Experimenters in the higher realms of sensation
Historically (what, you thought Clive Barker made it up?), a Cenobite is a monk, specifically a monk who lives in a monastery or other religious community.
Anecdotally, it was once overheard in the vicinity of The Enigma: "Who does that guy think he is? A Cenobite?"
This quote referred to the Hellraiser movies (and book), in which a Cenobite is an entity that creates "conditions of the nerve endings the like of which imagination, however fevered, could not hope to evoke." They are covered in scars, and their entire body is "cosmetically punctured and sliced and infibulated, then dusted down with ash." Hmmm... See a resemblance?
- "Clive Barker, creator of the Hellraiser Cenobites, has been a very vocal tattoo fan over the years, though he has, as of the last interview on the subject, not been tattooed... However, an spcOnline spy confirms that the same is NOT true for piercings!"
Pinhead, on what Cenobites are: "Explorers in the further regions of experience. Demons to some. Angels to others."