Citation: Sam. "Initiation: An Experience with Tabernathe iboga (extract) (exp79960)". Erowid.org. Aug 3, 2009. erowid.org/exp/79960
Apologies on the length of this, but was tíwas necessary. A little background... this isnít the first time Iíve met Iboga. I took it once quite a few years ago now, and it went very wrong indeed. This because I was complete idiot that didnít approach the Iboga with the respect it deserves. I made 3 critical mistakes;
i) I took it on my own
ii) I took it all at once, in gelcaps
iii) I mixed it with MAOIís, Syrian Rue and caapi 10x extract.
Yes what a monkey idiot I was! The experience was dark and unpleasant... a poisoning. I was fighting to remain conscious, suffering waves of unpleasant feelings; I focussed on not passing out. At one point I fell into a dream, but thought I was awake. I was downstairs, in my house at night on my own, looking out the back door, and there was a very ominous dark figure approaching the door... this made me scream, and woke me up. I couldnít walk for 3 days. Luckily I ate powdered whole root (much weaker) instead of root bark, or I doubt I would be here to tell the tale. Iíve actually taken it twice apart from then, at low doses, and it just produced some nasty physical side effects for a while.
Anyway, skip forward a few years. One thing I have learnt from my previous harrowing experience is that Iboga is some serious stuff worthy of respect... not something to be trifled with.
I have been in email contact with a healer for a while, who uses Iboga and ayahuasca to treat people with drug addictions. We have been exchanging info for ages, and he really knows his stuff on the plants. Well the cost of an Iboga initiation with him is only a few hundred pounds, as oppose to a few thousand elsehwere, and being a once in a lifetime experience, I leapt on the chance. Iím not addicted to anything; I just want to experience what the Iboga root has to offer. It is the psychedelic sacrament of central Africa, from the forest, the place where we as a species first evolved.
So, fast-forward to this Friday, and the healer arrive, and we chat about stuff. He is a plant alchemist, and very much into Voodoo. While this path has got some negative press, he said in its true form, it is really a positive, nature-orientated religion, aimed towards harnessing and exploring the powers of the imagination. He is certainly a character, and unlike anyone Iíve ever met before. He can see my aura, and remarks on its size. He also knows exactly whatís on my mind regarding university somehow.
Before the ceremony Iím asked to get two feathers, a black, oval stone and a shoelace. A rock and a coconut, and a bucket for vomiting are also required.
The key with Iboga is to take it gradually, to let the system adjust to it. I ingest my first gelcap of 7x Iboga extract. The extract is good in that it has 12 other alkaloids as well as the Ibogaine... the whole root alkaloids seem to provide a richer, fuller and smoother experience than pure Ibogaine according to the healer, whose first experience was with pure Ibogaine.
I take another capsule every 45 minutes or so, Iím not sure. I begin to feel a shift... I feel chilled and calm. The healer can see it in me to. He remarks that my eyes are glazed, dreamy, and some lines have smoothed out in my face, and apparently wonít return... he has seen this many times.
Then my vision starts to shift. If I move my eyes or blinks, there is a flash of light, very similar to drinking too much Syrian Rue tea. I begin to feel a little dizzy with a slight stomach awareness, so lie down on my bed. I can feel the ibogaine flooding my brain, I notice my centre of gravity and balance is being affected... it feels like waves of energy are lapping at my sides, gently pushing me around.
This state lasts for a while. It is important not to move much now. Getting up suddenly will result in extreme dizziness and vomiting. The healer says Iboga takes you on a trip through the invisible, and when your traveling there, you canít move in the real world, or you will get BAD motion sickness. There is some visual activity behind closed eyes, a shimmering of pixels, but no solid forms, but it is still early days in the experience. Visions could be expected to begin by around 6 hours in.
The healer tells if I see any tunnels, to try and go down them, as they may lead to dream vision sequences, so I do this, with visual activity and colour taking on more form with time. And then... very suddenly... Iím there. A large eye materialises very suddenly in the centre of my vision. According to the healer, this is my third eye/crown chakra/pineal gland, which the Iboga has activated. I have the strong feeling that this is not some hallucination, and that Iím actually witnessing a layer of awareness usually hidden to me. The eye has a roving pupil that spins around. It remains with me now for two days, in the top centre of my mind screen with eyes closed. There is a vortex of energy that connects the eye to my head, like a small tornado, and this is always in motion. If I close my eyes now, I can still see a beam emitting from the centre of my vision. The healer says this will be with me forever, and meditation can harness its power.
The healer tells me to keep an eye out for a tunnel, which will lead me to the Iboga realm. Not long at all after meeting the eye, a serpentine-like tunnel of energy appears from very far off in my vision behind closed eyelids. It opens in the bottom half of my vision, opposite the eye at the top. So down the tunnel I go, down into the Iboga realm. At this point the healer smashes a coconut with a rock, to symbolise the breaking open the head ritual.
A quick note on the physical experience of Iboga... it is no pleasure trip. And yet I never experienced any anxiety or fear. My body was numbed, dead to the world, glued to the ground, unable to move. It is in the mind where the Ibogaís energy is focussed, a definite cerebral orientation. It is with eyes closed that the visions unfold. With open eyes, there are tracers, and a few lights, but nothing compared to the scenes unfolding in the darkness behind closed eyelids. I will note though, that Iboga is both incredibly powerful, and yet also gentle; Ďpowerful like a gorilla, yet soft in wielding like a nerf dartí to quote Homer Simpson.
Now things start to get more intense. The healer puts on a cd of Bwiti mouth harp music on repeat. Now my brain started to undergo a powerful defrag, with the left and right hemispheres exchanging information, balancing. This is going on as dream visions are unfolding.
