Citation: Mutual Ascendency. "Me and The Loon: An Experience with Tabernathe Iboga (root bark) (exp103942)". Erowid.org. Jan 2, 2016. erowid.org/exp/103942
I had little trepidation of the pain that I would willfully unleash against myself in solitude. In truth, that pain had been my master, my self imposed slave driver for untold lifetimes, and I no longer feared it. How many times would we wrestle, the mind grappling with the soul at odds with the body? Though I would later shrink back in abject horror at the seething, wretched seas of psychospiritual tumult, I would no longer fear it.
Iboga had come to me, a genetically caucasian male, dug into the sub-strata of black caribbean, armoring my male ego to hide my strong identification with the feminine, willing myself to cast away airs of the propriety of the wealthy. My family have lived for generations in the Caribbean, unwittingly participating in - yet outwardly shunning - the subversive caste system. I accepted it unquestioningly, at home being an unspecified outcast in my society, marked by my skin and my eyes, my base state subtly asserted as that of an ‘oppressor, an outsider’ while in truth my childhood identified me as the oppressed. I compensated by avoiding conflict, befriending the downtrodden and taking on few quarrels. Intellectual and creative, I was utterly uninterested in social conversation and expression of my talents in this small island of little fish tearing at their little friends, all the while unwilling to jump over the walls into the grander pond beyond. We had a schism to bridge, Iboga and all that is I.
I prepared by holding longer and more frequent meditation, yoga, swimming in the ocean, sungazing, and treading barefooted in the jungle. I wrote letters to people who long held pain for me, and had difficult conversations with those who more recently clashed with my way. I tried to be unafraid and willing to approach my issues on a daily basis - a method that I hoped would become instilled more strongly and appreciated by the spirit of Iboga when I was to be tested. This trip, I knew, would be painful - even though I seldom experience bad trips. My experience as well with psychedelics is not thorough, but I’ve been through some things with the shining universe.
I felt at ease in my setting, a simple house on a long, lonely beach, open to the sea breeze, every surface breathed on by the salt air and resounding the restlessness of the ocean. I took comfort that the setting sun shone its rays through my prone figure all the way to the Eastern African home of my sacrament, and that the salt water connected us electromagnetically in an unbroken line. I was all alone, and I was not afraid of the solitude or the difficulties that I knew I would undoubtedly face in the grip of semiparalysis. I was masochistically willing myself to undergo what I must, alone and squarely.
I spent the first night at the beach house finishing my extract, which was to be a very simple acid extraction (acetic acid, filtered and reduced) to be taken on an empty stomach the next evening. The morning before my actual flood dose I microdosed 4g of rootbark, roamed the beach and climbed trees for coconuts. I met a fisherman who told me that as he prayed, he witnessed me swimming out of the sea to meet him, he told me that I was an angel unto him and that for meeting me he would change his ways. I met a girl who looked at me with the clean eyes of a virgin, she wordlessly accepted as a gift a talisman that I had carried in my back pocket for years. I met a family who implored me to drink and eat with them, and I met a man who cursed the sea yet strode ever deeper in. All of these beings are my journey. I accept and find love for you all.
Before the heat of the day had broken, I felt ready to take the next portion of my dose, followed by a swim, a shower and upping my dose. I was hardened against treating myself to any luxuries, and so I took the foul mixture directly from a spoon into my mouth, with a chug of coconut water to down it all. The first trial came – do you want this?
I would not succumb to my stomach’s insistence that this ball of molten acid be expelled, and in time my mouth numbed to the sharp pain that the black, tarry substance inflicted upon my throat. As the sun set, I took the second portion of my flood dose - the second to last of all, bringing me now to a modest 28 grams of equivalent rootbark in total. I sat and sungazed, attempting to hold meditation of clarity and acceptance through the twisting hole being burned through my stomach’s walls. I then began to feel light-headed, my inner being beginning to withdraw its corporeal ties.
