Direct and Indirect Methods of Communication with the Gods in Ancient Greece

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Both directly and indirectly, the Ancient Greeks communicated with their gods through various methods that ranged from oracles and seers to sacrifice. The oracles of ancient Greece were consulted on issues ranging from serious community matters to private healing and served as a conduit for communication between the mortals and the gods. Seers and oracles were an important part of Ancient Greek divination through which the gods provided with insight of events to come. In addition, sacrifice at the hearth or public bonfires were used as a means of direct communication with the gods in order to convey prayers to the heavens.
In terms of indirect communication with the gods, one of the most famous methods was consulting an oracle. One of the most popular oracles of Ancient Greece was the Oracle of Delphi. People would journey for days to visit this oracle and hear the wisdom of the gods which she received through a gift from Apollo, the god of prophecy. Receiving a prophecy was a lengthy process which started with the oracle bathing in the spring of Castalia and drinking from another nearby stream. A priest would then determine if Apollo was present by pouring ice water on a goat. If the goat shivered the oracle was ready to give the prophecy, and if not then Apollo was not present and therefore she was not ready to deliver a prophecy (Pythia Prophecies, 2014). When she spoke, the pythia would be seated on a tripod over a small opening in the ground, the opening released gases

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