Delphi, Greece, 2017.10.18
Delphi, Greece, 2017.10.18.
Nikon D7200, 12-24mm f/4G lens @12mm f/8, aperture priority. Edited for drama.

"While in a trance the Pythia 'raved' — probably a form of ecstatic speech — and her ravings were 'translated' by the priests of the temple into elegant hexameters. It has been speculated that the ancient writers, including Plutarch who had worked as a priest at Delphi, were correct in attributing the oracular effects to the sweet-smelling pneuma (Ancient Greek for breath, wind or vapour) escaping from the chasm in the rock. That exhalation could have been high in the known anaesthetic and sweet-smelling ethylene or other hydrocarbons such as ethane known to produce violent trances. Though this theory remains debatable the authors put up a detailed answer to their critics.

"Ancient sources describe the priestess using 'laurel' to inspire her prophecies. Several alternative plant candidates have been suggested including Cannabis, Hyoscyamus, Rhododendron and Oleander. Harissis claims that a review of contemporary toxicological literature indicates that oleander causes symptoms similar to those shown by the Pythia, and his study of ancient texts shows that oleander was often included under the term 'laurel'. The Pythia may have chewed oleander leaves and inhaled their smoke prior to her oracular pronouncements and sometimes dying from the toxicity. The toxic substances of oleander resulted in symptoms similar to those of epilepsy, the 'sacred disease,'' which may have been seen as the possession of the Pythia by the spirit of Apollo."

— "Delphi", Wikipedia