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Author Topic: Oracles in modern Hellenic Polytheism  (Read 5010 times)
Melamphoros
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« Topic Start: May 30, 2009, 10:56:14 am »

I have been pondering the ancient oracles all week and thought it might make a good discussion topic.

In ancient times, the oracles told the will of the gods to mortals and held an important spot in the religion.  Do you think they could or should be adapted to modern practice?  If it can't be adapted today, what would be a close equivalent?  If someone claimed to be an oracle, how would you react?
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« Reply #1: May 30, 2009, 11:53:20 am »

Just a short notice. I'm testing a Greek themed oracle deck at the moment:

http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/mythic-oracle/

Will write more later, I'm no recon though.  Cheesy
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« Reply #2: May 30, 2009, 12:09:35 pm »

Just a short notice. I'm testing a Greek themed oracle deck at the moment:

http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/mythic-oracle/

Will write more later, I'm no recon though.  Cheesy

I probably should have said, "And I AM NOT talking about cards!" in my first post Undecided
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« Reply #3: May 30, 2009, 03:20:45 pm »

I probably should have said, "And I AM NOT talking about cards!" in my first post Undecided
You talked about 'modern practice', ts.  Roll Eyes

But I'm keen on hearing what other ideas will come into this tread. Smiley
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« Reply #4: May 30, 2009, 07:52:49 pm »

You talked about 'modern practice', ts.  Roll Eyes

Sorry, but the modern oracle cards have little to do with ancient oracles.  At the Oracle of Delphi, the priestess would get high off fumes coming from a crack in the earth and start spouting jibberish.  The priest then 'translated' this into an actual language for the one who asked the question.

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But I'm keen on hearing what other ideas will come into this tread. Smiley

As am I.
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« Reply #5: May 30, 2009, 10:20:11 pm »

If it can't be adapted today, what would be a close equivalent?

If a God chooses to speak regularly through someone, I don't see why it could not be done today.

Quote
If someone claimed to be an oracle, how would you react?

Skeptically, of course. Oracles in ancient Greece were accepted because they were seen as accurate. Yes, they often spoke in "riddles" but where records exist more often than not they were generally accurate. I'd expect the same from any true oracle.
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« Reply #6: May 31, 2009, 03:46:25 am »

Oracles in ancient Greece were accepted because they were seen as accurate. Yes, they often spoke in "riddles" but where records exist more often than not they were generally accurate. I'd expect the same from any true oracle.

Purely out of ignorance, did they typically understand them st the time of the oracle, or was it generally in retrospect?
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« Reply #7: May 31, 2009, 08:15:27 am »

Purely out of ignorance, did they typically understand them st the time of the oracle, or was it generally in retrospect?

The Oracle at Delphi was often understood well enough that decisions (including things like whether or not to go to war) were based on the Oracle's statements. However, I'm sure it often was in retrospect.
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« Reply #8: May 31, 2009, 02:22:56 pm »

I have been pondering the ancient oracles all week and thought it might make a good discussion topic.

In ancient times, the oracles told the will of the gods to mortals and held an important spot in the religion.  Do you think they could or should be adapted to modern practice?  If it can't be adapted today, what would be a close equivalent?  If someone claimed to be an oracle, how would you react?


I would be deeply suspect of anyone who claimed to be an oracle. It's entirely true, I believe, that the Deathless Ones may choose to communicate with some mortal or other. It's equally true, however, that such power could be easily abused if others believed you had it. Even the Delphic Oracle's staff was accused of taking bribes at various times, to the best of my recollection.

Besides, Homer's Iliad, if memory serves me correctly, has at least one instance where a mortal is deceived by a dream of divine origin, in order to further a deity's own objectives. According to this Homeric view of the Immortals, your own poor life choices or even fatal mistakes (perhaps based on oracular advice) may serve the interests of a major Goddess or God.

Thanks but no thanks. More power to others, if that's their thing.
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« Reply #9: May 31, 2009, 04:08:34 pm »


Sannion does a monthly oracle as part of his service to Dionysos.  As he's described the practice, it's part a divination system that he devised with the god's guidance and partly just ... relaying what the god says. Sometimes one takes over, sometimes the other, sometimes it's a balance of both.

I've written to him twice for an oracle, and I found them perhaps half accurate?  I'm not sure which half though. Wink
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« Reply #10: June 01, 2009, 11:06:17 pm »

Sannion does a monthly oracle as part of his service to Dionysos.  As he's described the practice, it's part a divination system that he devised with the god's guidance and partly just ... relaying what the god says. Sometimes one takes over, sometimes the other, sometimes it's a balance of both.

Kate Winter also offers oracular services to the public, she is who I go to when I need something clarified or confirmed. I've found her to be accurate and helpful myself, though as usual your mileage may vary.

I take no issues with people who have some talent as a seer offering their services to others; it can be a useful skill and some are better with it than others. But that's a whole different ball game from declaring oneself "The Oracle of Whomever." That's something time and the community itself will decide.
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« Reply #11: July 15, 2009, 05:30:45 pm »

Sorry, but the modern oracle cards have little to do with ancient oracles.  At the Oracle of Delphi, the priestess would get high off fumes coming from a crack in the earth and start spouting jibberish.  The priest then 'translated' this into an actual language for the one who asked the question.

As am I.

I think some form of scrying would be very close to what the Greek Oracles were doing.  I use a crystal ball at times.  Not much concrete yet, but I think it makes sense as being what a Greek would have done.
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« Reply #12: July 16, 2009, 06:55:59 pm »

If someone claimed to be an oracle, how would you react?

I don't think I would take them all that seriously, to be honest. These days, anyone can read a book and consider themselves an expert on a variety of subjects with no one to answer to in terms of training or authentication.
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« Reply #13: July 17, 2009, 10:53:49 am »

If someone claimed to be an oracle, how would you react?
I'd take their claim with a grain of salt. Proclaiming yourself something usually signifies a whack-job IMHO. If someone offers oracular services to the community, provided s/he appears sincere and dedicated rather than just some person looking to make a quick buck, it doesn't really bother me. If I hear enough positive feedback from people whose opinions I respect, I may even use the oracular services. Ultimately it's up to the community to confer titles--and it's not something that should be given lightly.
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