In ancient Greece, it was customary for communities to have their own Seers, and for temples, especially those dedicated to prophecy and Divine communication, to have Oracles that would counsel the people on their lives and world affairs based on the answers the Gods or God of the temple had given to the Oracle. It should be noted, however, that a Seer and an Oracle were not the same thing. Seers were more localized and abundant for hire and travel, readily available in some cases. Seers often specialized in recognizing and interpreting signs in nature and would advise people, families and leaders based on those signs. For instance, examining the entrails of animals or observing animal movement. Modern Seers may examine things such as animal behavior, atmospheric conditions, vegetation, or simple forms of divination like Tarot, lot casting or runes. Many Seers in ancient Greece became so through family lineage, but it was also an art that could conceivably be learned by anyone. They also tended to only provide answers to yes or no questions.
An Oracle was more specialized in the art of communication directly with Gods and remained in certain locations where they held the greatest of divinatory influences, for example, the Oracle of Delphi (the most revered and trusted Oracle in the entire ancient Greek world). An Oracle did not have to examine anything around them nor work to interpret. In fact, people were often hired to interpret the Oracle, and they were able to elaborate and answer more than simple yes or no questions. The Gods spoke to Oracles directly, and would even speak through them, so that the petitioner(s) believed the voice was that of the God and not the Oracle themselves. Oracles were at the top of the hierarchy of ancient Greek divination. Oracles were chosen by Gods. Seers could be as well, but it was a different form of divinatory function.
Contrary to popular misconceptions, and even some misconceptions in ancient times, Oracles were and are not fortune tellers. It is not their goal to predict the future. Using the knowledge and wisdom given to them by the Gods, their main purpose is to counsel people on the best courses of action to take in their lives or endeavors.
Our own temple, knowing the great value of divination even now to people in our community, has its own highly experienced Oracle for such functions. Our Head Priestess, Anastasia Aldridge, also serves as the temple's Oracle, and has done so since its founding in 2010. Anastasia, however, has actually been practicing divination for 30 years, since she was 15. Perhaps blessed by Apollon with the gift from the start, she has counseled countless people throughout her career, and has never been known to our temple to have given someone bad advice. Her services are free to temple members. She is also available for non-temple members in the Hellenic and Pagan community for a reasonable fee via her own discretion.
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