...early worshippers of Dionysus reenacted this gruesome scene by whipping themselves into a frenzy and tearing a live bull to pieces with their hands and teeth. These grisly rites, accompanied by loud music and the crashing of cymbals, were intended to propel the revelers into a state of ecstasy, a word literally meaning 'outside the body' to the Greeks. Through this ecstasy, the cultists hoped to transcend their earthly bonds and allow the soul a temporary liberation from the body. Only in this way could the soul achieve a condition of enthousiasmos, meaning 'inside the god', which the worshipers believed was a taste of what they might one day enjoy in eternity...
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This quote was added November 29, 2007.