The Delphic Oracle - Then and Now
by Alayna Williams
The Delphic Oracle is probably the most famous oracle of the ancient world. The priestess of the Temple of Apollo, the Pythia, wielded a great deal of political influence over leaders who sought her advice and the priestesses who served the temple. The Temple of Apollo was sited over a crevasse in the earth emitting noxious vapors, leading to modern-day speculation that the Pythia’s visions were not sendings from Apollo, but toxic hallucinations. The Delphic Oracle operated from roughly the eight century BC until 393 AD, when all pagan oracles were ordered to be dismantled by the Emperor. After that, no one knows what became of the priestesses.
I was intrigued by the idea of an order of women exerting subtle and powerful influence over the ancient world. I wondered what would happen if that order of priestesses went underground and survived to the modern day. What would their role in world events be? In ROGUE ORACLE, the title of Pythia is handed down through generations of women, all oracles with their own unique talent for foreseeing the future. Delphi’s Daughters are a secret organization, nudging world events and gathering information through vast networks of helpers. Their behavior is sometimes sinister, sometimes pure, but always secretive. No one but the Pythia herself knows how the puzzle of world events fits together, and her priestesses are often left in the dark, guessing at her motives.
In the ROGUE ORACLE world, the current Pythia is a pyromancer. She sees the future in dancing flames. The heroine of the story, Tara Sheridan, is a cartomancer who uses Tarot cards to create criminal profiles. Other characters have abilities with scrying, astronomy, and geomancy. Delphi’s Daughters come from all walks of life: they are physicists, soccer moms, artists, farmers, and dancers. They are women just like women you know and walk past on the street. But they are women with a secret.
In thinking about how such an order might survive into the modern world, I imagined the limitations inherent in being an oracle in a secret organization. It would require secrecy, sacrificing a large part of one’s life, and committing to a larger ideal. I decided that, as time passed, fewer and fewer women would be interested in unquestioningly serving Delphi’s Daughters. In ROGUE ORACLE, the order is dying out. Tara Sheridan has left the order after her mother died, refusing to return. After surviving an attacked by a serial killer that left her scarred for life, she is unable to bear children. And there are no young women in Delphi’s Daughters any longer.
In the first book in the series, DARK ORACLE, Delphi's Daughters gained guardianship of a young woman who is the orphaned daughter of a physicist. Under the watchful and sometimes brutal eye of the Pythia, she is growing into her own power, astrology. The ancient science runs counter to her scientific nature, but she finds that the stars are speaking to her...and they are telling her of a disaster of far-reaching proportions on the horizon. In ROGUE ORACLE, Cassie discovers that the stars are moving to positions almost identical to their configuration when the Chernobyl disaster struck the Ukraine. She's convinced that a new devastation is at hand.
Tara sees it, too, in her Tarot cards. Especially in the shadow of the Tower - a hulking structure destroyed by lightning. She must race against time to try and stop a Chernobyl survivor from selling nuclear secrets on the black market. And to do so, she must abandon Cassie to the Pythia's harsh care.
The Pythia must try to continue the line, whatever the cost. She is challenged to convince the rebellious Tara to return, and resolved that she must put Cassie through horrifying tests of will to empower her to move into the future. A new order for a new age. And blood will be spilled in the process.
Thanks for stopping by Alayna!
THE MORE YOU KNOW ABOUT THE FUTURE, THE MORE THERE MAY BE TO FEAR.
Tara Sheridan is the best criminal profiler around—and the most unconventional. Trained as a forensic psychologist, Tara also specializes in Tarot card reading. But she doesn’t need her divination skills to realize that the new assignment from her friend and sometime lover, Agent Harry Li, is a dangerous proposition in every way.
Former Cold War operatives, all linked to a top-secret operation tracking the disposal of nuclear weapons in Russia, are disappearing. There are no bodies, and no clues to their whereabouts. Harry suspects a conspiracy to sell arms to the highest bidder. The cards—and Tara’s increasingly ominous dreams—suggest something darker. Even as Tara sorts through her feelings for Harry and her fractured relationship with the mysterious order known as Delphi’s Daughters, a killer is growing more ruthless by the day. And a nightmare that began decades ago in Chernobyl will reach a terrifying endgame that not even Tara could have foreseen...
I also have two signed copies of Rogue Oracle to give away, courtesy of Alayna. All you have to do to be entered is answer the question: If you were an oracle, what medium would you use to help you predict future events? The giveaway is international, and will last until midnight Saturday 02/26. I'll announce the winner on either Sunday or Monday.