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Know Thyself

Part I: Apollo's The Oracle of Delphi and Astrology

Omphalos - 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.

The story 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].

At the 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.

For thousands of years, the Sacred Stone of Delphi was zealously guarded by a fearsome snake, Python.

Moving 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 love affairs.

Anyway... Hera forbid all places on Earth - whether on terra firma or on islands out at sea - to give shelter to the pregnant Leto.

Birth of Apollo
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.

So... after striking a deal with the floating island of Delos, Leto was able to give birth to the twins gods Apollo and Artemis.

Parenthetically, 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.

It's 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...)

Then 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.

The actual Oracles of the Delphi were given through the intermediary of the Pythia, the Pythia being the priestesses of Apollo. The Pythia entered into an altered state of consciousness and then uttered what some say were unintelligible verbalizations. These were then composed into intelligible verses by the priests and further interpretations were rendered to provide meaning.
Oddly enough, this practice of ecstatic unintelligible echolalia echoes the quite similar much later 1st Century AD phenomenon of the Christian charismatic spiritual gifts of "speaking in tongues" and the resulting "interpretation of tongues."

In the days when the Oracle still spoke, pilgrims often journeyed weeks and/or months to ask for its wisdom.

Part II> When The Oracle Spoke > Part I, II , III

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