The Delphic Oracle:
Job Title in Ancient Greece
the most famous of all psychics was the Delphic Oracle. Located in Delphi,
Greece in ancient times, the oracle of Delphi was not a single person.
It was a position held by many women over hundreds of years.
To me, the long history of this place and its reputation are amazing.
It is believed by archaeologists that the oracle had its origin in prehistoric
times, during the Neolithic, about 8500 B.C.
The Greeks, Romans and people of many cultures visited the oracle and
temple to Apollo the sun god until the emperor Theodosius shut it down
in 395 A.D. Even if you only count the historical facts about the oracle
starting in the 8th century B.C., that still means at least 1200 continuous
years of psychic predictions.
To put that in perspective, think about the age of the U.S. being just
over 200 years. What was so special about the Delphic Oracle that it
lasted through so many cultures and years virtually unchanged?
There must have been some truth to it, and it must have provided useful
and accurate help to those who visited. Otherwise, it would have faded
away much more quickly.
A Brief History of the Delphic Oracle
In ancient times, places of worship were often built on top of older temples.
Many of the cathedrals in France and England are known to have been built
on top of pagan sites of worship. The cathedral at Chartres is an excellent
example of this practice.
evidence from Delphi indicates that the temple at Delphi is located
where neolithic Earth goddess worship took place as far back as 8000
Around the 8th century B.C. the location was dedicated to Apollo, Greek
god of the sun. Stories of how Apollo came to be associated with this
site vary. Older ones apparently have Apollo coming to Delphi from the
south as a dolphin swimming the sea, or walking in from the north. Another
version has him killing Python, child of Gaia. Then the location is
dedicated to him.
It is interesting that Apollo the sun god is associated with masculine
energy and thus the beginning of 'modern' civilization, while dragons
like Python are often associated with older goddess energy. So Apollo
vanquished the old ways and took over the sacred space at Delphi.
Interestingly, in spite of the masculine energy taking over, the function
of augury continued to be performed by a woman. While the information
I have read mentions that character, purity and often family background
were important in becoming the oracle, I haven't seen that psychic powers
were mandatory. Instead, a woman of virtue was chosen to be the priestess
known as the Pythia, or Delphic Oracle.
"All agree, however, that young girls were selected and carefully trained
so that they could transmit the high inspiration of the god without
in any way marring its purity and meaning. Later it was found prudent
to use married women -- who were required to live apart from their husbands
before and during their oracular duties. In fact, even those who consulted
the Pythia were expected to practice chastity, and also to undergo purification,
offer sacrifice, approach the holy precincts with reverence and trust
and, when waiting in the vestibule, to remain silent, thinking pure
thoughts." (from "The Delphic Oracle" by Eloise Hart, in Sunrise magazine,
October/November 1985; copyright � 1985 Theosophical University Press)
What interests me about these details is that the intention and mindset
of the oracle and petitioner were vital to getting accurate answers.
This practice that spanned hundreds of years and involved countless
women as oracles seems to agree with my belief that anyone
potentially can be psychic, but that it does take some practice
The way the augury was performed apparently involved the Oracle sitting
on a high stool called a tripod which sat over a vent in the earth.
Through this opening, gases came up that put the oracle into a trance.
This state was believed to allow her to connect with Apollo and get
accurate answers to questions.
In recent times, geologists have shown that ethylene gas probably was
what came up through the opening in the earth, and its properties match
the description given in the accounts we have of a sweet smelling gas
that caused an altered state. Click
here for the full story.
The 'magic' of Delphi was lost due to earth changes over time the reduced
and then ended the production of gas.
The Delphic Oracle was probably the longest-running job that involved
augury. Kings, generals, historians and philosophers came from far away
to petition the oracle about public policy or personal issues over many
hundreds of years.
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