Giorgia Gaia is a 32 years old Italian independent researcher with a MA degree in Cultural and Social Anthropology and another MA degree in Theology (Western Esotericism) at the University Van Amsterdam. Since her early twenties she has been working as an electronic musician and event organizer, also in international festivals. Her academic researches have focused on musical subcultures and psychedelics, esoteric communities, ecology and alterations of consciousness broadly. She spent about four years doing fieldworks in the psychedelic trance scenes around Europe and in few esoteric communities, as for instance Damanhur in North Italy, publishing the results of her researches in underground platforms and obtaining positive responses. Recently she has completed a consistent historical and anthropological research on Changa, a new concoction containing DMT. Her next researches will focus on the relationship between psychedelics, specifically DMT, and ecological consciousness.
TITLE: Changa’s Alchemy – Narratives of Transformation in Psychedelic Experiences
Parallels between the idea of a mythical alchemical transmutation, with its spiritual subtext, and the profound transformation of human consciousness that can be catalysed through the use of psychedelic substances are intriguing. Recently, a DMT concoction named ‘changa’ has become particularly popular within the worldwide psychedelic milieu. Changa is an entheogenic substance and, foremost, a cultural phenomenon. Although often difficult to articulate, changa experiences recurrently provoke deep personal reflections and a reevaluation of the user’s epistemological paradigm. My fieldwork, consisting of approximately three years of intermittent participant observation in cultural scenes where changa is used and of interviews with users from various geographical origins, resulted in a qualitative analysis of the transformative potentials of such experiences. This lecture specifically explores how my interviewees perceived that smoking changa has transformed them on personal, social and spiritual levels, focusing particularly on re-interpretations of what is commonly understood as the ‘supernatural’, on significant communications with other dimensional beings and intrusions into alternate realities.