In bed now, to wait, and meditate into this experience. Slight fear twinged as I realized how difficult it would be even to roll over to successfully pee into the prepared buckets that I had laid out beside the bed. Would I be able to pick up my bottles of water? Still my body violently attempted to reject the terrible substance inside and felt intensely nauseous at my battening down the hatches. Anxiety prickled as the endless white noise of the ocean descended upon me. All the weight of the Atlantic lay between this root in my stomach and its far away home. My thoughts raced and I struggled to return to calm. I failed at this, and my imagination took control.
So subtly it began that I even now I am unable to pinpoint when the effects began - whether from the time that the root arrived at my house in the mail to the months later that I ingested it. For me now, this journey lived in my imagination. I lay, sharply awake, with my eyes closed in a delerium of dreams. Random especially at first, I could hardly make sense of the things that I saw, chasing figures up stairs and down stairwells, jumping through the eyes of beasts and caught often by their dabolical jaws. Down down, with much blackness, vertigo, dizzyness, nausea.
I stayed a long time in this terrible limbo, with flashes of chests being opened on otherworldly shores, skulls rolling, death, trees in blossom, all manner of bestial visions - experiences! - rushing through me. For I knew that ‘I’ was lying in a bed, and had a ‘home and a family’ but I was experiencing the unrestrained animal in the arena of my mind.
After about 4 hours of ingestion of my final dose, the unintelligible brutality of these visions began to clear, and I perceived myself suspended in some sort of celestial chapel, the pillars of such energy as can only be seen on a huge scale, and bedecked by stars. I was introduced (and the memory is faint and fuzzy of this) to my ‘pilots’ and they reassured me that I was being guided and that in fact I have never been alone - tonight especially I would be helped.
Then I plunged back into the mire of my mind, and so began a gruelling game session. Every type of game, every type of objective, all of my abilities and knowledge called into being. Can I surf this endless massive wave? Can I slide tackle this bowling pin just so? Can I play checkers and win against an ominous spider made of un-light? On and endlessly on the games expanded.
I knew from the beginning - though it took me time to understand - that every game was formulated just for me, exactly so, and every interaction with my ‘pilots’ was perfectly tailored to my comprehension. This does not in any way mean that these were ‘easy’ tasks. They were not simple. They were not enjoyable. This was torture. Every task lay at the exact edge of my abilities, and tried and tested me in so many ways that my body weeps again with the immensity of the experience. Hundreds of times over, relentlessly I was tried. The energy eased after a game when I needed a break, and it often would encourage me to go on and go on again.
At one time, I stood upon a high cliff, looking over utter maelstrom, the sea below demented into an energy that escapes words. I knew that I must go into the frail boat in the middle of that unholy chaos and that it had always been my destiny. I cried out in anguish to the terrible sky, ‘Why have you forsaken me? Why is this my path?’ And I instantly knew that I could either reject the mission and be taken to another game, or I could accept it and go forward into this, but that from this side there were to be no easy answers. You have to do the work to reap the rewards - there is no other way and there will be no explanation.
So into the madness I went, clutching at my vessel in terror, when from afar, above all of these petty monstrosities, rose a wall of water greater than my comprehension. It crashed upon me and I was swept into oblivion. I cannot remember what followed.
The next I can recall, (about 14 hours give or take 2 hours) my games were quite ‘human oriented’, where I was dealing with my personal tendencies in quite a purposeful, somewhat controlled way. Thoughts were very experientially manifest, and I would think in a combination of words and sensory and emotional content. I dealt with many of my ingrained habits here, in similar games, and felt so strongly clear of them that once finished with the task I could not remember what I had just done.
One interesting aspect here was that in dealing with these personal habits, I would have to come to terms with that tendency intimately. Sometimes for a habit I would perceive myself acting out that habit externally, then from the ‘opposing’ point of view, then from above, then from inside... and once I had sufficiently comprehended and experienced that thing, once I knew what it was that I was in fact dealing with, only then could I end it.
The manner of ending it however was somewhat disorienting and could be quite frightening. I had uncovered a specific power-action to jettison that Self-as-the-undesirable-habit into Void... it was suicide of the self who is that problematic identity. Not at all nice to undergo, and on one occasion I chickened out and could not bring myself to kill myself.
Here too, things got very intense, over 18 hours in. I will share one experience which frightened me deeply. Afterward, it is experiences such as these that shine so strongly as having been a huge achievement.
