- World Navel
Located on the slippery slopes of Mount Parnassus, the Oracle
of Delphi stood at what was considered to be the crossroads of
the ancient world.
goes that - once upon a time - Zeus, the chief Olympian god, simultaneously
released two of his sacred eagles. One he released from the East
[the Ascendant], the other he released from the West [the Descendant].
point where the two eagles met in the middle, Zeus then dropped
a Sacred Stone marking the center of Earth - the navel of the
world - at Delphi.
of years, the Sacred Stone of Delphi was zealously guarded by
a fearsome snake, Python.
forward in time... the great Zeus and a lesser goddess Leto became
lovers. After the goddess Leto became pregnant by Zeus - Hera,
the wife of Zeus (some versions say: "soon to be wife"),
became outraged with jealousy. Being married to Zeus, Hera quite
often found herself getting outraged at all of her husband's many
Hera forbid all places on Earth - whether on terra firma or on
islands out at sea - to give shelter to the pregnant Leto.
As a result of Hera's harsh decree, the only place on earth where
Leto was finally able to seek out shelter was on the floating
island of Delos. It's said that (due to a legal loophole) because
Delos was a floating island - Leto was not considered to be breaking
either of Hera's prohibitions.
after striking a deal with the floating island of Delos, Leto
was able to give birth to the twins gods Apollo and Artemis.
during Leto's search for a place to give birth, the aforementioned
snake Python of Delphi (having been warned that Leto's son would
be the snake's undoing) attempted to kill Leto as she'd passed
by on her way to Delos.
in Homer's hymn we're told that after the birth of Apollo on Delos,
he [Apollo] then - in revenge for his mother's near death experience
- went to Delphi and killed the snake Python with his bow. (Talk
about being undone by your self-fulfilling prophecies...)
Apollo appropriately, for justice sake of the gods, went into
exile for many years to make atonement for his crime of killing
of the snake. Upon his return, the Sun god Apollo then took his
rightful place as the god and conqueror of Delphi.