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Omophagia


Meaning "Eating-into-the Belly," a Greek ritual of holy communion by eating the flesh of sacrificial victims, human or animal. (see Sacrifice) This custom goes back to primitive tradition when worshippers would tear apart the victims with their hands and teeth as supposedly happened in the earliest cults of Dionysus, Opheus, Ziagreus, and other gods torn apart in their myths. "The communicants rushed madly upon the sacrificial animal, tore it to pieces and ate it raw, believing that the god was resident in the offering...It was believed thus there took place an identification with the god himself, together with a participation in his substance and qualities." His immorality was consumed too–both in the omophagia and its descendant, the Christian sacrament of communion–though the body is no longer meat but tiny pieces of bread. A.G.H.


Source: 56.