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 her.
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 Reconstructionists 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.