A dead bird, a bottle of honey, and meaningful coincidences

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?

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