Iboga Part 3: In-Between Two Ceremonies

I am going to resume my story, doing my best to share what my subjective experience was in full color. Iboga is not a well-known medicine, and I hope to be an honest ambassador, and add my story to the small collection of stories that exists on the Internet about this amazing plant. In a year or so there will be a documentary, but for now, the written account is what I have to offer!

I’d recommend reading Part 1 and Part 2 first if you haven’t already. Many blessings to you and I hope you enjoy!

Day 4 at Iboga Wellness Center: Post-Discovery Day

We have now all been through our first iboga ceremony, and our first “Discovery Day”.

By now, people have stories to share. Discovery Day was devoted to introspection; now we come back together.

Jesse tells me he had an amazing experience, including an opening of his third eye and a guided journey deep into his heart. He recalls to us the experience of opening his third eye under the influence of iboga:

“He started tapping my forehead and said ‘tell me when you can see me…’ and suddenly, BOOM, I could see his finger tapping my forehead. Not with my eyes, but with my inner eye. I could shoot above the temple and see the trees and the sky. I could see everything vividly. All while lying there with an eye cover on.” He is boisterous, laughing, and eating a full plate of French toast and eggs.

Tiffany says that she slept last night, but only a teeny bit. She’s still rattled from her experience, which was a straight shot into the heart of her anxiety. “The worst anxiety I’ve ever had,” she tells me, eyes wide. But in the same night she had visions of beauty and love. The full experience, from full darkness to full light. Not easy.

Danny had a rough experience. I don’t hear much about it. I didn’t see him at all yesterday… but he seems to be in better spirits today.

Printassia and I both think we could have handled more medicine and don’t have a lot to say about it. Despite that she seems lighter to me, as I know I do too.

It’s nice to see everyone. We go to the beach and wash off in the ocean.

Round one of the medicine is over, but the journey is only starting.

Spiritual Shower

After lunch and a bit of down time, we gather again to prepare for another ceremony, the spiritual shower.

There is no iboga in this journey, but it is powerful nonetheless.

I won’t recount this experience in too much detail. It takes place at the river, where we can call upon the spirit of the river to help carry away what we wish to be free of. This ceremony is another opportunity for us to say goodbye to our old ways and to never look back.

“Tell this leaf everything you are ready to leave behind.”
Washing the past away
I am moved to tears as I feel the energetic movements, all that is being offered up so earnestly to release. I feel so honored to witness these other beautiful humans in their own process of growth. The more time I spend here in this realm, the deeper my appreciation becomes for what the human journey really is… a battle of the spirit. Today all I see is courage. Everyone here is becoming a hero for themselves.

Time moves quickly. Tomorrow is my birthday, or what we are happily calling my “rebirthday”. I know I will be taking more medicine than I did before. I am working on being in my own process and getting as clear as I can on what I am here for, what I am asking for.


I have the whole day ahead of me before ceremony. I play guitar. I walk. I write in my journal. I patiently sit in the idle time.

This place is so beautiful. What love exists here! I mean this healing center and its people… but also this country, and most of all this whole planet. What an amazing place to call home, Earth! I’ve always loved the outdoors… how could you not? It’s our home. Mama nature. The elements are interacting with us at all times, and in my experience… that is what it means to be alive. To feel and sense and to play in this ever-evolving landscape.

The world of people is tricky, because it is full of stories. Nature doesn’t make stories, it makes reality. So to breathe the fresh air and just be with the plants and dirt and hear the birds, is to reorient to the real world. Getting out into the wild reminds us that Life itself is intelligent and always growing and changing. We don’t live in a bubble, we aren’t the only creators… there’s something else, and it’s literally infused in our matter. Infused in everything around us. And it sets you free, to remember that. You’re here to live and to be a part of this, whatever this is. This life experiment.

The gift. The ultimate gift.

I’ve been waking up and offering the daily Bwiti prayer… Thank you, Creator, for another day of life. And meaning it. Has it only been one day?

Reminder: I am not alone

This time as we wait for ceremony we are quiet, anticipating. Everyone is in their own process, doing whatever they need to do to prepare.

I sit down to re-evaluate the questions I have chosen to take into ceremony with me. I start with a fresh piece of paper and begin writing. In the middle of writing down a question, I am stopped in my tracks by the scent of lavender: Tiffany has just walked in the room after putting some oil on herself.

A smile spreads across my face. “I love lavender! My grandma used to spray it on me and my brothers at bedtime…” She offers me the spray bottle and I accept, spritzing myself and allowing myself to be washed with a happy nostalgia. After I hand it back to her, I pick up my pen to continue where I left off and discover that I’d been in the middle of writing : “How can I help heal my family’s pain?” That feeling of my grandmother, of Baba, washes through me again, and tears come to my eyes as I realize I’m taking a bit of her into ceremony with me tonight; that she’s with me. I’m not alone. I silently thank her, and offer a prayer to her and to whatever other spirits may be around… to help me through whatever I need to go through tonight.

