guru does not invite you in, because he does not care one way or the other, and persuasion is a trap.
      The door is open, it's your call. What does your intuition tell you.....?

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  7. "An example of these mysteries may be that we want him to read a certain type of book. We manipulate his path and so that he stumbles over certain books, which he feels “inspired” to read."

    I think I told this story (in longer form) before, but experiencing this is still one of my favorite personal syncs so far, because it ended up leading me down the path of High Weirdness:

    Was at a library looking for Jung books (perfect kindling for the flames of weirdness), found what they had and as I was standing up to walk off, something in my subconscious told me to turn around to the shelf behind me and when I did, I made direct eye contact with Blavatsky's "Isis Unveiled" and before I even picked it up, I knew it was something strange to feast upon, even thought I had no clue who Blavatsky even was at that point. Have been on this path ever since. (Not to mention I was looking for Jung books because one of my favorite bands, Isis, had just released an album heavily influenced by Jung and I was making my first foray into his world and found "Isis Unveiled" to be a great cosmic *wink*)

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  8. The more charged the target the more significant the sync. The more focus put into a target by others the more resonance that seems to feedback into the subject. It's science!

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    1. some of your blogs, back when I first started reading them, really helped keep things in perspective. specifically the idea that the syncs can come fast and furious, almost non-stop at some points and your advice to learn to just spot the lesser ones and keep looking for the "no fucking way!" syncs as the true signifiers. If I let every sync I have - thinking of a word and it's said on tv, thinking of a person and they call or text, thinking of a band/song and then hearing them et al - I'd lose my mind. Now I just notice them, mildly amused, and wait for the heavy ones.

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  9. Went to the local used bookstore myself yesterday, and managed to score pristine DVDs of.... Forbidden Planet and (I suspect this one will amuse) Kolchack: The Night Stalker.

    The latter I haven't seen a full episode of since it was first-run (I was an under-attended six year old at the time).

    Sync events, indeed.

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  10. Nice, it's been so long since I have set foot in a library or used book store, places I had haunted most of my life until 2002. Since then, it's all been online reading and PDF, mobi and the like. Reading this reminded me of the experience of making great finds and walking away with an armload, actually excited about my good fortune. Heh. A little set in my new ways but I'm going to take advantage of any bibliophile opportunities that come my way in the near future. Overmind, get to work, will ya?
    I've been wondering for a little while if synchronicity is not "the universe" arranging things, which seems to be a commonly held belief, but US doing the arranging, most of the time without realizing it. The concept of all of us being connected as one mind but also having our individual minds too, instead of giving all the credit to some undefined, unknown yet obviously omnipotent "other", would go a long way toward explaining the bizarre and inexplicable stories of unlikely circumstances coming about as if pre-arranged. A form of psi, indeed.

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    1. Well, I'll tell you- I'm waiting for The Rebirth of Pan to show up one day soon. That will be the true test of this.

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    2. That one's been on my wish list for years. I used to work in many bookstores, and read "Weird America" by Jim Brandon while working at one, but never bought it. Always regretted that.

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  11. Arthur Koestler spoke of 'Library Angels'. The right books just dropping in your lap really, at the right time.

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    1. Lawrence's mention of Koestler's Library Angels brings to mind Nicholas Cage's John Koestler from the Gostic-themed movie Knowing. And thus back to Cage's City of Angels and the library angels scene in that film. Which leads us in turn back to Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire with similar library angels. Just thought I'd mention it.

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  12. Chris, if by Inferno you mean the Niven-Pournelle novel, it's pretty good--I'd recommend it. It has a sequel, Escape from Hell, which is also pretty good, except that (unlike in the first novel) Niven and Pournelle's politics intrude a bit, to the detriment of the novel, IMO.

    On the other hand, if you mean the first part of the Divine Comedy, well, hey, it's Dante! Totally great, but one needs to go through it slowly--it took me quite some time to read it (and Purgatorio and Paradiso, too).

    Then again, if you're not talking about either of these, I've got nothing. :)

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    1. Ye gods- I mean the bloody Dan Brown novel! This was a local book sale held in a school gym. Nothing quite that exotic was on order!

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    2. I feel like an idiot now...oh, well. ;) The Niven/Pournelle book is good, though!

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  13. Speaking of charged targets, on a recent trip home with my spouse I was missing my mother who died several years ago. I pulled up a memory of a particular party she helped throw for my class when I was about ten. I was deeply immersed in remembering how much I loved her at the party, acknowledging to myself that intensefeeling for perhaps the first time, that pure love.

    I remembered the contrast of my mom and my teacher who was a sharp and seemingly unhappy woman as I look back on her. I couldn't remember her name so I kept an image of her face until the name came to me. It was Mrs. Martin.

