How Carl Jung Explained Astrology

Astrology is alternative timekeeping. History repeats itself and astrologers noticed. We look at the patterns and read the story.

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If you listen to the radio often enough, you will hear Sting singing about synchronicity, from an album by The Police called Synchronicity.

It’s the word that explains how astrology accurately predicts the future and defines people’s personalities. Sting is a fan of horoscopes too – he wrote a cover quote for the book, The Inner Sky, by astrologer Steven Forrest.  Sting made Carl Jung a household name all over again when the song and the album became a global hit.

When astrology makes accurate news predictions, sometimes to the exact day, sometimes years before they happen – people ask me how it works and why it works. I say – ‘Synchronicity. Jung.’


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Another way to explain these spot-on forecasts, using horoscopes, is to talk about the nature of time. Astrology is alternative timekeeping. History repeats itself and astrologers noticed. We look at the patterns and read the story.

The word synch is hidden in synchronicity. It’s a good word to use when explaining astrology. The heavenly bodies are in synch with us. The biggest changes in the world – the really major headlines – always tally with the heavenly bodies and the signs they move through.

When Pluto was in Cancer during the First World War, people’s families were torn apart, their houses were bombed and their patriotism was so intense, they were prepared to die for their country. Cancer rules families, homes and patriots – and always has.

The First World War began in July 1914 when the Sun, New Moon, Mercury, Neptune and Pluto were in Cancer. That’s an unusually high cluster of heavenly bodies in the sign we associate with nationalism. ‘My country right or wrong.’

Pluto was in synch with the global mood. What is really impressive about astrology is that he had not been discovered in 1914. He was found and named in 1930.

By flicking through The New American Ephemeris for the 20th Century  1900-2000 ( a kind of time telephone directory) we can see Pluto is in Cancer, but in 1914 no astrologer on the planet had even heard of it!

Here’s a good example of Saturn currently being in synch with us.  At the moment, Saturn is in Sagittarius. Saturn rules fear. Sagittarius rules foreigners.

As I write this in February 2016, Donald Trump is trading on that in the lead-up to the American election. Meanwhile, Britain is about to vote on its membership of the European Union.

I don’t think for one moment that Donald Trump,  Prime Minister David Cameron, or indeed any other politician, is deliberately planning any of this, just because the world is experiencing a Saturn in Sagittarius cycle  This is synchronicity at work. Astrology is in synch with us.

We have Carl Jung to thank for giving the phenomenon a name and taking it seriously enough to put it to the test – and to even engage with the most famous scientists of the 20th century on the subject.


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Astrology works and we all know it. It’s written into history. Carl Jung came up with the best way to explain it, last century – but his theory of synchronicity applies to everything our ancestors were experiencing. What was the original synchronicity? Menstruation.

Women had their periods on a four week repeated cycle. Like The Moon, which also repeats her phases and shapes, on a four week cycle. The Moon does not ‘make’ women bleed every month. Its patterns coincide with that. What are the odds of the Moon turning on that kind of show? Crazy odds. That’s synchronicity. It makes no sense but it’s part of who we are, and it works.

Old inscribed Moon calendars, left behind by the Ancients suggest they may have known all about this and been using the Moon as a period or pregnancy predictor. Why else bother to painstakingly make so many detailed records? Alternatively, the Moon may have been monitored for agricultural or fishing reasons.

This is fundamental astrology and synchronicity. The Moon is, against all odds, a visible time reckoning device in the sky which correlates with basic human needs. Food. Fertility. As above, so below. The Moon is the building block of what became the sophisticated astrology we use today.

Carl Jung knew that the Moon loomed large in marriages, too. He also knew the Moon didn’t ’cause’ anything in these marriages. He carried out tests to prove the Moon’s importance to husbands and wives. Nobody ever calls him an astrologer, but that’s what he was doing. Synchronicity. 


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Prediction is synchronicity. It’s a law of nature. The law of synchronicity can also tell you about the present. It can explain the meaning behind things. This horoscope, set for Christmas Day 1066, when England became England, was not calculated before the event. Nobody planned the birth of the nation based on astrology. Yet – look at the cluster of horoscope factors in the sign of Capricorn, above. They occur right at the top of the chart.

Capricorn is the goat who climbs. It is the sign of ambition. It rules mountains and high places. England, ever since 1066, right through her colonial phase, has been one of the most ambitious nations in the world.  Her landscape is notable for its White Cliffs at Dover. Its mountain ranges. Its hills.

