Synchronicity and the Self: the Rainmaker Story

from Mysterium Coniunctionis

There was a great drought where [Richard] Wilhelm lived; for months there had not been a drop of rain and the situation became catastrophic. The Catholics made processions, the Protestants made prayers, and the Chinese burned joss-sticks and shot off guns to frighten away the demons of the drought, but with no result.

Finally the Chinese said, ‘We will fetch the rain-maker.’ And from another province a dried up old man appeared. The only thing he asked for was a quiet little house somewhere, and there he locked himself in for three days.
On the fourth day the clouds gathered and there was a great snow-storm at the time of the year when no snow was expected, an unusual amount, and the town was so full of rumours about the wonderful rain-maker that Wilhelm went to ask the man how he did it.

In true European fashion he said: ‘They call you the rain-maker; will you tell me how you made the snow?’

And the little Chinese said: ‘I did not make the snow; I am not responsible.’

‘But what have you done these three days?’

‘Oh, I can explain that. I come from another country where things are in order. Here they are out of order; they are not as they should be by the ordinance of heaven. Therefore the whole country is not in Tao, and I also am not in the natural order of things because I am in a disordered country.

So I had to wait three days until I was back in Tao and then naturally the rain came.’”

p. 419-20 Mysterium Coniunctionis: an Inquiry into the Separation and Synthesis of Psychic Opposites in Alchemy, vol 14 Bollingen Series XX: The Collected Works of C. G. Jung, 2d edition, trans by R.F.C. Hull, Princeton University Press 1976


In his commentary about the Rainmaker story, Jung writes:

“…but if one thinks psychologically, one is absolutely convinced that things quite naturally take this way [speaking of the rainmaker’s ability to create rain]. If one has the right attitude then the right things happen. One doesn’t make it right, it is just right, and one feels it has to happen in this way. It is just as if one were inside of things. If one feels right, that thing must turn up, it fits in. It is only when one has a wrong attitude that one feels that things do not fit in, that they are queer. When someone tells me that in his surroundings the wrong things always happen, I say: It is you who are wrong, you are not in Tao; if you were in Tao, you would feel that things are as they have to be. Sure enough, sometimes one is in a valley of darkness, dark things happen, and then dark things belong there, they are what must happen then; they are nonetheless in Tao”.


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3 Responses to Synchronicity and the Self: the Rainmaker Story

  1. I am afraid words are not enough, they hold & bind to much, i discovered Jung in the 60’s & felt at home, along with a multitude of others, Krishnamurti, Suzuki, Merton, Gurdjieff, & many more all pointing me in the right direction, loved reading it, amidst the dross that we are constantly bombarded with. Best wishes, Arthur Hunter-Blair.

  2. Mr. Stephen Parker, I want to post your article in a Group of Synchronicity administrated by Vickie Young in Facebook, for a debate about the concept of synchronicity. I’m asking your permission to do it. I think your articles are fantastics.
    Thank you. Celso Rojas

  3. Celso: Sorry for the delay in responding, the site has been inactive for a while… Yes… feel free to repost the article…

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