Do you want a prophecy or a delusion?

Nature of Oracle, part 1.

Lucy the Oracle
8 min readApr 14, 2024

This whole series is tongue-in-cheek, be warned.

Photo by Justin Clark on Unsplash

I have been planning an article on the nature of oracle for a while now, but I was struggling to summarise the main points that are relevant for my audience here on Medium. Therefore, I’ve come to the conclusion I should turn this teaching into a series. Today I’m bringing you part 1, the most basic fundamental you need to understand oracles and how they work: what a prophecy is NOT.


Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

First of all, a note about pre-requisites: if you’re not familiar with the Delphic Maxims, I recommend some research into this topic, but below are some helpful points you should keep in mind while you read this series.

  • In total (as far as we know), there are 150 Delphic maxims. They give us a fascinating glimpse into the moral precepts that were known (and allegedly followed) in Ancient times, but if interpreted metaphorically, they can still be helpful today.
  • Out of these 150 maxims, only the first 3 are directly relevant to the activity of oracle (relevant both for the person giving, AND perhaps even more importantly, for the person who receives an oracle) — Γνῶθι σεαυτόν (know yourself), Μηδὲν ἄγαν (nothing in excess), and Ἐγγύα πάρα δ’ Ἄτα (avoid certainties). They render a lot of discussion, and there’s disagreement as to their translation, especially the third one, but I think it’s possible to have at least a vague idea of what they are referring to. Keep them in mind, even if you don’t fully understand them, because if you don’t — if you pay them NO mind — you will not make good use of oracular messages in your life (yes, generally, in your life. Not just the ones coming from me or my tradition. Every single kind of oracle).
  • FYI, I am in favour of discussion of these maxims. I’ve been discussing them for a long time in a variety of places already. I’m by no means dictating to you what they mean or imply, but do we have room in the middle of this article for a thorough discussion? No. We don’t. So, please be mindful of the fact this is a blog, this is not an Academic journal, much less a classroom where many people can weigh in. And I’m not getting paid to stand in front of the blackboard, moderate the discussion, and tell Kevin to stop throwing paper balls at Alex over there. For heaven’s sake cut me some slack. Feel free to discuss the maxims in the comments throughout this series, though. If you think I mistranslated #3, great! I’m enticing you. Go discuss it in the comments and call me names with your discussion friends (bonus points if the insults are in Ancient Greek).

It is a pre-requisite, for you to understand this series at all, to be at least vaguely familiar with the 3 maxims above. That’s why this note will be on “the entrance” to every article in the entire series. Do not ignore it (or do so on your own peril).

What ISN’T a prophecy?

Before we talk about what a prophecy is, it’s probably important to look into what it isn’t. In fact, a lot of people have a misguided idea about this topic. That is not a criticism. It’s very normal, and very common, to have a misguided idea about it. After all, we live in a society where (as you might have already noticed) we don’t care all that much about divination, do we? I mean, other than Astrology in the newspapers… I think you get the point.

Here in the industrial West, we have been conditioned by the church… And Christianity dislikes divination [when done by people who don’t hold a high rank in their institution, and don’t get me started on whatever happens at Wall Street, but that’s a HOT TEA for another post]. “Regular people” usually look down on it. Oh, “this is woo”. “This is superstition”. “This has no place in a civilised world”. We jump to these conclusions as if life was black-and-white. Perhaps we should be more considerate than that. (Although, I’m sure some people who have been too severely brainwashed by Colonialistic ideas will still scoff at my series, and to them all I have to say is: fuck you, go back to Twitter or whatever it’s called these days).

Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

If I were to try and “fit” the activity of oracle into a list of “normal professions” (or, more precisely, professions that we collectively decided, at random, for no good reason, to consider them “more normal than other ones”), I would tell you it’s a combination of Translation, Maths, and Art. So essentially, if you graduated elementary school, you’re already halfway into my weird little world. (Sorry to inform. No normal people here past this point). This is the sort of thing I would say at a stand-up comedy show, because it’s shocking and probably good joke material, but it’s 100% true (sorry again. Yes, there will be links to crystal ball sales at the end of this article. I’m only half-joking).

However, like with any activity, oracles only work when you apply the theoretical knowledge in the right way. Don’t be thinking just about any topics of translation, maths, and art can make for a good oracle. This is the sort of realisation I need to guide you through because of the Colonialistic brainwashing, so here we go: ever seen an accountant worrying about the exact value of a hypotenuse? No, because accountants deal with money, geometry isn’t their shtick. Ever seen a painter discuss the Dorian mode? No, not in relation to painting anyway. Music is a different kind of art.

