Category Archives: The Pythias

Blessed Pythias’ Day!

Hail to Apollon!  Hail to the Pythias!

In my household, the first day of November is celebrated as Pythias’ Day, wherein we honor those women who were Apollon’s Oracles at Delphi, in antiquity.

The traditional offerings (in accordance with my family’s traditions) for this day are olive oil, honey, milk, water, and cinnamon incense, along with a tall pillar candle as a focal point to represent them, as a whole.  And lastly, a new perfume.  However, this year I had to forgo the perfume for budgetary reasons.

Taken together, these are an offering that I find profound in their simplicity.  The Pythias crave their recognition.  More so than any of us claiming their title for ourselves, they demand real recognition for their work and devotion, and so long as we give that to them, I find that they are at peace.

So, praise to them, and Blessed Pythias’ Day.

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Pythias’ Day

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I love the turning of the wheel, and the ascent of the spiral.  I love how each year brings me round to my most dear celebrations, leading me down familiar currents, even while I know each drop of water in those currents is new to the stream, having never traveled there before.  The current remains familiar, though it is not, and can not be the same.  I love how time unfolds, like a wild blossom in the sunlight.  We can know what flowers will bloom in the clearing, even while knowing none of those flowers have ever bloomed there before.  So it is with the holy days.  We know them, and yet we do not know them.

Today is a holy day in my personal practice.  The first day of November is and has been the day when I give praise and thanks to the Pythias, each for their guidance of the world and their dedication to the Lord Apollon, and also for their mentoring of me for the past several years. They always speak to me loudest on this day, while filling my space with their presence.  I welcome them, and their cryptic whispers as they flit across my mind.  This is a day of many gifts– the gifts I give them, and the gifts of oracle I receive.

Today, they whisper to me of change.  A welcome sort of change.  A needed sort of change.  Something that shakes up my life in the most beautiful way.  I have heard their voices speaking and felt their fleeting touch.  I have seen their shapes in shadows and bands of light.  The veil is thin, and they have come to visit.

I know this day, and I do not know it.  I never know how their presence will manifest, or how they will affect my life.  I only know that they will come, and that they will be honored.  A long time ago they took me into their care.  I am not one of them, but I am a part of their legacy.  I am mindful of this whenever I preform the art and task that is my gift.  But never am I more mindful than on the first of November, when the Pythias remind me upon whose path I walk, and why.  For that, and so many other reasons, they receive my offerings.

Being The Pythia is Not Necessary

For some time, I have loved and honored my Lord’s priestesses at Delphi with a full heart, for all of their attention and assistance, but always with the understanding that I am not, nor will I ever be, one of them.  I am but a simple novice on a path that they have kindly agreed to help with.  Perhaps a surprising admission coming from one who worships Apollon as very much the Oracular God, Pythios being an epithet holding great prominence in my oikos, as does Delian.  But, as much as I honor and respect these aspects of Him, I understand that in so many ways they are location specific, bound to the places where they originated, and are often better contemplated with that understanding in mind.

Apollon has many Oracular sites.  In antiquity there were Delos, Delphi, Patara, Cumae, Didyma, Claros,  and probably more which I have not mentioned, or which have yet to be uncovered.  Each location was itself a catalyst to Oracular work.  It was never only the person acting as mouthpiece that made the connections possible, but a joint effort beween person, Land and God, the result of which we give the name of Oracle– to the mouthpeice (sometimes called a Sybil), to the site itself, and to the message received. So, with such varied templates and strong foundations to work with, why so often are there those claiming to be a Pythia, or worse still, claiming that they are THE Pythia of Delphi, specifically?

Each of His Oracular sites were glorious, but Delphi is the site considered by many to be the most glorious, and I can understand the draw, although for myself, I was always more intimidated by Delphi as the monolith of modern Oracular inspiration.  However, in my contemplation, I now see that perhaps feeling intimidated helped me to stay focused on the real agenda during all my study of Delphi and its priestesses.  The time I spent there was for the purpose of learning, and the application of spirit-taught technique. Forming permanent bonds with the priestesses was never my intention, and indeed the interest originated from their end.

So, this is not a matter of inheriting a legacy from the priestesses of old, because they choose who they will, as does Apollon.  What it is about, is claiming a title that wasn’t for just anybody to claim.

Firstly, any Pythia would have to physically reside in Pytho, and even if a woman were to settle in Delphi to conduct her Oracular work, she would only be meeting the minimum criteria needed to potentially become accepted into the position.  You see, this is because the priests of the Temple of Apollon had the final say in approving/accepting the Pythia. And since there is no living temple tradition dedicated to the Lord Apollon in Delphi presently, controlled and maintained by His priests, absolutely no one has the authority to dole out the title of Pythia to anyone aspiring to be such, and I will acknowledge no Pythia other than the dead priestesses I revere.

I also do not understand why those grasping onto the title do not more readily grasp onto their own Lands, in conjunction with their connections with Apollon, to establish new and local Oracular sites that are eager for work to be done within their boundaries. The site upon which I work is a living, vibrant place, which has its own spiritual destiny to manifest. Delphi, and all of the other ancient sites are wonderful templates, as well as places of learning for those of us who visit them in Other realms, however, the lines of succession are irreparably broken.  We must forge new paths, new sites, new rituals, new Lore, and new understandings of our Gods, especially of Apollon, Who is making His great and long-awaited return into the greater sphere of human influence.

Shall all this be done on the backs of the long departed?  Or shall we first release ourselves from the expectation of surpassing, or even meeting the achievements of those who walked similar paths before us?  There is a fine line, and though we should always try to be the very best we can in whatever we strive to do, I still can not endorse anyone calling themselves the Pythia (and by this I mean equating themselves specifically to the Oracle, not simply as a moniker of identity), no matter how sincere they may believe themselves to be, because they are not the Pythia.  And, which Pythia do they mean, anyway?  The title was held by a very long line of successive priestesses, over an extremely long period of time.

