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Search activities

Know yourself

Category: Actions



Introduction and description

It is impossible to achieve the last stages of the Spiritual path – or achieve Ecstasy, Moksha and nirvana and the final Annihilation unless you are at peace with yourself, and to be at peace, you need to 'know yourself'. Not only do you need to 'know yourself' you need also to love yourself.

Knowing yourself - understanding in absolute detail what your Personality is, is also key to enabling you to achieve your Destiny.

If you do not love yourself, by definition you do not understand your Destiny and as a consequence may not achieve it, as such you face Reincarnation in an endless cycle. If you at last learn to love yourself then you are also more likely to achieve your Destiny and to avoid Reincarnation and to 'move on' spiritually. It is worth noting that by moving on we may become Spirit helpers, but other options are open.

For some people, Reincarnation, because they enjoyed life and the physical world, is an enjoyable prospect, but for those that would like to have the choice – Reincarnation or not, then this activity is key.

Knowing yourself and loving yourself is not some 'ego trip' based on pride or sense of self importance. It is a candid and honest acceptance of who you are and an acceptance of yourself – warts and all.

A person who has achieved this level of peace is never lonely, is capable of being 'alone', without fear, needing no one else. They are not anti-social or reclusive, but they are self-contained and self-supporting emotionally and practically.


If you find yourself saying 'but what will happen to me' at the thought of losing someone [or something] then you are looking to other people to be your 'prop', and you are not at the right stage for achieving this activity. You must be dependent on no one or no thing. Totally free of desire.

Knowing yourself is thus an exercise in knowing in absolute detail the 'astrological you' – your Personality - the characteristics created for your Destiny.  Know yourself and you know your Destiny.  Know your Destiny and you know whether you have achieved what you were given to do in the Great Work.  If nearly achieved you will be at the latter stages of the Spiritual path.


The directive to 'know thyself' also seen as Nosce te ipsum is found worldwide over the doors of temples, churches and other buildings and in use wherever the Spiritual path is recognised. The expression was inscribed in the pronaos (forecourt) of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. The Egyptians also used the phrase extensively. In the ancient temple of Luxor, for example, it is found in the Inner temple - "Man, know thyself ... and thou shalt know the gods”.


Plato employed the maxim 'Know Thyself' extensively by having the character of Socrates use it. In 1734, Alexander Pope wrote a poem entitled "An Essay on Man, Epistle II", which begins "Know then thyself, presume not God to scan, The proper study of mankind is Man."

Carl Linnaeus prefaced the first edition of Systema Naturae with the simple phrase "Nosce te ipsum."  Benjamin Franklin, in his Poor Richard's Almanack, observed: "There are three Things extremely hard, Steel, a Diamond, and to know one's self." Ralph Waldo Emerson ‘s poem Gnothi Seauton means 'Know Thyself'.


ONE - What does not work

Understanding who you are is possibly one of the most difficult of all the activities on the website. So let me first have a look at what does not help in finding out who 'you' are:

  • You are not Learnt behaviour – You are not the learnt behaviour that you acquired from your parents, school and so on. On this website there are methods suggested to help rid yourself of destructive learnt functions – bits of you that have been created by your environment, but this is not 'you' . The you that you are searching for, is the you that was with you when you were born.
  • You are not how others perceive you - Asking other people how they see you is also no help. Most people will see you in terms of how you affect them – at its most crude, do you give them pleasure by what you do or pain? And in general, if you ask even a good friend how they see you, they will be tactful and kind and not tell you the truth. So you need another way.
  • You are not the opposite of what you don't like in others - Another approach occasionally suggested by some is to list what you don't like about certain people and – the theory goes - this may then tell you what you are like. But this does not work either. This approach helps you to find out what your belief systems are, but it tells you nothing about you. So if you think kicking small dogs, or battering wives, or stealing are wicked then it tells you that you have been taught belief systems that say they are. These belief systems may be excellent and useful, but in following them there may be those that only follow them because there is the threat of punishment if they don't and those that would never consider doing it because they are inherently gentle. It is this underlying you that you are trying to find.
  • Good and bad are meaningless terms in this context -‘Undesirable traits’, ‘incompatible tendencies’, ‘wicked’, ‘immoral’, ‘evil’ are all meaningless in this context. How do we judge what is an undesirable trait, wicked, evil, immoral? Who is doing all this judging? And what right have they to do so? We are what we are, we are here for a reason and we were often born the way we were for a reason. Key challenges can produce some odd characteristics in people and may require aspects that others do not like but are needed - so called destructive traits.  But remember there can be no change and no creation without destruction.

