The earliest known oracle was in the renowned temple of Per-Wadjet. This was an important site in the Predynastic era of Ancient Egypt, which includes the cultural developments of ten thousand years from the Paleolithic to 3.100 BC The temple was dedicated to the worship of Wadjet and may have been the source for the oracular tradition that spread to Ancient Greece from Egypt. The Per-Wadjet tradition continued through the entire history of the Ancient Egyptian culture. The later Greeks called both the goddess and the city Buto.
Essentially, an oracle was a means of making a personal request to a deity to answer a question. Evidence for the use and belief in oracles comes from the many oracular decrees engraved on temple walls or delivered on papyrus to private persons who then wore the oracle as an amulet; references made in administrative or private records; original petitions on papyrus or ostraca and laid before the god; and statues and reliefs associated with oracles.
The Following Oracles are amongst the Best Known :
Karnak (Thebes), Egypt – Karnak is the mother oracle to all other oracle centres. The name translates as ‘The most perfect of places’. It is the site from which all other oracles are said to originate. It is suggested that they were able to communicate with each other by the use of ‘homing‘ doves, enabling them to ‘see into the future‘..
Nestled between the ancient cities of Luxor and Thebes, lie the remains of Karnak, one of the most magnificent temple complexes ever constructed. It became a religious center during the period known as the New Kingdom (founded c. 1550 B.C ). Dedicated to the sun deity Amon-Ra (also Amun-Re) and built around 1500 B.C. Karnak consists of massive pillars, towering columns, avenues of sphinxes, and a remarkable obelisk that stands 97 feet tall and weighs 323 tons.
Two relevant texts can be seen at Karnak, they read as follows:
‘Ye people from south and north, all ye eyes that see the sun, all ye who come from south and north to Thebes to entreat the lord of gods, come to me! What ye say I shall pass to Amun at Karnak. Say the “offering spell” to me and give me water from that which ye possess. For I am the messenger whom the king has appointed to hear your words of petition and to send up to him the affairs of the Two Lands.’
‘Ye people of Karnak, ye who wish to see Amun, come to me! I shall report your petitions. For I am indeed the messenger of this god. The king has appointed me to report the words of the Two Lands. Speak to me the “offering spell” and invoke my name daily, as is done to one who has taken a vow.’
An Omphalus was excavated in the sanctuary of the Great Temple of Amon at Karnak, by G. A. Reisner. It supports the Greek traditions of doves flying between Delphi and Karnak. (1)
Delphi (Greece) – Delphi, which had the most famous oracle of ancient Greece. Delphi was regarded as the centre of the world. According to mythology, it is here that the two eagles sent out by Zeus from the ends of the universe to find the navel of the world met. The sanctuary of Delphi, set within a most spectacular landscape, was for many centuries the cultural and religious centre and symbol of unity for the Hellenic world. The history of Delphi begins in prehistory and in the myths of the ancient Greeks. In the beginning the site was sacred to Mother Earth and was guarded by the terrible serpent Python, who was later killed by Apollo. Apollo’s sanctuary was built here by Cretans who arrived at Kirrha, the port of Delphi, accompanied by the god in the form of a dolphin. This myth survived in plays presented during the various Delphic festivals, such as the Septerion, the Delphinia, the Thargelia, the Theophania and, of course. the famous Pythia, which celebrated the death of Python and comprised musical and athletic competitions.
The earliest finds in the area of Delphi, which date to the Neolithic period (4,000 BC), come from the Korykeion Andron, a cave on Parnassos, where the first rituals took place. (7)
Siwa Oasis. Libya: The Siwa oasis must not be forgotten as it is was specifically mentioned in relation to Karnak and Dodona by Herodotus. Its rich history includes a visit from Alexander the Great to consult the Oracle of Amun in 331 BC, and another by the King of Persia who led an army of 50,000 to destroy the oracle, with the entire army lost to the desert.
Dodona (Greece) – Was a prehistoric oracle devoted to the Earth-Mother Goddess identified at other sites with Rhea or Gaia. The shrine of Dodona was the oldest Hellenic oracle according to the fifth-century historian Herodotus and in fact dates to pre-Hellenic times, perhaps as early as the 2nd Millennium BC. Aristotle considered the region to have been the most ancient part of Greece and where the Hellenes originated. Priestesses and priests in the sacred grove interpreted the rustling of the oak (or beech) leaves to determine the correct actions to be taken.
Herodotus (Histories 2:54-57) was told by priests at Egyptian Thebes in the 5th cent. B.C. that: ‘two priestesses had been carried away from Thebes by Phoenicians; one, they said they had heard was taken away and sold in Libya, the other in Hellas; these women, they said, were the first founders of places of divination in the aforesaid countries’.
Delos (Greece) – According to Greek mythology, Delos was the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo, but it had a position as a holy sanctuary for a millennium before Olympian Greek mythology made it the birthplace of Apollo and Atremis.
The omphalos at Delos (left), contains the symbol of the Pythona coiled around the navel-stone.
It has long been argued that there exists a geometric connection between such sites, with a clear geodetic connection between Delphi, Dodona and Karnak (Egypt), as established by Livvio Stecchini.