Modern Oracles?

As a follow up to my previous post on divination I wanted to make a clarification on my thoughts about oracles. There are a lot of people who profess to be pythias or oracles of some flavor or another, self-determined oracles if you will. However, I do not think that such a claim is possible because of what defines an oracle. An oracle is a station that is identified with a specific oracular cult center of a god who is associated with said oracle. The oracle is simultaneously the place and is extended through the mortal servant of the god who has risen to the station and has been selected to serve as a living extension of the function of the place and the influence of the god. Therefore without recognized centers to said god, there can be no oracle….and in the case of Pythias, without reinstitution of Pythos and the temple of Apollon at Delphi, the sacred center of the world, there can be no Pythia either. This typically goes for Sybils too which were likewise associated with very specific places. Therefore people who are calling themselves oracles or pythias, without this acknowledged structural center, can be, at best, categorized as some kind of seer or diviner as I spoke of before.

Can there be some kind of modern oracle? I don’t see any liklihood of such an eventuality rising to be honest. Not without the prerequisites mentioned above. Beyond that I am curious if a community at large, even a small intimate community of say enough members for a small town or village, could agree upon selecting a person to serve as an oracle if said structure is present. It is all well and good to be inspired by the gods…it is in fact a joy…..but certain titles require more than self-authorization and are dealing with a lot more than an inspired connection which one might enjoy. An oracle cannot be self-made, and it is dubius if one will ever rise in our life-times, if ever. Meanwhile the gods of prophecy are still at work, but they are helping people with their own visions of their own future and the pratical divination which they may undertake for themselves in order to inspire their personal growth. I am not convinced that we even need a re-establishment of oracles to be honest as many worshipers are interested enough to methods of divination to do for themselves. This may be the intended path of the future…not isolated oracles declaring the pronouncements of the gods in imperfect organized systems, but people taking a person investment with the gods and going on their own roads of discovery. The oracles in their function became obsolete and withered away.

“Tell to the king that the cavern hall is fallen to decay; Apollon has no chapel left, no prophesying bay, No talking spring. The stream is that dry that had so much to say.”

So it is up to us to find a new talking spring. Yet in one oracle we can infer some meaning of the spring where an oracle tasted of the blood of a sacrificed goat. The speaking spring is more than just water on the ground, its fluid nature is invested in life and can be tapped into. And so I content myself with my own small divinations that let me peer to some small degree into my own journey. I have no need of an oracle. I have found my own spring within…and we all possess it, it is just our choice if we decide we want to drink from it or not.



10 thoughts on “Modern Oracles?

  1. I personally disagree with you on the matter of wether Oracles are even necessary anymore. I think that, *if* and *when* they become re-established by the Gods, they will become a further enrichment and empowerment for our religion. That said, any such re-establishment is going to be tough, as we will need to learn again how to interpret the Oracles prophecies, how to perform the cult practices. And since much of this is lost, we can only hope the Gods will inspire us as to that.

    Concerning Delphi, I secretly hope that one day Apóllōn in conjunction with Poseidōn will cause an earthquake at Delphi, once again releasing the ethylene gasses from the fault lines running thorugh the Temple. I also hope that earthquake and subsequent release of gasses will blow away the Christian relics placed their just to spite us Hellenic polytheists, and allow Apóllōn to re-establish his fair-wrought house.

    • Certainly there is a possibility for an if or when, if the gods will these things to be…however I don’t believe oracles are individual self proclaimed folks, but rather have to do with the cult of the god and the place of his worship and an individual chosen as the conduit (rather as priests were chosen). Therefore the if and when is entirely dependent on many other things coming to pass before it…and these prerequisites and gradual build up to that state would be an indication of it being within the gods will. Seers and mystics etc are one thing….but oracles are something very specific that require certain foundations. And the slow rise of these foundations will likely bring people together to a greater degree in agreement about oracles rather than a fragmentary community that generally is comprised of solo worshipers. As the situation stands now I don’t think it is necessary to put the cart before the horse, and as things stand now I don’t think that they are necessary that people feel that they can be self-prescribed oracles. As things stand now (and perhaps that should have been added into my original statement now that I think of it) it is not necessary.
      As for Delphi, there is always hope that the places which are sacred regain something of their former prestige indeed.

      • “however I don’t believe oracles are individual self proclaimed folks”

        I most definitely agreew ith that 😉

  2. Pingback: Modern Oracles « A Forest Door

  3. A comment about the subject of Modern Oracles. In Sacred Rituals, A God or Goddess can speak through a voice of an Oracle. We invoke them, We call down the Goddess from the Moon. There are Oracles who prepare & fast, and give an Oracle, in the name of a God or Goddess.
    Who are any of us to question an Oracle given by someone who pratices this gift through Sacred Rituals & other means of being open to the Divine? Oracles are given by Priests or Priestesses of many years of education, pratice & are overseen by their spiritual mentors or spiritual elders.
    Would any of us stop a voice of an Oracle, if a God or Goddess chooses someone to speak their messages? Not me. Leave these matters in the hands of the Divine. You are not bound to believe it or read them. Oracles are inspired to give voice & be a mouth piece for their God or Goddess. Once given, the Oracle has fulfilled their duty to their God/Goddess. Who would stifle the words of the Gods & Goddesses? To choose to believe is yours. To mock the words is yours also.