And yet, for some reason, I’m pretty sure that when I related oracles to three “normal” areas of knowledge above, everyone went like “no”. (Or nearly everyone. There’s always the one philosopher in the crowd. Hi, how are ya, I’ll buy you a pint later). It wasn’t a “no” as in “this can’t under any circumstance be true”, was it? No. It was more like a “no” of rejection. As in: I don’t mix woo with Proper Knowledge™. Well… Here we go:

A prophecy is NOT always “woo”.

(Pause for the gasps)

“Woo” prophecies are simply the ones science doesn’t (yet) understand, so they’re more like a subcategory of prophecy. The problem child. The bodhrán of prophecy (or viola if you’re a classical musician). The one I deal with — yet another reason for you to feel sceptical at my article, but give it a chance, go on, at least you’ll get some entertainment out of it.

In fact, if you’re really clever, you might have noticed I predicted, seemingly “out of nowhere”, some of your thoughts while reading this article. And I did so without any kind of 6th sense (not that I don’t have it, but I didn’t particularly use it in this case). Trust me, my rituals are complicated and I don’t broadcast them. If you’re impressed by THIS, you’d be amazed at the “actual woo”.

So, does persuasion require prophecies? Does comedy? What about loans and investments? — Yes to all four.

“Oh but not every persuasion tactic actually lands. Not everyone gets every joke. And [fill in the blank]”.

Aye. We’re human beings, we’re fallible. That checks out. What I said still stands, though.

Oh, were you expecting me to say “but oracle is an exception to that rule”? “Oracles are perfect”? “I have never been inaccurate in my whole life?”. Uwu? Look, Susan, I know you look up to my work and put me on a pedestal, but let me tell you… It was the Greeks and the Romans, wasn’t it? Those bastards. They did a good job with propaganda in some of the myths, but truth is… Even back then there were complaints. Google “insult by oracle” (yes you need the quotes. Unless you’re an IT nerd invested in niche gossip).

I wish I was perfect. I bet everyone else does too. It’s one of those things we can yearn for but in the end of the day, we’ll never have it. That doesn’t automatically invalidate an activity, though, does it? Ah… I see. A lot of people invalidate the activity of oracle (when advertised as such, not when it’s embedded into Finance, Comedy, and Electoral Campaigns, no, apparently those ones are “fine”) because of the Colonialistic brainwashing. There’s no other reason, guys. Take as long as you wish to come to terms with that.

Moving on…

Photo by Nik Shuliahin 💛💙 on Unsplash

What else ISN’T a prophecy?

Two words: wishes and fears. These two things aren’t oracular in the slightest… But we often mistake them for prophecies. Oh, yes, we do that a lot. You do that. I do that. Everyone does that. Everyone except the arrogant tarot readers, they are definitely always perfect.

(Side note here, but god damn it! What is it with some tarot readers? Rune readers don’t get full of themselves so often. Neither do the crowd reading chamalongos or clouds or [insert system here] or even *gasp* the people who actually contact spirits directly. Does tarot get to your head more easily? I’m fearing the day I’ll learn it and turn into a prick as well — just kidding! Ha! Fears aren’t prophecies).

You see, fears and wishes are “the fuckening” that always ruins a prophecy. Sometimes you’re just casually going at it sans 6th sense (like we saw with certain industries above), and you end up getting inaccurate because you let a fear influence your prediction, or because you relied a bit too heavily on wishful thinking. Other times… You’re all geared up with metaphysic paraphernalia, take all the usual precautions and feel as prepared as ever — then boom! Fears and wishes strike again. It happens in the best houses.

And yes, it also happens in dream interpretation, not because the message sent to you via dream was somehow inaccurate from the get go (let’s just not? The spirits are working hard, come on, give them some credit), but because YOU, human dreamer, interpreted it wrong… Due to wishing or fearing something that is actually unrelated.

Does intuition get clouded by fears and wishes? Aye. Intuition too. Every kind of input that can allow for prophecy is unfortunately vulnerable to that.

You could be an expert in the field (or in your preferred method of “problem child” oracular system), and you’ll still fall prey to fears and wishes. As long as you have an ego, you’re not immune to that.

This is why I always say, if you’re too emotionally invested in the answer to that question, consult with someone else. Don’t just use your own oracle. And when I say it, people look at me funny and think I’m referring to some super secret technical lingo that has to do with energies and fluff — No. No, I’m not. I’m talking about something a lot more mundane: the fact that it doesn’t matter how hard you’re using that third eye of yours or how much you understand the mechanisms of your oracle system… If you have fears and/or wishes that are too overpowering, you. Will. Not. Be. Accurate. The end.

That’s it for today, thank you for coming, don’t forget the umbrellas, drink water, sleep well, and stay tuned for the next topics in this series.



Lucy the Oracle

Oracle learner / spirit worker based in Ireland. Buddhist/polytheist. I don't read minds. I don't change minds. I don't sugarcoat. Take my message or leave it.