At the risk of frightening some readers half to death, I am going to write about a substance that can be said to have the power to change reality for an individual in this life.
MarcLord asked me for information about ibogaine, an African plant that has acquired a powerful reputation, whether for good or ill, even in the West.
Ibogaine is nothing new to shamans in Africa. It was its use as a treatment in drug addition in Europe that 'put it on the map' internationally. To define ibogaine as a 'drug addition treatment', however, would be tantamount to describing J.R.R. Tolkien as 'some old writer who died three decades ago.'
I have no personal experience with ibogaine. My own knowledge, therefore, is limited to academic research and some correspondence with individuals who have used it successfully.
Like all 'gods' in primitive societies, ibogaine possesses the power of life and death. There have been a number of fatalities. This is hardly surprising when one considers that the drug has the power to take the individual back to the past to relive his/her own childhood as well as transporting him/her to other realities.
People who have had the courage to place themselves in the hands of ibogaine never know what to expect. Some literally have been 'frightened to death'. Their hearts stop and their life in this dimension is finished.
Ibogaine does not have the power to resurrect the dead. It does not have the power to reintroduce a soul into a body that has ceased to function. What it can do is alter the landscape of a living organism's memory permanently, as well as restoring lost memory.
What follows here is a personal account by an individual of his ibogaine experience. There are hundreds of accounts but this one is interesting because the individual is some one who can describe the experience clearly and intelligently and because he obviously worked with the drug to improve his own life:
The following is my experience with Ibogaine. The statement 'words cannot describe...' is an understatement.
I ingested the Ibogaine in the evening of 1 December 1997. After 45 minutes the first wave hit. I had no nausea with the ibo coming on or through the entire journey. Then the second wave hit. The best way to describe the waves would be a freight train plowing through my energy field. During each wave there was an accompanying sound - something like thin fiberglass rods coming out of my ears that were whirling around just below the speed of sound. The second wave backed off. I then was in blackness and I could see my body laying in my bed as I floated away from it up to the ceiling. I passed through the ceiling into the night sky. I could feel myself going further up to the stars then slowly descending through some trees I had never seen before. When I touched down on land I realized I was in Africa. I then felt my skull split open and hinged back. I looked up into the African night and saw two giant black hands pouring what looked like sand into my brain. It was shimmering down all around me and I realized it was the Ibogaine being poured into my brain. As the ibogaine hit my brain I could feel/hear/see my brain lighting up like a switch board. I was then back in my bed. The Ibo was seeming to say "Are you ready?" I was. The final wave was quite intense. . . After the third wave I felt as if my whole body was being violently shaken. I then had my whole body lifted off the bed by the ibo and swung from side to side in a 300 degree arc. It wasn't frightening. My sense was the Ibogaine was showing me its power. It was powerful!!!
I was then laid back down. I heard a voice say, 'Here are some of the things we can do. Do you want to see what your niece will look like at 27?' I replied, 'Yes.' A three dimensional image of her flashed up and then I saw her morph from 13 to 27. Then they did the same thing with another person taking them from age 50 to 6. I was told this is only a small example of what was capable. I started shaking/vibrating violently (it felt that way at least). The whirring sound got louder and louder. I started shaking more violently. Then my stomach was blown wide open and brilliant red 20 foot flames started spewing out. It was very intense but there was no fear with the experience. Out of the flames rose a HUGE red man. I realized this was my repressed male red energy - and he was angry.... He had his fists in the air and was swaying back and forth pounding his fists. He was also yelling. While he was still doing this the red flames changed to blue light/smoke that was spewing forth all around the Red Energy Man. I realized this was all the grief and sadness that I had stored for 34 years.
