The mystic in his ritual confession clearly connects his feast of raw flesh with his service of Zagreus:

Where midnight Zagreus roves, I rove;
I have endured his thunder-cry;
Fulfilled his red and bleeding feasts.’

That the legend as well as the rite was Cretan and was connected with Orpheus is expressly stated by Diodorus. In his account of the various forms taken by the god Dionysos, he says ‘they allege that the god (i.e. Zagreus) was born of Zeus and Persephone in Crete, and Orpheus in the mysteries represents him as torn in pieces by the Titans. …

The story as told by Clement and others is briefly this: the infant god variously called Dionysos and Zagreus was protected by the Kouretes or Korybantes who danced around him their armed dance. The Titans desiring to destroy him lured away the child by offering him toys, a cone, a rhombos, and the golden apples of the Hesperides, a mirror, a knuckle bone, a tuft of wool. The toys are variously enumerated. Having lured him away they set on him, slew him and tore him limb from limb. Some authorities add that they cooked his limbs and ate them. Zeus hurled his thunderbolts upon them and sent them down to Tartaros. According to some authorities, Athene saved the child’s heart, hiding it in a cista. A mock figure of gypsum was set up, the rescued heart placed in it and the child brought thereby to life again. The story was completed under the influence of Delphi by the further statement that the limbs of the dismembered god were collected and buried at Delphi in the sanctuary of Apollo. …

The Kouretes, the armed Cretan priests, had a local war or mystery dance: they were explained as the protectors of the sacred child. Sacred objects were carried about in cistae; they were of a magical sanctity, fertility-charms and the like. Some ingenious person saw in them a new significance, and added thereby not a little to their prestige; they became the toys by which the Titans ensnared the sacred baby. It may naturally be asked why were the Titans fixed on as the aggressors? They were of course known to have fought against the Olympians in general, but in the story of the child Dionysos they appear somewhat as bolts from the blue. Their name even, it would seem, is aetiological, and behind it lies a curious ritual practice. …

From the time that the neophyte enters the first stage of initiation, i.e. becomes a ‘mystic’, he leads a life of abstinence. But abstinence is not the end. Abstinence, the sacramental feast of raw flesh, the holding aloft of the Mother’s torches, all these are but preliminary stages to the final climax, the full fruition when, cleansed and consecrated, he is made one with the god and the Kouretes name him ‘Bacchos.’

The word ‘pure,’ in the negative sense, ‘free from evil,’ marks, I think, the initial stage a stage akin to the old service of ‘aversion’. The word ‘set free’, ‘consecrated’, marks the final accomplishment and is a term of positive content. It is characteristic of orgiastic, ‘enthusiastic’ rites, those of the Mother and the Son, and requires some further elucidation. …

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