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The Sibyl

Sibyl is an ancient term used for a prophetess, of which there are many in mythology. They were usually linked with caves or springs, both of which are symbolic junctions of the underworld and the earth of mortals, and could be old women or young maidens.

Delphi in ancient Greece was the home of the most famous oracle of ancient times, at the sanctuary of Pythian Apollo. Here the Pythia, a priestess of Apollo, gave (frequently ambiguous) prophecies while seated on a special tripod positioned over a crack in the earth, from which trance-inducing fumes were said to issue. As Delphi is prone to earthquakes, the oracle (which had been there since time immemorial) was held to have originally belonged to Gaea, the great earth Mother. Some say that Poseidon, as earthquake God, also shared it with Her originally; at any rate Gaea set the great serpent Pytho to guard it. Apollo, arriving later in the form of a dolphin, killed Pytho and took the oracle for His own.

The Sibyl at Cumae, a town in Italy near Lake Avernus, was said to inhabit a cave with one hundred mouths, each of which had a voice. She wrote her prophecies on leaves, which she would leave at the cave entrance. The Cumaean Sibyl led Aeneas to the underworld to visit his deceased father, after telling him to offer the Golden Bough (mistletoe) to Proserpina.

According to another legend, she offered nine holy books to the early Roman King Tarquin, but he refused, saying the price was too steep. She then burnt three of them, and doubled the price. He again refused, and she burnt three more, again doubling the price, and the astonished and worried King finally bought them. These Sibylline Books were then found to contain instructions for the proper worship of the Gods, and were kept very safe, consulted only on the direction of the Senate.

Other oracles and sibyls to explore: the Oracle of Zeus at Dodona, where the God spoke through the rustling of leaves, or brass vessels which were hung in the sacred oak grove; the Oracle of Trophonius in Lebadia; the Oracle of Zeus-Ammon in Libya; the Cimmerian Sybil; the Phrygian Sibyl, and the Tiburtine Sibyl, Albunea.

This card in a reading indicates inspiration and prophetic dreams. Pay attention to the themes of your dreaming life, and explore them with such techniques as card reading, active imagination or automatic writing.


Guard your inspirations.

Tales:

Aida-Wedo
Amaterasu
Aphrodite
Ariadne
Arianrhod
Athene
Blodeuwedd
Bride
Cerridwen
Ch'ang O
Coyolxauhqui
Freyja
Ishtar
Kali
Kirke
Kore
Laverna
Lilith
Medusa
Pomona
Rhiannon
Sibyl