There is a psychic ability that has been the point of a great deal of discussion within the pagan and occult communities over the last few years. Known commonly as 'godphone' is it a variant of the same skill set that mediums use to communicate with the dead, the focus, however, being upon deities. In antiquity, people who had this ability were known as soothsayers or oracles. Generally, they were consulted by the people in their local area for assistance in communicating with the gods.
Oracles and soothsayers were not restricted to people who were born with a talent for such communication. Indeed, they were frequently people who had training in developing this skill set. They were additionally supported in their efforts via thing that altered their state of consciousness, be it ritual trance induction, psychoactive agents, or the effects of mild oxygen deprivation that came with inhaling toxic fumes. (The latter is theorized to be the principle source of the Oracle of Delphi's altered state in antiquity.) The cumulative effect of training and these agents that altered the mental state of the oracles served to bring them into a receptive state where they could perceive more directly what deities had to say.
In some cases, the oracle's pronouncements came in the form of glossolalia. Glossolalia is a common occurrence within a few Christian sects during worship services. It is also known as 'speaking in tongues.' Generally glossolalia requires a secondary person to interpret the meanings of the pronouncements. It is theorized that this is the form the pronouncements of the Oracle of Delphi had taken. Glossolalia is usually in a verbal thing but, on rare occasion, it does present as written pronouncements. (Glossolalia is not to be confused with xenolalia, which is speaking in a language that the person doing the speaking does not know.)
It is unclear how frequently glossolalia occurs for oracles, in antiquity or modern times. It is also unclear how frequently xenolalia occurs. (If somebody were to do a study on this, I would be absolutely fascinated to learn what the findings are.) In my very casual observation, it appears that the majority of communication from oracles today is in their native language or one that they are familiar with. It stands to reason that this is true with the internal communication that occurs between the oracle and the deity in question.
In many cases, 'godphone' involves something that is described as hearing the deities (hence the 'phone' part). 90% of the time, you are not hearing them with your physical sense of hearing. It is much like viewing things with your mind's eye. A great deal of discernment is needed to filter out what is the 'voice of the gods' and what is your thoughts. People with a natural talent for this tend to pick up fairly quickly on the difference between their thoughts and the utterances of the gods. It is, however, a skill that can be learned. Next post, I'll discuss a little about the basics of learning this skill set.