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View looking down (south) on the western end of the Temple of Apollo. This is the area where the sacred room (adyton) for the Pythian Priestess was located. However, due to destruction through the ages the exact location of the adyton is not known.
The Pythian priestess was the receiver and deliverer of the oracle. Originally she was available only once a year but, due to popular demand, she became available once a month during nine months of the year.
At times there were up to three of them. She was over 50. She would purify herself in the Castalian Fountain and the drink from the water of the Kassotis and much on bay leaves. She would then enter the adyton and sat on a “tripod stool” above the Python’s cave and inhaled vapors from laurel leaves and the cavern below. This sent her into a trance during which she mumble oracles that were recorded and interpreted by priests for the benefit of the inquirers.
Modern geological surveys have suggested that two fault lines — at right angles to each other — actually meet below the temple(!) and that gasses such as methane, ethane, and ethylene that were leaked from the faults may have “intoxicated” the priestess!!
In the upper portion of the image the depths of the Pleistos Valley are visible.
For a brief description of the Temple of Apollo Click Here.
For a brief description of Delphi, and a map, Click Here.