Synchronicity describes a governing dynamic which underlies the whole of human experience. Carl Jung coined the term synchronicity to describe what he called the “acausal connecting principle”. He explained that the underlying connectedness between mind and matter manifested itself through meaningful coincidences that could not be explained by cause and effect. These synchronicities occurred when a strong need arose in the psyche of an individual. They may manifest as the people, places, or events that the individual attracts into his or her life experience to aid in their spiritual awakening or enlightenment, or to place an emphasis on something that was happening in their life. Not all synchronicities were people, places, or events but may be flashes of insight to a particular situation or circumstance that the individual was encountering; similar to intuition it may be a feeling or sudden information perceived by the psyche and experienced as a truth. Synchronicity seemed to appear at times of personal crises and at such points in life as birth and death.
Little did I realize how much my life was about to be affected by synchronicity. Looking back on it now, perhaps if I had been able to piece together all the fragmented parts of my life experience up to that moment and plotted them on a linear timeline, like I had seen in my history textbook, I might have been aware of what was going to transpire and been more prepared for it, however since I was ignorant of what synchronicity was and how it impacted humanity, I was blindsided by the events that I experienced that weekend in September.
The weekend following Labor Day, my parents always closed up the family cottage on Cape Cod for the season. Usually it was a short journey, sometimes done in one day, but this past September my parents decided to extend the trip and stop to visit Mother’s sister, Aunt Brenda and her husband, Uncle Stephen, who lived in the town of Bridgeboro, which was about half way between The Cape and our home in Rhode Island. When they bought their house seven years ago they had major restorations done so that it closely resembled the original design and decor. A historical house marker given to them by the Bridgeboro Historical Society hung near the front entrance, which indicated that the house was built in 1883 by Enoch Pratt. My Aunt Brenda took pride in the fact that they were granted the plaque and happily shared the history of the house with each new visitor they had. I think I had heard the historical lecture at least twice already. Their house was located on a quiet road just off of East Main Street where a few number of the other houses built in the same area also bore a similar historical house marker.
While my parents visited with my Aunt and Uncle I took the opportunity to get away after being stuck in the car with them for hours. I wanted some time to myself, to be alone with my own thoughts so I decided to go for a walk. I strolled down to East Main Street and turned left heading towards the nearest intersection with a set of traffic lights. I scanned the numerous store fronts on either side of the busy street for anything that seemed interesting, though I never imagined that I would find anything worth my time here in Bridgeboro. There were all the usual businesses you’d expect to see. I considered crossing the street and heading over to the convenience store to purchase a soda when a small shop ahead caught my attention; it was nestled between Bay Coast Auto Insurance and Yang’s Martial Arts. The emerald and gold drapes that hung in the window concealed the contents inside of the shop, however the items featured on the display shelves of various heights intrigued me. I peered intently through the glass at the herbal books, decks of Tarot cards, large pink and white crystal towers, Egyptian statues, silver amulets, and other ornamental things that I didn’t recognize. Small white Christmas lights framed the large window on which the word Luminosity was written in gold script lettering, clearly the name of the shop. So, yes, I would concede that surprisingly my curiosity was peaked and I wanted to know more.
I grasped the handle and opened the door. The swinging motion jingled a string of small bells that announced my arrival to whomever cared to know. A middle aged woman with long, curly, black hair smiled and nodded at me then continued her hushed conversation with an older woman holding a red human shaped candle. Both the scent of incense and the sound of steady flowing water from the stone fountain on the counter near the register immediately eased the tension from the stressful car ride. The walls and ceiling were decorated with richly colored tapestries and drapes, giving the shop a Middle Eastern ambiance. I had to admit I liked this place and wished that we had a shop like this near home. As I glanced around from my position by the door, a tan Siamese cat sauntered out from behind the counter. It approached me and rubbed its lithe body against my leg. I chuckled silently and leaned over to scratch the friendly feline behind the ears, it purred its approval. I noticed several tall bookcases standing in the back of the store and smiled: books. I walked over to them intending to spend hours examining the collection. Each shelf held at least twenty-five books, some of which were duplicates of each other, those being the seemingly most current popular books, but others were older with less recognizable titles, while still others shelved in the furthest bookcase from where I stood looked to be leather bound, hard cover versions of what I only imagined were very old editions of obscure or rare books. I was saving those for last. I glanced over a few of the titles on the shelf I stood in front of: Complete Guide to Astrology, Discovering Your Psychic Self, All One Magick, In Light and Dark, before pulling out the next book on the shelf and skimming the back cover.
The jingle of the door bells tickled my ear as the female customer that had been holding the red candle exited the shop with her purchase secured in a paper bag. The long haired woman that had nodded at me just moments before came from around the counter where the register was and approached me with a genuine smile across her face, the friendly Siamese cat trailing behind her.
“Merry meet! Good afternoon,” she greeted as she pointed to the book I was holding. “Now, that’s a wonderful book. It really approaches magick and witchcraft from a practical perspective and shows how both can be incorporated into a mundane or daily life.”
I flipped the book over and looked at the image of a wizard’s wand and witch’s stereotypical pointed hat on the front cover: A Practical Guide for Magicians and Witches.
“It takes the,” she gestured with her hands, holding them at shoulder height and shaking them, “Whoo-whoo out of magick.”
I couldn’t help but laugh aloud at her choice of words. “Whoo-whoo? Really?”
Her smile widened as she laughed, nodding her head, “Yes, whoo-whoo.”
