Remo F. Roth

Dr. oec. publ., Ph.D.

dipl. analyt. Psychologe (M.-L. v. Franz)

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Further contributions about Carl Jung's synchronicity principle see in Psychovision, Synchronicity Page


Carl G. Jung’s Scarab Synchronicity

by Remo F. Roth, PhD, CH-8810 Horgen-Zurich, Switzerland

Thanks to Phyllis Luthi ( for the help with the translation

In his article Synchronicity, An Acausal Connecting Principle, Carl G. Jung gives an example which has, over time, become famous: "A young woman I was treating had, at a critical moment, a dream in which she was given a golden scarab. While she was telling me this dream I sat with my back to the closed window. Suddenly I heard a noise behind me, like a gentle tapping. I turned round and saw a flying insect knocking against the window-pane from outside. I opened the window and caught the creature in the air as it flew in. It was the nearest analogy to a golden scarab that one finds in our latitudes, a scarabaeid beetle, the common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), which contrary to its usual habits had evidently felt an urge to get into a dark room at this particular moment." [Coll. Works, vol. 8, § 843]

Jung continues "The meaningful connection is obvious enough ... in view of the approximate identity of the chief objects (the scarab and the beetle)." [CW, vol. 8, § 845] He then notices that the treatment of this patient would be at first very difficult because she was caught up in a certain rationalism and the possibility of the irrational phenomena would be completely refused. She, therefore, would need a change of perspective whereby her consciousness could open with respect to the irrational. Such a transformation of consciousness is almost exclusively represented by symbols of rebirth. Jung writes: "The scarab is a classic example of a rebirth symbol. The ancient Egyptian Book of What Is in the Netherworld describes how the dead sun-god changes himself at the tenth station into Khepri, the scarab, and then, at the twelfth station, mounts the barge which carries the rejuvenated sun-god into the morning sky." [CW, vol. 8, § 845]

The meaning of this synchronicity consists in the fact that Jung's patient was in a shocking manner pointed to the insight, that in her, symbolically speaking, a rebirth myth was constellated that we interpret psychologically as a transformation of consciousness. This experience caused a deep affect and this again effected that she now could open up with reference to the irrational and could recognize the reality of the world of the unconscious.

Our world today is in a very similar situation as was Jung’s patient. We believe that all our problems can be solved with the assistance of rational, materialistic science and technology. Slowly but surely it is being shown that by this attitude we have fallen into a huge catastrophe that could be of such apocalyptic dimensions that it may mean the end of human civilization.

Synchronicities are constellated then, when an individual or a society is caught in an "impossible" situation where we think there is no way out. Therefore it is to expect that in the near future many people will be surprised by such occurrences that are dismissed as senseless coincidence. We are not used to listen to the messages from the inside, the dreams, and thus leave them out of consideration. Thus most people experience potential synchronicities as purely external phenomena that can not be compared with a dream, as in Jung's example, and the deeper meaning of the synchronicity can not be extracted. This is why the outer events accumulate as purely destructive accidents, which for the most part are hardly brought into connection with the personal situation, shown in the context of the absent dream. If one considers such an accumulation of coincidences nevertheless at a symbolic level like the above-mentioned emergence of the scarab as a symbol of rebirth, with time they demonstrate that they always speak of the same deepest (archetypal) problem awaiting its solution. In the case of Jung’s client, the recognition of the importance of the transformation of consciousness with respect to the irrational was what has brought the solution.

For people who have experienced a series of such destructive accidents, it is therefore of extraordinary importance to extract the meaning behind these coincidences. Like this we can find the constellated archetype, as the archetype of rebirth in the above case. An interpretation of this archetypal occurrence leads to a new flow of life.


see also

English Homepage of Remo F. Roth (further articles in English) (articles about Synchronicity)

Wolfgang Pauli und die Parapsychologie (1. Teil) (in German)

Wolfgang Pauli und die Wiederkehr der Weltseele (in German)