TWO - Finding out your horoscope

An astrological horoscope is the starting point for this activity.  Horoscopes do not give you all the answers, they are rough indicators, a starting point which you need to fill out with more detail.  More detail is provided here with one example in the Section Getting your horoscope produced.

All horoscopes have lists of characteristics you may have and both 'positive' [love] and 'negative' [potentially hurtful] attributes.  This list is the starting point.    

THREE - Who do you love?  Who do you really love?

In order to be able to home in on the actual characteristics you have from your chart you need to list all the people you love simply for themselves – who they are as opposed to what they can do for you.

List all your friends, partners, pets and so on and imagine them as incapable of giving you anything.  If it helps, imagine them to be dependent entirely on you. Imagine them unable to give you money or practical help or pleasure [so no sex ] and see who remains from the list that you still love, people or animals who, whatever happened to them however dependent they were on you, you would still find lovable.

However strange this may sound, we tend to really love in others who we inherently are. Ultimately by genuinely loving another person or animal without any strings attached to that love – we are loving ourselves – who we are. The moment that strings are attached or there is 'if you give pleasure to me I will give pleasure to you' we have descended back to a rather basic almost animal state and not the divine state.

The love must be unconditional for this to work and for you to know.

Now you need to list what it is in them that you love. What you love in them is who you are.  They should match traits in your horoscope.

To demonstrate the approach I will use the example of love for a dog. Note that I have invented this to demonstrate the approach, but a dog often chooses us [if we let it] because they instinctively know who they are most like and thus most suited to, so a loved dog is actually a good subject to start with in finding out about ourselves.

So let us start. Write 'I love my dog because'.....................

  • He has a wonderfully expressive face, and eyes. Furthermore he is a very attractive dog, a lovely shape, fine coat, beautiful really
  • He is cuddly and affectionate
  • He is sex mad [an example remember!!]
  • He is good natured, patient, gentle, kind, considerate and tolerant
  • He never snaps, snarls, bites or shows displays of bad temper
  • He is exceptionally intelligent, a quick learner, and always curious and interested in his surroundings
  • He is always pleased to see you, is friendly and welcoming
  • He is fun and funny, and even has a sense of humour, he teases you when you play with him
  • He is very loyal
  • He is independent and doesn't 'fuss' or constantly demand attention, guidance or support, he is his 'own man' with a great deal of self confidence
  • He is remarkably stoical for a dog, he never complains or whines or whimpers when hurt [accidentally hurt, not deliberately hurt]
  • He is without malice
  • He does not bear grudges, he is a very 'forgive and forget' kind of dog
  • He is just slightly disobedient, a sort of closet rebel, if an action makes sense to him he'll do it, but otherwise he pretends he hasn't heard or ignores you
  • He is a happy dog, he even smiles; little uncomplicated and simple things make him happy too, he doesn't need expensive toys or complicated games. Watching the world go by is as much fun to him as having a game of ball

I have deliberately chosen a rather nice dog as an example to enable me to provide a reasonable list and thus demonstrate the principles.

Now try to match each of these with an actual positive attribute from within your horoscope. 

If you repeat this listing exercise of positive loved traits for each of your truly loved people and animals you can then get a composite picture, and this composite picture is then the 'positive you' .  It is that part of your Personality which matches with the 'positive' side of your horoscope.

FOUR - Using Challenges to your sense of self

The last exercise helped you to find out about a third of who you are – the 'nice' third, the third that you loved in yourself, but you also need to find out the other two thirds – the third that is you but that you may not recognise as you and lastly the third that is the you that you may not want to admit exists. This exercise is geared to finding the second third.

You need to find friends and acquaintances who have a strong sense of self - of their own identity and who fervently believe that who they are is how everyone else should be. People with this strong sense of self can be quite critical of others, but they are invaluable in finding out who you are. Every time they say the equivalent of 'why aren't you' and 'why don't you' you have the chance to determine whether this is simply a belief you could ditch or is alternatively a core aspect of you and who you are. An example:

Friend “I can't understand you, you never fight back, you need to learn to be more confrontational and argumentative, fight your corner more' [in other words – like me]

You “But I don't like confrontation, Ever since I was a child I avoided confrontation, it upset me, I like peace and harmony and I avoid anything that might disrupt it”

Friend “Well you're wrong, the world does not move on by people giving in all the time [which is true incidentally] stick up for yourself more – argue more for goodness sake!”

You “But that is not me, I'm a peace maker”

And so you have found out who you are.

Slowly this picture will build up. As your key values are challenged, something inside will say “no, you are challenging who I am and this I will not and cannot change”.

