Image of Temple of Apollo from gtp.gr
I recently read a blog writing about two phrases that are often parroted in modern Pagan writings. I first came across these in my early and mid twenties and was interested by one and confused by the other. You will have come across these many times, they might mean something to you or they won’t. But if you’ve read any blogs or books, magazines about Paganism, Occultism, New Age Philosophy, you will have encountered them:
“Know Thy Self”
” As Above, So Below”
I looked at them and thought to myself ‘Wow, are we still using those?” I’ll admit to being a bit jaded when I see those quotes. It’s not so much that I don’t like them, but feel that they are often over used in forums and articles alike. Y’know? Like a really good song with too much air time.
What I do like about them is that for those who first come across them, they are inspirational! I mean ‘Know Thy Self’ Man! That’s deep! The phrase from the Temple of Apollo in Delphi (Used as a sign in the kitchen of the Oracle in The Matrix- Oracle of Delphi- gettit?) That challenges YOU to KNOW who YOU are. Yet how many of us do?
How many of us look at that phrase and actually, really examine ourselves? We are complicated meat-bags walking around with emotions and thoughts, feelings and beliefs. But how many of ourselves actually know ourselves?
To know yourself is to know where you come from: your background, your childhood, your parents or guardians, the environment you came from, the education you received (and what it did or didn’t do for you), the beliefs you found or were indoctrinated with.
If you believe in anything, to know yourself is to challenge what those beliefs are to you, constantly. How did you come to those beliefs, how did they shape you? Did you come by them yourself or were you taught? What do they mean to you now? Are they applicable to who you are anymore?
To know yourself is to see all your strong points and accept them. It is to also know what your weak points are and accept them too. And if you don’t like them, what do you need to do to change them? What are your limits? Why do you dislike something? What inspires you? What do you dream?
To know your self is to be completely honest with yourself. It’s no good if all you are doing is painting an image of the person you want to be or the person you are not.
One of the things I love about studying the Bardic course in the OBOD Gwers is that you learn to know yourself before you can proceed to the Ovate and Druid grades. Because how can you explore the deeper mysteries if you don’t understand the deepest of mysteries…. You.
And then we go onto: “As Above, So Below” When I first saw that I eloquently came out with: ‘What the fuck does that even mean?’
This only made sense to me if you look at it in terms of the weather: rain makes things wet or floods. Snow clouds making the ground whiter and whiter, a sunny day makes for dry land and thriving plants, etc….
This phrase apparently comes from the writings of Hermes Trismegistus and even then is supposedly part of what he wrote:
“That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing“*
Yes, I’m quoting Wikipedia but only because it provides the source of that translation.
I’d love to know more about that and also about to what Trismegistus meant by the ‘One Thing’. Creation? Life on Earth? Ponder, ponder ponder……
It’s an absolute wonder that our planet generates its own electromagnetic field to protect its multitude of life forms from the solar radiation of our Sun. From the collection of dust and rock of the ‘Above’ has the ‘Below’ been created.
I’m sure there are very deep insights you can gain from either quote and when used for inspiration they do exactly that.
Writing this post, I am very aware that I have indeed just created another article featuring both phrases. Well at least I didn’t mention ‘Microcosm’/’Macrocosm’…… Doh!