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ODE TO THE PAST (with the occasional nod to the present)

Behind THE ORACLE cover: Know Thyself

A lot of thought (and many drafts) goes into a cover design. THE ORACLE cover, designed by super-talented graphic designer Arturo Delgado, is a perfect example of what I mean. In the next few blog posts, I will dissect the various elements of the cover.

Let's start--where else?--at the top. The pediment crowning the sanctuary of Apollo is inscribed with the statement "Gnothi Seauton," which translates to "Know Thyself." A simple statement, loaded with meaning.

In philosophy, it applies to self-knowledge: knowing our capabilities and limitations, our place in the greater universe, our core beliefs, our own mortality. Those who did not possess this knowledge had clouded judgment and, therefore, could not make the right decisions.

Those who made the long journey through the mountains to consult the oracle of Delphi had better come to terms with the concept of self-knowledge. If they had excess hubris or false intent, they would have never gotten past the priests, let alone received an oracle.

Self-knowledge was also important in interpreting oracular statements. The Pythia--the priestess delivering the oracles--was notoriously vague; her words could be interpreted in different ways. So it was up to the petitioner to know what she meant and to act upon it. In a sense, the oracle was found within--not in the utterances of a seer.

In THE ORACLE, "Know thyself" has a special meaning. Daniel Madigan, Sarah's partner, has a major internal conflict that not only drives a wedge between the two of them but also causes him to stray from his mission. It is only through finding himself after a series of dark moments that he is able to confront a heinous antagonist--and regain Sarah's trust.

In my next post, I will discuss the smoke element of the cover. Stop back!

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