Priestess

Inspired by the Oracle

 

The Pythia, Oracle of Delphi

The Oracle of Delphi has always fascinated me. The story behind the Pythia, or the oracular priestess at Delphi, is that she is a prophetess who gives prophecies to those who come to her. There have been theories about how she receives the visions for her prophecies. They all seem to involve her going into an altered state of consciousness by using a psychoactive substance of some kind. It is said that sometimes she would give these prophetic utterances while under trance in a frenzied state.

As it turns out, one of the most well-known theories about how the Pythia achieved her trance state by inhaling fumes which came up from the ground, is true. So to honor the energy of these famous prophetic priestesses, I decided to paint what my vision of them would be. In this painting, instead of inhaling fumes from the floor in her underground chamber, she inhales a psychoactive brew from a copper bowl. She wears a ceremonial robe in shades of red, the color of the root chakra. This symbolizes the starting point for the kundalini energy to rise up.

The Oracle, work in progress shots

She holds her arms up the the sky to receive her blessings from the heavens. The cosmos swirl behind her around the full moon as she gathers energy to become a conduit for messages from the divine. The simplicity of the detail in this piece represents the simplicity of tools the Pythia used for her prophecies. Only herself, her sacred, psychoactive fumes and the divine.

One of my favorite stories about one of the oracular priestesses of Delphi is about Cassandra. She was a Pythia who was known to give incredibly accurate prophecies. One day, the God Apollo tries to seduce Cassandra. When she refused his advances because she was sworn to be a virgin priestess, Apollo spit in her mouth and cursed her to utter prophecies which were true, but which no one believed. From then on whenever she gave her prophecies, people would scorn her and think she was crazy.

She ended up prophesying the Trojan War but since no one believed her, there was nothing she could do. Cassandra also had a twin brother who she taught the gift of prophecy to. This way she could deliver her startlingly accurate prophecies through him to the world. To me this story represents the inability for Cassandra to speak her truth. Which can be a metaphor for our own lives. To always speak your truth, even when no one else believes you.

Prints, prayer cards and this original painting can be found in my shop.

2 thoughts on “Inspired by the Oracle”

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