When Apollo returns on his birthday, my job begins. For nine warmest months of the year, on the seventh day after the full moon, I am a celebrity. People come from far and wide to ask me the most life changing questions. I am the Oracle of Delphi.
I am an older more mature and sophisticated Oracle, chosen from amongst the common women of Delphi. I was chosen because my younger counterparts were too pretty and desirable to the old male priests. Therefore, a new era of mature Oracles has begun. I am a grandmother, mother, sister, daughter. With this duty, I have chosen to be chaste and have given up my family and husband for the rest of my life. I give myself to Apollo. I am his voice piece. He speaks through me.
Because of my status in Delphi, I live in my home alone. I am provided for, for life. I am one of the only women who may speak in political meetings. I will remain the Oracle until my death, when a new Oracle will be chosen. One secret that many people don’t know about me, is that I am Epileptic. It is believed that because I have seizures, I am a person more in touch with the Gods.
In preparation for communicating with the Devine Apollo, I fast for several days. Then, I cleanse myself in the Castilian Spring. I drink from the Kasstosis Stream where a mystical Niad resides. I enter the chamber and sit on my tripod made of bronze. This is situated above a crack in the floor where gases from the Apollo’s slain Python seep out. (In modern days it was discovered that I was inhaling Ethane fumes) The room is filled with a a sweet smell, like breathing in flowers. I hold my Laurel branch. My head spins. I feel dizzy. I stare into a bowl of water. The priest asks me a question and I answer him with no knowledge of what I am saying. The words just come out and the priest records them.
One time, Alexander the Great being so bold, entered my chambers and demanded an answer to his question, “Will I defeat the ENTIRE Ancient World?!” I told him to come back later when he could present his question to me in a more gentle format. He denied me, grabbed me by my hair and began dragging me across the floor and out of the chamber. I started to scream, “Let go of me; you’re unbeatable!” He let go of my hair without facing me. “Now, I have my answer.” He then left without another word. How disrespectful and disgraceful! I wanted to scream “You should never treat a lady like this!” Here is a Great King who is seated at the front of the line, only because he is a King and has offered us great treasures. Many common people come and ask me important life changing questions, like “Shall I marry the one I love?” or “which crops will be most successful this year?” Why does he think his question is more important than anyone else’s? Yes, he was undefeated by men. But in the end, we all die, as did Alexander when he succumbed to Malaria. And with his death, his kingdom fell.
*This story is a collaborative narrative written by Charlotte, Finn, Piper and Angie, inspired by our visit to Delphi.