I Am the Pythia, a guided meditation by the American artist and author IONE, concludes the Daily Practices series curated by Ignota.
IONE is an author, playwright, director, improvising text-sound artist, and performer in various modalities. A journalist for many years, IONE was also the artistic director of Deep Listening Institute for fifteen years. The practice of deep listening goes back to the late Pauline Oliveros, a pioneer of experimental electronic music who died in 2016, with whom IONE created numerous operas and performances. Oliveros, IONE’s creative accomplice and spouse of 32 years, insisted that performers and the audience should practice listening. Like deep listening, IONE’s audio contribution I Am the Pythia raises questions around hearing, listening, and consciousness. These practices also share an orientation towards listening as a form of activism, for “humanitarian purposes; specifically healing,” as Oliveros said.
I Am the Pythia follows Sarah Shin’s Forest Dreaming and Instructions for Self-Hypnosis by Paige Emery.
The Pythia, or the Oracle, of Delphi was the high priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. I Am the Pythia is a guided meditation envisioning the untold origins of the Pythia—an ancient story, yet holding the future: a story for forever. In this meditation, the journeyer might access feminine oracular wisdom from the depths of their own psyche.
Through storytelling and gentle direction of breath, I Am the Pythia is an invitation to join the flight of the Black Doves of history on a journey. At a time when the old religions of Ancient Egypt were forced to go underground, the Black Doves were sent to guard the sacred teachings of the divine by taking residence in the sanctuary of the Mother Goddess at Delphi, prior to its Apollonian days. In IONE’s telling, the Black Doves of Philae are sister priestesses whose sacred flight paths predate the routes of travelers from Karnak, Egypt, to Dodona, Greece, and Libya.
In this journey, we become the Doves and with them, fly from the Temples of Philae, known as the last place where potent worship of the Mother Goddess, Auset (also known as Isis), was practiced. This meditation returns us to the secret teachings of the inner wisdom carried by the Doves and the place of timelessness where healing can occur.
An earlier version of this piece was originally dedicated to composer and vocalist Lisa E. Harris.
Practice series curated: Ignota
Production: MJ Harding
Image: courtesy the artist / IONE