(redirected from ecstatically)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal.


either of two drugs used for their euphoric effects. The original ecstasy, a so-called designer drug, also known as MDMA, is an analog of methamphetamine (see amphetamineamphetamine
, any one of a group of drugs that are powerful central nervous system stimulants. Amphetamines have stimulating effects opposite to the effects of depressants such as alcohol, narcotics, and barbiturates.
..... Click the link for more information.
). The other drug is a substance also known as ma huang or ephedra; it was marketed as "herbal ecstasy" to promote the idea that it is a natural and safe form of ecstasy. The active ingredient of herbal ecstasy is ephedrineephedrine
, drug derived from plants of the genus Ephedra (see Pinophyta), most commonly used to prevent mild or moderate attacks of bronchial asthma. Unlike epinephrine, to which it is chemically similar, ephedrine is slow to take effect and of mild potency and long
..... Click the link for more information.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Ecstasy is that higher state of consciousness common to all mystics in which the self is identified with God and, while different language is used, is seen as being united with God. During the state of ecstasy, the mystic is entranced and more or less oblivious to the external world, his or her attention being focused on the object of the original contemplation. Those who experience ecstasy find it a most enjoyable state. Ecstasy is the name given the psycho-physical state accompanying the mystical vision, and the quality of the vision will itself be relative to the spiritual state of the individual. Some people find moving into an ecstatic state relatively easy; others find it a rare occurrence.

Ecstasy is a trancelike state that may be more or less deep and last varying lengths of time. During the period of ecstasy, the body becomes somewhat rigid, retaining the position it was in when the ecstatic state was entered. Often, the body does not respond to outside stimuli, and sometimes observers will test mystics by sticking them with pins or attempting to burn them with a candle flame. Accounts of such tests are common in the biographies and reports on many mystics and visionaries. The ecstatic state usually includes a period of awareness of the object of contemplation, and even communication. It may also be followed by a state of unconsciousness not unlike a cataleptic state, in which the body remains rigid but the mystic feels great joy. The phenomenon of the rigid body is common not only to mystics, but to various people who might go into trance, such as Spiritualist mediums.

In evaluating the mystics, especially those who have later been canonized in the Roman Catholic tradition, ecstasy forms an interesting aspect of their spiritual life, but more concentration is placed upon the piety accompanying such states, the quality of any communications received from God, Jesus, or the Virgin Mary while entranced, and the life that flows from having experienced such states. It is noted that many people who have experienced multiple apparitions of the Virgin Mary have been seen to enter an ecstatic state, and their ecstasy (and the tests performed while in those states) have been put forth to credential them. While doubts about visionaries being in ecstasy have been used to discredit them, the substantiation of their ecstasy has been one of the lesser criteria in the church offering its approval of them. In the case of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary, the quality of the messages received from Mary and the evaluation of the life of the seer have been far more important.

It has been noted that ecstatic states have not been exclusive to the religious, or to the religious of just a few religious traditions. Besides being ubiquitous to all religions, it is also found among artists of various stripes (composers, singers, painters, etc.), suggesting that some people are born with a tendency to ecstasy or an ability to enter trance states that may be expressed in a variety of ways. Such approaches to the mystical life tend to judge it more a product of biology and social training than any particular spirituality. That is, entrance into an ecstatic state is much more a product of the body and psyche than of any particular supernatural or divine force in operation.

Those who experience ecstasy describe it in the most superlative terms. They also describe in a variety of languages their ultimate union with a Divine Transcendent Reality, and their attempts to relate to others the nature of their experience almost always falls into vague abstractions or the theology in which they have been trained. They may also make fine distinctions between stages of the whole ecstatic experience. The scientific study of ecstasy with the same instrumentation that has been used to study the many other states of consciousness is, by the very nature of ecstasy’s appearances, still in a rudimentary state.


Almond, Philip. Mystical Experience and Religious Doctrine: An Investigation of the Study of Mysticism in World Religions. Berlin and New York: Mouton, 1982.
Ellwood, Robert. Mysticism and Religion. New York: Seven Bridges Press, 1998.
Forman, Robert K. C., ed. The Problem of Pure Consciousness: Mysticism and Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990.
McGinn, Bernard. The Foundations of Mysticism. New York: Crossroad Press, 1991.
Underhill, Evelyn. Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Man’s Spiritual Consciousness. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1961.


A trancelike state with loss of sensory perception and voluntary control.


1. Psychol overpowering emotion characterized by loss of self-control and sometimes a temporary loss of consciousness: often associated with orgasm, religious mysticism, and the use of certain drugs
2. Slang 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine; MDMA: a powerful drug that acts as a stimulant and can produce hallucinations
References in periodicals archive ?
Tangonan, along with the over 1,100 pupils of New Cabalan Elementary, ecstatically greeted the crew with welcome banners and presentations from the kindergarten through sixth grade classes that included local dances, songs, and speeches.
His set was ecstatically received by the audience, but he almost did not make it to the gig.
While she was ecstatically pleased that Forest Whitaker won Best Actor, she was a little down that BORAT: The Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit of Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, the film in which she co-stars as a wild bronco riding prostitute that transitions to Borat's wife, didn't get the Oscar nod for Best Adapted Screenplay.
You didn't know me when I was just a boy Playing with my friends or a favourite toy And you didn't know me when I was a pupil at school Learning life's lessons in old Liverpool And you didn't know me when I was a very young man Living my life as only a young man can And you didn't know me when I first met my wife A lovely young girl who changed my life You only knew me from the moment I became ecstatically glad Because you were born and I became your proud Dad.
In fact, the UN confab was virtually a replay of the 118-nation Non-Aligned Movement summit in Havana, Cuba, four days before, where Ahmadinejad received hugs from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and was ecstatically cheered by the likes of Cuba's Raoul Castro (standing in for ailing brother Fidel), Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, Bolivia's Evo Morales, Sudan's Omar al-Bashir, Syria's Bashar al-Assad, and Kim Yong-nam representing North Korea's Kim Jong-il--tyrants all.
Certainly his retiring stage presence doesn't suggest the sort of artist who has critics leapfrogging over each other to praise him ever more ecstatically.
The first time we held her, she smiled ecstatically.
Crowds outside the Vatican cheered ecstatically when the 78-year-old made his first appearance on the balcony of St Peter's Basilica yesterday, there was also much celebration in Britain.
The imagery tends toward cliche, although the one instance of this that really works--a lone girl spinning ecstatically round a dance floor, echoing Emin's 1995 video Why I Never Became a Dancer--does so partly because Emin makes her best sound-track choice here, Shirley & Company's 1975 disco hit "Shame, Shame, Shame.
ecstatically every time he heard the blessing over the bread.
After raving ecstatically about the Boston Baroque's period instruments' version of Handel's Water Music not long before, I couldn't wait to hear what they had done with Bach's four Orchestral Suites.
Ecstatically happy/Why Peter Pan won't serve alcohol