Songs of the Oracle- Page 3
Pat and I were glad the next day to be away from all of this and on the dirt roads. We didn't see
anyone all day. At least no one human. While going up the trail I began to have doubts again that
we were on the right path. But we decided it was a nice trail anyway, and so we kept going.
Eventually I heard a tinkling bell and followed the sound. I came out on a cliff side with a view of
the Arachovite Meadows, a cradled mountain field. Rising up from the valley, more mountains.
This was the ancient valley were the people who lived here before the Greeks. The bell sound was
behind me and I turned around and saw a goat on the hill, watching us. Below the goat was a
cave opening. Since one of the gods associated with the grotto was Pan, the Goat god, I took this
to be a welcoming sign.
I didn't have a flashlight, but there was the daylight coming in. I tried "Hello" and
and a few other announcements in various languages, but got no reply. The cave floor slanted
down and in rather quickly, and I could see my breath as I decended. Then I saw them. The cave
opened inward and formed a large globe like room. At the back were the mythic rock formations
I had heard about. Wonderful multiple stalagmite formations. Like hunched over monsters, they
sat as guardians to the lower grotto and watched us in silent petrification. As my eyes began to
adjust to the reduced light, I could see that behind them in the darkness were whole walls of
formations, like Baroque organ pipes that had been grown organicly and then had dark wax
dripped on them for centuries, for milleniums, for epochs. At first I felt like an intruder, as if a
wonderful party had been going on in the cave and everyone froze to stone as I entered. A ancient
respect kept me quiet and mouse like. After all, this was a sacred grotto and these stone beings
once spoke secret eternal truths to and with their worshipers. And this was considered to be one
of the entrances to the Underworld, to the darkness beyond which few can see and fewer return.
Certainly that depth is carried by the grotto.
But I felt an even stronger spirit beginning to move. A more playful and curious atmosphere now
slowly began to animate these lithic-beings. I felt more relaxed and welcomed. I remember being
at the zoo one day and walking over to rest on a bench.
The squirrels in the area froze or ran off. But as soon as they sensed I was not a threat to them
they began to play and jump around again. So too in the cave, either I or the rocks or both grew
more playful. Pat must have sensed this too and came down into the grotto. We had a delightful
time, singing and exploring the parts of the grotto we could without light. I had intended to just
sit and listen to the silence and small voices of the cave. But it was a little chilly and this seemed
to call for more active play. I made a ring of seven stones as my dream came back to me. I began
singing. I made-up Gregorian chants about life, universe and everything. I made up my life story
like the Odyssey of Homer and told this to the cave. It was during this improvisational singing
that I touched a source in the cave, or it had touched a source in me.
The cave became my friend. It was clear that if this had not been the original cave of the
oracle, it had been used by many. I imagined baccants and maenads running through these hills
and night with torches and falling asleep in a large group her in the cave. I've always regretted we
didn't spend the night in the cave, but perhaps this fits better with my fate. My destiny didn't lay
any longer in going further into the cave and darkness, but in befriending, seeing and unfolding the
oracle in a new way I didn't quite yet understand.
Upon returning to our hotel that evening in Delphi, a rainstorm came through the valley. The
thunder seemed like laughter we had shared with the cave and the rain its weeping the sadness of
our leaving. Soon the clouds passed, the sun came out and the old man below the hotel came back
out to sing to his radio and anyone with the time to hear his song.
Then had a dream. In the dream a man is lying down and telling a few of us around him his
dream. When he finishes, we make comments on the meaning of the dream. While I am doing this
a goat like fellow moves next to the dreamer and whispers to him, "I want to dance this dream
with you." We are all amazed at the profoundness of the connection this makes between the
dream and the dreamer.
Upon awakening I realized I wanted to add more drama to my dreamwork. The oracle had
become too Apollonian and so had my oracle, the dream. "The Far Seer" Apollo is sometimes
called. The original oracle had connections to Apollo's brother, Dionysos, a deity
seen more in
later Greek culture in the dance and drama. Pan, the maenaids, esctatic dance were all part of
Dionysos' pantheon. It was Pan that taught Apollo dreamwork when he came to Delphi, or so one
myth says. One of the stone formations in the Corycian Cave is still called "Pan". This may at time
be pandemonium, but at others it is a sure footed traveler that walks the hills above the valley
were men and woman live. Along this border the oracle can still be heard.
Out of the cave and onto the stage of the world. It was still a few years before I realized how
this metaphor plays out on the stage of the Net. Ah, but that's another song.
Richard Wilkerson &