The A to Z Challenge O for Oracle at Delphi

OI’m participating in the A to Z Challenge for the entire month of April, by posting an interesting topic for each letter of the alphabet. This excludes Sneak Peek Sundays. Follow this link to nearly 2000 other bloggers and authors.
The A to Z Challenge – participating blogs

Today’s Calliope’s Writing Tablet post is brought to you by the letter O — O for Oracle at Delphi

One day, a goatherd tending his flock on the slope of Mount Parnassus noticed his goats bleated strangely when grazing near a certain fissure in the mountainside. Drawing nearer, he was seized by divine presence. Unknown at the time, the mechanics of this prophetic spiritual presence involved plate tectonics (the mobile rocky plates forming the earth’s surface) , namely the two that come together there and created the fissure — the Eurasian Continental Plate and the Aegean Plate. It was here along the fissure and through the porous rock that methane and ethane, two toxic hydrocarbon gasses, were released into the air.

As a side note: the site was originally dedicated to Poseidon the god of earthquakes aka The Earth Shaker. 

This mountainside soon became one of the most important religious sites of the ancient world. A stone temple dedicated to the god Apollo was erected in a natural amphitheater. Inside the temple sat the Pythia —  specially trained women who dedicated themselves to Apollo. They were the Delphic Oracles. 

A small alcove was built to catch the fumes from the fissure and the CO2 from the rich waters of a sacred spring deliberately channeled through the temple. After preparing her body through fasting and cleansing, she sat on her special tripod stool, breathed it all in, and soon fell into an exalted state of mind. Small wonder her body would be wracked with spasms as she fell into an altered state and responded to questions with prophetic wisdom directly inspired by Apollo himself. From this toxic trance, she gave advice.

It was said at times she was spot on in her prophecy. Occasionally she babbled and didn’t make sense. Other times although her answers were clear, they went over her questioner’s head. It’s curious to note there were special days the divination was performed on. On at least one occasion the Pythia was forced from her divine schedule. Consequently, she went into seizures and died a few days later. I wonder about the significance of the schedule. How was it one day was safer than the next? The oracles spoke at Delphi for a thousand years.


Tomorrow, letter P!

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Rose Anderson ~ Love Waits in Unexpected Places

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About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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2 Responses to The A to Z Challenge O for Oracle at Delphi

  1. Joyce says:

    This was a nice post to stumble upon through the AtoZ site. I’ve always loved Greek mythology.

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