Delphi is connected with the womb as a portal of cosmic consciousness and is a bridge between heaven and earth- the place where spirit enters the material world and the mysteries of renewal symbolised by the serpent. The word (πίθος pithos) is thought to mean large jar, which may also have connotations to the womb. Although some believe that the Pythia Priestesses were in a half mad state of intoxication caused by putrid fumes from the earth, other scholars claim that far from gibberish their prophecies were intelligible and clear. Divine wisdom uttered by the Pythia was sought by the great and good of the time who were influenced by their prophecies (including Socrates) up until the 4th century AD.
The word uterus is connected to the word utterance and when the Pythia- again from the word pithos- womb- opened themselves to the divine inspiration it was the voice of the Great Mother that spoke.
Hygeia is involved with the serpent mysteries; as the daughter of the Greco-Roman demigod Asclepius who was born of Apollo and Coronis, (which may have a shared root with the word crone) the birth of Asclepius echoes the usurping and assimilation of feminine power.
When Coronis is pregnant she falls in love with a mortal man, this enrages Apollo who kills both her and her lover. As she lay burning on her funeral pyre, Apollo performs the first caesarean section by cutting baby Asclepius from her womb thus saving him from certain death- he becomes the god of medicine.
Robert Graves suggests that the myth of Coronis represents the suppression of medical practice by women and its transference into the hands of the patriarchy. For Graves, the death of Coronis heralds a point when wisdom originally carried by the wise woman was now passed only from father to son. The Rod of Asclepius- a serpent entwined staff is still the symbol of medicine and healing today.
By now I am sure you have realised the uncanny link between the name Coronis and the Corona Virus… could it be that the virus is directing us to conscious self-care and the innate intelligence of our own bodies? Is it time for the return of the shamanic wise woman and… realistically can we continue to live without her?
On the other hand the fear surrounding the Corona virus may legitimise further pharmaceutical and medical intervention ( we have now seen this happen). Afterall, we are dealing with the serpent mysteries that can either heal or destroy.
In the Oracle of Delphi, carved above the door is the phrase “Know thyself”. Today it is information that has reached pandemic levels, there is so much information and misinformation out there causing mass confusion and panic. How do we know ourselves in the midst of so much conflicting information? We go within, to nature, and to the land.
The serpent has the power to heal or destroy. When Athena gives Asclepius the blood from the severed head of Medusa, he separates it into two vials- one that has the power to kill and the other to restore life.
“Pharmakon”, a Greek word which means both medicine and poison is linked with the serpent mysteries of resurrection and healing- as is Asclepius. A “Pharmakeus” is a magician or sorcerer who works with this magic, and the ‘Pharmakos’ is the scapegoat who may be sacrificed in the process.
As we advance further into scientific knowledge, technology, biomedicine, and genetics, worthy of consideration are the consequences of this Promethean power and the implications on our relationship with the natural world including our own bodies. In a culture that appears to esteem mastery over nature, and where it seems that the natural world and the natural human are endangered species, perhaps now is the time to reclaim the wise woman and the serpent mysteries of renewal.
Calling the Pythia Priestesses- the ones who are able to deeply connect with the chthonic and telluric energies of the land, the ones who open their bodies as receptacles of cosmic wisdom and the secrets of heaven and earth, the ones who listen to their own truth through shamanic awareness and abilities. To those who embrace the wisdom of renewal, the integration of the dark and light, life and death and the art of resurrection, we call you.