From the recording Ancient Greek Magic

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Trance of the Pythia

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In ancient Greece, whilst most of the priests at Delphi were men, the one who actually channelled the prophecies of the god Apollo was a woman - an ordinary woman chosen when necessary, at the Festival of the Stepteria from the village of Delphi by the Amphictyonic League (an association of neighbouring states). The Pythia served for life and remained chaste throughout her service.

On the day when visitors came to get her advice, the priests (hosia) would lead the current Pythia from her secluded home to the Castalia spring, where she would purify herself, and then she would slowly ascend to the temple. At the entrance, the hosia offered her a cup of holy water from the spring, then she entered and descended to the adyton (a restricted area within the cella, or inner chamber, of a Greek Temple) and took a seat on the tripod.

The Pythia breathed in the sweet and aromatic gasses (pneuma) and achieved a trance-like state. The head priest relayed questions from the visitors, and the Pythia responded in an altered voice, sometimes chanting, sometimes singing, sometimes in wordplay. The priest-interpreters (prophetai) then deciphered her words and provided them to the visitors in hexameter poetry.

This piece attempt to evoke the mystery of the prophetic utterances of the Pythia of Delphi - evoking her trance-like state of altered consciousness through repetitive meditative motifs heard in the intensely introspective ancient Greek Dorian Mode.