I emerged from this night with a feeling that the experience I had was the most radical and transformational that I’ve ever had. So many people dancing together with a feeling of oneness. I had never felt this before with so many people that I didn’t know, a feeling of intimacy and shared something that would be with us for the rest of our lives. Something more political than even a political demonstration that I had been to. So when I emerged in the morning I thought, the question was how did we get here!? Is this something new or is it a new way of doing something old?—Chiara Baldini, Science and Non-Duality Conference
Who is Chiara Baldini?
It isn’t often that we take time to identify the origin of our modern-day experiences. It’s those who dare to dig deep into the mysteries of reality that help lead humanity into a collective evolution. Chiara Baldini, researcher, producer, and artist, dares to venture down the path of psychedelic mystery through her research of primitive rituals and communion. Her work has shed light on the feminine nature of psychedelic experiences and the psychedelic nature of our collective experience of reality.
Education and Early Career
Chiara Baldini was born in Florence, Italy. She has called Portugal home for the past 10 years, where she co-produced large scale events such as Boom Festival. She joined the Boom Festival Society after a radical transformation via her own psychedelic experience as a participant. Since her initiation into the festival society, her main focus has been to curate cultural programming. She holds space for a variety of topics, such as sustainability, conscious nutrition, psychedelic science, and gender awareness. She most recently has been traveling around the world speaking on her psychedelic research and latest book, The Psychedelic Mysteries of the Feminine. Throughout her journey, she has also developed quite the repertoire as DJ Clandestina. We recommend listening to her transcendental music while reading the rest of this article. CLANDESTINA—SoundCloud.
Work in Psychedelics
Baldini’s career in production and research started after her very intense night on the dance floor of the Boom Festival. As stated on the Boom Festival website, it is a totally independent event that is proudly free of corporate sponsorship, state funding, or political affiliations.
Baldini began her production journey with the Boom Festival Society in Portugal, co-producing Boom’s cultural area “Liminal Village.” Her mission with Liminal Village was to connect and co-create a new future with kindred activist spirits. The Boom Festival Society states that knowledge is power. Accordingly, it inspires the ethos of the Liminal Village, where a gathering of dancing bodies also means a gathering of activated minds. The “Liminal”—meaning the space in-between—is a point of metamorphosis. It is where transformation takes place and visions crystallize into reality.
When we think of modern festival culture, we tend to only go back as far as the Woodstock era of the 1960s. Baldini has taken the liberty of asking if there is any other event known to western history that can compare to a modern psychedelic festival. The concept of thousands of people traveling from all nations of the Earth to commune among strangers in peace, unity, and ecstasy, couldn’t simply have its roots in the ’60s. No, this concept has to be far more ancient than that. Baldini’s research has expanded on this particular question since her transformational night at Boom Festival.
The Mysteries of Eleusis
Specific topics of ritualistic psychedelic communion have been lost over the course of centuries. In Balidini’s research, she has been able to synthesize the writings which have survived the ages. She can confidently report that humanity has been reveling in ecstatic rituals from the dawn of time. Among Baldini’s research, the Mysteries of Eleusis is one of the ancient events we will touch on. It is comparable to our modern-day festivals.
The Eleusinian Mysteries was an event that took place in ancient Greece. It was known to participants of the time as “a temple common to the whole world.” It was an event that was as grand as the Olympic games, after which people went back home deeply transformed. Eleusis was a mesmerizing initiation ritual, lasting nine days and taking place in a small town near Athens.
It initially started as a small celebration to honor the Harvest Moon, Demeter, or “the grain mother,” and daughter Persephone. This time of the year is known as a celebration and symbol of the natural cycles of death and rebirth. Eventually, Eleusis reached its peak at 3,000 participants, which was quite an extensive crowd for this era. The town became a pilgrimage destination for participants from all over the world, and of all social statuses. Men and women, free people and slaves, emperors and philosophers would all travel long distances to attend the celebrations.
Initiation and Transformation
On the 8th night, the people would undergo their initiation. They would all gather inside the main temple and perform a ceremony that remained secret to all who were not present. The mysteries of this transformational night have been the subject for many researchers. Albert Hofmann, the discoverer of LSD, has even hypothesized the presence of an LSD-like substance in the elixir drunk upon the initiate’s entry into the temple. This makes Eleusis potentially one of the earliest historically documented international psychedelic festivals!
