"Consulting the Oracle" by John William Waterhouse,
showing eight priestesses in a temple of prophecy
|From Wikipedia: An oracle is a person or persons considered to be the
source of wise counsel or prophetic opinion; an infallible authority, usually
spiritual in nature. It can also be a prediction of the future, from deities, that
is spoken through another object or life-form. In the ancient world many
sites gained a reputation for the dispensing of oracular wisdom: they too
became known as "oracles", as did the oracular utterances themselves,
whose very name is derived from the Latin verb orare (to speak).
|Every culture and religion has used Oracles as a way of understanding life,
death and Spirituality. From the earliest times, written and through lore, all
ancient civilizations incorporated similar religions and belief systems based on
astronomy as they knew it, earth seasons, rocks, earth, fire and water as well
as lessons from animals and nature. Cultures incorporated this knowledge
with science, math, art, meditation, dance, prayer, music and sometimes even
sex. These beliefs were absorbed or denounced by changing powers or
governments and their reining religions, thus shaping some interesting
Oracles 'happened' when a person felt 'guided' by God, to speak. Oracles
were not generally consulted for prophesy and predicting the future, but were
used to consult about practical life situations, and, even travel to other 'divine'
dimensions. A deity was often asked a simple 'yes or no' question; often
through it's representation in a statue or item. 'Things' and 'objects of power'
were incorporated at random, to allow 'divination' and chance to play a role.
From the East, the amazing I Ching was taking form. In Egypt, the Tarot was
evolving from engraved symbols on walls and later, sunk into watermarks on
papyrus, to hide and preserve the Oracle during times of persecution. Around
the globe, Oracles were worn as amulets, carved in stones and references
have been found in private records everywhere, acknowledging their
presence. Sarsen stones were erected in many places, medicine wheels,
runes and animal totems survive today.
Oracles were sought by kings and peasants alike. Many positions of power, to
what crops were planted, were usually decided by an Oracles of Divination.
|The Oracle at Dodona
Artist: Jean Delville 1896
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