Religion in Babylon was dominated by two primary institutions: temple prostitution and the cult of divine kingship, which required a ritual marriage, (hieros gamos) ceremony. This early ritual reenacted the myth surrounding the god Dumuzi/Tammuz and the goddess Inanna/Ishtar. According to the myth, Dumuzi was a simple, yet attractive, shepherd boy who attracted the attention of Inanna, goddess of love, unbridled passion, and the personification of self-determination and liberation. Their union deified Dumuzi, and became the foundation for the Babylonian cult of divine kingship. The central feature involved sexual intercourse between the king and a sacred prostitute, though it is not clear if this was an actual occurrence or a ritual enactment with a female or statue of a divine female. There is little agreement among scholars as to what the point of the union may have been, but one theory is that the ritual has its roots in primitive shamanistic devotions to Inanna. Shaman priests frequently married female spirits who, it was believed, possessed them, gave them special powers, and served as their link to the other world.
In Aztec mythology, Mictlantecuhtli was known as the ruler over Mictlan, the lowest underworld, the northern realm of the dead. He was one of the principal gods of the Aztecs and was the most prominent of several gods and goddesses of death and the underworld. The worship of Mictlantecuhtli sometimes involved ritual cannibalism, with human flesh being consumed in and around the temple.