Everything went still. I then saw to my right an African man with white hair and a beard and wearing a loincloth. I walked over to him. I heard Bwiti (the Ibogaine spirit) say 'This is your guide.' I asked Bwiti if I could ask the man his name. I was told I could. The man said "Moka." I laughed! I told Bwiti I could not have a guide named 'Mocha,' that was coffee... As soon as I said that two words flashed up 'rebellion' and 'self importance'. Then Bwiti got EXTREMELY angry and yelled, 'HIS NAME IS MOKA!!!!! M-O-K-A!!!! MOKA!!!!' I apologized. Moka told me that I was now in the second phase of my process. He explained, 'We had to remove all your repressed emotions so we could teach you these new things. The key is to not allow yourself to store so many emotions. What is important is to speak in the moment so every emotion moves as it happens. A person should look like this.' I then saw the image of a women walking with a rainbow streaming out of her body. Each color representing an emotion. There were slight 'hills and valleys' to the rainbow. Moka explained, 'Emotions need to be fluid, a cry should come as easy as a laugh. Some people in your life abuse their emotions by holding them and expressing them later. They need to live in the now.'
I'm not sure of the exact timing of this but at some point the Ibogaine seemed to have worn off a bit. I was laying in bed thinking, 'This is it? $2000.00 dollars for this? This sucks!!! Ibogaine sucks!' Then the word 'trust' popped up. I thought 'O.K. - trust...trust the experience' The word 'listen' popped up. I listened. Two seconds later I could here the phone ring in the next room. This was the proof I was looking for... Bwiti said listen and then the phone rang. At that moment I had a bodily felt reference and total understanding of shamanism/plant allies/the spirit world and the true power of Ibogaine. (Conveying all the details and magic with words is difficult.)
Also at this time I was standing with Moka when Bwiti interrupted us and said
'Look!' Suddenly to my right was the Earth. It was about the size of a large beach ball. Bwiti seemed to be holding the Earth and literally pushing it right into my face. I then saw a large bulldozer come over the top of the Earth tearing the Earth in half. As this was happening I could hear the Earth screaming, 'HELP ME!!! PLEASE HELP ME!!!!!' I was then pushed/shoved to a desk where a blank book was. Bwiti informed me that I was to write a book called 'How to Save the Earth - A Manifesto for Change'. A pen was in my hand and I started writing down what Moka was saying. The first line was, 'Our Earth is dying.' There was other dialogue that I cannot remember. I seemed to just get started and I was told Phase Two was beginning.
Phase Two: Conditioning Awareness Programme
Phase two consisted of 100's of scenarios where I was put into a past situation or a 'made-up' one. These events were all done symbolically. For example: I realized what I was learning was about choice. A week before my journey the word choice kept popping into my head. I then had the thought this has come...ahhh....ahhh... I then looked down and there was a dog running around a concrete ring on the side of a hill... the phrase 'Full Circle' flashed in front of me. It was as if a special way of teaching had been developed specifically for my being. As I would walk through each scenario I had to make different decisions. If the thought was incorrect a sign would flash up with a word describing my thought/action. The three main words I kept encountering were trust, rebellion and the phrase 'the need to please.' Others were: lie, co-dependence, distraction, fear and several I can't remember. It was like I was walking down a maze. Wrong thought go the other way... until you reach 'the truth.' Through this whole phase Moka was walking with me.
Phase three: Question and Answer Period
I was then asked by Moka if I had any questions for him. I did. I asked about emotions. I told him I need to go further into my emotions. He reminded me that all past emotions had been removed from me. I then asked what about my parents. I know there has to still be a lot of energy left around them. Moka then walked me out to the edge of a giant plateau. We were at the very edge. In the distance were five grey cubes suspended by a cable that stretched to the sky. On each cube was a very faint black and white image of a family member. Moka said, 'There is your family, do you feel anything?' I didn't. No anger. No co-dependence. No energy hooks into the past. Moka then told me that my emotional healing was going to take place after the Ibo journey and that my mate was to be my guide. Also that this emotional healing would be dealing with emotions in the 'now,' not the past. I was also informed that I would need to 'relearn what love is.' I was informed that this could be taught with the Ibo but my task was to learn it on my own.
What followed was an hour or so of Q & A. I would ask a question and I would get an answer either in the form of a written or verbal message or in a scenario. For example: I asked the question, 'What is the nature of core healing? 'I then found myself falling face first through the sky, through trees and as I was ready to smash into the dirt I stopped. The word 'earth' appeared in the dirt. The nature of core healing for me was more earth connection. I asked questions about career, relationships, future children (which I was shown), and explanations of the fantasy bond and aspect identification. Several of my questions were around concepts that I had been using prior to the Ibogaine for my own healing. Concepts that I understood but did not totally grasp. The Ibogaine allowed me to assimilate these concepts in every cell of my body. Once again the Ibogaine seems to develop a specific form of teaching that allows the user to understand things on a whole new level. Ibogaine has the gift of pure insight.