Here is another example of synchronicity. Let’s say you read about Pisces the fishes in an astrology book and then later that day, walking down the street, you actually find a fish. (It happened to Jung). You then encounter a variety of Piscean themes/stories/people/events, clustering around the time you found the fish.


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Synchronicity uses symbols as time markers. It does not use the clock or calendar. Neither does astrology.

Carl Jung was the only great thinker of the 20th century to even bother addressing the phenomenon seriously, to his credit.
Carl Jung was  born with Psyche at 24 Taurus in exact square to Saturn at 24 Aquarius.  We use Psyche in modern astrology because it’s the daughter of Venus. She’s in the family tree of astrology, that we now have instant access to, thanks to computers. Jung has a striking Psyche pattern. He also popularised the term ‘psyche’. That’s synchronicity.

In Jung’s day there was no software and no internet. There is no evidence he ever knew he had Psyche in his horoscope at all. Yet he  coined the word ‘psyche’ to describe the essence of a person. Including himself.

Psyche is in Taurus, clashing with Saturn in Aquarius. Aquarius rules groups.

Not a lot of people know that Jung was the prime mover behind Alcoholics Anonymous.  He inspired it. What else does Aquarius rule? Friendship. His friendship with Freud is famous.


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When he was born, on 26th July 1875 at 7.29pm in Kesswil, Switzerland, Carl Jung arrived with Psyche at 24 Taurus exactly square Saturn at 24 Aquarius. The odds of that are most unlikely. It’s an exact aspect. No orb.

Psyche shows what survives about Carl Jung. What lives forever. In Roman myth, upon which astrology is based, Psyche was the woman who became immortal, destined to live forever with her lover Cupid. Psyche is the ‘timeless’ aspect of Carl Jung.

In her biography Jung (Little Brown),  Deirdre Bair  examines why Jung inspired Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s a good example of Jung’s inner conflict between groups and business. The business (his income) is ruled by Taurus.

Jung was irritated by an alcoholic patient in 1931 and therapy did not work. Jung suggested he joined a group. The patient did this, and started helping other drinkers. He then told a further friend, another alcoholic, about his conversion. Thus, AA began.

Jung’s attitude marked the start of his turning away from using individual analysis. It fixed his clash between Taurus (earning a salary from difficult patients) and Aquarius (the power of groups). You can see Jung’s horoscope, further down in this story.

In astrology, a square is a tense pattern that repeats over a lifetime. The chart does not ’cause’ the pattern. It does not make things happen.

Jung’s life saw many coincidental, connected, correlated patterns turn into real events, from that Psyche-Saturn square.

Sceptics often make embarassing statements about ‘astrologers believe planets cause/astrologer believe planets influence’….which is just plain wrong.

Nobody in astrology believes that the pale yellow, ringed planet Saturn made Carl Jung create AA just because it was in Aquarius, the sign ruling groups. It just happened. It’s a spooky thing. Rather like “spooky action at a distance”, as Einstein called entanglement (Einstein knew Jung, but more on that later).



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Carl Jung’s Psyche-Saturn square in Aquarius, the sign ruling communities, manifested in many important ways over his lifetime. Here are two more examples –

* Jung was associated with the International Society in 1934 at a time when tensions about Germans and Jews were high. A man named Gustav Bally went on the attack, warning Jung ‘of the harm that would come from trying to co-operate with the Nazis.’  (Deirdre Bair). Jung defended himself against this allegation and won. The Nazis, of course, were the second group in this story.

*’Years of immersion in the infighting of the Psychological Club” (Bair) was another repetition of the pattern.


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Modern astrology completes the family tree of the planets – like Neptune, Pluto, Ceres and the rest – by using asteroids. These asteroids were, in mythology, the partners, children or in-laws of the original gods. Thanks to 21st century software, astrologers can now see this at a glance.

Jung’s chart, using the Natural House system, shows unusual clusters in particular zodiac signs, below. More than three factors in any sign is striking, because on average there are only 2-3 horoscope placements in any particular sign.

Jung has large clusters in Cancer, Leo and Libra. Cancer rules home and family. It rules one’s people and one’s place. Leo rules children and the younger generation who inherit the legacy of one’s personality. Libra is about partnership and also enmity.

No wonder Jung became a psychologist. His fascination with the anima and animus comes from his Libra stellium. It is the sign of partnership and marriage. Male and female. He famously partnered with Freud, then fell out with him. More Libra!

