Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Paul LarsonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_479

The term “oracle” can refer to a specific person who practices divination or to the mechanism used for divination (e.g., cards, trance possession, and reflecting bowl of water). The oracle is the medium who bridges between the spiritual world and the mundane world, or the one who interprets or reads significance into the message delivered, known as reading the portents.

An important oracle which has received some broad public attention. The oracle of Apollo at Delphi is perhaps the most famous oracle, but that position has been vacant since the Christian Church persuaded the Roman emperor Theodosius I to close pagan temples in 393 CE. The oracle, known as the Pythia, had provided guidance to both persons and city states since the eighth century BCE., so it represents a very long-standing social and spiritual tradition. One of the most famous sayings from classical Greek antiquity was reputed to have been inscribed on the lintel to the temple of Apollo at Mt. Parnassus, where the oracle...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyChicagoUSA