Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Delphi~ Travelin' Tuesday

Back to our Greece Tour~
Welcome to The Oracle at Delphi!

...Located on the slopes of Mt. Parnassus,
a mountain sacred to Apollo
and home to the Muses.

Seen here (in the work of an anonymous Athenian painter)
crowned in a wreath of myrtle leaves and offering wine as libation,
Apollo was considered the prophet of the Oracle
and the patron god of poetry and music.

It's said that Apollo spoke through the Oracle
by way of a priestess called the Pythia,
an older woman chosen for her purity and good character.

People came from all over the world
to consult the Oracle
on matters ranging from public policy to personal issues.

Myth has it that, up here on the side of this mountain overlooking olive groves,
while holding a laurel branch and holy water from a nearby stream,
she was seated over a fissure and inhaled vapors emitted
from the decomposing body of a python serpent once killed by Apollo.

In busy times, as many as three priestesses might be needed
to attend to the many seekers and their questions
from the highest-ranking policymakers regarding polis issues
to the lowliest peasant requesting guidance in love.

Love is a most frightening thing, for all of us.
I have great mountains of respect for those who are willing
to share honestly of themselves,
regardless of their fear, courageous without walls,
to make themselves vulnerable and thus reach ever-higher states of love.

So in honor of the Oracle
(just in case you had questions about love)
and the god of poetry and leader of the Muses,
I offer a piece of poetry
from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.

On Love:

"When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.

And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.

And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you
so shall he crucify you.

Even as he is for your growth
so is he for your pruning.

Even as he ascends to your height and caresses
your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots
and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn
he gathers you unto himself.

He threshes you to make you naked.

He sifts you to free you from your husks.

He grinds you to whiteness.

He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire,
that you may become sacred bread
for God's sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you
that you may know the secrets of your heart,
and in that knowledge
become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek
only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness
and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh,
but not all of your laughter, and weep,
but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself
and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not
nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say,
"God is in my heart," but rather,
"I am in the heart of God."

And think not you can direct the course of love,
for love, if it finds you worthy,
directs your course.

Love has no other desire
but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires,
let these be your desires:

To melt and be like a running brook
that sings its melody to the night.

To know the pain of too much tenderness.

To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

To wake at dawn with a winged heart
and give thanks for another day of loving;

To rest at the noon hour
and meditate love's ecstasy;

To return home at eventide with gratitude;

And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart
and a song of praise upon your lips."

Stay tuned next week to continue
our tour of Delphi.

(All photos copyright: Kirsten Steen)


  1. Kirsten dearest, these are romantic and haunting images as well of a time and culture that has not left us. The Greek design, philosophy and vestiges of a former glory are still so beautiful and fill our lives. This was stunning!!!!!! Anita

  2. lucky you. Greece.... What wonderful words about love. I too love Greece. thanks for the lovely post. Carla

  3. Oh Kirsten, you must find this book...there are some trees in this beauty that will take your breath away and make you want to go to ENGLAND! I love Europe, but France is my favorite spot. HOWEVER, after about a year or two of really examining British culture and countryside through images and even movies, I must say that I NEED TO GO to the countryside to see these trees for myself.

    Thank you for coming dear friend, and I wish you a happy evening with those you love! Anita

  4. Anita~ I will definitely look for this book. I LOVED England! After a short 5-day car trip there a couple of years ago, I am itching to go back. Glastonbury in particular seems to call to me frequently! Suddenly I am transported and know I need to write about it but not sure in what capacity! As always, thanks for your kind words!

    Thanks Carla~ I thought these words were perfect too! Love your blog photos and info!


Hello and Welcome!
Thanks for coming and for making your thoughts and feelings known. I appreciate all comments greatly.
Hope to see you again!