Last night I was trying to come up with an entertaining post for this, my second on the RB4U. There's always the one man's ceiling is another man's floor factor that gets in the way. And being a writer, of course I had a dozen possibilities in my head! This morning I had one more about the 4th of July. Oh well maybe next year for that one.
Even as a child I could entertain myself. My imagination was always active -- I'd draw, sculpt, carve, color, and cut paper for hours. Because of that innate desire to create, my mother always harbored the wish I'd be an artist of some sort. Intent on helping me find my niche, she supplied me with all sorts of tools and materials. She also she loaded me up with books on famous paintings and the Chicago Art Institute was just minutes away. I never followed the tangible arts, I went in another direction entirely. I wonder what she'd think of this author business!
Anyway, I once had a marvelous book about Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel, and I spent hours poring over the details. The artist was a master at painting perspective and tromp l'oeil, Impressive considering he painted much of the whole enormous ceiling on his back. Of all the images from the Sistine Chapel, one in particular caught my eye and compelled me to learn more. It was the Delphic Sybil (Sibyl) better known as the Oracle At Delphi.
Just prior to the Sybil coming on the scene, a goatherd tending his flock on the slope of Mount Parnassus
noticed his goats bleated strangely when grazing near a certain fissure
in the mountainside. Drawing nearer, he was seized by what he referred to as divine presence. Unknown
at the time, the mechanics of this presence
involved plate tectonics, those mobile rocky plates forming the earth's
surface. The two that came together there, the Eurasian Continental Plate and the Aegean Plate, created the
was here through the porous rock along the crevasse that methane and
ethane, two toxic hydrocarbon gasses, were released into the air.
mountainside soon became one of the most important religious sites of
the ancient world. A stone temple dedicated to the god Apollo was
erected in a natural amphitheater. They had a feeling the airs of the temple had special properties so a small alcove was built to catch the fumes from the fissure and the CO2
from the rich waters of a sacred spring deliberately channeled through
the temple. Inside the temple walls sat the Pythia -- specially trained women who dedicated themselves to Apollo. They became
the Delphic Oracles.
After preparing herself through fasting and cleansing, the Oracle
sat on her special tripod stool and breathed it all in. Wracked with
spasms, she fell into
an exalted state of mind. From this toxic
trance, she responded to questions and gave advice with
prophetic wisdom directly inspired by Apollo himself. It
was said at times she was spot on in her prophecy, but occasionally she
babbled and didn't make sense. At times her answers were
clear, but were beyond the understanding of the questioner. It's curious to note she only divined on special days. To do otherwise would prove deadly. On at least one
occasion the Pythia was forced from her divine schedule, and sure enough,
she went into seizures and died a few days later. I've wondered about this for more than half of my life. There was significance to the schedule, but how was it one day was safer than the
next? The oracles spoke at Delphi for a thousand years.
I hope you've enjoyed this little walk through ancient history. Sybil plays an important role in my work in progress. if you'd like to sample first chapters of my other books just ask and I'll send them on.
Speaking of art...Loving Leonardo, my unusual Victorian polyamorous love story with a touch of reader-interactive art history, won 2nd place in the International Digital Awards through the OKRWA (Oklahoma chapter of Romance Writers of America). I'm happy. Reader-interactive art history is as close as I get mom!
Rose is multi-published author and dilettante who loves great conversation and learning interesting things to weave into stories. She lives with her family and small menagerie amid oak groves and prairie in
the rolling glacial hills of the upper mid-west.
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