Signs from the Universe: Synchronicity or Coincidence

Signs from the Universe: Synchronicity or Coincidence November 27, 2022

Human existence, as a whole, can be an uncertain experience. As such, it’s natural to look for signs and patterns in our everyday lives to make sense of the world around us. Finding meaning isn’t just comforting on a surface level but rather on a deeply evolutionary level. 

According to a journal penned by Mark Mattsen at the National Library of Medicine, “the fundamental function of the brains of all animals is to encode and integrate information acquired from the environment through sensory inputs, and then generate adaptive behavioral responses.” 

Jozef Klopacka via Adobe Stock

Yes, we humans are animals. No surprises there.

The journal later states, “Superior pattern processing is the essence of the evolved human brain.”

This means that we are hardwired to seek patterns in our environments. From an evolutionary standpoint, this helped to ensure our survival. We began recognizing predators, poisonous vegetation, and other threats to help to secure our continuance as a species. 

Our human instinct guides us to look to signs from the universe. Though we may refer to these messages as coming from our guides, angels, or other entities—depending on beliefs. But indeed, not everything is a sign. Certain coincidences are, at best, random, whereas others range from gentle nudges to neon slaps from the universe to assure us or point us toward a path. 

So, how do we differentiate these random occurrences from the messages? First, we need to define them.

It’s a Sign 

The term “synchronicity” was first coined by psychologist Carl Jung in the 1920s. Not only is he a renowned psychologist, but Carl Jung’s works also influenced some of the esoteric philosophies many utilize today.

Most often, synchronicity is defined as a “meaningful coincidence.” While this lackluster definition isn’t the most helpful in ascertaining what constitutes a meaningful coincidence as opposed to a meaningless coincidence, many have developed their own system for determining whether or not it’s synchronicity or happenstance.


Individuals often use a numbered system with their guides to determine if something is a coincidence or a message. The system of probability helps determine whether a noncausal relationship exists. 

In Jung’s book, Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, he differentiates synchronicity from synchronism by stating “the coincidence in time of two or more causally unrelated events which have the same meaning.”

In application, this can look like requesting three signs before investigating the meaning further. In this instance, seeing a bird outside of your window would not be classified as synchronicity. However, seeing that bird outside your window, followed by receiving an aviary postcard in the mail, and then stumbling upon a bird trinket would be considered a sign.

This system is optimal for weeding out sheer chance from meaningful coincidence. After all, birds exist. Seeing one nearby isn’t inherently a sign, but with repetition, not only does the message become more apparent, but it becomes repeatable. And anyone who has retained their science class lessons knows this is one of the critical points in the scientific method. 

In one particularly transformative period of my life, I kept seeing snakes. Everywhere. This was a period of time for me in which I knew I had a big decision to make in my personal life. 

It started with the purchase of a serpent necklace. No sooner than I parked my vehicle at my home and hopped out, I was greeted by a snake in an upright position. Fair enough. Clearly, he was there to talk to me about my vehicle’s extended warranty. 

The following week, I went to a popular trail with a friend while carrying my then-infant daughter, and during our hike, I almost placed my foot squarely atop a snake. That was the day I learned I missed my calling as an Olympic hurdler. After that, I explored terrain 2,000 miles from my homestead. Like clockwork, another snake crossed my direct footpath. 

This repetition of coincidences made it abundantly clear what I needed to do. With that knowledge, I had my signs in hand and knew what direction I needed to go in. 

Personal Significance

Another important system is deciding how messages would be relayed before receiving them. This could be communicating through numbers via license plates, a specific animal appearing when the answer is yes, or messages relayed to us through our dreams. The point is to choose a system where you’re most open to receiving a message and capable of interpreting it in relation to yourself. 

One of my standards for decoding messages is their significance to me. 

For instance, in the snake scenario above, my interpretation of snakes is that of transformation and power. Someone with ophidiophobia or a general fear of snakes would interpret these signs differently than I did. Instead of seeing an invitation, they would see a warning. 

Both interpretations are equally valid. 

The logic behind this is the universe (or guides, deities, or spirits) communicating with you are aware of your essence when delivering signs. How you make sense of the energy is as open to personal interpretation as the signs themselves. But, what is consistent, is that this energy is cognisant of how to best communicate with you in ways that you will understand. 

It’s Not a Sign

While synchronicity is defined as a “meaningful coincidence,” the contrary to this would be a meaningless chance.

For example, a wild-eyed raccoon may appear—ready to rummage through your garbage with vigor. Sure, they’re adorable little trash bandits, but is it a sign? Likely no. In this instance, it’s far more likely the raccoon appeared because he was hungry, and your days-old pizza, aged with coffee grounds and fermented kitchen scraps, was a temptation he could not refuse.

It is always advisable to first consult the mundane ahead of the magickal. We can do this by asking ourselves questions to determine if it was a sign or held any significance. We can ask ourselves: Is there an unremarkable reason this occurred? Have we surpassed the threshold of what would be considered ordinary chance? Is this relevant to me?

Meaningless chance is when you have no personal relationship or association with what is unfolding. Rarely will this type of coincidence elicit another thought from us as we go about our day. We may acknowledge that it was strange, but we won’t be inspired to muse over the meaning or investigate the importance of such an event.

While it is true that messages from the universe are cryptic by their very nature—an inner knowing will exist. As such, one of the best things we can do in this instance and others is to trust our intuition.

If it is a sign, you will know.

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