Yesterday I noticed on my chaotic desk a copy of T.S Eliot's Collected Poems (how did it get there?). I flipped to the start of his most famous work, The Waste Land, that starts with the words of a classical: Greek, Petronius Arbiter. He described a female prophet called "The Sibyl" as follows:
"I myself with my own eyes saw her hanging in a
cage; and when the boys cried at her: 'Sibyl, Sibyl, what do you want?' she used to answer 'I would
that I were dead'.
I was reminded of a "spiritual healer" with whom I once discussed, out of interest. He could, it seemed, connect with another person so deeply that he could, without asking, take into himself their whole situation, in depth, and thereby help them. He was a sort of gentle humanized version of the Sibyl, and with her suffered: in his case, through the pain of taking his clients' difficulties into himself.