Muse Imagery

The sanctuary of Dodona is in the northwestern Greece, 22 km south of Ioannina. The sanctuary lies in the midst of a narrow valley on the eastern slopes of Mt Tomaras.

Ancient tradition held Dodona to be the oldest of the Greek oracles and unique in its time. The Pelasgians had consulted it on whether they should adopt the names of the gods from the barbarians, and the Oracle had answered in the he affirmative. (Herodotus 11, 52)

When Herodotus visited Dodona himself, the priests recounted to him a local tradition, a variant of one he had already heard of in Egyptian Thebes: two black doves flew from Thebes, and one of them founded the sanctuary of Zeus Ammon in Libya, while the other alighted in an oak tree at Dodona, and announced in human speech that the oracle of Zeus was to be built in that place. The tradition was corroborated by the other Dodoneans at the Oralce.

The Dodona Oracle was mentioned in the Argonautica, an epic now lost and known to us only from summaries by the ancient writers, and in Homeric epics.

According to the "Argonuatica" Jason came to Dodona on the advice of Athena to fetch a branch from the prophetic Oak-tree and mount it on the prow of his ship, to guide them on the way and to guard them from the dangers of their perilous voyage.

In the Odyssey, too, Odysseus, the hero of the poem, comes to ask the oracular Oak-tree how he should return to his home on Ithaca, secretly or openly.

A descendent of that famed oak tree shades the ruins of the oracular house today. Swooning, savoring the solitude I stopped to ask direction. "The path you follow is the right one!" whispered the leaves as they rustled ever so gently. The cry of a rooster, the bellow of a herd of cows could not silence the voice of the rustling leaves as I sat in this ancient sanctuary, shivering with anticipation. Demeter welcomed me with tears of joy, the leaves sang happily, a butterfly danced, skipping lightly above the delicate cyclamens that grow amid the old ruins.....
from the diary of Heather Blakey 2001





Dodona - Greece

On the advice of Athena you come to Dodona to sit within the sanctity of an Oak-tree and ask a question of the oracular spirit.

You are met by three priestess doves who dress you in a simple robe. They pour libations from a gold cup and pray to Dodonean Zeus.

Lord Zeus, Dodonean, Pelasgian Zeus, you who dwells far off and rules over wintery Dodona, and around you live your prophets the Selli, whose feet are unwashed and who sleep on the ground.....

You pay respects to the divine couple who have their abode in the Oak-tree. You tune in to the rustling of the leaves and the flight of the doves that nest in its branches...

At the right moment you ask your question, waiting, listening to the leaves that rustle above you...

Begin to write. Do not stop to think. Just write about where you are and what happens.


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Heather Blakey asserts the right to be identified as the author of this work