You can see Psyche in Taurus, below, at a right angle to Saturn in Aquarius. This technology did not exist in Jung’s day, when a horoscope was a very limited affair. Perhaps he would have been pleased to know that Psyche plays such a dominant role in his birth chart. He was the father of the idea that the integration of the psyche should be the goal of personal development.


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Carl Jung was Swiss and his use of the English language could be baffling. At one point he described synchronicity as ‘an acausal connecting principle.’  Whenever I mention this in lectures I can see people look blank.

Another way to describe it might be – amazing, deeply meaningful coincidences – which leave your jaw on the floor. The kind that happen in astrology.

You read your horoscope and discover that there is a stellium in Scorpio which will trigger a major decision about your home. Later that day you find a scorpion in the kitchen. The first scorpion you have seen in years.

Or…You have your birth chart calculated and discover that you have the asteroid Minerva exactly conjunct, or next to, your Sun. You are told that Minerva is symbolised by the owl. You pull down your sleeve and show your astrologer your favourite owl tattoo…

“According to Barbara Hannah, Jung’s informal explanation of a synchronistic event was “the coincidence between an inner image or hunch breaking into one’s mind, and the occurrence of an outer event conveying the same meaning at approximately the same time.” (Bair).

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Here’s a good example. Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, was born with the Sun in Pisces. Pisces rules fish. Pisces is also ruled by Neptune, which rules the sea (and swimming).

Kurt chose this image, below,  for an album cover. When I asked him about it, during an interview for the Sydney music magazine On the Street, he did not mention Pisces at all. In fact, I don’t think Kurt even knew his chart. Synchronicity. The baby is reaching for a dollar bill on a hook and line, like a fish.




Carl Jung was interested in the I Ching, Tarot and Astrology, because of his fascination with synchronicity. By  1950 he was asking women to volunteer for a research project involving members of The Psychological Club (one of the groups which caused him so much conflict, as the Psyche-Saturn square shows).

Until 1952 they met as a group and also with Jung, individually. They experimented with the Ancien Tarot de Marseilles, the Grimaud cards of the Tarot deck. They also studied the astrological charts of married couples. The group was marked by ‘unhappiness and resentment’ (Bair) but it proved what Jung had suspected. Synchronicity was real.


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The author and astrologer Maggie Hyde, from The Company of Astrologers, is a friend of mine and – I think – the leading expert on Carl Jung and astrology. Her book has become the go-to classic about the man and his fascination with horoscopes.

This extract from her book (the full story is at Deborah Houlding’s excellent astrology website, Skyscript) explains synchronicity very well.

It tells the story of Carl Jung’s meaningful coincidences, or synchronicities, around kingfishers.

Kingfishers have nothing to do with astrology, of course, but the bird and its symbolism haunted Jung through important and meaningful coincidences. There is, however, a striking piece of synchronicity with Jung’s birth chart and kingfishers.

For the record, Carl Jung’s horoscope clearly shows Fortuna (Jupiter’s daughter and a key asteroid) in Pisces, the sign of the fishes. Fortuna is at 28 Pisces and it’s in exact aspect to Ops at 28 Aquarius – again, the sign of groups! No wonder the Psychological Club was such an important saga in Jung’s life.

Maggie Hyde writes:

“During the events surrounding the writing of this book, I talked to friends at dinner one evening about Jung and Philemon and the dead kingfisher in his garden. I asked if they knew much about the behaviour of kingfishers or of the Fisher King in the Grail. They knew nothing about the former and were unable to remember many details about the latter. A few days later I received this letter,

We very much enjoyed Sunday evening. On Monday afternoon, my mother and I glimpsed a kingfisher over a lake. My mother immediately launched into a story about how she had picked up a dead kingfisher five years ago that had evidently flown into the glass wall of a swimming pool complex. She took it home to show her grand-daughter.

My friend could not recollect having seen a kingfisher before. This is typical of the kind of incident which happens around reading Jung. Talking of kingfishers, kingfishers appear. For this to be a synchronicity in Jung’s terms, it must be meaningful…”

I can add to this story by telling you that when I joined The Company of Astrologers, adding my name to the list held by Maggie Hyde and her partner, the academic, author and astrologer Geoffrey Cornelius – I saw a kingfisher. Not a real one. A wooden one. It was a kingfisher doorstop in a shop in Cirencester, where we were all attending an astrology conference. I saw it and remembered it, long before I knew that Jung or even Maggie Hyde’s book, were associated with this unusual bird.

Jung used these kinds of synchronicity events to cure his patients. They were so extraordinary that people responded. It shifted something in them. This is the way psychological astrology works. The power of the almost unbelievable connections that turn up in a horoscope – with all their meaning and importance – are the only thing that will often make people change.