Fireside Truth Session #2

Soon enough, it is time. It is dark out, and the fire is crackling. The camera is rolling and captures us walking out to the circle, to join our guides. We sit in the same seats as before. I see our buckets and water glasses, visual queues reminding me where I am and what I am here to do.

Ceremony follows the same format as last time: we begin with a fireside talk, full of Bwiti wisdom. After some time we are given the medicine, and as we each begin to feel it we are guided back to the temple to our mat.

There is so much in this fireside conversation, too much, for me to transcribe here from memory. It is rich and full and real.

We talk about the power of our thoughts. Our thoughts have the power to create our whole reality… after all, they do so much to color our internal landscape! We have thoughts that feel good, we have thoughts that feel bad. We feel EVERY thought that goes through our mind, as a feeling in our body. So, if we want to feel good in our lives, we need to exercise some control over our mental space. What thoughts do we choose to keep? What thoughts to we choose to “let in”? We can’t stop the flow of thoughts from coming, but we CAN choose what thoughts to keep and to entertain.

Gary tells us that masters of this work can feel the essence of a thought before it arrives, and just based on the feeling can say “yes” or “no”. With our thoughts, it really is as simple as saying yes or no, but this is not a knowledge that we are taught and practiced in, in the West. Those of us who haven’t learned this skill are enslaved by our negative thinking. Masters can skirt around the negative thoughts and let them go by, before they even arrive.

Deena tells us, this is what the work will be for us when we leave here: RELENTLESSLY plucking out the bad thoughts and leaving them behind, replacing them with new, loving thoughts. She tells us how, in her old life, when she was addicted to opiates, she lived in a mess of negative thoughts. When she re-approached her life after iboga, she started caring for herself, choosing self-loving thoughts, and leaving behind self-hurting thoughts. She tells us about how her internal landscape slowly but surely shifted from a sketchy run-down shack to a beautiful garden, a clean and bright space that is full of loving and beautiful things – where there is, in fact, no room for anything else! How much a negative thought stands out as wrong when your environment is beautiful… if one of the people from her old life showed up now and offered her drugs, they would stick out like a sore thumb. It just wouldn’t fit. Self-harming thoughts and behaviors just don’t fit when your inner landscape is one of love and beauty.

Peter tells us his own version of that story. “I’m not telling you this because some guru in India told me and I believed it… I am telling you what I know because I have LIVED it. The TRUTH is that inside of each of us is an infinite pool of love and peace. INFINITE. And the only reason you don’t feel it, is that there is a bunch of muck and garbage getting in the way – negative, self-harming thoughts. I’ve been working on it this whole year – I just started practicing letting go of the negative thoughts, and as I’ve gotten rid of more and more of the muck, that deep sense of peace inside of me becomes richer and stronger, to where I can feel it ALL of the time. This is REAL. This is what’s TRULY POSSIBLE. You can live your whole life, with a feeling of infinite love and peace resounding from deep inside of you. You can be SO STRONG inside yourself, connected to that feeling of peace and love, so strong that nothing that happens in your life can really shake you. People don’t think it’s actually real – I didn’t think it was real, but it IS. I feel it now for myself. This is what’s true, this is what’s possible.” The light is shining through him. I know what he’s talking about and I know that’s what I want, and that’s why I’m here.

Mateo gives us wisdom from his own process. “Sometimes I am going about my day, and some thought will come into my consciousness that is judgmental of someone else, or blaming… when I notice it, I don’t care who’s around, I will say out loud, ‘STOP. Cancel that. I don’t believe that anymore.’ I don’t want that low-vibration BS to be a part of my consciousness anymore.”

I understand. When I leave here my problems won’t be “solved”. I am going to be given the opportunity to go back into my life, and see my thinking for what it is. And I will have to start pruning, and be ruthless about it. I can’t afford to entertain negativity inside myself. There’s no room for it, if I want my inner landscape to be beautiful.

Deena tells us, “You’re going to see some of your old thoughts, and if you notice something like ‘you’re a piece of shit’… replace it with the TRUTH. Tell yourself, ‘That’s not true. You are beautiful and worthy. You’re better than that’”

“You’re better than that.” What a thought to tell yourself and build your life on. I’ll be taking that one with me.

Levi gives me more medicine this time. My starting dose is more than I took in total from four rounds of dosing, last ceremony.

I don’t last long around the fire after dosing. It hits me stronger and quicker than I was expecting… What am I in for? But beside whatever fear I feel, and bigger than the fear, I am with myself, with my soul and my heart, inside myself. I believe in what I am doing. I believe that I am not alone, and that wherever this road takes me is a good place. I raise my hand, and am guided to my mat to begin my journey in earnest.

One thought on “Iboga Part 3: In-Between Two Ceremonies

  1. Pingback: Iboga Part 4: Completion and Rebirth – Expressions from this side of the here & now

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