- Dionysus was a Greek deity of wine, ecstasy, and liberation. Rituals and stories devoted to him evolved over the centuries and are commonly interpreted as beginning as a celebration of intoxication and eventually becoming a path to rebirth. Ecstatic initiation and trance possession by the deity, especially when accompanied by drumming and the seeking of oracular knowledge from the underworld, are sometimes interpreted as shamanic. Aristophanes’ play The Frogs (c. 400 BCE) seems to record an element of the Mysteries, a journey to and from the underworld, but suggests theater rather than carnival or possession.
Historical dictionary of shamanism. Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis. 2007.
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