Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ve tasked myself with leading you on a meandering tour of the virtual garden of delights and curiosities and thoughts that make up my world – all through the lens of unusual, obscure, or simply charming-to-me words.
U is for,,,
umbiliciform: something that resembles a navel
When I first stumbled upon this word, my immediate association was with the Delphi Oracle.
I definitely believe in the oracular nature of our world – that there is guidance and support available to us in each moment, and that our lives are filled with signs of this. Signs everywhere. We only need to look and listen and open our hearts. This to me is the magic, the fun, the joy – looking for the connections, acting on the inspirations, opening to the deeper mysteries our conscious brains can’t quite wrap themselves around.
There are endless ways to look for signs, some spontaneous, some nurtured. For some people, finding a feather is a sign; or opening a book to a random page and seeing what’s there, or consulting an oracle or tarot deck.
I sometimes find people hold different understandings about oracles than I do, so for the sake of clarity, here are my thoughts. I firmly believe we are all powerful creator beings and we need to be mindful not to abdicate our power and sovereignty to others – whether people or things. So in that sense I don’t really think of things such as oracle cards as predictive. What I do believe is that everything is energy.
Although I’ve shared this image and metaphor before here on this blog, Indulge me for a moment and take a quick second and click over to this wind map showing current patterns of flow throughout the United States.
It’s a perfect analogy for how I see and think about energy. It’s helpful to know in which direction things are flowing, so if you dip into that energy you can move with the flow instead of struggling against it. In a way that’s how I see oracle cards (or any signs I might consider oracular) – something providing a sense of flow direction. An indication of open paths to explore. Little cosmic invitations.
Every moment can be a choice point, and in that moment we can choose where we wish to head – whether that is a physical direction, an emotional response, a thought, or a combination of those or other things. I like to think of all things operating in a huge field of possibility, and while anything is possible, it’s also true that there are things with greater or lesser potential of happening. Oracles can feel like little portals – little whispers that perhaps this direction is worth exploring.
I know some people are interested in predictions and prophecies, and would perhaps consult an oracle looking for them. I’m not one of them. I don’t actually think that’s how it works, but in any case, I think relying on predictions to shape your life or course of action needs careful and honest monitoring to ensure you aren’t actually abdicating your responsibility and power.
I’ve postulated a theory that perhaps the world can be divided into two types of people. Those who are more outcome-directed and those who are more process-oriented. I don’t believe there’s any need to hold judgment that one is better than the other, but simply note that we operate differently. Outcome people are more comfortable with clear maps and step-by-step action plans and value clarity and focus on their path. The process-oriented, of which I consider myself, are more comfortable wandering without a map and timetable, more open to detours and rabbit holes, and valuing exploring mysteries of which there may well be no answer to be found.
I’m definitely a fan of the mysterious and cryptic. I don’t so much want to be told things, but I most certainly welcome invitations and resonances, sweet encouragements and reminders that I am the master translator of all the languages of my life. And I welcome living in an oracular world that offers clues and invitations should I choose to follow them.
But there is no doubt that for some reason I feel a particular connection to and interest in the Oracle of Delphi. Perhaps it is because it’s the one ancient oracle we know most about, and perhaps it’s because it’s association to bees is so pronounced. I have a strong connection to bees – starting with the fact that my name, Deborah, means bee.
(Photo by Mark Cartwright, published on 26 April 2012 under the following license: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike)
This carved stone represents the omphalos (navel) or center of the earth (c. 330 BCE), and is displayed in the Delphi Archaeological Museum in Greece.
This omphalos stone undeniably looks like an ancient beehive. It’s suggested that the Oracle would breathe vapors arising through the stone when answering questions, and the Oracle priestess herself was sometimes referred to a bee.
How did Delphi become known as the center of the world, and thus marked by the omphalos (navel)? According to Greek lore, Zeus sent to two eagles across the world, one from his right hand, one from his left, and they, moving at identical speeds, crossed paths above the area of Delphi. So that’s where Zeus declared the navel and placed the stone.
So what do you think? Like thinking of the world as having a navel? Curious about the flow of energies? More of a product- or process-oriented person? Do tell – you know I love to hear.
My late husband always used to tell me to “go with the flow.” He was good at that, whereas I have to work at it. I’m sometimes an Outcome person and other times a Process one. For me, it depends on the task or the timeline. If it’s something that needs to be done in stages or quickly, I’m more outcome. In blogging, I’m definitely about the process since I never organize what I’m going to say until I’m sitting at the computer, and then often go off on rabbit trails. 🙂
I like to think our blogs are definitely rabbit trail zones, and we get to play anyway we want. 🙂
According to the map, there is no wind in my neck of the woods right now but stay out of the middle of the country!
It’s always interesting to see how things shift and change.
I have been to the Oracle at Delphi (pronounced del-fee there, I believe) and it was a somber experience.
How fascinating Beth – I’d love to visit sometime.
I wrote about omphalos last year in my A2Z. You will probably find it very interesting!
How wonderful Jade – thanks for sharing the link (and writing the post)!
Hi Deborah – I’ve never visited Delphi or really looked into oracles – being practical I’ve tended to get on with things … but I usually have a few choices around my life – so there’s always something to fall back on and move forward with. There’s so much we don’t know or understand … it’s fascinating to learn new things … to read others thoughts on life in general. Thanks for this … I must look into these aspects … take care and all the best – Hilary
It truly delights me that we’re all so different, and yet share so much. I love being reminded of this day by day, moment by moment. I don’t think of myself as particularly practical, but I understand your happiness in the choices to move among. May you always have good things to choose from Hilary!
Robert Graves had some interesting theories about Delphi. I love his Golden Fleece novel 🙂
The Multicolored Diary
How fascinating you mention Robert Graves! Just last night a friend forwarded a link to me for the 400+ page online version of Graves’ Greek Myths. I’m looking forward to diving in.
Lots of interesting stuff here. The wind map is beautiful!
I feel like whether I’m more process-oriented or outcome-oriented depends on the time, the project, my mood… I think sometimes I’m more one and sometimes the other.
Black and White (Words and Pictures)
Yes I see that as well Anne – different situations, moods, etc. influences one’s response as more process- or outcome-oriented. And yet, still, I theorize that we overall lean in more in one direction or other. And I think it can be helpful to know this about yourself and others as well – it’s sort of like knowing if you’re a visual learner or work best in another modality.
I smiled broadly when I read : “I don’t so much want to be told things.”
I nod in understanding and in the familiarity of another belonging to the tribe of ones who like going down rabbit holes:)
LOL – yes indeed Arti. I recognize us as kindred rabbit-hole explorers. May our curiosity always bring us delight.