Eleusis According to Baldini
Baldini says it best in her 2017 research titled BOOM vs. ELEUSIS: A TEMPLE COMMON TO THE WHOLE WORLD:
As intriguing as this theory may be, it might never gather enough evidence to be proved beyond doubt. Nonetheless, this should not prevent us from exploring the fascinating hypothesis of a collective altered state of consciousness as the key to understanding the mysterious life-transforming potential of the Eleusinian experience. In fact, this same theory has been sustained not only in relation to the ingestion of a psychoactive compound but also as a result of extensive immersion in ritual behavior. Journeying to Eleusis in a time when traveling was not easy and safe, being full of expectations after hearing the stories of other initiates, being removed from one’s daily routine, going through extreme physical exhaustion, fasting, dancing, having to deal with strangers in close contact, would all have contributed to trigger a collective altered state and allow initiates to become “fit for revelation,” open to receive the message of the mysteries concerning the position of humans within natural life.—Chiara Baldini, BOOM vs. ELEUSIS: A TEMPLE COMMON TO THE WHOLE WORLD
Oreibasia is the next event we will touch on that Baldini has extensively researched. It was an ecstatic ritual performed by women on top of mountain forests. They danced to repetitive drum sounds, ingested herbs with psychotropic properties, and performed sacred sexuality while worshiping the bull-god, Dionysus. Baldini describes Dionysus as being associated with the bull, or the archetype of the sacred masculine. He represents life’s irresistible impulse to reproduce itself endlessly. He manifests as both forces that push plant out of its seed and the urge of sexual attraction.
This group of women were called maenads, which is derived from the Greek word mainesthai, meaning mad one, rushing one, inspired one, raging one. No matter how mad they appeared, maenads and their mysterious mountain gathering have preserved themselves through time. Baldini links these ritualist elements of the maenads’ ancient female shamanic traditions to the Neolithic herbal gathers, worshipers of a goddess of nature, and the witches of early modern Europe. Through the brave work of artists, writers, poets, and researchers such as Baldini, we are able to understand and reproduce these ancient traditions and technologies into our modern world.
Modern Interpretation of an Ancient Rite
There have been many interpretations of Oreibasia through time. Some of them are unflattering to the wild feminine nature. Baldini synthesizes the underlining reality of Oreibasia in her research entitled, HER SHARE OF DIVINE MADNESS: THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE ANCIENT RITES OF DIONYSUS.
The Dionysian cult did not originate as a release valve for repressed women; rather it was the Greek expression of a pre-patriarchal cultural paradigm where the main deity was once an Earth goddess … ecstatic rites were not peripheral, nor marginalized, but a prominent feature of religious life … women played a fundamental role in the administration of the rites and altered states of consciousness were a “spiritual technology” used to attain mystical knowledge on the paradoxical nature of reality and on humans’ place within the natural world.—Chiara Baldini, HER SHARE OF DIVINE MADNESS: THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE ANCIENT RITES OF DIONYSUS
Chiara Baldini In Culture
The Psychedelic Mysteries of the Feminine
The Psychedelic Mysteries of the Feminine is a book edited by Maria Papaspyrou, Chiara Baldini, and David Luke. This book is a compilation of the ideas and technologies that Baldini and fellow trailblazers researched. They have even coined the word “femtheogens.” In this case, it is a means to elevate the feminine archetypal wisdom, qualities, and ways of being in our world. Our modern social and political culture has relegated this wisdom to the shadows, along with our oneness, creative fertility, and navigating to find our rightful place within this world. Our modern culture has isolated us and separated us from these homing beacons.
“This book is packed with ideas, information, and analysis on the importance of the feminine in psychedelic, ecstatic, and shamanic practice—topics I find utterly fascinating and sorely needed in this time of crisis, with our longing for transition and with our need for inspiration and magic beyond our current paradigm.”—Gail Bradbrook, PhD, cofounder of Extinction Rebellion
The Psychedelic Mysterious of the Feminine is an excellent as a starting place for your own research. Let us take inspiration from Baldini in the name of research, and commit to our own mysteries. Let us be brave enough to believe in the magic of the wild feminine, sacred masculine, and psychedelic communion.
In the Media
Below you will find a few documented public talks by Baldini, discussing her research.
RS Contributing Author: Niki Perlberg
Niki is a social and arts entrepreneur who specializes in project and creative production development. With her passion for social structures and the arts, she has been involved in the architecture of performance and festival culture around the country. In rapidly changing times she is now taking her passion for these sub-cultures and sharing them with us in our digital atmosphere through her writing and content development. Some of her favorite parts of life are coffee, campfires, and contemplating the mysteries of existence. Feel free to follow her on Insta @itsnikiperl