Goddesses in the Dust: Ley Lines, Trance-Inducing Gas and The Oracle of Delphi

An archaeologist unearths the divine feminine, one archetype at a time...
John Collier, Priestess of Delphi, 1891
Ever since my first visit to Greece with my family, at age 11, I've been fascinated by the oracle of Delphi. When we traveled to this village in the mountainous region north of Athens, I remember our rented car, clawing its way up the steep roads between the vertical rock, my father pointing out sheep perched on cliffs, looking down on us.

History tells us that the oracle was always a woman, known as the Pythia, who was chosen as a mouthpiece for the god Apollo. Legend says that Apollo killed the giant Python snake who fell into the abyss at Delphi, and its decomposing body is the source of gasses that emanate from fissures around the site. The temple site of Delphi was erected on top of a geological fault in the earth and the tripod on which the Pythia sat was positioned directly over a crack emitting vapors. 
Aegeus consults the Pythia, Kylix by the Kodros Painter, ca. 440 − 430 B.C.E.
Scientists who have studied the site of Delphi have determined that the the gasses emanating from the earth beneath the temple complex are ethylene related, which ingested in certain amounts, cause a powerful trance state. So were these hand picked Pythia really seers who could predict the future, or women exposed to an hallucinogenic chemical which caused them to behave in strange ways?

People from all over the ancient world flocked to ask the oracle questions and seek guidance about issues ranging from when to attack an enemy, where to erect a town and whom to choose for a leader. The Pythia was thought to be possessed by the god Apollo and her utterances were translated by the temple's priests. Sometimes her words were misunderstood, with grave consequences, such as in the case of the Lydian king, Croesus. After offering the oracle a sacrifice of multiple cattle and gold bricks, Croesus asked if he should attack the Persian army. The oracle's response was: if he were to cross a river, "Croesus will destroy a great empire." Croesus did attack, and suffered a brutal defeat, never realizing that the empire that would be destroyed was his own. The most notable utterances of the Delphic oracle are engraved at the site: Know Thyself, and Nothing in Excess.

Personally, I believe this is a sacred site. I have traveled to Delphi on more than one occasion - and on the last trip, with my daughter, 

and sister 

I experienced a powerful connection with this place and the small round building, the Temple of Athena Pronaos, in particular.

Ley lines are supposedly invisible energy pathways in the earth's crust that pass underneath certain places thought of as power points, such as Stonehenge on the Wiltshire Plain in England, and Sedona, Arizona, among others. Ley lines also exist in Greece and one passes directly underneath Delphi. Coincidence and pure speculation, or something more to it? You decide.

For now, I am dreaming of my next trip to Delphi, and I am hoping the prediction is that it is soon.

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