    • Anyone is free to believe whomever they feel is an oracle, nor do I specifically challenge anyone who makes these claims. Nor I am trying to denounce anything lol. Rather I am saying that as for myself (and as it is my blog I think I am speaking only for myself here) I don’t see any particular use for them. I would be the last person who would even want to (if I even believed it possible) try and go and determine who is a true oracle and who is not.

    • What you are speaking of is not an Oracle. An Oracle is founded by a deity on a specific site. The Oracle of Delphi was founded at Delphi, the one of Delos is Delos, ans so on. On this sites humans passed on oracular utterances inspired by the God that founded the Oracle.

      It is possible I believe for similar prophetic messages being inspired by the Gods into some people elsewhere, during ordinary rituals or rituals asking the Gods for such counsel, but these are not Oracles. This is a form of divination, not an actual Oracle.

  4. I have read your post and am unsure what it is that you want to convince us of. First you tell us it is highly unlikely that there ever will be true oracles. And than you say you have no need of them. Why do you have to say this if they are not currently in existence? Your point seem to be that there must be many ‘false’ oracles out there. Yet if oracles are not ‘manmade’ as you claim, how are you able to determine which oracle is true and which is false or incompetent? Are there that many self-prophessed oracles out there that he has found wanting? I must say I have a hard time finding more than a handful.

    If you are so wary of self-proclaimed oracular powers, is it than not a good thing when people go to a third party for confirmation? When people distrust their own judgement, or the judgement of another, is it not good to seek the opinions of others? Surely seeking support with each other in this fashion will help to create that community which you say is sorely missing. Do you think we should not even make an attempt at this? If so, are we not failing the gods we serve apart from the people within are communities?

    • First (once again), I am not trying to convince anyone of anything. I use my blog more to organize my thoughts first and foremost. If someone gets something out of it…well then that is good. But it is a mental exercise mostly for myself. Therefore, I am speaking only in terms of how I am defining oracle: as a cult sanctioned oracle, as in a place… the oracle of such and such god which is distinguished by place (such as Delphi). And since the subject occassionally comes up I was making a personal observation….no reason, rather just because I was talking outloud to myself about what I think of the subject. Like I replied to the other individual who replied to my blog, I am not trying to convince anyone of anything…but am just stating my opinion that I personally don’t think an oracle as per my own definition (a person connected to a cult center) can recreate that oracle without the place (for instance I have run across many people saying that they are the new pythia which I don’t feel is possible without the oracle being held at Delphi in the manner which it once was. I am not saying anyone has to agree with me, nor am I advocating anyone to go and attempt to weed out those who may be making pretense…because I don’t even think that is possible to try to make such determinations. People are going to offer what they feel called to do, and I have nothing against it even if I approach the subject with caution. Nor do I have anything against divination or divine inspiration (as my regular readers know) because I have stated that I don’t consider divination useless since I perform several methods of it for myself when I feel the need, and as a poet and a person who follows Apollon, I believe firmly in divine inspiration. In a previous post I also stated that I firmly believe that there are seers out there who do genuinely see. I *personally* distinguish between a seer and oracle based on cult location only…and has nothing to do with any kind of gradient or scale. An oracle is a seer, but as to what I define an oracle as I don’t see a seer to necessarily be an oracle if he or she isn’t presiding at a physical oracle temple. If it is adjoining a temple complex and the location itself is consider holy with association to oracles the location is an oracle then seer who presides there is likewise an oracle. This is the only distinction in the way I see things. And if you read a comment I made earlier to Apollodoros you will see that I clarified my statement to essentially say that with an instutional of a temple as an oracle and holy place, then I would be more than happy to acknowledge the seer as oracle as per my definition, and be pleased as punch about it (even if I hover back and forth about whether or not it is *needed* but I have already conceeded to the original replier that what I don’t feel is particularly necessary might be more necessary to others.. However, without the place, everyone is a seer…and there is nothing wrong or bad or diminutive about it in the least. I am just making a personal distinction. And certainly if one is comforted to seek out a prophet/seer/etc then more power to them.

      • clarification by “everyone is a seer” I am speaking of diviners/seers/oracle-people in general. I am taking the whole in collectively and (other than varying in approach) are really not distinguished from each other as possessing inspiration from the gods.

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