In ancient times oracles were divine communications, usually prophetic, delivered after a person had petitioned the gods for such a message. The word oracle is also used to refer to a place where divine communications or prophecies were delivered, or to the medium delivering the message. At oracular shrines, the god of the shrine would be consulted through a method of divination unique to that shrine. In some cases the method was nothing more than having the person seeking the message ask a question of the oracle, after which a divinely inspired person would answer, either in a straightforward manner or in cryptic verse. In others the method might involve interpreting patterns in tossed stones, sticks, or leaves, much the way divination is practiced today.


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The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena – written by Patricia D. Netzley © 2006 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning

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