Neither as flippant as the concept of coincidence nor as faith-centric as that of fate, synchronicity is understanding of the unfathomable. It is the convergence of existential parallels that cannot be adequately understood in terms of chance.
The understanding of the concept is of the utmost importance, believes Jen O’Brien, freelance illustrator, videographer and devotee to the grand existential concept.
“I am a strong believer in synchronicity as something that permeates all our lives,” she said.
“It’s all these crazy threads between people that have ended up directing what has been over a decade of my life. It’s like blowing on a dandelion and following the flowers as they spread.”
Adherence – or, should you believe, acceptance – to these principles has led Jen to points of prominence within some of the city’s less-known communities
Jen points to her position of Vice President within one of Brighton’s Spiritualist Churches, a centuries-old institution that she became a small part of through a seemingly unconnected series of events.
“After finishing University I got a job in a witchcraft shop called Dragon’s Gate at the bottom of St James’ street. I went in one day to buy a candle and walked out with a job, starting the next day.
“It turns out it was very well known within certain circles, it had probably been around since the 90s and had people from all over the UK gravitating towards it. But importantly – it turns out – it was only a few doors down from the Church and one day a medium came in and invited me to a session. I decided to go along and I never really left. That was almost 10 years ago now.”
Much like many that came to Brighton and never left, Jen has found a home in the city’s artistic communities.
“I’ve found myself over the years mostly working with musicians on artwork and videos and such.”
Her most current, if not necessarily latest, undertaking is the creation of a Tarot Deck, a journey Jen embarked upon some seven years ago.
“Admittedly it is going slowly. However, it is very complicated, it is not just about designing the cards themselves, it is about understanding what each one means, and what it means in relation to your own life. It’s a personal journey as much as a design project.
“I worked in a shop where I learned to read tarot, but it was all these Sex and the City style readings.
“Whilst I could give these readings, I didn’t want to because I didn’t believe in them, or believe them representative of a true journey. So I scrapped it and learned each card as an experience of my own life.”
From the fool to total understanding, Jen is experiencing the 22-step journey as a reflection of her own life, not pushing for change, but realising points of impact on the path. Synchronicity.
“I draw a card each time an aspect of that particular card comes up in my life. For example, The Magician took four years to come about.”
Such could be written off as happenstance but to do so would be to blinker oneself to further understanding; an antithesis to progression masked as progressive.
One needs but look at the way Brighton draws people in, the things we all find in this great city, the turning points deemed happenstance at source; the person that asks for a lighter to later become a flatmate, the colleague that becomes a husband, the one-time handshake we now can’t live without.
To exist in Brighton is to accept the invisible ties between; the six degrees of separation halved. A tangle of bodies compelled and drawn into and through this transient city, all singularities, yet at the same time, found ourselves here and found each other despite having such different motivations.
“Everything is connected, everywhere is connected, but especially in Brighton it is almost as if everybody knows everybody else somehow, there’s always a connection when you look for it,” Jen commented.
“Most of the people and artistic communities I know today/in Brighton I met through the man who I drew as ‘the Magician’. A musician named ‘Benjamin Teletext’ whose album ‘Maps of Malkuth’ has just been released for (free) which I recently made the cover for.
“He also introduced me to a band at Enterprise Point, so I ended up going there, and meeting people there, making an album cover for them and it snowballs.”
One of the lastest communities Jen has found during this dive into the undercurrent is the Postal Possie.
“It’s a creative collective, originally formed at Enterprise point about a decade ago (and now run by a girl I knew from the Saint James) I was invited to be part of the postal possie, and as soon as I heard the idea of a theatrical post office, probably operating in line with the principles of synchronicity, I went along to Boomtown last summer where the Post Office ran, and put my faith in the concept.
“To me personally, The Post Office works on the same idea of synchronicity. If you imagine that at Boomtown someone comes in and writes a letter to an abstract idea of a specific human being, the posties then find that person and deliver it and the contents are always really relevant to that person.
“I actually did some of this last year and I was taken aback by how pertinent all the letters were, these seemingly innocuous messages were so important to these apparent strangers. It is that idea of acasual coincidence that I believe in and it’s something I have certainly found in Brighton.”
Every story in the city branches at seemingly random intervals, but what if these occurrences are born more rule than exception? What if the moments when disparate bodies converge in meaningful encounters are proof of a wider concept?
One could naturally point to Brighton’s relatively small population and claim that those involved in counter-culture pursuits are inherently more likely to find each other at a quickened pace, but then again, in the all-consuming chaos of our current predicament your life has seemingly synchronised with the publication of this article. Who would’ve believed that possible?