When ancient Greeks had to make decisions they consulted the gods. The gods spoke through a priestess in Delphi. She was considered the oracle, hence the name, Oracle of Delphi. Why did a patriarchy like Greece let a female communicate what the gods had to say? Some people say that I give Greece a hard way to go, that it wasn’t as male-dominated as I believe. Stick around for this story and you might see why I say Greece was an extreme patriarchy.
The Oracle’s name was Pythia, she would fall into a trance and the words she spoke were supposedly the words of Apollo. This message would be in a voice unlike her own. Unlike other prophets in history, Pythia derived her power from the place itself. They put her a small room called ‘adyton’, which meant ‘do not enter’. Standing outside the ‘adyton’ visitors would ask their questions and wait for a response. According to Strabo, Pausanias and Plutarch, the Pythia would sit on a tripod that was above a small opening in the floor of this ‘adyton’. Gases would come out of the crack in the ground and intoxicate the Pythia. Here is exactly what Strabo said “Over the mouth(of the opening) a tripod is set. Mounting this, the Pythia inhales the pneuma and then speaks prophecies in verse or in prose”. Despite these testimonies, no researcher has said that the Pythia’s trances were caused by gases. This has not been believed because archeologists from 1890 to 1950 couldn’t find gas emissions in relatively modern times. Pierre Amandry of the Ecole Francaise d’Athenes stated that gases could have never existed in Delphi. Amandry incorrectly stated that gases only come from volcanic activity and Delphi does not lie in a volcanic area.
Finally in 1995 two archeologists, Zeilina de Boer and John Hale, found a fault line in Delphi. In 1996 the team found out that the fault line came from Mount Parnassus and named it the Delphi fault line. This line went right under the temple. The reason it doesn’t emit gases today is because water from a natural spring has filled all the holes and cracks. The waters have been tested to find methane, ethane, and ethylene, all of them intoxicants. Plutarch, who was a priest at Delphi, said the gas smelled like a sweet, expensive perfume. Of these gases ethylene is the only one with a sweet smell. I think we found our culprit. Now that we have solved the case of how the trances happened, lets look at just how these priestess were put into this position.
First century writer, Diodorus Siculus, gives us a story of a goat herder named Koretas, who noticed one day that one of his goats had fallen into one of the cracks of the earth and began to act strangely. When he went to help the goat he was filled with a divine presence. He could see outside of the present and into the past and future. Excited about his discovery he went and told the villagers. A shrine was erected at the site where people started worshipping. After a number of deaths of men, they decided to use young women for the liaison of the divine. Meaning these patriarchs would put these young girls in danger because they were not man enough to do it themselves. This story was said to have taken place in about 1400 BCE. These young girls were told they were chosen by god and they had to be pure and reserved for their union with Apollo. This worked for a little while, but Diodorus reported that the men that came to see her became enamored with her beauty, carried her away and violated her. My theory is this is why they built the temple and put the girl in an enclosed room. Because right after this happened they got older women do it and dress like a virgin. They got the women to become Pythia by giving them riches and freedom from taxation. It did not matter who they were just as long as they were beautiful. This tells me they had alternative reasons. As you will see, they didn’t get to enjoy their new-found riches for long.
The Greeks put the Omphalos Stone in the temple to show how sacred this area was. Omphalos means ‘navel of the world’. No one knows where the real Omphalos Stone is now, but it was so important it has been put on coins and mentioned in several myths. My theory is that it was a meteor or something from space like the myths describe. They gave the name of the Oracle, Pythia, which most researchers say it means sickly, sweet smell from the decomposition of the body of the Python that Apollo slain. I understand the confusion here with the sickly sweet smell of the gas, but that’s not why they named the girl Pythia. Pythagoras means ‘I am the Python or Serpent’. Pythia is a female version of this, she was wise. She was known as the House of Snakes. As I have shown in Medusa and several other posts, Serpents mean wise. It does not matter how the information was acquired. Pythia simply was a female Python.
The ancient sources describe the two types of trances that were experienced by Pythia. One, she would go into a semi-conscious trance, during which she stayed seated on the tripod, responding to questions -though her voice would change. Two, she would go into a frenzied delirious trance. Her limbs would move wildly, she would have harsh groans and loud screams. Plutarch reported that she would die a few days later after having the second type of trance. Then a new Pythia would take her place. These are symptoms of inhaling gases. The second one being a symptom of inhaling too much for to long. The whole reason why they got these girls was so these Patriarchs could have their way with them and make money off them. All while getting divine messages. Sooner or later the Patriarchs would get tired of them. They wouldn’t have to wait long because eventually the girl would die and they just went and found another chosen one. Priestess in all other cultures were protected at all cost because they were the bloodline. These girls were just play toys and sacrificial lambs. I have no doubt that if the men in the past had not died inhaling the gas, women would have been forbidden to participate in contacting the divine. Just look at every other patriarch religion. If you have read my previous work you know why these girls and all women in history have been treated like they have. If your curious to find out why, check out Lemurian Magic.