Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Greek Oracle was a Prestigious Seer Position.

Back in the 8th century, the “Greek Oracle” at the Temple of Apollo in Delphi was a psychic position filled by a priestess. She was also called “The Pytho” or “The Oracle”. This was considered a very prestigious seer position, even though Greece was very male-centered at this time. When a young woman was chosen she would cease all other duties and cut off family connections (even marriage) to devote herself to being “The Oracle”.

The ancient people of the Mediterranean had such faith in the Oracle’s visions that no major decision was made without consulting her first. Greek and foreign dignitaries, heads of state, and common folk made the pilgrimage to the Delphi sanctuary, and paid great sums for Pythia's oracles. Since the sanctuary only served the public a few days over nine months out of the year, great amounts of money were paid by the richer ones in order to bypass the long line of pilgrims.
Her prophesies were considered to come from Apollo. However, there is another theory. Archeologists who have invested the temple ruins found a geologic chasm that emits gases, which was probably the real way “The Oracle” entered a trance-like state and had visions. The gas is speculated to be naturally occurring ethylene.

For some reason, this reminds me of the sixties where people would use drugs to enhance their creative ability. I also don't think these women could have lived very long.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

In other words, they were consulting a woman who was high as a kite at the time.

Rusty Webb said...

I recall hearing this news some time ago... because I've had this mental image of these oracles standing over a gas leak and gibbering nonsense ever since then.

It makes me giggle.