April 2009, Far Northern NSW, Australa.
I first took a large dose Iboga Root Bark two and a half years ago and I was very impressed by the experience. I can very simply describe it as ‘full connection to the plant teacher’. For the most part, what I experienced was the plant healing me at most levels of my being. What especially impressed me about the plant, was its light touch, its humor and its wisdom. Ever since then, I have wanted to do it again! and go back into that realm of condensified healing.
The only comparison I had was with a full connection to the Ayahuasca spirit, deep in the Amazonian jungle in the middle of a week long dieta. In that case, again, there was full connection to the plant teacher whose presence is palpable, immediate and carried out deep healing work on my body and soul. This is the only time the plant spirit has appeared to me, and for a full 8 hours were we in communion. Any other time I have taken Ayahuasca has not represented that kind of intimacy with the plant, but perhaps more expansive journeys within and without.
Understanding and experiencing the consciousness of the plant, is I think the key to working with plants in any capacity. Once it is experienced, it creates a kind of internal revolution in the human, whereby the plant kingdom is revealed to be intelligent and whatsmore, one experiences the plant working for one’s benefit. So these are indeed powerful allies, and once it has been experienced, there is no question at all to the validity or reality of this communion – at least for myself. I mean, to skeptics, I would say it is quite inconceivable the mind would fabricate the plant spirit as an entity that communicates and heals and teaches songs! The simplest and most straightforward explanation I think is the most credible one (Occams Razor),that we ingest the plant and the plant communicates with us.
Within Amazonian Ayahuasca culture for example, that the plant is a sentient entity which guides and teaches songs and heals is absolutely the foundation for all of the credible work with this plant in Amazonia. Iboga is just as revered in a country like Gabon, where it is the basis of a kind of religious movement.
Ibogaine is the chemical extract from Iboga, most well known as a drug that will detoxify opiate addicts. However, my personal feeling this detoxification work is not this plants real and essential forte – and neither is extracted Ibogaine the most effective way to experience this plant.
I feel that Iboga is more useful as a general all round healer, of the body, psyche and soul – and is therefore extremely useful to your average spiritually bereft, fragmented and disintegrated western person, who ordinarily has very little connection to nature, and is often cut off from their emotions, let alone their internal spiritual landscape and generally only recognise the recent tradition of Scientism which only acknowledges the mind and body to be the only valid reality.
Iboga is considered to last 3-4 days – but the intense and crucial aspects of the experience lasted for around 8 hours for me when I took it 2 and a half years ago.
The day I took Iboga this time, I took a Pachanoi extract (which is a psychoactive cactus!) in the morning, so it was 1.30am until I felt like taking the root bark. In the beginning, I tasted a little bit, and chewed it. And it didn’t taste too bad, but I knew from previous experience that this would soon change, after I ingested more! So, I began grabbing the bark together between my fingers and downing it with a swig of water. But this way, too much of the fine, powdery and pungent root bark ended up in my mouth! So I wrapped between 600 and 900mg of the root bark into a cigarette paper and swallowed it. Still, this was not easy, and I had to take 5 minutes between swallowing down this amount until I could take more in.
I had weighed out 20 grams, thinking this would be a good strong dose to take. But at 2.30am, after I had eaten 14 grams, I could no longer eat anymore. I felt so much more intoxicated by the experience, than I had the previous time when I had eaten 14 grams of another batch. So I presumed this batch was stronger and decided to leave it at that! Also, I really couldn’t and didn’t want to take anymore… my body was telling me enough was enough! Besides, assuming 6% alkaloid content for this batch, 14 grams would contain 900mg of Ibogaine… more than enough! (next time, I think I would soak the Root Bark in Ethanol for a week, and change the Ethanol, and repeat and then dry out all the ethanol, leaving a gummy paste, which I am told is a MUCH BETTER way to ingest the Root Bark!)
I had the feeling, in the past half hour, of a great deal of health – like my brain was being cleansed and smoothed and massaged by this plant. As soon as I climbed up to bed and laid down, the visions came. The plant introduced itself to me, not as a form, but as a presence. Suddenly, I was in ITS world. Like a surgeon, it began to prepare the patient. At first I was concerned because the visions didn’t seem crisp enough… and I thought maybe I may need to take more, but within 20 minutes more and more opened up and the visions became crisper. I began to hear auditory sounds through my inner ears, and I could feel funnels around my ears, spiritual ears I suppose. Through them I could hear three different levels simultaneously, a comical American news announcer with a deep voice whose commentary was slightly imperceptible, but triumphant and talking of deeper work the Iboga is doing on me. And then at the same time, I am hearing this deep rumbly, familiar ‘voice of Satan’, again which is imperceptible… but I get the impression the voice is pissed. I have heard it before, I always wonder, if I can’t quite hear grasp what it is saying, what level of my being is it communicating to? And where that is located?
Soon, I hear it say, ‘You Little SHIT!’ And it’s like the Iboga raises the volume on the voice. I get the sense, I have disturbed this presence, some kind of entity within me perhaps? Again, ‘YOU LITTLE SHIT!’, this time really loud. I get the feeling, this presence is leaving the building and now feels powerless. The voice is so serious, and yet the Iboga is so light and happy, it just turns the volume down on the voice and bounces on it in a light and carefree way and it JUST GOES! and It is just gone. All this reminds me of when dealing with people who are possessed, how I have dealt with them by singing silly little songs and just not buying into their seriousness. I think one of the reasons, that uninitiated people will often not take reports of psychoactive realms, ‘seriously’, is that because the humorous and playful element can often be quite predominant. And in the west, we traditionally don’t take humorousness seriously, as representing some form of credibility. Society itself is often such a serious affair, but this literality of one dimensionality is not the truth, as the truth is often innately paradoxical in nature. Or as the American philosopher says, Ken Wilber says, ‘Spirit expresses itself through paradox.’
