An exploration of the connections between feminine consciousness and altered states from ancient times to present day
• Explores the feminine qualities of the psychedelic self, ancient female roots of shamanism, and how altered states naturally tap into the female archetype
• Discusses feminist psychedelic activism, female ecstatics, goddess consciousness, the dark feminine, and embodied paths to ecstasy
• Includes contributions by Martina Hoffmann, Amanda Sage, Carl Ruck, and others
Women have been shamans since time immemorial, not only because women have innate intuitive gifts, but also because the female body is wired to more easily experience altered states, such as during the process of birth. Whether female or male, the altered states produced by psychedelics and ecstatic trance expand our minds to tap into and enhance our feminine states of consciousness as well as reconnect us to the web of life.
In this book, we discover the transformative powers of feminine consciousness and altered states as revealed by contributors both female and male, including revered scholars, visionary artists, anthropologists, modern shamans, witches, psychotherapists, and policy makers. The book begins with a deep look at the archetypal dimensions of the feminine principle and how entheogens give us open access to these ancient archetypes, including goddess consciousness and the dark feminine. The contributors examine the female roots of shamanism, including the role of women in the ancient rites of Dionysus, the Eleusinian Sacrament, and Norse witchcraft. They explore psychedelic and embodied paths to ecstasy, such as trance dance, holotropic breathwork, and the similarities of giving birth and taking mind-altering drugs. Looking at the healing potential of the feminine and altered states, they discuss the power of plant medicines, including ayahuasca, and the recasting of the medicine-woman archetype for the modern world. They explore the feminine in the creative process and discuss feminist psychedelic activism, sounding the call for more female voices in the psychedelic research community.
Sharing the power of “femtheogenic” wisdom to help us move beyond a patriarchal society, this book reveals how feminine consciousness, when intermingled with psychedelic knowledge, carries and imparts the essence of inclusivity, interconnectedness, and balance our world needs to heal and consciously evolve.
About the Author
Maria Papaspyrou, MSc, is an integrative psychotherapist, supervisor, and family constellations facilitator. She has given talks and published articles on the sacramental and healing properties of entheogens, supporting their re-introduction in psychotherapy. She is co-director of the Institute of Psychedelic Therapy in the UK. She lives in Brighton, England.
Chiara Baldini is an independent researcher who studies the evolution of the ecstatic cult in the West. She lives in Portugal.
David Luke, Ph.D., is a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Greenwich and a guest lecturer at the University of Northhampton. He has published over 100 academic papers on transpersonal experiences and altered states of consciousness and regularly gives public lectures and conference presentations. A cofounder and director of Breaking Convention, a biennial international conference on psychedelic research, he lives in East Sussex, England.
Allyson Grey is an accomplished visionary artist with a Master of Fine Arts degree from Tufts University. She has taught art at Tufts University, the Boston Museum School, and Omega Institute. In 2004, Allyson and her husband, artist Alex Grey, opened the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM) in New York City, a gallery and sacred space for Alex’s original paintings and other visionary artworks. In 2009, CoSM, now a church, moved from Manhattan to the Hudson Valley. Allyson Grey lives in Brooklyn and Wappinger, New York.
“Words like ‘essential knowledge’ and ‘provocative’ somehow fail to do justice to the content between these covers. These are contemporary, controversial issues in psychedelics that aren’t adequately being addressed elsewhere: abuses of power and the ethical behavior of psychedelic guides and shamans and the role of psychedelics not only in women reclaiming their power but in deconstructing the gender binary. There is mystery and potential in the feminine, the yin shadow. That darkness is an important piece of the power and glory that is woman. I applaud this project and recommend it heartfully. It is crucial information that needs to be integrated into the psychedelic community and the larger tribe of humanity. Also, the artwork is gorgeous and inspiring.”
— Julie Holland, M.D., editor of Ecstasy: The Complete Guide and The Pot Book
“This edited volume presents a wide-ranging history of the roots of the current psychedelic renaissance. From the ancient rites of Dionysus, scholars and practitioners explore how the Sacred Feminine opens a doorway into the Divine via both ecstatic trance and an embodied connection to nature. Psychedelic Mysteries of the Feminine is a valuable addition to all collections of psychedelic mysticism.”
— Rachel Harris, Ph.D., author of Listening to Ayahuasca
“This impressive volume weaves together an evolving understanding of the psychedelic feminine through essays and art. The call for all people to embrace the Divine Feminine in its many forms is loud and clear in this celebration of the feminine voice and historical perspective. We have the power to transform our culture and our world. This anthology is a wonderful aid in discovering a path toward love, healing, and balance.”
— Rick Doblin, Ph.D., founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychede
“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, Ph.D., cofounder of Extinction Rebellion
“From this groundbreaking collection there emerges a specific feminine approach to mind-altering substances, a phenomenon that has been breaking through and doing its part in driving the psychedelic renaissance. The multicultural contributors speak from their personal experiences with entheogens. The female perspective amplifies the yin component at the heart of the visionary plant experience. There is authenticity and activism here, along with a wide-ranging body of tremendously useful information enhanced with mind-bending shamanic art.”
— Michael Horowitz, coeditor of Sisters of the Extreme: Women Writing on the Drug Experience
“Psychedelic Mysteries of the Feminine is an essential addition to the world’s psychedelic library. A superbly conceived, edited, and visually stimulating anthology in which a chorus of activists, researchers, visionaries, and fourth-wave feminist voices offer remedies to the challenges of our time.”
— Graham St John, author of Mystery School in Hyperspace: A Cultural History of DMT