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Mystery cults

by Micha F. Lindemans
In ancient Rome, cults were certain elements of eastern religions were combined with elements of Greek and Roman religions. Well-known examples are the mystery cults of Isis, Cybele, and Attis (Phrygia) and of the old-Iranian Mithra. All these cult forms offer their adepts secret knowledge and rebirth through initiation. This initiation consists of cleansing rites, fasting, and the consecration itself. Sometimes it is accompanied by orgiastic rites, such as wild dances, self-mutilation, or castration like the priests in the cult of Cybele. The sacral meal is often also a part of the initiation.

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