    Almost immediately after rememberin I saw a sign for Martin Rd. A few minutes later, a large moving truck passed us with the name Martin on its side. When we got home an hour later, I heard my husband listening to a message on our old answering machine. A woman announced her name as Cindy Martin. While it is a common name, I still found the syncs comforting, maybe a reminder to remember love.

    It occurred to me at the time that focus and intense feeling had everything to do with the syncs, maybe a byproduct, but nonetheless important.

    Bookstores, newer and used, and even libraries make me feel as though I've entered magic places, the places that most represent human creativity. Had one or two weird experiences there too.

    I've enjoyed your thoughts for quite a while, Chris. Thanks much for sharing.

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  14. Pretty much anything by Nevill Drury is worth a look. Even-handed and easy to read. Funny you mention him - I wandered into a local shop this weekend and stumbled across one of his books on Rosaleen Norton, the Australian artist for whom I've developed something of a fascination. It pained me (really) to put it back on the shelf as it wasn't in the budget - this time...

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  15. "For the Persian Magick, which was the secret literature of their Kings, was an application of the contemplations and observatoins of Nature, to a political sense; thus making the fundamental Laws of Nature, an Original, first model, or Pattern, for Government." Francis Bacon, "Philosophical Works ..."

    The magick of "your" federal corporation, revealed in one paragraph. That's the ancient "mystery" schools for you.

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    1. I haven't been able to find any evidence that there were any such thing as "Mystery schools." The earliest use of the term I can find is in Alice Bailey's work. I guess the Pythagoreans count but who the hell knows what Bacon is talking about here?

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  16. I firmly believe that the right book always finds its way to the intended person eventually.

    I've found this applies as much in libraries as bookshops, and usually the relevant book is the one next to the one you thought you were looking for. I also think that books acquire a "charge" of their own that guides them to some extent, and they search us out as much as we do them.

    One of the most unusual libraries in the world, the Warburg Library, is organised on this sort of principal, by the great art historian Aby Warburg who helped to bring magic back into academic discourse. It was the place where Frances Yates researched her books that rediscovered the Hermetic Renaissance and it still has the capacity to surprise.

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/03/16/in-the-memory-ward

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    1. Interesting article. It's interesting how that great destroyer of culture- postwar rationalism- nearly did the Warburg in. Good to see it recovered.

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  17. Speaking of books......I recently found two interesting ones in a box that had been at my parents house for years that I believe belonged to a friend of mine. Ancient Mystic Rites, by C.W. Leadbeater, a 33rd degree Freemason (originally published in 1926 as Glimpses of Masonic History) and Golden Dawn Enochian Magic by Pat Zalewski. Don't know anything about either of them really, but started reading the first one. I figure there is probably some interesting info in them perhaps.

    At some point, I decided to look inside the front cover of the Golden Dawn one, and found a note card with my hand printed titles for a massive concept album I had wanted to write, based on H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath. I hadn't seen it since 1996 and thought it was lost in a move back then. I'd spent the better part of a day extracting those titles and mapping the thing out in my head, and when I thought I'd lost them I just gave up on the idea (seemed like too much work to recreate them, especially for something that couldn't possibly have much commercial appeal and would take a lot of work to complete......it was going to be around 2 hours of music). It's interesting because there is no way I made any connection back then between Lovecraft and Theosophy, let alone the allusions Chris has made to Lovecraft possibly being familiar with Annie Besant (if I'm remembering correctly). Yet Leadbeater was a member of the same Theosophical society and was a colleague of hers. Not to mention a commenter here saying they always thought of Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath as a representation of astral projection. Anyway, very synchronistic for me. Maybe I should get working on that concept album.......

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  18. I'm attempting a week or so off from reading, watching the news and pondering but I had to give this some time. There are some really intelligent, thought provoking thoughts here. It's got me thinking about how orbs are said to often appear where people are enjoying themselves and if there is some kind of higher frequency connection. Personally I think synchronicity can sometimes relate to problem solving, and it does seem to be influenced by interests as well as enjoyment.

    Raj - I think your comments are spot on, as usual.

    and Chris - You lucky, lucky man! I'm going to be looking for Flying Saucers and The Three Men, I hope you tell us what you think of it.

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    1. I consider myself lucky for having such thoughtful commenters such as yourself, Cindy. Believe me, I think about that quite often when I'm out there in the dark recesses of the Internet.

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  19. Quise progresar en el campo laboral y conseguir un ascenso así que busque los beneficios de los Ritual del Trabajo,al utilizarlos con mucha fe mantuve un empleo seguro
    y me senti en armonía.

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