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Instant Oracle, Just Add Water
"I think she broke. Did we keep the warranty?"

There's more than one way for oracles to divine the future, and this one involves bath salts.note 

The Dehydrated Oracle immerses herself nearly or completely in water, and through contact with the liquid is gifted with visions of the future. Why water? Perhaps because of its mystic connotations as the element of change, associations with dreams, the subconscious and the primordial. Perhaps the reflective surface of the water will be used like a Magic Mirror. Perhaps because it is reminiscent of a sensory deprivation tank— or because a busty, dripping wet oracle is sure to appeal to some. Back in the day Greek oracles huffed volcanic fumes to get visions. The bathtub thing is probably there to help differentiate her from "normal" tarot-reading mystics, this also keeps you focused on her head and face rather than her *ahem* crystal orbs.

Whatever the case, this well-moisturized sister to the Waif Prophet, Oracular Urchin, and Blind Seer plies her trade while lying in a pool of water. Prophet Eyes and seizures involving flopping like a landed fish can be expected.


Examples:

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     Comic Books  

  • During Peter David's run of The Incredible Hulk, the Hulk ran around with the Pantheon, a group of heroes based on Greek mythology. Delphi was a member who could see the future when she gazed into water.
  • In The Sandman, Destruction has a small pool of water he uses for scrying and divination.

     Film  

  • 300 is something of a meta example— the effect of the oracle levitating in mid air with her toga floating about was achieved by having the actress filmed in a pool.
  • Altered States does with this a maverick scientist floating in a sensory deprivation tank and taking Mexican Mushrooms.
  • A variation occurred in Constantine. The heroine used to have extrasensory powers but consciously suppressed them so people wouldn't think she was crazy. When she needed to get them back, John Constantine submerged her in a tub fully clothed and sent her to Hell. When she returned, she had her powers back and immediately started using them. Apparently, it's because "water is the universal conduit between dimensions." note 
  • Minority Report, which was a reference to the Fountain of Mirmir of North mythology, a famous body of water associated with oracular ability.

     Literature  

  • The Guild Navigators in Dune were a similar concept which inspired Battlestar's Hybrid, adapted to life in a spice-filled environment which granted them precognition and the ability to navigate at FTL speeds. They spend most of their lives inside of zero gravity tubes filled with spice laden air rather than a tub of water, but same concept.
  • According to John Hodgman, the Electoral College determines the winner of the American presidential election while suspended in tanks of nutrient-enriched slime. Rutherford B. Hayes successfully rigged the election of 1872 by offering them higher quality nutrient slime.
  • Aeron Greyjoy from A Song of Ice and Fire partially fits: his apparently experiences prophetic visions after having nearly drowned. Justified in that he worships an aquatic god.
    • Likewise, the fool Patchface, who had also a similar experience, though he has a tendency to speak in riddles and rhymes.
  • One of the primary methods of prophecy in the Memory Of The Earth series is floating thermal springs at the heart of Basilica.
  • In the second series and onward of Warrior Cats, the medicine cats must travel to the Moonpool and drink from the pool in order to have prophetic dreams and speak with their ancestors.
  • Septimus Heap: While not being properly an oracle, Scrying into times past works by seeing the reflection of the moon in a pool of water.
  • In The Granite Shield, Seeing is done by drinking special potions, but in one location is traditionally done by slipping into hot springs, in the caves where their God (of fire) is said to have once resided.

     Live Action TV  

     Mythology  

  • Lady of the Lake from Arthurian legend, she may not have been an oracle though...

     Video Games  

  • In Tales of Legendia, Shirley Fennes (and probably every other Merines) is able to restore her vitality and magical powers through being submerged in water. These powers ultimately allow her to become the vessel of the game's all-seeing Ocean God.
  • In Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, there are two Fortune Teller sisters living in Harapa. One sees the long-term future in a crystal ball, the other sees the short-term future in a bowl of water. The latter remains upbeat and helpful to the player characters, even in the middle of a continent-wide disaster.

     Web Comics  

  • Given a Lampshade Hanging in The Order of the Stick. An oracle (who is also a kobold) laments that he always has people come to him with questions while he's in the bath. You would think, as an oracle, he would know better...
  • Done but subverted in Wayward Sons. Cassandra has the power to invoke prophetic holograms, which generate huge amounts of heat. So she does her prophecy-stuff in the water (also naked, but no one's complaining.)

     Real Life  

  • There's quite a few prophecy 'games' involving mirrors and bowls of water. There's a Chinese game played during the moon festival in which a girl looks into a bowl of water to find her husband.


Immune to FateFate and Prophecy TropesIt Sucks to Be the Chosen One
Fortune TellerSeersJunkie Prophet
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The Big BoardImageSource/Live-Action TV'Last Supper" Steal

alternative title(s): Dehydrated Oracle
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