My feet travel the path of many tourists before me, up the steps, up the path, heading to the ruined sanctuary above. Yet, as I walk, the others fade. The sun becomes brighter as I walk the path. From my peripheral vision, I can see the temples re-knitting, like a video played backwards. Stones jump up and melt together, forming columns that support roofs over buildings that have not stood for thousands of years.

I keep my eyes off of the wonder, though. I am walking towards a very special building; Pythia's building, where Apollon resides. This, too, has come together. It stands gleaming in the bright afternoon sun. Sweat runs down my back, and I'm slightly out of breath. My modern clothes have been replaced by soft linen, wrapped around my body and tied with a piece of string. I'm still hot.

My bare feet take step after step until I reach the stairs. I can feel the cooler air pouring from the temple from where I'm standing. With a last look at the structure, I climb the stairs, and enter. It's cool inside. The fires that burn keep the room from being cold. Sweat chills on my back and I shiver.

There is a pressure in the temple; the pressure of a Deity bearing down upon it. I take the small steps down to where Pythia would have held oracle, here at Delphi. This is where He looks down upon me from a statue at the base of the stairs; Pythian Apollon, slayer of the serpent--He who Shoots from Afar. It is He who rules here--has ruled here for so very long.

It is at the base of the statue I place my gifts: the sweetest versions of pomegranate, olive and fig, an amphoreus of wine and a smaller one with honey, a beautifully decorated kylix, depicting the Pythian Games. I set them at the base of the statue of Apollon and speak clearly the purpose of my visit. To learn of the future, to find answers to the present. I wait until the words have lost their echo and respectfully move on, into the fire-lit room beyond.

Pythia is long gone, and no one has risen to take her place, and so I move forward myself. I set myself down where her stool would have stood and close my eyes. Here, where every breath stirs up remnants of the past, I wait. I sit for minutes, hours, until the dust begins to dance with every exhale of breath. The torches sputter and come to life as the sound of my breath becomes more than the sound of my breath. 

We breath together, Apollon and I, and the dust dances. The torches crackle. Then, all sounds in the room come together, speaking in a language I can hear but not understand. I listen, focussed on my breathing, letting the sounds merge together until Apollon's delicious presence opens my mind to the impossible; the language of the past.

I listen to the voices of the many Pythia who sat here. Their voice, old and young, mingling with the cacophony of silence around me. I am overwhelmed, and listen. I listen for the advice I asked for. When it is revealed to me, the silence in the room implodes, as if everything--including me--is holding its breath. I am torn from the past by the voices of tourists, out in the corridor beyond. A male laugh, a child's squeal. I gasp for the air I have been withholding from myself and rise shakily. 

When I leave the room and brush past the intruders, I notice my offerings are gone. Back outside, the heat is deathly, but welcome. Delphi is back in ruins, and I can finally breath again. As I glance behind me, the temple of Pythian Apollon is gone. All that remains are overgrown rocks. Yet, He is still here, the Far-Shooter, and He still watches over those who come to seek answers.

*This post is an extension of yesterday's post about the Oracle of Delphi.