About Gnóthi Seavtón inscribed on the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, Greece.

We draw our inspiration from the bedrock of western civilisation, the Temple of Apollo in Delphi. Apollo is, amongst other things, the god of healing and medicine.

Greece is home to a number of oracles

but the best known of these is in Delphi that is beautifully located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, with stunning views of the Gulf of Corinth. In Delphi there are cool springs, towering trees and beautiful flowers: the entire area is a place of harmony and divinity.

At the heart of Delphi, the Temple of Apollo is built over a hot spring that emits potent natural gases – which are believed to be why people worshipped Gaia here, the goddess of the Earth, before Apollo.

The oracle was to be found at Apollo’s temple

and during antiquity it was considered to be the centre of the world for hundreds of years. The oracle Pythia provided answers to people of the time – whether they were rulers or commoners. The desire to predict what the future had in store, that is, to interpret and understand what would happen if you made particular choices, was as widely felt then as it is now. Pythia sat on a tripod, a kind of three-legged stool, and inhaling the volcanic vapours, went into a trance before giving partially cryptic answers that then needed to be interpreted by oracle priests to provide visitors with Apollo’s response. People believed that the oracle was Apollo’s voice on earth and was treated with great reverence.

Oracles were however often replaced, and tended to be young unmarried women from the surrounding area. Priests kept abreast of world events, and could thus often guess pronouncements correctly and leave visitors satisfied with their answers. Delphi became wealthy and respected, and was able to build more temples, a beautiful theatre and a stadium. The priests made sure that they were also ambiguous in their interpretations so that if they guessed wrong, people could always interpret the response in the opposite way that it had been intended.

One well-known prophecy

was that Croesus, King of Lydia, (now part of Turkey), asked the oracle whether he would be victorious in war against Persia. The oracle replied that if Croesus crossed the river Halys he would destroy a great empire. Croesus took this as a positive sign, but shortly after crossing the river, Persians attached his forces and won – the powerful empire destroyed was Croesus’s own.

As people entered the Temple of Apollo

in the courtyard they would see three maxims inscribed in the temple’s forecourt: “Everything in moderation,” “Do what you mean to do” and perhaps most well known: “Know yourself.”

According to legend, Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto, and his twin sister was Artemis, goddess of hunting.

He is the god of music, playing with his golden lyre. His weapon was a silver bow and arrow. He was also god of truth, which made him incapable of lying. Most of all however, Apollo was considered the god of light, wisdom, divine art and poetry. He is also known as the god of medical judgment. The bay tree is his tree, the raven his bird and dolphin his animal.

Apollo’s son was Asclepius

who became god of healing. Asclepius’s temples sprang up all over ancient Greece, the holiest of which was in Epidaurus. These temples were akin to today’s health spa resorts. Paintings from the period apparently show operations being conducted under so-called temple hypnotherapy. People slept in the temples and were probably also treated with hypnotherapy for psychotherapeutic purposes.

Bra Böckers Lexikon 2000
& Edelstein : Asclepius, Vols. I & II
MEDUSA : Tidskrift