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From Maggie Hyde’s book, quoting Carl Jung.

” I noticed the following on April 1, 1949: Today is Friday. We have fish for lunch. Somebody happens to mention the custom of making an “April Fish” of someone. That same morning I made a note of an inscription which read: “Est homo totus medius piscis ab imo.” In the afternoon a former patient of mine, whom I had not seen in months, showed me some extremely impressive pictures of fish which she had painted in the meantime.

In the evening I was shown a piece of embroidery with fish-like sea monsters in it. On the morning of April 2 another patient, whom I had not seen for many years, told me a dream in which she stood on the shore of a lake and saw a large fish that swam straight towards her and landed at her feet.

I was at this time engaged on a study of the fish symbolism in history. Only one of the persons mentioned here knew anything about it…As a pendant to what I have said above, I should like to mention that I wrote these lines sitting by the lake. Just as I had finished this sentence, I walked over to the sea-wall and there lay a dead fish, about a foot long, apparently uninjured.

No fish had been there the previous evening. (Presumably it had been pulled out of the water by a bird of prey or a cat.) The fish was the seventh in the series. “

Carl Jung, born with Fortuna at 28 Pisces, the sign of the fishes, exactly semi-sextile Ops at 28 Aquarius, the sign of groups and friendships, had some classically confused and confusing relationships with people in the Psychology Club – and his friend Freud. Pisces, of course, rules confusion – the two fish swimming in contrary directions.

Another key friendship – dating from 1945 – was with the Dominican priest Father Victor White. This just precedes the seven fishes. Of course, the fishes are also the symbol of Christianity. Jung’s horoscope unfolded in mysterious ways.

One wonders what Jung’s fishy business was actually telling him about all these friends and groups in his life.

This is the key point about astrology and synchronicity. It’s not just great, big, dumb, pointless, random coincidences. It’s the kind of stuff that makes you exclaim out loud and alters your thinking.


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“Jung thought Einstein was “not a man whose thoughts radiated from him…(He was) like a musician who can be a listless guy, but then – when he makes music, you can see that he himself is the music and therein lies his greatness!” (Bair).

Einstein was a Sun Pisces. Was he also entwined in the seven fishes incident that haunted Carl Jung, the man born with Fortuna in Pisces?

Maggie Hyde: “Like the fish of Pisces swimming in opposite directions, Jung’s struggle with the ‘double conception’ of synchronicity is one which reflects two aspects of himself, the Scientist and the Diviner.”

Einstein, the Pisces scientist par excellence, is shown here in his famous fluffy slippers. Pisces rules the feet. But of course!

Einstein and Wolfgang Pauli – another wildly experimental scientist – play an important part in the Carl Jung story.

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“On Feb. 25, 1953, in a letter to Carl Seelig, the Swiss author and journalist who wrote a biography of Albert Einstein,  Jung wrote:

“Professor Einstein was my guest on several occasions at dinner. . These were very early days when Einstein was developing his first theory of relativity [and] It was he who first started me on thinking about a possible relativity of time as well as space, and their psychic conditionality.”

“More than 30 years later the stimulus led to my relation with the physicist professor W. Pauli and to my thesis of psychic synchronicity.”

Following discussions with both Albert Einstein and Wolfgang Pauli, Jung believed that there were parallels between synchronicity and aspects of relativity theory and quantum mechanics.”



At the end of this story you can see a painting of the ocean at its wildest, throwing fish up against the rocks. It is  a good example of the two orders of reality that astrology deals with.

One is normal life. It has particular rules and laws. It’s rather like the town, above this cliff (below) so far removed from the strangeness of the ocean. This is what most of us would call known reality. Human beings operating in an ordinary, everyday context know what a city is. They built it. It’s their space.

Down below the cliffs, though, is another reality and humans affect it very little. It is ruled by sea creatures. It is a very good analogy for Astrology World, and also for Quantum World, come to that. It is a parallel universe of possibility.

Nobody would dream of saying this saline, drifting other world isn’t real. It’s just different. Astrology is the same. Synchronicity is the same. It’s an alternative reality. A different world.

Sceptics and scientists who try to judge it by real-world rules make a basic mistake. It’s like trying to compare the land and the sea. Different space. You might also call it ‘the inner sky.’