Phase Three: Redoing the Past
I eventually ran out of questions...... there was a period of 'nothingness.' I remember someone coming in to check in on me and me telling them, 'I think it's beginning to wear off.' The minute I said that I was slammed by the Ibogaine. 'Never mind,' I said.
I found myself in a huge field. In the field were various mounds of dirt. I was to discover that each mound of dirt was a past event that I had not fully dealt with. So I spent the next several hours going from mound to mound redoing my past. I would walk up to a mound, put my hand on it and a specific scenario would open up. I then got the insight of what created each event and that I was responsible for the choice I made in that moment. I also had the opportunity to rechoose each decision or thought process.
I asked Moka why I had to go through these past experience if there were no longer any emotions tied to them. I was told that it was part of my retraining and to gain wisdom.
Towards the end of this experience I saw myself as a 6 year old boy with a small wagon behind me. On the wagon was a grey cube similar to the ones I saw earlier as my family. There was no top to the cube and inside the cube it was empty. The wagon and cube then turned to a charcoal shell. Suddenly I saw what seemed to be the hand of Bwiti and it crushed the wagon and cube. This cube represented the emotional baggage of my life that I had been hauling around for the past 34 years. When Bwiti crushed it I felt a wave of sadness and loneliness, I had just lost a part of myself that I knew quite well. This was followed by a great sense of freedom from the past.
What followed was a series of what I call 'whumpings'. The first was my Mother. The image of her giving birth to me appeared. She was in a delivery room with her legs in stirrups. I had just 'arrived'. I could see my placenta hanging out of her. Bwiti's hand came down and scooped me up. My Mother turned to charcoal, then a hand came down and 'whumped' her turning her to black dust. All my past girlfriends then appeared in charcoal form and were 'whumped'. Bwiti got to one girlfriend that he could not crush. He tried again. Nothing happened. I felt myself pushed towards her. There were some unresolved issues with her that had not been dealt with. I worked them out, saw how I had energy hooks still in her cleared these, and then she got 'whumped'.
In writing this now it seems rather heartless and sadistic to have your Mother and old girlfriends 'crushed'. But I see this process as a total completion to the past. I no longer feel the co-depedence with these women.
To say I gained a thousand new insights would not be an exaggeration. My life has been forever changed. The strongest message for me was to 'slow down!' I also learned of all the tricks/techniques/distraction I have developed to avoid feelings. And how I have been addicted to feeling bad about myself and sabotaging my own life. The fact that I create my own reality now has a new depth to it. The Ibogaine showed me who I am at my very core without any conditioning, tied up emotions or energy - my true essence. It gave me an extended glimpse of what's possible as a self-actualized human. It then also gave me the tools and training to achieve this pureness. Ibogaine is not a means to an end. After the experience you are not 'fixed.' It is up to me to make the choices, to use the tools.
Twenty Days Later
During my Ibogaine experience I was given a chance to see myself at my true essence. Since the journey I have deviated from that true essence- but not far. The insights gained are still there. Unfortunately so is all of my conditioning/head trips. But what I have now is a better form of dealing with these. My life has also slowed down. I find I cannot rev like I use to. I can't do 6 things at once staying in a state of perpetual distraction. The phrase, 'Be Here Now' pops up frequently. I am looking into a major career change out of corporate America into some type of counselling/guide work. My relationship with my fiance has taken a quantum leap of truth and love. This has been the greatest gift of the Ibogaine. I am relearning what love is.
Tips for Use
Do not eat for 12 hours prior to the ingestion of the Ibogaine. Do not drink water for at least 5 hours prior. There is a component of the Ibogaine that does not want you to get out of bed (or even move!). To get up to urinate would be extremely difficult for the first 6-8 hours. Your body feels like it weighs about 900 pounds. Also movement = body spins. I made the mistake of rolling on to my side which produced 10 minutes of the most intense bed spins of my life! So once the Ibogaine kicks in - Do Not Move!!! I would also recommend keeping noise to a minimum. My hearing was turned up to the level where I could here a pin drop five miles away. You hear EVERYTHING. So if you have friends staying with you silence is the rule. As far as being guided through the journey I feel it is best to allow the Ibogaine to do that. Keep all interruptions to a minimum.
