Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Ibogab is the name we have decided to use for our newly formed discussion group on the sacred Iboga/Eboka experience. This discussion happens once a week in downtown Toronto and is attended by those who are experienced with sacred Iboga/Eboka and those just curious about this sacred magical African power plant. Email us at for information such as exact time and place of the meetings.

We have received three submissions by persons who have experienced Iboga which will be posted as soon as we get around to it. One of them ate Iboga for initiation and two ate Iboga with the intention of addiction interruption and empowerment. Both of these stories were very inspiring and we will elicit updates from these contributors for future postings.

Sacred Iboga (Tabernanthe Iboga), also known as Black Bugbane, is a perennial rainforest shrub and hallucinogen, native to western Africa. Sacred Iboga stimulates the central nervous system when taken in small doses and induces visions in larger doses.
Normally growing to a height of 2 m, Sacred T. Iboga may eventually grow into a small tree up to 10 m tall, given the right conditions. It has small green leaves. Its flowers are white and pink, while the elongated, oval-shaped fruit are orange. Its yellow-coloured roots contains a number of indole alkaloids, most notably ibogaine, which is found in the highest concentration in the root-bark. The root material, bitter in taste, causes an anaesthetic sensation in the mouth as well as systemic numbness to the skin.

The following is a western interpretation of the sacred iboga experience adapted from an interview with an addict who has been treated with ibogaine hydrochloride (alkaloid from the sacred iboga root). This article is at the ibogaine dossier web site.

1st stage: 15 to 20 minutes after the start of the treatment, a numbing of the skin is accompanied by an auditory buzzing and an oscillating sound. Objects appear to vibrate intensely.

The first visions appear after an hour. Suddenly, on the walls, there appears a screen on which the subject views pictures that may be archetypes, more or less deformed animals, an abyss lit up by lightning, etc., or more personal episodes related either to childhood or to more recent events.

The subject may question the persons he sees, identify with one of them, be at the same time a spectator and an actor. He views a film of his subconscious and his repressed memories. He looks within himself.

2nd stage: 5 to 10 hours later, the visions cease and cutaneous sensitivity begins to return. This stage is marked by an unusually high energy that lasts 5 to 8 hours, during which the subject see flashes of light around him. Then comes what the subject calls the question-and-answer period. He analyzes the visions that he remembers, seeks an interpretation and may communicate with the people around him.

Iboga shows him where his problem is. He has the impression that a reset button has been actuated. Everything is erased, everything becomes sharp and clear. He knows where his life took the wrong turn and what he must do to get back on the right path.

This question-and-answer period may last 20 hours, during which the subject remains under medical supervision.

3rd stage: the subject remains awake from a residual stimulation for up to 20 hours and then goes to sleep for as short a period as two hours and will wake up in top form, provided he is young and his general health had been good previously, with a new self-confidence, feeling no more need to take drugs.

The following is an African spiritual approach to sacred Iboga taken from

Sacred Iboga brings about the visual, tactile and auditory certainty of the irrefutable existence of the beyond. Through his spiritually immutable substance, man belongs on two planes of existence with which he blends, knowing not where birth and death begin. Physical death loses all meaning because it is nothing but a new life, another existence. "It is Sacred Iboga that conditions the several existences."

Sacred Iboga does away with the notion of time, the present, past and future blend into one, as in the superluminous universe of Régis and Brigitte Dutheil: through the absorption of sacred iboga, man returns to the birthplace whence he came.

In order to be admitted to the Bwiti Society, the candidates must submit to a series of trials or rites of passage that begin in an enclosure strictly reserved for the initiates.

Each candidate has a "mother", who is an old initiate; this is a man who sees to it that the initiatory ceremony is conducted properly.

This ceremony consists essentially of ingesting scrapings of sacred iboga root (Tabernanthe iboga H.Bn. var. ñoke and mbassoka).

This "chewing of the sacred iboga" is supervised by the "mother" who constantly checks the dosage of the sacrament according to the physiological reactions of his candidate who must take a very large quantity of root bark and stems of T. iboga.

This chewing is preceded by abstinence from sex and food the day before. The rite is very strict and each manifestation has great symbolic value.

Over a fire, the elders roast squash seeds. The sound they make as they pop symbolizes the release of the spirit -- which supposedly leaves the body through the fontanel -- on its mystical journey. The candidate's skull is struck three times with a hammer to help free his spirit.

The neophyte's tongue is pricked with a needle to give it the power to relate the visions to come.

Since the chewing can last several days, the disincarnation and the reincarnation of the neophyte are reenacted before the visions appear.

The candidate is led to the river, and a miniature dugout canoe made of a leaf, bearing a lit torch of okoumé resin, is set upon the waters. This rite represents the journey of the spirit, downstream, toward the West, the setting sun, death, and symbolizes disincarnation.

A stake surmounted by a diamond-shaped wooden structure is planted in midstream: it represents the female sexual organ, which the candidate must go through (in a fetal state) against the current, thus swimming upstream, from the East, the rising sun, from birth.

For the enactment of this initiatory birth, the neophyte's head is shaved and is sprinkled with a red wood (padouk), as is done with the newborn.

Finally, as soon as the neophyte's psychological state after the chewing is considered satisfactory, he is led into the Temple where he is placed on the left side, symbolizing womanhood, darkness, death. He remains in the Temple, on the left side, absorbing sacred iboga leaves until the normative perception of the visions occurs.

