Ecstasy and Ecstatic Religion

Ecstasy within and beyond faith has come to be associated with euphoric, blissfully happy states of being, and with a trance state where one experiences being outside oneself, displaced, or dissociated. The etymological root of the word ecstasy is derived from the Greek ekstasis, which means ‘to stand outside oneself’. Ecstatic religion places a strong or even central emphasis on the experience of ecstasy.

Various techniques—such as ritual, music, meditation, and chants—are used in such religious practice to catalyse an ecstatic state in the worshipper. Objects from the material, profane world—such as trees, drums, drugs (e.g., MDMA, nicknamed ‘ecstasy’ and used in some forms of technoshamanism, or mescaline), and even people (shamans, wizards, or priests)—can connect the worshipper to the ecstatic trance state, often by means ...

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