The Cryptic Cosmology of Synchromysticism
Synchromysticism is an emerging field of study and subculture existing on the fringe of areas already considered fringe – primarily mysticism and Jungian psychology. The word was coined by Jake Kotze in August of 2006 for an article posted on his website Brave New World Order, who defined it as: “The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance.” As Kotze recalled in an email:
“I needed something to explain a way of investigating subjects with synchronicities and the word seemed to fit… My biggest inspiration for this kind of thinking and investigating came from Goro Adachi at Etemenanki. Goro calls his research multi-contextual.”
The synchromysticism research Jake Kotze publishes on his websites include information-dense videos, artwork and articles punctuated by images illustrating various mystic/pop culture linkages. His articles and videos usually focus on esoteric symbols or memes (possibly stemming from a collective unconscious mind) reoccurring throughout a wide range of sources, especially mass media. Such symbols include numbers, words, archetypes, shapes and various visual motifs or patterns such as portals and checkerboards. The total effect is a mind-blowing labyrinthine reality mash-up linked by a type of dream logic. Kotze described his approach towards synchronicities in an October 20, 2006 post on Brave New World Order:
“My idea about the significance of meaningful coincidences in movies with mystical connotation is not that it points towards real truths, but that they point towards possible realities that might emerge from the collective psyche into consensus reality. We vie and jostle for acceptable limits of consensus reality through our art and philosophy. Our ideas and concepts about reality are the very fabric of reality itself. We try to sell each other beliefs in a creative effort to allow new ‘things’ to emerge into the accepted matrix of the now. I don’t fundamentally fret about what ‘is’ real; I care about checking the zeitgeists’ temperature in order to project future possibilities of acceptable norms and find hidden pockets of knowledge embedded in the pattern of ‘AUM’.”
Recurring themes Kotze has been tracking include “stargate” symbols and imagery that was most powerfully expressed in the events of 9/11. He argues that in the language of esoteric symbolism the Twin Towers are analogous to Solomon’s Temple, Mecca and the pyramids of Egypt – structures intended to be, in a sense, vortexes to higher dimensions. Kotze has linked imagery from an astounding amount and variety of pop culture sources, including cartoons, mainstream Hollywood films, cult classics, posters, websites and even videogames of the stargate concept.
Interestingly, Jake’s research sometimes finds specific individuals, who he calls resonators, associated with certain reoccurring esoteric symbols and patterns. An example would be his observation of synchronistic connections between actor Hugh Jackman and the stargate motifs. This line of thought sounds preposterous on the surface, but Kotze often provides a surprisingly large and detailed collection of evidence to explain the rationale for his conclusions. Using an expansive knowledge of esoteric symbolism and example after example of sometimes striking data and imagery, it’s enough to make even a hardened cynic raise an eyebrow.
To skeptics, such synchronistic patterns involving pop culture celebrities might seem uncomfortably close to fixation or clinical obsession (e.g., Hinckley’s obsession with Jodie Foster, or Chapman’s with John Lennon). Though it’s common for most people who regularly experience synchronicities to become obsessed by the idea of synchronicity, Kotze is less concerned with celebrities than the symbols or archetypes they might represent. He has no interest in deifying or meeting any of the individuals associated with synchronistic patterns, and he communicates in a lucid and well-referenced manner why he believes the connections exist, with no illusion that the people involved are consciously aware of it. As Kotze explained in a March 20, 2008 post on his The Blob website, regarding the Hugh Jackman-Stargate connection:
“This suggests, in my view, a non-local intelligence guiding the affairs of the universe rather than conscious tomfoolery on the part of a human agencies such as conspiring Hollywood magickians. The embedding of symbolism is too well orchestrated, subtle and concise. The noisy plotting and scheming of the human mind doesn’t directly create the phenomena charted by synchromysticism. The patterns found emanate from the same force that organizes uncountable numbers of snowflakes into unique (all being appreciably different) but certainly not individual (all comprising six way geometry) forms. The same force that animates this very moment you read this sentence, the moment of present awareness that is inseparable from who you are.”
Jake Kotze’s work got a boost in exposure after Henrik Palmgren’s Red Ice Creations site began featuring articles and videos from Brave New World Order. Henrik also recorded a series of podcast interviews with Jake throughout 2007. In addition, Kotze was the guest for the premiere edition of the “Occult of Personality” podcast in October of 2006 and was interviewed on Kent Bentkowski’s “The Kentroversy Tapes” podcast in October of 2007.
Ben Fairhall, creator of the Battling the Behemoth website, was an early supporter of the idea of synchromysticism; Fairhall’s blog was quickly followed by Todd Campbell’s Peering Through the Looking Glass. Over a brief period of time, a rapidly increasing number of websites have adopted the word and supported the principles of synchromysticism. Though the online synchromystic community is a recent phenomenon, the fundamental concepts that synchromysticism draws upon have connections to mystic traditions as old as shamanism. Seeing esoteric and mystical significance in the seemingly mundane is characteristic of varied metaphysical philosophies around the world such as Hermeticism, Taoism, Sufism, Kabbalah and teachings of the Pythagorean mystery schools.
