Citation: Len. "Pyramidal Energetic Exchange: An Experience with Tabernanthe iboga (exp42362)". Erowid.org. Jun 24, 2005. erowid.org/exp/42362
After getting interested in this plant via a friend who had a problem with an addictive street drug (methamphetamine/speed), and publishing an article on Gabon and the Bwiti tribe (a ‘true psychedelic plant cult’*) of Western Africa, I decided to find out more about this ‘anti-drug’ drug. I saw in a pamphlet a while ago that it is said to inhibit wirhdrawl symptoms from hard drugs. My friend did not take it, opting for the ‘traditional’ rehab approach. I was then interested in experiencing the effects for myself, as I am also interested in psychedelic psychotherapy, and decided to try it. I took a ‘rehab’ dose of 40 caps, naively, without finding out exactly whether this dosage was suitable for walking around on, or whether it was a ‘sitdown’ experience. I found out soon after taking it that it was the later.
Funny thing that once a person makes up their mind to connect spiritually in this way, even before ingesting the material, the spirit of the plant/energies surrounding it start to make their presence known. Various ‘signs’ started affecting my consciousness, invariably by my voodoo connotation to the plant as spooky African blood letting rituals are known to be used in that context. These signs were in the form of: flies (invading my home – due to my landlord, at the time, applying compost to their lawn), which to me was a ‘bad’ omen. Then, something brought my attention to the odometer reading of my vehicle, which read straight sixes (eerie), then seeing a video poster down at the supermarket entitled ‘Dawn of the Dead’ (oh no).
After the dose, I had planned to go to a cave (Peers - Fishhoek) nearby, while on a juice and fruit fast for the day. After walking a kilometre to the base of the mountain (I decided to take the long, more ‘exciting’ route) it felt like I had little to no energy. This was a sign that this wasn’t exactly a dose to be walking around on, but my mind was set and I decided to go ahead with my plan.
The wind and noise generated by the leaves of the trees was scary – as if the energies were around me. My philosophy is that if one’s intention is honourable (as I would like to think mine was for the purpose of self discovery and curiosity), a person does not have to be scared, as I believe the universe will look upon the initiate favourably. I found the effects to be similar in a way to LSD, but more grounding/earthy, in a way. My conscious mind was in a slightly freaked out space and the hike turned out to be an initiation into manhood for myself (28 years old). It felt like I was an intruder into nature, and realised how prehistoric man must have felt – nature as an alien place to be (or is that just modern man's interpretation?).
It was a ‘fire of will’ to get to my destination, but I was determined: I took the wrong path to get to where I wanted to go – there was no contour path connecting me to the cave. It was a ‘bhundu bash’ to get there, going around the mountain, being blocked off, doubling back etc. Dead trees, which seemed like figures, seemed to ‘pop-up’ out of nowhere which gave me a skrik. Noisy beetles, once disturbed, also severed my nerve endings with a shot of cortisol through my bloodstream. I had fear when I was alone in the berg (snakes etc), but I knew that once I got to where I was heading, everything would be OK. I finally found the path which would lead to me to a large cave on my way to Peers. This large cave always seemed to be a strange, uncomfortable space, even when I was there in a ‘natural’ state of mind. This time, I saw in my peripheral vision, a cave man, fleetingly – hairy, ragged clothing, bergie type character. I left the place, only to return there later (feeling more freaked out) after having to double back, trying to find the entrance to Peers. The entrance is only accessible with a little climb, from behind the berg, I remembered, after only being there once before.
Once arriving at Peers, I lay down immediately, my body finally giving in to the ataxis brought on by the plant - I basically toxified my system with the iboga. Apart from finding ticks on me -– they walked off me, as I was lying in the sun and they don’t like heat too much -– and thereby ‘shedding’ fear from myself, I could let the plant interact fully with me.
A large enough dose is said by the Bwiti to ‘break open the head’. This it did, as I was able to interact with my subconscious mind or logos (collective subconscious), consciously. I felt I was in a pyramidal energetic exchange, where, I discovered, my guide (or conscience – that voice in your head that guides one’s decisions) is located to the right of me (a older male figure – my future self/ancestor?). This presence is located very close to me, and is an ‘independent evaluator’, in which I could be presented with an unbiased review of my actions/thoughts, past and present in a space of unconditional love and acceptance. Above me, in this pyramidal scheme, was logos, which is the storehold of information and creative imagery. To the left of me, I found what I think is the ‘watcher**’. This entity I can describe as an all-seeing eye (pupil only), a dark sphere. It is silent and seems to only ‘record’ my interaction with myself. This entity rests a couple of metres away from me.
I went through a range of emotions/mind states up on the rock where I was lying, which ranged from dark to super light/transcendent feelings, looking over the ocean, and sun / cloud scenery. The rock faces took on ancient human features. After a good couple of hours (the afternoon) I purged a little on the way down. I only experienced hallucinations when I got home after purged all the material – the visuals were intensely electric, as if electricity was streaming into my field of vision ending in a rectangular block which was my direct field of vision. This subsided later (couple of hours) to trail hallucinations.
After toxifying myself in this way, I needed a week to recover. It took me a month to get back to my regular operating standard. The spirit seemed to focus itself around my temple area around my eyes, which I felt as intense muscular tension. I see this as the spirit teaching me to relax my eye muscles – completely relevant as I publish for a living. There was another spirit teacher I interacted with on the mountain that day which seemed to try to teach me to focus my attention on my breath, which I did, but I wasn’t able to understand exactly what it was trying to teach me (maybe a language barrier?).
All in all, I found it to be a very therapeutic experience and feel honoured to have been initiated with Iboga.
*Food of the Gods, Terrence Mckenna
** A term derived from psychological sci-fi writer Philip K Dick
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