Daniel Pinchbeck refers to his evolutionary Iboga ritual experience with the Bwiti Tribe of Africa in his book '2012 The Return Of Quetzalcoatl' ...
Here is an excerpt ...
"At the beginning of the night-long ordeal, while the tribe drummed and sang around me, I saw, open-eyed, a golem-like figure made of rough tree branches sit down on a bench, cross his legs, and lean forward, observing me curiously. I was later told this was the spirit of Iboga, coming to meet me. Afterward, I watched Scrabble-like letters turn in the air to spell out a curious phrase : "Touchers Teach Too" - one of a series of hints that seemed vaguely prophetic. For much of the night I was taken on a detailed tour of my early life. Many reports of Iboga trips describe such a biographical survey, though nobody knows how a complex alkaloid molecule can unlock such deep doors in the psyche, or how neurochemical reactions can create the palpable sense I had - reported by others as well - of a presence guiding me through the process."
Although the FDA decided in 1993 that Ibogaine showed enough signs of being an effective tool in the treatment of addiction, money is the problem; this natural occurring molecule cannot be patented and is not a maintenance drug with addictive properties; reason for the pharmaceutical industry not to invest in its development... Educate yourself about this unique tool ! Our vision of saving the many lives of people with a chemical dependence is only as strong as the people who support us !
About three years ago, Ben De Loenen read an article about Ibogaine in a Dutch magazine. The cultural/spiritual background of this substance and the economical interests of the pharmaceutical companies in particular caught Ben's attention. Ben was a second year student at the Utrecht School of the Arts at that moment, and decided to dedicate his final exam project to this subject. This was the beginning of a long research period in which he managed to get the cooperation of many people in the field. In particular Howard Lotsof, who in the late sixties discovered that after ingesting Ibogaine, he could instantly stop his heroin use without having any withdrawal symptoms or craving. Next to that he had gained more insight in the cause and nature of his addiction because of the psychoactive phase he had gone through and has been very supportive in the realization of this project.
Three treatments were recorded for the film; one in Sara’s House in Breukelen (The Netherlands), one in the Iboga Therapy House in Vancouver and the third one in the Ibogaine Association in Mexico. Because of the large amount of footage shot for the film, only the last treatment was finally used in the final edit. Also a lot of interviews were conducted with ex-addicts, treatment providers, the father of an ex-addict, a psychotherapist, scientists, a Bwiti shaman and Howard Lotsof. And finally a traditional Bwiti initiation in Central West Africa was shot in June of 2004.
What’s finally used in the film brings the spectator close to the personal experience of the (ex-) addict and focuses less on the science behind Ibogaine. Next to that, the spectator becomes a witness of the spectacular traditional Bwiti-ritual, which contrasts very much to the use of Ibogaine in the Western World. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to get people of pharmaceutical companies and regular treatment centers in front of the camera, as they didn’t react on the invitation, or stated that they "had no comments." For more information on the film, go to www.ibogainefilm.com.
The ritual eating of iboga has been a psychopharmacological sacrament in the Bwiti religion for several centuries, and was likely practiced among Pygmies in much earlier times (Fernandez, 1982). In Gabon and elsewhere in West Central Africa, ibogaine is ingested in the form of scrapings of Tabernanthe iboga root bark. The ritual aim of eating iboga has been conceptualized as "binding"; the binding across time through ancestral contact, or binding participants socially on the basis of a common shared experience of a distinctive consciousness and system of belief (Fernandez, 1982; Fernandez and Fernandez, 2001).
In the colonial era Bwiti became a context of collective psychological resistance to the anomie and demoralization related to the strain on indigenous community and family institutions. Bwiti offered a dignified realm of spiritual endeavor, "the work of the ancestors" and social cohesion. Following Gabonese independence in 1960, Bwiti has remained constellated with national identity and contemporarily retains significant social and political importance (Swiderski, 1988; Samorini, 1995).
Iboga has not commonly been used to treat addiction in the traditional African Bwiti context. Iboga has been sought as a treatment for some somatic conditions, in particular for infertility (Fernandez, 1982). In the colonial era the indigenous community experienced a crisis due to a sharp decline in fertility caused by venereal disease stemming from prostitution and the separation of men from their families by the large-scale physical relocation of indigenous workers.