Once this being, some kind of demon or whatever it was, was touched by this humouressness, where nothing it was doing was affirmed and it was shown to be distorted, and so it lost its power. And, the plant continues to work on me, what it is doing is so quick, often I cannot ascertain what it is doing… sometimes it tells me. Once I am shown it is deleting from my subconscious memory banks, all the advertising that I have subliminally picked up in my lifetime! Then it shows me myself as a crying baby, and how this is related to emotional issues, related to my stomach.
Soon, there is a storm outside… a really big storm! I look outside (it’s not real easy to move to look) and it seems like the trees are almost horizontal and it is raining very heavily. The Iboga tells me in this soft, slightly humorous ‘English’ voice which I hear very distinctly, ‘It’s okay! It’s alright! Calm Down!’ – as at times, the situation feels a bit like armageddon! The storm is THAT strong and turns out to be one of the biggest storm in the area for many years.
So what does the plant look like? Well, it doesn’t have a solid or certain form (at least for me), but it has tendencies…. the kind of images it shows are very, very funny… but not in a laugh out loud way, although sometimes I would twitter!
I mean, I’ll be watching a guy surfing and along a wave, and then, the surfer will grow an arm in a split second and jump off backwards into the wave like some kind of Nazi shaped spider, just gone in an instant! However, although the visions are odd, they were nothing I would call, creepy in a Beetlejuicy way. In some sense, the visions are just a kind of entertainment, like very funny and sophisticated cartoons, to keep the patient occupied while the plant does its work. But also, at the same time or concurrently, the plant is showing me what it is doing when it is relevant. The overall feeling is very satisfying.
The nuances and vibrancy of these animations, I saw in a Bruce Parry documentary where he lives with the Bobongo people in Gabon, and took Iboga with them! The way that they move is how the Iboga moved! But interestingly, I only saw the documentary after taking the Iboga.
It is like, the world I am in, is beyond fantastic – everything is crisp, hyperreal, like the humdrum world never existed at all. It is a Disney-esque world where magic is possible. Again, Disney-esque worlds, in the western culture, are considered to be representative of fantasies, and therefore to be invalid realities – which have no credibility. But I have got say, the Iboga as the magician, has a sleight of hand that can’t be beat! (not even by Fantasia Mickey!) At times, it is as if, nothing can overcome his lightness and brilliant touch… no obstacle cannot be surmounted. Whereas, the Ayahuasca vine spirit, will cradle, nurture, give me space for healing and self awareness, communicate to me tenderly. Iboga is like a dentist on a DMT drip, who wants to do all the jobs he can in the quickest amount of time, in order to give you highest bill! That begs the question, why is it in the plants intentions to be in the service of humanity? What does it get out of it?
And to this, I can only reply, that perhaps the plant is being paid in some way by higher forces, which we cannot understand. Perhaps this is an expression of its love, its service to life? A combination of the above? My impression is that Iboga is enjoying itself immensely and gets a kick out of the interaction between itself and the human being. It is a being of great benevolence and trust… I would easily trust your life with it, at the steering wheel of a high speed car on any track on the world at any speed. And yet, only once did it make a mistake, it is showing me a little animation or clip, of an idea not quite well formed, and I can see in a split second that it doesn’t quite feel this is the right message and I hear a little BLIP! and an image of a broken film reel…like the television program is to be reset.
Nothing that I have experienced in the both times I have done Iboga, HAS BEEN ANYTHING LIKE ANY OTHER PSYCHOACTIVE EXPERIENCE! This is not a reality hallucinated from the brain! As an example, At one point, my sister who is staying with me, and who is presently asleep at this time, comes and visits me and says hello! Like she is reaching down from a higher realm! And I can see her whole body form fly down and talk and joke with me.
I read an Iboga experience where the plant gave the guy visions that the earth was dying. I have never received such a vision. My vision was the same vision I always get, have got, for the last 10 years. And even though it is continually pounded into me, it is one I still have difficulty accepting. I am shown a grand celebration, a party, phenomena itself exploding like champagne corks, bubbly color and the perfection of the spiritual world merging with the chaos of matter. In this, there is a grand collective realisation, art becoming human existence, peace and the exhileration of high art. This celebration apparently must [be] the destiny of humanity.
After this, the visions fade, it is now 8am or so, and I stay in my bed for the next day. All day I feel like I am in my womb. I am not bored, I don’t drink anything, eat anything and feel totally content – and I am in a timeless place. Walking is something I am reticent to do and only to get up to go to the bathroom a couple of times. On the 2nd day, I begin to eat little bits of food in the afternoon, and feel more able to move about more. On the 3rd day, I can walk pretty okay and spend my time sitting around the house, rather than in bed, and begin to eat more. I feel a movement in my stomach, like an energy wave passing around my internal organs, which feels good and I feel is the plant still working on my system. On the 4th day, my walking is almost back to normal and the energy wave in my organs is still present. On the evening of the 4th day, I am still hearing internal music, like an opera, with a woman singing specific words, which I try and sing into my recorder! On the 5th day, i am back pretty much back! But it takes another two days, before I feel unclogged… and only on the 8th day, do I really feel like I am ‘back’!
And when I am back, I feel a greater sense of well being than I have for a long time, like I have been totally defragged and cleaned up. I am more able to get things done and feel more clarity and ability to live my life.