I sidled into a reality where I was running amok, gleeful and heedless. I was doing rediculous and impossible things. I had no thoughts in my head. Any minute impulse that visited me was instantaneously enacted with the fullness of total conviction. An impulse came - it was to test my conviction to enact. So I did. My mind dredged up sludge, perverted wrongnesses. I became this, the insane, the unintelligible, its original question long forgotten. I became total aberration. Inside this, there was a part of me that was still merely a witness to it, but he became so lost in the insanity. I then realized that Iboga had made me lose my mind at the beach all those long years ago; I was in fact now an old, old man, and I had been locked up in an asylum for decades. My parents had long died - bitterly unhappy. My siblings had long moved on with their lives. I was the black hole of the family. Nobody visited me. Nobody knew or cared of my being. My existence was ‘anything’ and its significance was ‘nothing’.
Torrents of strangeness ran through me, I was trying to be too repugnant for even myself. I was insane. When would the universe terminate this excruciating aberration? Then I saw myself, I saw my bright, wild eyes, piercing. I saw the question - am I valid? Even now, even in this degradation, am I valid?
Iboga helped me to a mental place where I could forgive myself my insanity, and with total acceptance I sat down on the ejection-chair to the Void fully knowing that I would kill myself. In that moment I detached from me and saw myself, the madman.
And then I killed him/me. It was over. I sat up in bed and cried out - ‘The Loon’s gone!’ And something in me was different. No longer was there that lingering mad impulse to jump over the edge for the hell of it, that self destruction that demanded repugnancy as a barometer of another’s love. Sickness was gone.
... a couple notes to conclude, if I may....
Alot of time is needed to integrate an Iboga trip, to me this is far more important than preparation. Nothing can really prepare you for the experience, but do stringently take the usual precautions. Integration is beautiful as a divine creature, all creation rises to play. There are no thoughts to think. Your mind is simply blank - sometimes disconcertingly so. Thoughts may rise, are acted upon, and disappear. Meditation is crystalline.
Iboga interacts with me as a close ally - but I must do the work. It takes me to the limit of my abilities, and there I am required to do my own housecleaning. I did experience so much more than it would be possible to type; other facets of Iboga energy; but I have included some of what I may share. Much of my experience is for me alone and will never be shared with another living soul.
If I did this again I would do differently:
1: Have a sitter. ABSOLUTELY. Illustrated example of why I consider this is necessary: the next night I took the other 12g of my intended total dose that I did not do the first night. Another trip later, after about 60 hours from that first dose, having had no sleep, I found myself gazing at the reflection of my eyes in the mirror, breathing very evenly, the butt of the handle of a my knife the only visible part protruding from my calmly craned opened mouth, the tip of the blade probing the very recesses of my throat, way past the uvula, determined to cut out the ‘machine/parasite’ residing in my oesophageal tract. I felt absolutely, exquisitely lucid, and I was exceedingly deft and deliberate with my body and that knife. Only after using the tip to probe an area in my throat which I could not even get to with a finger did I decide that to do this would be at true risk to my life and so, carefully, slowly, withdrew the knifeblade and put the it down. Nuff said about that.
2: Go somewhere with distinct, jungle sounds. Or quiet with bwiti music. I felt like the mind on Iboga was making such an effort to discern patterns and origins that the white noise of the sea so close was... maddening.
3: I would make a different extraction. This acid salt was very soluble to my stomach, however it was EXTREMELY difficult to tolerate. It was like repeatedly eating reduced engine oil mixed with battery acid. Next time I will take my sweet time and go ahead another step in extraction, and then consume in capsules. I would take the flood dose in 2 or 3 phases.
4: *Engineer a long term integration plan.* I was open to transformation and instilling new habits. Here is another dimension to the magic of Iboga - you are so ready to change, to be better. Last time I didn’t treat this seriously enough – to me now it commands as much or even more preparation than the actual experience. The internal resistance to action on your best interests is so minimal in the week or 2 after Ibo. Use this time wisely!
In love and acceptance of your every breath,
- Mutual Ascendency
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