“The worship of Apollo included the establishment and maintenance of places of prophecy by means of which the gods could communicate with mankind and reveal futility to such as deserved the boon. … While Christian authors have tried to prove that oracular revelations were delivered by the Devil for the purpose of misleading humanity, they have not dared to attack the theory of oracles, because of the repeated references to it in their own sacred writings. …
“The most famous oracles of antiquity were those of Delphi, Dodona, Trophonius, and Latona, of which the talking oak trees of Dodona were the oldest. … It is known that many of the caves and fissures set aside by the Greeks were sacred long before the rise of Greek culture.” ~Manly P. Hall
Oracles and Prophecies
Christian writers certainly cannot criticize the basic idea of oracles when they often talk of prophecy, which is just another name for the same thing. As far back as we can go in available writings and legends, we find references to oracles, prophets, soothsayers, and so on. Shamans and witch doctors were often valued as much for their ability to predict events as for their ability to heal the sick and wounded.
Today, scientists and materialists laugh at this. The Oracle of Delphi is labeled a drug addict whose predictions come from hallucinations. Remember that this oracle, more properly called the Pythia, was the High Priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, not some carnival fortune teller. Other argue that her predictions came true only because they were so vague and hidden in riddles, or poetic and allegorical language. To some extent, that is true—but with good reason.
The purpose of the Oracle at Delphi, as at other places and other times, was to aid the spiritual student in developing their spiritual abilities. So when kings and generals came to them asking questions about winning a war, or getting elected, they could not refuse to answer, but they also could not truly use their gift for such purposes. Therefore, they gave those cryptic answers we are all familiar with. If we knew what answers they gave to questions from spiritual students, we would see quite a difference.
The Oracle of Dodona predated the one at Delphi, but is no less legitimate. When historians mention the “talking trees” of Dodona, people understandably laugh, and consider the place a fraud. But the trees never talked. It was claimed that the oracle at this location listened to the rustling of the leaves in an ancient Oak to get the prophecies she shared. Whether she did or not is debatable, but is very different from “talking trees”.
As with many other things, the Greeks probably got the idea of oracles from the Egyptians. Egypt had famous oracles also. The oldest known oracular sight is the temple of Per-Wadjet which flourished in predynastic Egypt. The best known site of oracles in Egypt, though, is Karnak. Even pharaohs consulted these oracles. I think it is safe to say that the rules regarding the Greek oracles also applied here.
Oracles and the Sun
An interesting aspect of these ancient oracles and oracular sites is that they are inevitable associated with sun gods. Whether in Egypt, Greece, Babylonia, or Rome, these oracles, usually women, were sun priestesses. I think it is safe to say that they were viewing the spiritual sun rather than the physical. It is the spiritual sun that reveals hidden knowledge