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The   Dionysian   Ritual

Ecstasy, liberation of the soul from the bonds of the body
and communication with the Divine.


Ever since mankind acquired the ability to conceive the existence of a non-tangible universe around them, the mystical experience was the nuclear aspect in must of the of experiences of a religious nature.

In itself, one experience of a mystical nature is nothing more than an alternate state of consciousness or, if you prefer, a phase of extra-ordinary psychism. 

This unusual state of psychism has a gradation, with its peak point being the Ecstatic Trance.


In psychology, the Ecstatic Trance is an scape of the ego from its ordinary limits by virtue of our innate and deepest affective impulses. It is an extra-ordinary state of awakened consciousness, determined by feelings and characterized by inner rapture and partial or total break from the exogenous world, directing the awakened consciousness —understood as “capacity to know”— towards the subjective dimensions of the mental world.

Throughout all ages and in the most diverse cultures, mystical ecstasy trances have been induced by procedures that aim to isolate the individual from the material reality, altering the state of consciousness with practices like deprivation of sleep and senses, excessive physical exercise, meditation and the ingestion of toxic substances that work as a psychoactive.   

 This in some way contributed to the formation of the concept of Rituals as we know them today.  

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The Dionysian mysteries were a Ritual of ancient Greece that used intoxicants and other trance-inducing techniques, such as dance and music, to remove inhibitions and artificial societal constraints, liberating the individual to return to a more natural and primal state. It also afforded a degree of liberation for the marginals of Greek society like women, slaves, foreigners and outlaws.


Much of the details of these Rituals remain unknown but from what we have found in texts and other archeological sources, we know that the people of that time and place believed that they were introduce to mankind by Dionysus who was the god of wine, fertility, madness, myth and later considered a patron of the arts.


Dionysus meant the breaking of all barriers between gods and men; drunk and mad, he himself favored the dissolution of the faithful, made them wild and led them towards anarchy. He loved the disordered screams, the delirium, the paroxysmal exaltation, the mask and the disguise, and also disobeyed all laws, customs and social hierarchies.

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The must known of the Dionysian Rituals consisted of a gathering outside the city into the woods, where the assistants would recreate the tragic destiny that had marked the life of the God.


The gathering was normally initiated with the consumption of large quantities of wine, and then followed by a dance in circles to the wild rhythm of the dithyramb, a repetitive and hypnotic musical structure, played with flutes and tambourines that was usually accompanied by the chant ( evoè evoè) in the form of a mantra. This dance would carry on until the participants collectively reach the desired state of trance and entered a state of psychic possession that the ancients called "Enthusiasm", which according to the etymological interpretation of the word means "the essence of God that lives within you".


Once this state of “Enthusiasm” was reached, the participants of the ritual would start an orgy that would later end in the naked hunting of an animal to then sacrifice it and eat it raw, symbolism of the death of Dionysus with the Titans.


The whole ritual is a representation of life & death and how in some way, by reaching the feeling of death while living we can have a glimpse of eternity. A perspective that many ancient philosophers like Platon, the grand father of the western thought, referred as the secret of life.


Due to the anarchic nature of the ritual it was persecuted by many of the citizens, but survived in some areas of the greek society, until it was exported to Rome where they will change the name of the ritual and also the God to which was it dedicated to. 

Over the years these practices have change and evolve giving birth to other types of rituals that in some way or another and are still part of our gatherings and collective happenings, new forms of reaching the state of “Enthusiasm” described in the ancient mysteries. 

Some believe that our parties and festivals share some of these characteristics and goals in a different level but it's open for interpretation. 

What do you believe?

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