Does this make me a bad Hellenist because I will not adhere to whatever happens to come along in the community, even when heavily endorsed by those with supposed credentials?  Maybe, if you judge the goodness and piety of Hellenists only by what so many often loud and opinionated individuals tell you. But, if you are more apt to follow after your own conclusions, then you are probably more apt to acknowledge the growth of young Oracular sites, and the mouthpieces who reside in them.

And there are many, as there have always been many dedicated in love and honor to the Lord Apollon.  And we are varied, as those who honored Him before us were varied.  I hope to see a time when all of our dreams are brought out into the waking world, and when our endeavors for our Lord are met between us, not with hostility, but with toleration, especially when we disagree, as all humans inevitably do.

Over the November Horizon

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“I give first place of honor in my prayer to her
who of the Gods first prophesied, the Earth; and next
to Themis, who succeeded to her mother’s place
of prophecy; so runs the legend; and in third
succession, given by free consent, not won by force,
another Titan daughter of Earth was seated here.
This was Phoebe. She gave it as birthday gift
to Phoebus, who is called still after Pheobe’s name.
And he, leaving the pond of Delos and the reef,
grounded his ship at the roadstead of Pallas, then
made his way to this land and a Parnassian home.
Deep in respect for his degree Hephaestus’ sons
conveyed him here, for these are builders of roads, and changed
the wilderness to a land that was no wilderness.
He came so, and the people highly honored him,
with Delphus, lord and helmsman of the country. Zeus
made his mind full with Godship and prophetic craft
and placed him, fourth in a line of seers, upon this throne.
So, Loxias is the spokesman of his father, Zeus.”

The Pythia  —  Eumenides

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For it is right that first praise go to Those, in the line of succession, Who made it possible for the Will of the Gods to be translated into human tongues, thus do I, Columbine, daughter of Zeus, bow in succession to Them.

Gaea, Great-Grandmother; the hard, round Earth, Who opens Her Mouth and all things tremble in silence.  Now, to Themis, Who is Tradition and Law, do I speak. Next, to Phoebe, I call out in awe and appreciation for the gift of Her illuminating speech.

But, even These are not the Ones for whom I have come, this day.  My heart– my soul, ache to pay homage to those who were as close to our Lord as any mortal could be.  It is for the Blessed Pythias to receive what is theirs, if they will it.

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To these do I give the first honors of the year, freshly dawned over the November horizon; the women of Apollon, who bore His heavy and burdensome Voice for all who dared to seek for Him, in the shadow of Mount Parnassos.

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To them who gave up their lives and bodies to the God, I express my deepest thanks, for their knowledge flows deep and pure, like a whirlpool, awaiting only the many impatient seekers on His harrowed path.

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So, receive what is yours, Dear Ones!  In the new light, of the New Year, I bask in the heat of His pride for you!  Your splendor and radiance pour forth into this world from beyond the Veil, presenting all with the opportunity to witness the result of His Masterful Touch!

Hail to you, Blessed Pythias, who are, above all things, His!  Even now, as the sublime newness of the year delights you with gifts of purpose, and vanity, also, for you are worthy of all which is desired of me, and my Sisters, whose time approaches!

Hail to you, and be welcome in my heart and home for as long as it pleases you to stay!  In this place and time, you are honored, respected and revered!  And I humbly ask you to take the many seats at this table, which were always meant for dragons, and gentle maids!

~

[All works of art belong to their respective artists/owners, which if you haven’t guessed, isn’t me.]

November, November

I honor my spiritual Ancestors on the first day of the year, every year. All those who have lived before, yet are not a part of my biological family tree.  Chiefest among these are the priestesses of Delphi.  This was the second year in which I honored them on the first of November, and I am still only becoming acquainted with them, so there hasn’t been much more than a brief acknowledgment of my existence, followed by their accepting of my offerings.  Being in their presence is always humbling.  The sensation that came over me at their arrival was physically overwhelming, to the point of being unpleasant, and it only lifted completely after each of the three offerings were presented to the priestesses. They also had a very succinct message for me this year, which I am taking to heart.

Afterward, I did a fair bit of divining for myself, mostly inquiring about my past, and related subjects. Now, with the coming of the New Year, and the conclusion of two months of important rituals, I may relax a bit and dive into that much welcomed (and needed) period of Winter introspection. So, you can expect less blogging from me from now until Winter Solstice, or secular new year. I’ve a lot of thinking, learning and growing to do.

As far as my divination is concerned, I’ll be cutting one session out each month until the rest period ends, so there will be one session for November, one for December, and one for January. Bimonthly divination will resume in either February or March.

Also, anyone seeking Intercession with Lord Apollon may contact me directly via email (no need to coment here) to explain your need. I take this service very seriously, and will only do it if you convince me that it is truly needed. I will be open for intercession until the end of January, but please note, this is a very personal form of prayer. If I intercede on your behalf, I will not be able to divine for you until three months pass after the last intercession. Intercession requires a depth of emotion (in my practice), while divination requires that I remain emotionally distant. There would be a massive conflict of interest, so I’ll update my services page to reflect these changes, as soon as it is convenient for me to do so.

I’m really happy about the way things are going in my life right now. I’m going to enjoy this resting and thinking time, and take it as the wonderful gift that it is. And, if I manage to squeeze out enough time, I may even finish that post about Hyperborea I’ve been writing for the Treasury of Apollon.

And now, I have to laugh at myself, because, even as I throw off some Work for the Winter, different (more) Work gets piled on. I am a strange creature. But then, aren’t most of us religious types?