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Know Thyself
Part III - The Second Inscription: "Thou Art"

What many folks don't know is that, according to Plutarch, there was yet another inscription on Apollo's Oracle of Delphi temple. "Thou Art."


"The God, as it were, addresses each of us, as he enters, with his "Know Thyself", which is at least as good as "Hail". We answer the God back with "EI" (Thou Art), rendering to him the designation which is true and has no lie in it, and alone belongs to him, and to no other, that of Being... The opposite principle which we find in the universe, whatever its origin, is that which binds beings together and prevails over the corporeal weakness tending to destruction.

To my thinking the word "EI" is confronted with this false view, and testifies to the God that Thou Art, meaning that no shift or change has place in him, but that such things belong to some other God, or rather to some Spirit set over Nature in its perishing and becoming, whether to effect either process or to undergo it. This appears from the names, in themselves opposite and contradictory. He is called Apollo, another is called Pluto; he is Delius (apparent), the other Aidoneus (invisible); he is Phoebus (bright), the other Skotios (full of darkness); by his side are the Muses, and Memory, with the other are Oblivion and Silence; he is Theorius and Phanæus, the other is "King of dim Night and ineffectual Sleep."

"Select Essays of Plutarch" (translater: A.O. Prickard, 1918)

Bowing to Plutarch's personal knowledge of the Oracle (as one of its historical caretakers)... "Thou Art" was primarily meant to be the spoken response of the pilgrim to the message and transformation of the god. What this means is, as Plutarch points out, the task of "Knowing Thyself" [East - Ascendant] leads directly to the response of seeing and giving recognition to the God of the Oracle [West - Descendant].

Remember Zeus and the two eagles that he released - one from the East [the Ascendant] and the other from the West [the Descendant]?

At the point where the two eagles met [the coming together of the opposites], Zeus then threw the Sacred Stone marking the navel of the world.

A strong case can also be made from Plato's "Phadreus" and "Symposium," for "knowing thyself" likewise leading to the experience of seeing, recognizing, and then (hopefully) getting along with all of the many "Thou Arts" in your life [West - Descendant] and then ultimately leading to the great "Thou Art."

Yep! It's definitely something to consider. Maybe, afterall, there's something to all those pesky self-help books that strongly advise "getting yourself together" before you can successfully engage in a "relationship" with another person?

Yep! Ancient wisdom knew that "Knowing Thyself" leads directly to the ability to participate in mutually satisfying relationships with all of the many "Thou Arts" in our lives.

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