For almost 500 years, from the 8th to 3rd century B.C., generations of oracles gave prophecies and gazed into the unseen spiritual world from Apollo’s temple, atop Mt. Pernassus in central Greece.
Although there has never been much dispute about the historical existence of priestesses who were called oracles, or the temple, which still stands in ruin today. It was the stories of their mystical behavior and otherworldly powers that became the larger mythical counterpoint to the historical reality.
It was said that the oracle’s inner chamber room was often filled with mysterious vapors, emanating from jagged openings or large cracks in the floor of the chamber.
These vapors seemed to swirl around and engulf the oracle, causing her to swoon and enter into a kind of trance, a trance from which she would speak an unknown language that could only be interpreted by a select group of temple assistants.
It was reported that these prophetic ecstasies could become so physically intense, and even violent, that it was thought that the oracle was being possessed by the god Apollo.
In this video, presenter Frederick Tamagi explores the dilemma of believing nothing because you can’t believe everything whenever myth is embedded in the question.