“Have you read it?” I wondered if she was just a great salesperson or if what she was saying was her honest opinion of the book I was still holding. She seemed like an honest woman and something about her was attractive to me, or maybe it was more like a familiarity. I couldn’t determine whether she reminded me of someone or if I already know her. Maybe she might be friends with my Aunt Brenda and Uncle Stephen and I had met her at one of their summer cookouts.
“Yes, I have. I don’t sell books that I haven’t read. I think it’s important to be able to give my customers honest opinions about them if they ask. And well, honestly, I really enjoy reading so I’ve read a lot of books,” she offered.
I nodded and placed the book back on the shelf. It wasn’t a book I would actually buy for myself or anyone else. Magick and witchcraft? I don’t know. While I did believe in extraordinary things, and yes, I am, according to my Father, a descendant of the Williams of Salem, I don’t know what I believe about magick or witchcraft. They seem so … ha, “whoo whoo”.
I was impressed with the fact that this woman had read all the books in her shop because there was quite a few. I strolled over to the farthest bookcase, the case that held the older looking books, the ones I imagined were the best ones there. These were the books that I really wanted to spend some time with but I was slightly anxious that the owner wasn’t going to allow me the curtesy of just looking through them all without purchasing. I hadn’t planned on spending money even though if I really wanted to, I could. I stood in front of the shelves, skimming my fingers across the leather spines of the books at my eye level. There was something mystical about old books, something even I had trouble articulating. They provided me with a wonderful sensual experience that nothing else could offer.
“These are the most interesting books in the shop,” the woman said. She had followed me over to the shelves and now stood watching me appreciate the books.
I enjoyed the feel of the leather beneath my fingertips and stopped at each book reading the titles aloud, savoring the sound of the words as I spoke them, “Esoteric Magick, Occult Remedies, The Witches’ Sabbat, Secrets of Ancient Rituals Revealed, Sacred Magick ….”
I gasped as my fingers paused and rested on the spine of the book with the recognizable title. I glanced at the shop owner as I pulled the large heavy book from its place on the shelf. This was clearly an older version then the one from the library that currently sat at home on my desk. I gently caressed the cover feeling the embossed design of circles and spirals. I couldn’t believe this book was for sale and I wouldn’t even try to fathom how much she was asking for it. If there was a possibility that I could purchase it, then it was coming home with me. I guess I might be making a purchase after all.
“Now that book is one of my own favorites,” the woman nodded in approval of my choice. “It’s out of print. It has been for years. It’s a shame really. I think it’s one of the most comprehensive books on the occult. And believe it or not, it was written by a woman.”
I listened to her words as I opened the book carefully turning the first few pages searching for a copyright date but unlike the copy from the library which was dated 1951, this book had none. I turned another of the thin pages and came to the title page still unable to locate any sort of indication as to the age of the book. My eyes were drawn to the scribble of black ink across the title page. At first glance it looked like a child had gotten a hold of the book and attempted to write in it but after examining the inked lines for a moment longer I realized that someone had purposefully written in the book though their penmanship was not easily read. I squinted trying to decipher the handwriting. Frustrated I held it opened to the shop owner who had been observing me in silence.
“Do you know what this says?” I held a hope that she did. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would defile their books in such a way. Was it some old bizarre custom that I was unaware of? I handed her the opened book.
“Not exactly,” she took it from me and studied it. She angled herself next to me so I could also see the writing from where I stood. “The best I’ve ever been able to come up with is, something like,” she pointed at the words as she read them aloud. “’With loving devotion, on this a special day, your mother, Savannah Rae Williams’.” She shrugged and returned the open book to me. “Maybe, or something close to that. The writing is really slanted and the ink is faded but I think it’s close to what it says. What do you think?”
I looked at the script. Williams? Savannah Rae Williams? What? Was this lady fucking with me? Did she know who I was and decided to play a game with me? I peered at the handwriting closely trying to distinguish if that really was what was written but I couldn’t tell for certain.
“Where did you get this book?” I glared at her accusingly. If this book belonged to the daughter of a Williams what were the chances that it was my Williams family? How many different Williams families were there, and if we traced our ancestry back far enough were we all related? My mind raced through the possibilities of finding out if there was a Savannah Rae in our family tree. I wondered if my Father knew or maybe Aunt Rachel had some idea or kept records of our genealogy.
The owner didn’t even acknowledge the harshness of my question and responded with the same pleasant tone she had been using with me the moment she spoke. “It was in a box donated to me by a friend of mine who had an estate sale after a distant relative died. There were so many old books from the house, though a lot of them were donated to the town library. But since my friend knew I had a keen interest in all things occult he gave me that book and a few more along with some other interesting things,” she happily explained. “But that’s the only book with an inscription. I already checked.”
“Which other books?” I was curious.
The owner began pulling out a few books from the shelves. I looked at each title as she handed them to me: The Ancient Tome of Myrddin, Grimoire of the Necromancer, The Gospel of Syn, and Mysteries of Avalon. Well, look at that! Another interesting book brought to my attention today. I had never heard of The Gospel of Syn but I knew that I wanted to read it and perhaps even own a copy. How could I not? It was a reference to Syn! It was meant to be mine. I looked at the spine curious about the author and noticed that it was written by a man named Levi Williams. Another coincidence or was it synchronicity? Obviously I was meant to own it. Now what else did that friend of hers donate from the estate sale that I was meant to take home?
“Can you show me the other things that you received from your friend?” I asked eager to see what she had in the shop.
– Sheri Breault Kreitner