Oracles are foretellers of the future, usually by use of pools of water, or crystal balls.
An oracle is someone who divines the future by special means in a special place. In a manner of speaking it is both the person and the place, each inseparable from the other. To confuse things further, prophecy itself is also known as an oracle. The most famous oracle was in Delphi in ancient Greece, and people came from all over the Mediterranean world to seek its advice. It even became common practice for cities to seek counsel with the oracle there before undertaking an action of any magnitude. An elected ruler often sought advice before taking office. By tradition, the oracles were always female, either virgins or married women over the age of fifty.
There were many methods by which oracles read the future--the entrails of certain animals, the rustling of tree limbs, smoke, water--the list is long. No matter how it was done, the pronouncements of oracles were, at best, obscure, confusing, and open to various interpretations. Getting a prophecy was the easy part; knowing just what it meant was another matter altogether. Alexander-Gwydion was lucky--the oracle he encountered spoke to him plain and clear, more like a gypsy fortune-teller than a seer.
- ↑ KQC, 2nd Edition, 495