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The paper focuses on embodied mystery experiences of initiates in ancient Greek mystery cults. Four main questions are addressed: what kind of experience was considered the core of Greek mystery initiations, how was this experience attained, in what way did it influence the life of the initiates, and what real-life experience could prompt the idea of mystery initiations. Mystery initiation may be defined as ersatz-death, a rehearsal of the real one. Modelled as it seems on near-death experiences, these rites comprised alterations of the initiate's state of consciousness. For trivial events to be remembered by the mystai as revelations, they were brought to a state of heightened sensitivity and perhaps also suggestibility. The knowledge of life and death thus acquired was a holistic and ineffable sensation, rather than a learnt doctrine: in Aristotle's words, the initiates were ‘not to learn anything, but rather to experience and to be inclined’.