In the modern age, ideas behind synchromysticism have influenced in varying degrees works of pioneers as diverse as Helena P. Blavatsky, William S. Burroughs, Aleister Crowley, James Joyce, Carl Jung, Stanley Kubrick, Timothy Leary, John Lilly, Terence McKenna, and Grant Morrison – most of whom have been referenced in Kotze’s research. A feature that makes synchromysticism unique from other forms of synchronicity is its focus on esoteric mystical symbolism and the use of communications technology to document, share and compare synchronicities related to such symbols from ancient traditions throughout the mass media landscape. Besides its obvious connection to media, Jungian psychology and the occult, from what I’ve gathered through articles, interviews, videos and other sources related to synchromysticism, the field also has strong associations with the psychedelic experience and conspiracy theory.
A relatively well-known example of proto-synchromystic writing is James Shelby Downard’s essay on the Kennedy assassination, “King-Kill 33”  (popularized by the Marilyn Manson song of the same name). In it, he collects a vast array of symbolic clues and associations that leads him to speculate that Kennedy’s assassination was part of a Masonic ritual. Masonic aspects of synchromystic symbology have also been the subject of lectures and articles by Jordan Maxwell, Richard C. Hoagland and Jay Weidner. Kotze has made references to all of these writers and they likely influenced his thoughts on synchronicity. In his interview on “The Kentroversy Tapes” podcast, Jake specifically cites Robert Anton Wilson as one of his primary sources of synchromystic inspiration, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone familiar with Wilson’s writings. In much of his work, most notably Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati, Wilson wrote extensively on the subjects of synchronicity, conspiracy, psychedelics and magick.
Synchronistically, in Cosmic Trigger Wilson relates how shortly after he published Illuminatus in 1975, William Grimstad (a.k.a. Jim Brandon) corresponded with him to share channeled information from people allegedly contacted by extraterrestrial intelligences. The information corresponded in detail to esoteric topics Wilson and Timothy Leary had been confidentially discussing at the time. Later, Grimstad sent Wilson a tape called “Sirius Rising” that he and close friend and collaborator James Shelby Downard recorded that contained some of the same information featured in Downard’s “King-Kill 33” essay. Wilson called the Grimstad-Downard theory “…the most absurd, the most incredible, the most ridiculous Illuminati theory of them all.” But he added, “The only trouble is that, after the weird data we have already surveyed, the Grimstad-Downard theory may not sound totally unbelievable to us.” 
In the same book Wilson disclosed his distant link to Lee Harvey Oswald (Oswald’s ex-wife lived with the sister of Wilson’s family doctor). Wilson was also a friend of Kerry Thornley (co-founder of Discordianism, the only religion Wilson embraced) who befriended Oswald when they served together in the marines. Their mutual friend Greg Hill (a.k.a. Malaclypse the Younger, the other co-founder of Discordianism) had a girlfriend who served as district attorney Jim Garrison’s secretary in the summer of 1963. She used his Xerox machine after-hours to print the earliest Discordian text, “Principia Discordia or How the West Was Lost“. In the fall of 1966 Garrison began his investigation into the JFK assassination, later dramatized in the Oliver Stone film JFK (1991) which itself has been a subject of synchromystic analysis by Dean Grace. 
The connection between Kerry Thornley, Lee Harvey Oswald and Jim Garrison was further documented by countercultural and Fortean historian Adam Gorightly in his book The Prankster and the Conspiracy.  Though it was briefly mentioned in Cosmic Trigger, Gorightly’s book covered in greater detail a falling out between Kerry Thornley and Robert Anton Wilson due to a disagreement in the interpretation of coincidences surrounding Kerry’s connection to the JFK assassination and Kerry’s increasing sense of paranoia. Kerry began to suspect the coincidences were an intentional manipulation possibly involving the CIA, Mafia and/or Naval Intelligence, and even went so far as to accuse close friends of being a part of a plot. Wilson remained agnostic on his views on the causes of those and other coincidences but entertained ideas ranging from subjective perception, the collective unconscious, parapsychology, quantum physics and a holographic universe. This open-ended view of synchronicity is more in alignment with the synchromystic view, while Kerry’s approach (minus delusional paranoia) is closer to those of relatively conventional conspiracy researchers such as Alex Constantine, John Judge, Michael C. Ruppert, and Webster Griffin Tarpley.
For synchromystics such as Kotze, the causes of synchronicities are not as important as their possible meaning (though he has considered theories similar to Wilson’s, such as communication from a conscious universe and the notion that we may be unconsciously drawn to certain symbols due to genetic memory embedded in our DNA). Similar to ongoing arguments about whether the origins of crop circles are man-made or cosmic, their existence and questions about what they might possibly mean are what’s truly fascinating to those who study them closely. Not surprisingly, Kotze is also interested in crop circles because he has found that some share the same reoccurring esoteric symbols as ones found in his own research. In the summer of 2007, he investigated crop circles up close while visiting friends in the UK, including fellow synchromystic Ben Fairhall.
