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Sunday, August 4, 2013

Delphi, Greece. A place of awe. A guest post by @navajobob #OracleofDelphi


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I am SUPER excited to welcome W. Blake Heitzman to the Crew site today! He recently took a trip to Delphi, Greece and to help me celebrate the release of my third book in the Oracle of Delphi series, he offered to stop by and share his experience! Enjoy!



The Oracle of Delphi

Delphi is a place of spiritual and religious awe, or why would Michelangelo have dedicated it on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel? Yes, it is there on the ceiling among the Christian saints and the Jewish patriarchs. Makes you wonder.

If you’re going to Athens, then save a day for Delphi. Ask your hotel to arrange it for you in advance. It’s around ten hours round trip. If you have more time then you could spend the night in the region. The site of the naval battle of Lepanto, where the Spanish and Italians finally defeated the Ottomans, is not far away. The monastery of Osios Loukas is also nearby.

Delphi is not a tiny cave-like place, nor does one have to climb a cliff to get there, as Leonidas was depicted doing in the film 300. The site contains the remains of a theatre and the temple of Apollo, plus an array of other structures.

Archeologically, Delphi has been occupied since Neolithic times, and pretty much has been a religious site as far back as Greek records go. Legend states that Apollo arrived there in the shape of a dolphin and was carrying Cretan priests on his back. Does this imply Minoan origins?

Delphi was revered by all of Greece and important people consulted the oracle before embarking on adventures. It was protected by all the city states of Greece and later the Romans, although Nero raided it, taking over 500 statues during his visit in 66 B.C. Obviously, the Romans didn’t climb down cliffs with those. The oracle drifted into ruin and was ordered closed by the emperor in 395 C.E. Could it have been a threat to the rising Christian faith? Universal advice is inscribed on its walls: “Know thyself” and “Nothing in excess”.

The mystery of the temple centers on the priestess, always called Pythia, and always a woman of good repute who was selected from the neighboring villages, and who was also over the age of 50. I guess if she lived to be 50, she had to be wise, but there goes some of the allure—I preferred the image of a beautiful young woman. She sat on her tripod over a crack in the earth, from which vapors rose, causing her to go into a trance. Have you ever breathed sulphur dioxide fumes? One whiff and you’re dizzy, or dead. That and other toxic gases could have risen out of the earth in small enough concentrations to affect her mental state without killing her.

Her prophecies and advice are well known. Here are a few that I have heard:

The Oracle told Byzas, the founder of Byzantium, to settle his colony opposite the "Land of the Blind". He traveled to the Asian side of the Bosporus Straits and looking north, he pointed to the European side, and said, “I see a city there.” Everyone he spoke to said there was no city there, and finally he concluded they were all blind to the potential of the site so he built a city on the opposite side of the straits from them. Later it was called Constantinople and was the capital of the Roman Empire for a thousand years. When it fell to the Ottomans, it was renamed Istanbul, and was the capital of the Ottoman Empire for over four hundred years.

Chaerophon, a contemporary of Socrates, visited the Oracle and asked who the wisest man in Athens was. The Oracle said no one is wiser than Socrates. Socrates tried to prove the Oracle wrong and began to search for someone wiser than he, but found that everyone blathered with authority regarding things they knew nothing of, and he, at least, was aware of his own ignorance, and hence truly was wiser than they.

Finally, prior to the Battle of Thermopylae, Leonidas was told that a king of Sparta would have to die or Sparta would be destroyed. Knowing this, he refused to leave the battlefield and the stand of the three hundred was forever immortalized.

There is something spiritually fundamental about Delphi. Go there, find a place away from others, close your eyes and let it flow into your body.


Thanks for sharing your journey with us :)


About W. Blake Heitzman

Blake grew up just south of Las Cruces, New Mexico, where he spent his spare time in his World War Two surplus jeep, exploring the desert. When he could, he sat with the old timers’ and listened to their tales of Geronimo, Cochise, Pancho Villa, and Billy the Kid. His love and respect for the desert weaves through his stories.

A licensed Professional Engineer in the State of California with Masters Degrees in Energy Conversion and Urban Planning as well as experience as a college math instructor, Blake includes a dash of science and technology, along with a smattering of history and paranormal topics in his writing.

He is currently writing The Shaman Gene series, the story of Earth’s rise to join galactic society. “A Far Traveler”, is the first in the series. Two more novels: Panther Watches and Seekers of the Scroll are in draft.

You can read more and comment at Blake’s website: http://shamangene.com/BLOG/Blake is also a member of California Writers Club and the Indie Author News.







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