A bird fell out of the sky in front of me today. I was walking down the sidewalk in downtown Indianapolis, and a little grey and yellow bird hit the sidewalk with a sickening squish sound. I was startled and then disturbed. And then I proceeded to walk into oncoming traffic. I looked right, but not left, on a street I though was one way, and walked right in front of a car. Fortunately, the driver stopped in time.
I’m not one of those people who walks around looking for signs. But I see them anyway sometimes. I’m not sure what the little bird’s death was a sign of, but it sure felt like a sign, even if it wasn’t. Maybe there was a connection with me walking out into traffic — I mean other than the causal connection of be being so distracted by the bird that I didn’t look both ways before crossing. I’m talking about a connection of a different order. This is what Jung called synchronicity, a meaningful — albeit non-causal — relationship between events.
When I was at Pagan Spirit Gathering this year, I felt a deep need to conduct a personal ritual to celebrate the summer solstice. I typically pour a different libation for each of the eight stations on the Wheel of the Year. For the summer solstice, I pour a libation of honey. But I hadn’t brought any honey to the festival, and we weren’t allowed back in the festival if we left. So, I went to the “general store” in the camp. Now, this was not a typical camp store. It was more like someone had dumped crates of miscellaneous junk on tables. There was no order or system to any of it as far as I could tell. So, I proceeded to search the place for honey. I looked and I looked. I can’t explain why, but I felt like it really might be there, against all odds, and I kept looking, even when it didn’t seem like it would be there — I was actually envisioning a bottle of honey like we had at home that is shaped like a little bear.
And then I found it — a bottle of honey, the kind that looks like a little bear. I was elated. And when I took it to the register, the person tending the store made some comment about being surprised that they had it. I laughed and told him that I actually came in there looking for honey. And a lady next to me said something to the effect of, “That’s what happens when you’re Pagan.” So I bought my honey and was able to perform my ritual.
Now this is not a story about a prayer being answered or a miracle. It’s not a story about divine intervention or psychic powers. It’s about a meaningful coincidence. Probably most people have had these kinds of experiences. I suspect these events are all around us, waiting to be seen. I do think it is a mistake to confuse the meaning of these events with causation. But I wonder, is it possible that these events are indications of a deeper order in the universe than that of causation?