Being psychic and serving as an oracular priestess are two very different things. When I speak of being known as a Sybil, it is the latter that I am referring to. People tend to twitter nervously when the topic of being psychic comes up. They have their preconceived ideas of what a psychic is like, usually including gaudy jewelery and crystal balls. I have seen people become down right fearful when I am in 'priestess mode'.
It is not because I actively do anything to threaten them. Indeed, I do what I can to put them at ease and prepare them for when I take on that role. There is a distinct change in my demeanor. Unlike some others, I take my work as a priestess quite seriously. At times, I am called upon by my gods to serve as their mouthpiece. At other times, I am called to provide comfort and advice to others. I have had the experience of serving as the vessel of their compassion. I have also stood by, bearing witness to events that pass in accordance with their will.
Of all the tasks that I have been called to do, the ones where I must simply witness something and take no action have been the hardest. I see people laboring with great suffering. My heart breaks to see it but I have been forbidden to do anything beyond watch and remember.
Most people think that being psychic means we see the future. Sometimes, it means that we see a greater depth of the present. It is a blessing and a curse to be naturally gifted with this. A blessing because we can be the harbinger of great hope. A curse because we can see tragedy coming like a wave unfurling. To serve as an oracular priestess on top of this, it sharpens the edge and makes the psychic activity more intense.
Some people who are psychic get a quick visual flash of something, as though they were shown a photograph. Then there are those who are like me. When I am experiencing my psychic gifts at full force, I see the situation as though I am immersed in it. If the gods choose to add their touch, all the qualities of what I experience in my vision becomes even more intense. Scents, tastes, tactile sensations, they all play into the vision. It can be a fearful thing.
One may ask, why do something that brings these more intense and occasionally terrifying things to you? I started out on this path in a desperate effort to understand why I had dreams of things that happened. When I was twelve, I had a dream of a bus accident. I saw it unfold from two different perspectives. The first was inside the bus. The second was from above. It was such a realistic dream that I woke expecting to see carnage around me. The sensations of realism is what marks my prophetic dreams from my normal ones.
For almost a month and a half, I had this dream. I was afraid to ride the bus to school because of this dream. Then, one day, I didn't have it. I felt relieved. I thought perhaps it was just a series of nightmares. The next day, the bus accident did happen. It was somewhere in Texas. Pictures of it were broadcasted in the news, taken from a helicopter, looking exactly as it had in my dream. I felt sickened and as though I was some how the cause of the accident.
My aunt took me aside and explained to me that sometimes psychic people see things that they can't do anything about. It is because we are just to witness them. Sometimes, we see things and we can potentially take action to avert the ending of the sequence. Most of the time, it is just to witness. When I started practicing witchcraft, I made a rash promise to the gods. I promised that I would use my psychic gifts in their service.
As a result of that promise, I have had what was an occasional thing (dreaming things that were to happen) become a regular occurrence. Usually, my dreams are of little things. Stuff such as my kids spilling their cups of milk or the tableau of a room at a certain moment are what I see most. And, as I was taught by a wise man, I act as though nothing unusual has happened. For the longest time, I didn't understand that other people didn't have this happen to them. I tried to talk to them about it and I found myself in very uncomfortable situations as a result.
Now, I keep quiet about my visions. I write them down when they're more significant then milk getting spilled or toys being tripped over. And the nature of my visions have gradually come to include symbolic images as well. I sometimes wish I could share these visions with more people. I sometimes wish that I had companions in this path that I have been walking, people I could share intimately about these things.
I've a very small number of people whom I do discuss these things with. I think they'd be pleased that I have taken the time to write about what it is like to be afflicted with this. Somedays, it is positively terrifying because I'm not sure if I am losing my mind. Society tells us that people who hear the voice of god are mad. Society tells us that people who have visions are mentally unhinged and therefore dangerous. Goddess help you if you happen to be one of those people and you have a legitimate mental illness on top of it. For, sadly, you will have times where you question yourself savagely.
I will grow out of that questioning eventually. Until then, I suppose I must keep the maxim "the unexamined life is not worth living" in my thoughts.