Chapter 61: Ode to the Oracle Pythia

The Oracle Pythia – Poetry.

This is an ode to the delightful What’s Her Name pod-casters who transported me to ancient Greece during a recent solo commute to Albany. This episode was truly captivating. I cannot recommend these auditory magicians enough if you are a lover of history.

The Pythia (Oracle of Delphi) was a priestess who chanelled prophecies of Apollo whilst in a tranced out state. Most likely she was off her head on volcanic choof, but she sure did draw a crowd. She could have been ranting ancient nursery rhymes for all anyone knew – as her incites were only interpreted by a male priest and relayed mainly to whoever was packing the most gold. No surprise rich and powerful men were ushered to the front of the very long queue, though even those guys could be rejected if Pythia wasn’t feeling the prophetic juices, or other ancient conundrums were afoot. Pity the sacrificed goat – if his hooves faced the wrong way – that was a huge Oracle cock block. The supplicant would leave unenlightened and the poor goat died in vain. Brutal.

Women were most definitely not invited to the sanctuary and there were certainly no nuggets of enlightenment wasted on the supposed fairer sex. This was strictly a boys only club. No girls allowed.

Men would make the pilgrimage from all corners of the earth to have their one burning question answered by the possessed priestess. Business was booming until 393 CE when Roman Emperor Theodosius shut all things Pagan right down to make room for a groovy, new religion – Christianity. This was defo a no-fun zone for Goddess worshippers, women, the poor, slaves etc etc etc …….. we know how that story goes.

So I played around with some poetry – in honour of the Greek women and the wives who may have travelled with their husbands so he might hear a stoned Delphian rave an answer that could have quite easily been discovered had he just looked around a bit. I wonder if these rejected females felt bitter – standing on the outskirts watching the procession of ambitious men handing over their riches in return for a few seconds of secret life sauce. Perhaps these women just had the smarts and possibly heard or read (if they had the privilege of being able to read) the famous inscription on the temple –

γνῶθι σεαυτόν

Know Thyself

“Done,” they probably said, dusting themselves off and calling it a day.

So here is my what if poem. A little imagining of an ambitious female sneaking in to get herself a hit from the Pythia bong.

References: Wikipedia & Ancient History Encyclopedia

Eugène Delacroix – Lycurgus Consulting the Pythia Public Domain

For Pythia to Sing

the long path I away
laurel branches
do take today
I feel
sweet springs
Castalian bathings
cleansing privileged skin
oh oracle on high
oh Pythia prophesise
vapors, volcanic
to her breath
to her mind
Apollo whispers
and she to find
my answers
and hear Delphi blooms
amidst the plumes
will come
drawn forth
deep asunder
unseen fingers
foreseen figures
will come
visions though forbidden
trivial formality
for my finality
and the answer
birthed upon
thine priestesses lips
sweet, pure and true
that her berry breath
bring forth a brew
to flood all suspicion
birth ambition
my path
she shall see!
she shall see!
a fountain
an ocean
a stretching commotion
that the tide would see fit
to sweep over it
to rid all untrue
Goddess reign true!
and i with my tresses
breasts veiled
and white dresses
dare not to toy
as a boy
in melody
in verse
of all the universe
for Pythia to sing

John William Waterhouse Public Domain
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