This is not an easy exercise incidentally, we tend to want to be with people who say nice things about us or figuratively pat us on the head, but a true friend who confronts us with who they are, can help enormously in finding out who we are. So seek the honest friend.

You may find neutral, positive or negative traits using this approach.

FIVE - Finding the trickster in you

Now for the difficult part - the last third we may not want to admit is us.  All things are formed to be a composite of opposites.  It is part of the Strategy of the Great Work that there should be Contrast.

Remember here that we are not seeking to find learnt behaviour - behaviour that is there from the environment we have been brought up in, but the underlying you - the real you.

And the 'you' you are seeking to find here is the you that has the capacity to, or has, hurt - the so-called negative in the horoscope.  There are two ways that appear to work in a complementary way to achieve this.

Using our animals and children as an indicator

Both animals and children, and dogs in particular tend to mirror our behaviour. So the first step in finding out what might be perhaps the more negative aspects of Personality is to list what is seriously annoying in your dog [or child] to you and others, but which you have a sneaking admiration for. In effect, conventionally they might be regarded as anti-social or deeply problematical hurtful traits, which cause you as a parent or dog owner a heap of trouble, but secretly whenever they display these traits you think - 'yeah that's my dog, or child'.

If we now use this same hypothetical dog and list what annoys us and causes hurt to other dogs and people, you will be able to see a picture emerge of the contrasting aspects of his character........

  • He is a true alpha male and acts at times in a very superior way to other dogs. By doing this he creates enemies and many larger male dogs end up challenging him. As a consequence he ends up having to fight. He has yet to lose a fight, but it is very wearing
  • He is perhaps a bit too independent, too much his 'own man'
  • He is a 'show off'
  • He is perhaps a bit too bright for his own good, occasionally he thinks he knows best when he clearly doesn't
  • Because he is very bright he can get bored, unless you give him something to stimulate him

So in some sense what emerges here is a wilful, know-it-all who doesn't know it all, but because they are bright thinks they do.  And this self-same person is also incapable of 'letting go' and being at peace, they are driven, constantly needing to do something.  This may not appear to be a hurtful trait until one realises that the people round them are going to have to give in a lot and accept some fairly dismissive remarks from this person.

An interesting negative here is the inclusion of aggression.  Aggression, fight - the Mars factor - can be positively applied and negative in its effects.  This little dog fights literally.  But its owner though knowing it is a potentially bad trait socially is actually proud that it fights and wins - which probably means he too would fight and make sure he won - the dogged determination of a rather ruthless character.  

Every trait here should be one potentially available from your horoscope, but in the 'negative' rather than the positive column.  

Past actions approach

List all the actions you can remember from your past where you have indeed hurt something or someone, but where in your heart, you are not really ashamed of what you did.  Ignore the morals of the day, ignore convention, these are actions which, in your heart, you are secretly rather proud of.  

Then, using your horoscope and the potential negative traits it has unearthed find a trait which seems to match that action.  I haven't provided a detailed example here as my imagination ran out on this one, but to give two examples:

Example 1 - Maybe this person collects and collects and collects with little thought for those who have to live in the same house, little thought for those who have to clean it and little thought for whether their partner might like some space for themselves.  This is a negative VENUS trait - acquisitiveness.

Example 2 -  Maybe this person, at very key moments, loses all self-confidence, suddenly doubting whether what they are doing is right or that they have the ability to do it, and as a consequence has seriously hurt people involved in what they are doing.  Incidentally, the project may be the most important thing in the world to them, but they just think they're not up to it and abandon it as a consequence, leaving others stranded.  This is a NEPTUNE negative trait.

SIX - In Conclusion

We started with the person's horoscope produced using their time, date and place of birth, but which is in essence not exact.  Some people do not know the time of birth, only their date and place, as such a horoscope is even more general and 'loose', but it is a useful starting point.

  • Next we used 'who we love' to find all the actual traits we have from the Planets on the positive side of the equation.
  • Then we used 'challenges to the self' to add missing traits from the Planets, both positive and negative.
  • Finally we used 'who have we hurt' to find all the traits from the Planets on the negative side of the equation.

The result is a composite and more accurate list of negative and positive attributes that is who we are - our Personality.      

How it works

Once we know this, the door opens and we are on the road to all the best forms of spiritual experience - Ecstasy, Moksha and nirvana and the final Annihilation , plus Wisdom. And from it we should be able to deduce once and for all Why we are here, which brings its own rather unique sense of Bliss and peace



The method itself is not at all hard to do and can produce a great sense of peace and contentment.


If you find you, in reality, truly love no one, it can be devastating.  If you attempt this, you must be prepared for what you may find.

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