A shaman​ is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of

benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual,

and practices divination and healing.

Cultist rites associated with worship of the Greek god of wine, Dionysus (or Bacchus in Roman

mythology), were allegedly characterized by maniacal dancing to the sound of loud music and

crashing cymbals, in which the revelers, called Bacchantes, whirled, screamed, became drunk and

incited one another to greater and greater ecstasy. The goal was to achieve a state of enthusiasm in

which the celebrants’ souls were temporarily freed from their earthly bodies and were able to

commune with Bacchus/Dionysus and gain a glimpse of and a preparation for what they would

someday experience in eternity. The rite climaxed in a performance of frenzied feats of strength and

madness, such as uprooting trees, tearing a bull (the symbol of Dionysus) apart with their bare

hands, an act called sparagmos, and eating its flesh raw, an act called omophagia. This latter rite

was a sacrament akin to communion in which the participants assumed the strength and character

of the god by symbolically eating the raw flesh and drinking the blood of his symbolic incarnation.

Having symbolically eaten his body and drunk his blood, the celebrants became possessed by