The possibility of an objective basis for the use of iboga in this setting is suggested by evidence associating iboga alkaloids with antimicrobial activity or effects on cell-mediated immunity. Iboga alkaloids are reportedly active against Candida albicans in the intact animal (Yordanov et al., 2005). In vitro studies indicate reversal of multidrug resistance in human cancer cells (Kam et al., 2004) and activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Rastogi et al., 1998), human immunodeficiency type 1 virus (Silva et al., 2004), and the tropical parasite Leishmania amazonensis (Delorenzi et al., 2002).
The first observation of ibogaine as treatment for substance related disorders in 1962 involved a network of lay drug experimenters who ingested a variety of hallucinogens and systematically recorded their experiences (Lotsof and Alexander, 2001). Withdrawal symptoms were unexpectedly absent in heroin-dependent individuals who had taken ibogaine. Common to various sociological definitions of the term "subculture" is a system of beliefs, norms and values apart from a superordinate culture (Clarke, 1974; Dowd and Dowd, 2003).
The ibogaine subculture has elicited wariness from the "superordinate culture" of conventional clinical medicine (Kleber, 2001), and has been invoked regarding the null hypothesis that ibogaine's reported effect in opioid withdrawal is not pharmacologically mediated, but is instead accounted for by suggestion and ritual (Sharpe and Jaffe, 1990). The ibogaine subculture is also significant as the setting of case report evidence that influenced the decision of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to pursue its ibogaine project (Alper, 2001), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve a clinical trial (Mash et al., 1998).
Ibogaine is unscheduled in most of the world, with the exception of the US, Belgium, Denmark, France, Sweden, Switzerland, and Australia where it is illegal. Ibogaine has not been popular as a recreational drug regardless of its legal status (Kleber, 2001), and apparently only two arrests involving ibogaine are known to have occurred in the US (Ranzal, 1967; Lane, 2005). Iboga alkaloids reportedly are not self-administered, and do not produce withdrawal signs following chronic administration in animals (Aceto et al., 1992).
As of late 2006, ibogaine hydrochloride (HCl) was available for $400-$500USDper gram (ethnogarden.com, 2006), and the dosage typically used for opioid withdrawal is in the range of 1-2 g. Purity on the order of 97-98% has been reported on certificates of analysis for supplies of ibogaine HCl used in the subculture. Ibogaine is also available as Tabernanthe iboga extract or dried root bark.
The Iboga Experience from a Buddhist Perspective ...
First off let me start by saying that my belief system is closest to that of the Buddhist and in fact I adhere somewhat to a Tibetan Buddhist way of perceiving things. Thus my experience in the jungles is coloured by this perspective and to try and describe things without referring to Buddhist conceptual models would be tying my own hands.
Profound experiences of insight have happened to me on a couple of occasions, experiences that left me with a harmonious and centred being, and the effects stayed with me for up to a year. These experiences were understandings of the essential emptiness that is our fundamental reality, the 'skylike' nature of mind. Some came through psilocybin and others through trichocereus cactus, but all were all conducted with the aid of a loving and benevolent teacher, without whom I would never have approached these states of being.
Essentially these states allowed me to perceive that the fabric of our reality is our imagination, and thus with that understanding, anything, absolutely anything is possible in the universe (however, it is important that we realise that it is all a product of our imagination). This is the fundamental nature of exoreality - and endoreality. The intellectual, however, can never come close to the experiential as much as we try. Using words and concepts to describe the subtlety of the experience can be compared to using a ten pound hammer to forge butterfly wings - the wrong tools, clumsy and blunt.
Iboga functions in a subtly different way from these other plants. In small amounts it seems to somehow slow the metabolism down, more so the more you take. Your entire being becomes still and, through the stillness, you begin to see. You begin to be aware of what is going on around you, as your intellectual mind is stilled and the mechanisms that cloud your mind with random thought are all put on slow, or pause. Other senses start coming alive, as the five senses mix synergistically. This is the case up until you take the barely sub-lethal doses they give you in an initiation.
Then you really start to see! Somehow the iboga manages to change your vibration, slow you down to such an extent that you become super-aware on the physical plane (exoreal) of events occurring at other dimensional vibrations (endorealities). Your body cools down, you seem no longer to even breathe and it would look to an outsider as if you were comatose. In fact, although your motor coordination is not functioning properly, your consciousness is now coming into its own.
- MAPS - Ibogaine (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies)
- A Bwiti Iboga Initiation
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