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Thursday, July 23, 2009

A VISIT TO THE SANCTUARY OF THE GODS: DELPHI

TEMPLE OF APOLLO

JUNE 5, 2009: A DAY TRIP TO DELPHI, SANCTUARY OF THE GODS

There's hardly a time when I'm in Greece that I don't make a pilgrimage to Delphi. To me, it's part of the ritual of being there, getting in touch with Greece's ancient history, and experiencing the energy that is associated with this place, known as "the Navel of the Earth".

Delphi is steeped in myth and truly, when you are there, you will feel close to the gods who dwell there. This is the most important 'holy' place in all of Greece. In the ancient times, no important decisions were made without first consulting the oracle here.


DORIC COLUMNS OF TEMPLE OF APOLLO
The Delphic oracle was a priestess who sat on a tripod inside the temple, over a chasm that emitted hallucinogenic vapors. (I have read in recent years that they believe it was vapors from an earth fissure caused by an earthquake). The priestess inhaled these fumes and went into a frenzy, uttering strange cryptic answers to the pilgrim's question that were translated into verse by a priest.

Apollo was worshiped in Delphi except in winter when Dionysos, the god of wine, was honored with feasting and merrymaking.

The Sanctuary is located far up on the slopes of beautiful Mt. Parnassos. It is mainly a tourist town, the attraction being the Museum and Sanctuary, but in winter this is also an imortant ski area. The nearby town of Arahova is a major ski resort and noted for tapestries and weavings.

I usually go to Delphi for a day trip from Athens, a very pleasant outing by bus that takes a few hours, driving through scenic countryside. The first time I went there back in the early 80's with a Greek friend and we slept on the edge of chasm under a full moon. Magic! Another time my girlfriend and I camped at the Apollo Camping just outside of the town. There's a swimming pool where you can cool off after wandering the slopes of the Sanctuary. I'd advise going to Delphi on a cool day. Once the temperatures rise into the 30's it's really too hot to enjoy your day exploring the ruins.


VIEW DOWN THE VALLEY TO THE GULF OF CORINTH

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