The hallucinatory component of the Ibogaine lasted approximately 30 hours for me. They seem to come and go. One minute you can be in conversation with someone and five minutes later you are seeing jeweled boxes and binary coding coming out of the ceiling. The hallucinations are extremely real!!! What I was seeing with my eyes closed I could see if my eyes were open.
The physical aspect of the Ibogaine lasted approximately 20 hours +. It has a VERY slow taper effect. At no time did I feel ill or that I had ingested anything toxic into my body. The Ibogaine felt extremely pure in my body.
What happened to me was obviously my experience. In conversation with other friends who have done Ibogaine each experience was unique. Some friends had little to no hallucinations. One friend got extremely nauseous. The variety of experience is equivalent to the variety of personalties. Whatever happens to you is your experience- custom designed for what you need.
END OF ARTICLE
This is only one individual's experience and obviously he was interested in self-exploration in socio-behavioural terms.
Like any hallucinogenic substance, ibogaine works with the individual, the images in his/her memory and imagination. The old, oft-quoted declaration to the effect that 'the man with the mind of an ox on hashish will dream with the mind of an ox'
This is not the best article relating an Ibogaine experience, but it is one that I feel depicts a rather 'ordinary' Ibogaine event. I have read about situations where the individual actually changed his/her memories of the past, erasing terrible traumas and replacing them with different scenarios. In that sense, the past was changed and by changing the past, the individual changed the present and possibly the future. It is this tool that is used to treat drug addiction, I believe. The user erases the desire and need for the drug and returns to this life 'cured'.
For my part, however, I believe that we only can comprehend the ancient mystery religions by investigating the effects of all natural substances, whether toxic or hallucinogenic. The oracle and priestesses at Delphi chewed laurel leaves. Robert Graves, in the 'White Goddess' related his own 'mind-altering' experience with snake venom. The entire Vedic religion is centred on a substance called 'soma'. No one has been able to identify soma convincingly in our modern world. It has been argued rather compellingly that the berserkers used amanita muscaria to induce their sacred state of 'rage'. Certainly the Northern tales refer to the transformation of human beings into hybrids part-animal and part-human. Their shapes would remain human but they would acquire the psyche of an animal, usually a wolf or a bear. The tales of werewolves echo the older tale of the Volsungs who lived as wolves for a number of years in the forest. Sigmund lay with a wolf-witch who bore a son to him named Sinfjotli. Both father and son lived in the forest, occasionally assuming the forms of wolves.
N.B. 'Wolf's head' is the old term for outlaw in the British isles. Hereward the Wake and Robin Hood alike were described as 'wolf's heads' but it had nothing to do with shapeshifting. The Volsungasaga on the other hand, speaks clearly of humans who can assume the nature of wolves.
Native American 'vision quests' include similar experiences. Actually, the tribes of the plains shared many of the same religious and philosophical beliefs as the pagan Vikings. The animal totems and men's societies are but two examples.
The reason it is worth mentioning here is that ancient people believed that these experiences were very real. The berserker was a part of old Norse society. He was not some one who was marginalised as a lunatic. Ancient mystery religions recognised the role of mind-altering substances as an integral part of 'transformation' from human to godling or instrument of the gods.
The Ibogaine Dossier has collected thousands of articles on the subject of ibogaine. It does tend to focus on treatment for drug addiction, rather sadly, rather than exploring all the facets of the shamanic applications. Nonetheless, one can wade through the material to find gems relating to the use of ibogaine in seeking to attain a spiritually overwhelming sense of 'nearness' to the Divine.
The article quoted above did not explore the religious or sacred aspects of ibogaine much, but I felt that it provided a fair account of an ordinary intelligent individual's first experience with the substance.
The Ibogaine Dossier can be found at:
There is a British institute for Ibogaine Research that impressed me. I will try to find the link to that.
Although this post was written primarily for MarcLord, perhaps others will find it somewhat interesting.