During the chewing, the effects of the drug begin to be manifested twenty minutes after the first absorption of sacred iboga by violent and repeated vomiting: "The belly of the neophyte (banzi) is emptied even of its mother's milk."

To go to the beyond, one has to die; the body remains on the ground with the elders, the soul departs.

The physiological manifestations begin with drowsiness, followed by motor incoordination, strong agitation, tremor, crying and laughter, partial anesthesia with intermittent hypothermia and hyperthermia, panting that may go as far as choking.

To assess the progress of the intoxication and to adjust the dosage, those in charge take the pulse, listen to the heartbeat, check the temperature simply by touching the body and evaluate sensibility by pricking with a needle at different times. According to the physiological state, the "mothers" regulate the dose of the sacred iboga up or down from time to time.

The oneiric effects do not begin to be manifested until after about ten hours, during which time the aforementioned rituals take place, partly in public with dances and music.

Among the Mitsogho, the subjects under the guidance of sacred iboga go through four stages to reach an image content corresponding to the required norms. The candidates are constantly questioned by the initiated elders as to the content of what they perceive. The elders are the ones who make a judgment as to the initiatory value of the vision described.

The first vision consists of hazy, incoherent, disordered images devoid of religious significance, whose authenticity is often questioned by the neophyte.

The second stage is characterized by a series of apparitions of menacing looking animals that sometimes break apart and at times form together again rapidly.

In the third stage, the oneiric vision clearly progresses toward the mythical stereotype. The neophyte grows more and more calm, a sign of a pleasant, peaceful vision that dispels his doubts as to the objectivity and factualness of the image perceived.

The neophyte feels himself enveloped by a wind that carries him off in the twinkling of an eye, to the sound of the Ngombi harp, to an immense village without a beginning or end.

We ought to say a word about the symbolic value of the musical bow whose melodious sounds accompany the ceremony. It represents a link between the village of the men here on earth and the village of the father in the beyond. The musical bow symbolizes the road of life and death.

On the way over, voices are heard: "Who is it that you seek, stranger?" And the traveler answers: "I seek the Bwiti." The voices suddenly take on human forms that ask the question again and then respond in a chorus: "You are looking for the Bwiti. The Bwiti is us, your ancestors, we constitute the Bwiti."

The vision tends more and more to become normative. The initiates then tell the candidate: "You are on the right path, the Bwiti will soon be here. Go further on. Look, and you will find it. You must not forsake the images; take up where you left off."

A voice gives the candidate his initiatory name. The neophyte is watched constantly by his "mother", who regulates his psychophysiological reactions to prevent him from letting terrifying phantoms interfere, for they would lead him down the wrong path, down the road of death.

The fourth stage, of vision (the one that ethnologists refer to as the stage of normative visions) is the one marked by the encounter with higher spiritual entities.

After a dialogue with his ancestors, the neophyte suddenly finds "his legs immobilized, before two Extraordinary Beings" who disclose that he is in the "Village of the Bwiti" (village of the dead). They ask him why he has come to this place.

After hearing the answer of the neophyte, the "Fantastic Beings" speak again. The first one says: "My name is Nzamba-Kana, the father of humankind, the first man on earth", and the one standing to his left says: "My name is Disumba, the mother of humankind (wife of Nzamba-Kana) and the first woman on earth."

Suddenly, the "Village of the Dead" is covered with increasingly intense sparks, a "ball of light" takes shape and becomes distinct (Kombé, the sun). This ball of light questions the visitor as to the reasons for his journey. "Do you know who I am? I am the Chief of the World, I am the essential point!" This is my wife Ngondi (the moon) and these are my children (Minanga) the stars. The Bwiti is everything you have seen with your own eyes."

After this dialogue, the sun and the moon change into a handsome boy and a beautiful girl. Without any warning, the moon and the sun resume their original forms and disappear. The thunder (Ngadi) is heard and calm returns everywhere.

The wind wraps around the neophyte for a second time and carries him to earth among the living.

The elders greet him with pride: "He has seen the Bwiti with his own eyes", and invite him to take his place on the right side of the Temple, the side of men and of life.

The candidate has become an initiate by discovering the Bwiti in another reality, that is, in the other life stemming at once from physical death and initiatory death.

Through the waking dream, he catches a glimpse, in the present, past and future of his own being, of man, immutable in his spiritual essence, and living on two planes of existence.

However, after the rites of passage, the new member will be isolated from the outside world for a period of one to three weeks. During this time, his meals will be prepared and served by a young woman who has recently given birth, because he is considered as a newborn.

The initiate has seen, he knows, he believes, but as a Mitsogho, he will only make this journey twice: during the initiation and on the day of his death. It is out of the question for him to take sacred iboga again under the same conditions.

From then on, the sacred plant will only be used sparingly, to "warm the heart" and to help him "in physical efforts or discussion."

Here is the video submission by the two people who danced with sacred iboga to acheive addiction interruption finally uploaded! enjoy.


  1. IS iBOGAINE better than Obamagaine.....bad joke. As a carreer user, i have tried rapide opiate detox. and traditional methods several times. Hooked on Methadone 11 years now. Coke and smack have been the centre of my life since 1990. I feal fearful of trying iboga, but plan to get over it. I trust Sunje, which is important if i am to try this. Hopefully I'll have some enlightening words afterwards.