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Astrology is about connections across time and space, described by the language of symbols (astrological symbols, like Pisces or Psyche.) It has nothing to do with ‘reality’ as most mainstream thinkers and Ye Olde World scientists understand it. Yet, once you open yourself up to this other reality, you find it offers odd rewards. It can show the future. Possibly because there is no ‘future’ at all. There is only the repetition of an old symbolic pattern, stretching across time…

Over to you. What are your experiences of synchronicity and astrology? How do the signs of the zodiac, the planets, asteroids, points and angles manifest in your version of what’s real?

As we move through the Neptune in Pisces cycle, which is a tremendous symbol for ‘unreal realities’,  it may be that scientists are forced to accept that there are different orders of what is ‘real’ and that the old ‘My reality is more real, than your reality’ point of view, is null and void.

What synchronicities have you experienced with your horoscope? It is exactly the kind of thing that Carl Jung used to change lives with. How has astrology shaped your world?

Read more at in their story Carl Jung, the Man Who Coined the Word Synchronicity. Thumbnail image:

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17 Responses

  1. A fascinating read. What you said about Neptune in Pisces and the notion that science and astrology may become reconciled – which I feel is a recurring one in your posts – really resonated with me. With a sun in Virgo (more rational side) and moon in Pisces (inner side attracted to that different reality), I felt conflicted for a long time and resolved that tension through the belief that the two could be, and actually were, complementary, and would eventually get reconciled. With the developments in physics, we are indeed moving towards some sort of convergence and I think it is only a matter of time. Sceptics (positivists) have often laughed when I mention I believe in astrology as being as rational as Western science (Asian cultures are a lot more tolerant) and I will enjoy having the last laugh eventually.

    1. I can see the Virgo/Pisces in your horoscope working very nicely with that comment on science and astrology. Thank you for the compliment. Perhaps astrologers need to reclaim the word ‘rational’ because it has been taken away from what we do by sceptics. And of course sceptics have their place, but it’s rather dull to keep watching/hearing/reading stuff from people who have absolutely no idea about horoscopes. (And then hold court at the BBC).

      1. I feel we are confusing the tools/means (science and technology) with the ends (which should be about using science and technology for the well-being of human beings, not for its own sake). Neurobiology amuses me most when they draw conclusions from watching our brain waves that ‘the brain does this or tells us to do that’. Really? This is actually a very ‘unscientific’ approach as nothing in these experiments allows scientists to draw that kind of causal link. They can observe but they cannot use this observation as evidence of purpose.
        I feel the absence of focus on more spiritual aspects of human life, especially in the West, only leads to hopelessness and increasing rates of depression in people. Having spent a lot of time in the Far East, where they do not have such a brutal separation of the physical and spiritual, people appear a lot more optimistic and philosophical about life, even though their material circumstances often are a lot tougher. There is more acceptance that life is a journey of learning, no matter one’s circumstances. I am hopeful though as the ‘spiritual’ is definitely coming back in the West, partly influence by increased exchanges with the East. Topics that were taboo only 15 years ago, like psychic mediums and astrology, are definitely becoming more mainstream as well. I am hoping the 21st century will be one where the physical (rather than rational, you are right) and spiritual get reconciled.

        1. Thank you very much. They are doing some fascinating research on mediums in the U.S.A. at the moment. Dean Radin’s work on the paranormal is also amazing.

  2. Wow! I love the idea that synchronicity explains why astrology works, instead of the old “where the planets are influences you and events.” It makes more sense to me. This is so interesting, thank you for writing this, Jessica!

  3. I just saw this painting a few weeks ago for the first time. The sea enthralled me and then frightened me. A small example of synchronicity.

  4. Hi Jessica,

    A wonderful and significant article, I enjoyed it immensely – do you ever see a time when Astrology will be considered the ‘norm’, used as a tool like “personality colours” or acknowledged in its full potential?

    Warmest regards, Victoria

    1. That is very kind of you, thank you. Astrology is a philosophy or belief system – rather like theoretical physics – and both are ruled by Sagittarius and the Ninth House in the natural zodiac. I suspect we need a really long transit of an outer planet through Sagittarius to make astrology the norm – even for a few years. It won’t happen in our lifetimes. Until then, like the weirder aspects of theoretical physics (they believe in parallel universes) it’s going to remain a choice, rather than an over-arching world belief system.

  5. As usual, another wonderful write up. My love of maths and insistence on proof before belief showed me how astoundingly accurate a map astrology can be, and I feel blessed to be able to experience a magical existence, and find other seekers on this path. Thanks once again!!

  6. Thank You for the insight!! I have been interested in astrology for many years. I would like to be able to read charts better. Would you be able to help me? Thank You, Yours Trulely, Juanita

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