Hieros gamos  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Hieros Gamos (Greek ιερός γάμος, "holy wedding") or Hierogamy (Greek ιερογαμία, again "holy wedding") means a coupling (sometimes marriage) of a deity and a man or a woman, often having a symbolic meaning and generally conducted in the spring. It is an ancient ritual in which participants believed that they could gain profound religious experience through sexual intercourse. Participants assumed characteristics of deities, often channeling the deities in question, and by their union provided symbolic and literal fertility for themselves, the land, and their people. This was often done by the monarch and hierodule of the dominant religion.

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