I start flashing back to past childhood memories. I find it very hard; nigh on impossible to keep any train of thought... Iboga has the reins now. Iím told the Bwiti music, which is very repetitive, yet not intrusive or boring in the slightest, is altering my brain waves, facilitating information between my brains two hemispheres.
Information, in the form of images and lots of DNA helixes move around the outer field of my vision, between hemispheres, in an anticlockwise motion. I have many images of old filing cabinets and cupboards in my brain being emptied and cleaned out... the healer tells me Iboga likes to spring clean, and get rid of excess not needed. I do some spring cleaning in my brain, assisted by the Bwiti music.
I seem to enter the realm of the ancestors, but not for long. I get images of people collapsing, and then see four African women huddled together. I see a few heads and skulls. Iím only in this realm for a very short while. In total Iíve ingested around 20g worth of Iboga rootbark, equivalent to a gram and a quarter of Ibogaine, quite a high dose, so I shoot through the ancestor realm, into deeper realms beyond.
The visions can be quite dark at times. The healer says if the visions become too intense, opening oneís eyes will interrupt them. I never feel the need to do this though.
Somewhere around this point I had one of my most profound experiences of all. Throughout the experience, in my room in the dark, Iíve been wearing a Mindfold. Very suddenly, firstly the walls, and then my entire room comes into focus.
Let me please make this clear. I COULD SEE THE LAYOUT OF MY ROOM WITH MY EYES CLOSED. This was no illusion or hallucination. When I held up my arm in front of me, I could see my arm clearly through the mindfold! The room was lit in a silvery gray light.
I know this will be very hard to believe, but I swear on my life this is what I experienced. I was amazed and shared this with the healer... he was less surprised than I. From his Iboga use he could see rooms in the dark while sober now. Apparently hunters in Africa sometimes hunt at night on a little Iboga, it giving superior night vision.
This wasnít an isolated occurrence. My being able to see the layout of the room lasted for the next 24 hours at least. I could will this power into being just by thinking about it. If I wished to be aware of the my walls and floor, and I would will my awareness to that area. This was an experience I will never forget. I have ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT that I was seeing with my eyes closed. This, I thought was impossible. But clearly I must have been seeing with my minds eye. I donít know... but I know the experience was real.
The visions were very powerful at some points. Solid and massive objects in my closed eye visions would levitate, and then fly out of the room, or the scope of my vision on their own accord. I did purge at some point, which was a pleasant release.
While it was very hard to maintain a train of thought, in other ways I could direct Iboga. My healer warned me not to think negatively of anyone during the Iboga, as in that state, it could be more risky for causing them harm, and any negativity I would project would only be reflected back, we being mirrors of the universe. So when any nasty visions unfolded, all that is required is to Ďtrack the loveí and negative visions would be enveloped in good loviní vibes.
An incredible experience of Iboga that I had later on in the vision phase is that any thought I would have, would be projected into a 3D image behind closed eyelids. So anything in the universe I could think of, an image would be summoned before me, to examine 3Dimensionally!
I continued to clean away files, and empty cabinets. Later on in the experience, I checked these cabinets, and they were all empty and clean, having already being cleared out. An interesting experience with the Iboga was that once I had dealt with a vision, I could push it outside my scope of vision, where it would dissolve from whence it came.
At one point, something appeared in the left hand side of the vision, some nebulae of matter, and I watched it with my left eye, which it lined up with, before turning around and turning into an exact mirror image of my left eyeball! The healer thought this was funny, and said this was the nature of Iboga.
In the Iboga state, I was effectively in a waking dream. My brain was in deep REM, and so I didn't require sleep. I didnít get a any sleep (or eat any food) for two days. And yet I never felt tired or hungry. Despite being confined to bed for nearly two days, I was NEVER bored, not even for a second. It rained later in the night when the healer went to get some rest, and the sound of the rainfall sounded exactly like the Bwiti mouth harp music, as my brain had been entrained, listening to it on repeat for 20+ hours!
Some friends came over to drink ayahuasca the following evening, and it was really good to have them around. I felt calm and centred, but was unable to walk without feeling sick and dizzy, so chilled a bit more. At one point I drank too much water and vomited lots of green bile, which made me feel better though.
I felt at peace, yet also blank in my mind. The healer explained that my slate had been wiped clean, and that it would be around day 5 or 6 after Iboga that I would be a new man. The main visual and introspective experience lasted 36 hours. On waking up on Sunday, I encountered the most incredible liquid tracers I have ever seen. The norIbogaine had taken over the Ibogaine, and my brain was saturated in dopamine, which was giving rise to the incredible tracers.
Around Sunday lunch time I went for a walk, it being nice and sunny after a rainy start. My friends left, and I did some uni work until 3AM on Sunday night before handing it in on Monday morning.
Right now I feel really good. I feel strong, energised, euphoric and positive. Ibogaine gets converted to norIbogaine by the liver. This hangs around in the body fat for many weeks and months, and acts as an SSRI antidepressant.
I found this experience really hard to put into words, but gave it a shot anyway. This experience I would say is one of the most important life experiences of my nearly 25 years being alive on this planet. The power of Iboga is something else... there is NOTHING else ever remotely like it. How nature has come up with such an incredible tool and medicine is itself amazing. Remember that Iboga achieves what ayahuasca does in a single plant, with an MAOI built into its molecular structure.
I think here in the West, Iboga is a plant more of us could do with listening to. To any seekers and dreamers out there, I would encourage you to open your mind to the possibility of working with this plant... it seems like very few people out there have fully experienced it, which is a shame. It is absolutely imperative one experience this plant with a healer however that has experience and knowledge and experience working with it.
The healer says to wait until day 6, and this is where the healing really begins, so it is still very much early days...
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