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The (un)reality the subject faces induces so many doubts and questions, that any rational and inquisitive mind would feel the need to journey further in order to understand – or eventually surrender themselves to the inexplicability of the changa phenomenon. Processing the content of my personal experiences, and struggling to accept them without any scientific explanation, changa became my antidote against skepticism and disenchantment.” -Giorgia Gaia

Simply put, Changa is a powerful psychedelic smoking blend. It is a combination of herbs infused with dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and containing some form of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOi). However, describing the “simply put” physical parameters of a psychedelic compound is as gross an understatement as saying sex is, simply put, a penis penetrating a vagina…. there is SO MUCH MORE to it than “simply put”, which is why we have Giorgia Gaia on the show.

Giorgia Gaia—author of “Changa’s Alchemy – Narratives of Transformation in Psychedelic Experiences”—is an independent researcher with a masters degree in Cultural and Social Anthropology and another MA degree in Theology, specifically 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 research has focused on musical subcultures and psychedelics, esoteric communities, ecology and alterations of consciousness broadly. She spent about four years doing. She spent about four years doing fieldwork in the psychedelic trance scenes around Europe and in few esoteric communities, as for instance Damanhur in North Italy.

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Episode Breakdown

  • The scope of Giorgia’s research
  • What is Changa? (pharmacology, history, cultural impact)
  • Changa within the underground electronic music culture.
  • What denotes “transformation” within the context psychedelic use.
  • The importance of narrativizing profound psychedelic experiences.
  • Prevailing themes or commonalities in the metaphysics and cosmology of changa users.
  • The implication and complications of studying changa culture as an anthropologist whilst directly participating in that culture.
  • Safety, caution, harm reduction advice.

Related Links

Giorgia Gaia on Academia.Edu

Here you can find Giorgia’s essays on changa on festival culture. (Essay)

Changa’s Alchemy – Narratives of Transformation in Psychedelic Experiences

This is the essay mentioned during the interview.

Changa’s Alchemy (Video Lecture @ Breaking Convention 2017)
Chai Charas & Changa (Documentary on Giorgia’s Work)

Julian Palmer’s Interview on Adventures Through The Mind


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