High on the slopes of Mount Parnassus sits Delphi.
Delphi is the site of a very famous Temple of Apollo (supposedly he slew a giant python and/or dragon at the springs there), and that temple was home to the most famous oracle in Ancient Greece. The Pythia is what the high priestess of the temple would have been called, and each high priestess would serve for life as the Delphic Oracle - for over 1000 years, hers was the ultimate authoritative word. The oracle was well established by 800 BC, but may have existed 600 years earlier as a place of cult worship for Gaia, Mother Earth.
It is a place that feels holy.
In the tradition of Greek Mythology, it is considered the navel - the center - of the world.
Parnassus is also a name that is linked to literature and poetry and learning. The whole mountain is supposedly sacred to Dionysus, perhaps because the Muses were said to live there. There is a beautifully preserved theater at the heart of the site, above the ruins of the temple, and looking out over the whole mountain range. The theater would have been used for music, drama, and poetry competitions during the festivals that took place at the site.
Above the theater, tucked high on the mountain, is a stadium that would have been used every four years for the Pythian games. This competition in physical prowess as well as the performances below at the theater were considered a natural and appropriate extension of worship, a celebration of the best of our human selves, in honor of the gods.
Below the stadium, the theater, and the sanctuary; down the slope lined with the remnants of treasure houses and statues that city-states and the wealthy would build in thanks for the oracle's advice; and past the springs where pilgrims would wash themselves before approaching the temple... you find the remnants of a small temple to Athena. I got there just before sunset and had the place to myself. It was utterly peaceful.
It was easy for me, looking down, to imagine the arduous climb that pilgrims and supplicants would have made up the slopes of Parnassus to reach the sanctuary & oracle at Delphi.
Ms. Rush's [the]