Friday, 5 October 2007

The Delphic Oracle

Delphi is best known as the home of the Delphic Oracle or the Pythia, a priestess of Apollo. The traditional picture is of the Pythia, in an altered state, muttering words inspired by the god, which male priests transcribed. The Pythia sat on a great bronze tripod in a spot above a crevice in rocks from which vapors rose.

Before sitting, she burned laurel leaves and barley meal on the altar. She also wore a laurel wreath and carried a sprig.

The oracle closed down for 3 months a year at which time Apollo wintered in the land of the Hyperboreans. The Delphic Oracle was not in constant communion with the god, but produced prophecies only on the 7th day after the new moon, for 9 months of the year.

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