One of the many writers, bloggers and artists connected to the growing online synchromystic community is Peter Joseph, whose film Zeitgeist (2007) (which used material from Jordan Maxwell) became an Internet sensation. Other prominent personalities within this group include Adam Star, Afferismoon, Christopher Knowles, Jeff Wells, and Steve Willner. Andras Jones is the creator and host of “Radio 8 Ball”, a cross between a music program and talk show in which callers ask questions for which Jones interprets a synchronistic response using a random shuffle mode on a CD player. Though his analysis leans more towards the psychological than the esoteric, some of his interpretations of symbols contained in lyrics delve into synchromysticism. In March of 2008, Henrik Lemon, a DJ from Sweden put The Synchromystic Forum online which expanded and solidified the community and accelerated the exchange of pertinent ideas.
As an indication of the growing popularity of the synchronicity meme, in 2007 there was a Hollywood take on it called The Number 23. The film tackled the subject in a relatively unimaginative, simplistic, unsubtle and moralistic manner typical of the average contemporary Hollywood product, however the filmmakers seem to be connected to synchromystic patterns Jake Kotze has written about. The protagonist is played by Jim Carrey who, according to Kotze, is a resonator for the Green Man archetype. The director Joel Schumacher is a co-writer for the screenplay of The Wiz (1978), a film linked to a pattern Kotze calls “The 911 Stargate”. The film’s cinematographer, Matthew Libatique also worked on Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain (2006), which was featured in a December 7, 2006 post on the Brave New World Order site. Libatique first collaborated with Aronofsky for the movie Pi (1998), a much better film about a man obsessed by the mystical significance of numbers and how they fit into synchronistic patterns.
Two other films with a more sophisticated view of synchronicity are Richard Linklater’s Waking Life (2001) (which also covered a number of related philosophical and metaphysical issues), and Laurent Firode’s Happenstance (2000), starring Audrey Tautou, who is better known as the protagonist of Amelie (2001). Happenstance and Amelie share in common a theme of synchronicity as a potentially beneficial karmic force. In contrast to The Number 23, which depicted the phenomenon as a source of fear and paranoia, these films (and, sometimes, actual experience) show how if used with intuition, synchronicities can guide one towards happiness and fulfillment.
Some conspiracy researchers have a cynical view towards synchromysticism because they consider it too “new-agey” – a diversion or escape from more important issues. Such arguments may be missing the point because synchromysticism is not a substitute for para-political investigation, but rather a fascinating aspect of it. The objective of such research is to seek the truth no matter where it leads. If one discovers obvious, conspicuous synchronistic patterns, those facts shouldn’t be ignored or dismissed simply because they have no standard rational explanations. Synchromysticism doesn’t necessarily rule out the possibility of manipulations by secret societies or criminal elites, but it offers a glimmer of hope because it implies that even conspirators themselves might not have complete understanding of, and control over, situations or their outcomes. It can be beautiful and comforting to realize the universe might be conscious, as opposed to a lifeless mechanistic construct, at a time when the reductive materialist paradigm seems to be leading us into a dead end.
A more common critique of synchromysticism is that anyone can connect anything to anything, making it meaningless. From a synchromystic point of view, this could be a supporting argument, because they view synchronicities as being ever-present and able to be seen by anyone, not just experts. Synchromysticism can be viewed as a new art form that encourages creation of meaning and associations with the entirety of one’s reality. In a sense, it’s no surprise that synchromysticism has links to conspiracy theory, psychedelics and occult traditions because all three are methods to deprogram oneself from cultural conditioning, a means to connect a diverse range of information and ideas, as well as a way to see the world from a more open perspective. It’s an alchemical technique to create meaning out of the chaos of current events and seemingly vapid commercial detritus that bombards us on a daily basis, and to add new layers of meaning to more enduring and celebrated works of art.
Whether one believes in the occult aspect of synchromysticism or not, it’s a fascinating new field from a psychological, philosophical, aesthetic, anthropological, and/or quantum point of view. Synchromysticism reinforces the interconnectivity of everyone and everything, and empowers us to reinterpret social reality to in a sense “decode” the universe and ourselves. Using synchromysticism as a new language or tool can help us forecast and respond to trends developing in the collective unconscious, noosphere, morphogenetic field etc. – to reclaim culture and steer it in a more positive direction or, at the very least, provide a fun and interesting new application for mass media. We can’t create a better world if we can’t control the way we perceive the world, or stretch our imagination to envision something better. New art forms such as Kotze’s, which are independent, democratized, relevant and visionary, can effect change by enabling us to co-create new maps of reality, an essential precursor to conscious evolution.
1. Parfrey, Adam, ed. “Apocalypse Culture” New York: Amok Press, 1987.
2. Wilson, Robert Anton. “The Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati” Berkely, CA: Pocket Books, 1977. Pp 170-173.
3. Grace, Dean. “Subliminal Images in Oliver Stone’s JFK.” “Secret and Suppressed” ed. Keith, Jim. Los Angeles, CA: Feral House, 1993. Pp 93-96.
4. Gorightly, Adam. “The Prankster and the Conspiracy” New York: Paraview Press, 2003.
Images by Jake Kotze, used by permission of artist.
Jake Kotze’s Websites: