“When we do plant medicine, and we see love,
we realize right then and there that it was never apart from us,
that in fact it was a part of us.”
– Gerard Armond Powell
Iboga as Transcendent Teacher
Much of human evolution is contributed to sacred plants. Tabernathe Iboga, a shrub of equatorial Africa, is one such plant that emerged as a natural guide for humanity. The plant has aided in spiritual development for thousands of years in Gabon, and is now gaining global recognition.
The bark of the plant has psychoactive properties, and is distilled to provide entheogenic substance Ibogaine. Ibogaine was initially adopted by modern practitioners for its side effect of healing addiction, and is now gaining traction for its far reaching individual and collective spiritual applications, and potential to transform the Western world.
In the late 1800s, members of the Bantu tribe of Gabon fled to the jungle to escape French Christian missionaries attempting to eradicate traditional tribal beliefs.
While living deep in the jungle in an effort to preserve their cultural traditions, the Bantu intersected with Pygmy tribes, who shared their Iboga rituals. The tribe’s experiences with the sacred plant led to a collective transformation, both spiritually and culturally.
In church, they speak of God.
With iboga, you live God.
-Nengue Me Ndjoung Isidore, Bwiti leader
The incorporation of Iboga use by the Bantu led to a blending of animist cultural traditions, syncretic Christian beliefs, Pygmy ritual, and plant ceremony. This blend allowed the tribe to transcend past traditions, access deeper realms of being, and was the foundation of the Bwiti tradition.
While the Gabon government recognizes Bwiti as a religion, it is rather a way of being, in which spiritual practices facilitate direct access to deeper mystical insights, and communication with spirit.
More on Bwiti practices and rituals can be found here.
Science and Spirit, “One Heart Only”
In the same way that Iboga facilitated the merging of Bantu and Pygmy practices, the scientific and spiritual have been blended through its modern applications and subsequent research.
The most common modern application of Iboga has been for addiction treatment. However, the plant’s anti-addictive properties are actually a side effect of the overall impact of being initiated to the transformative plant spirit.
Iboga’s ability to reveal deeper connectedness and unity with all of life naturally allows for the release of addiction, as part of an overall integrative process that is far more profound and expansive.
In fact, anti-addictive properties were only discovered accidentally when psychonaut and researcher Howard Lotsof ingested the plant and found his craving for heroin subsided. This led Lotsof to contract clinical production of Ibogaine in the Netherlands, a patent for its use in the US in 1985, and its current medical applications for opioid treatment.
In recent years, Iboga providers such as ourselves have shifted the focus back to the psycho spiritual applications of the plant, blending existing scientific data and experiential knowledge of the Iboga to share its profound gifts and spirit.
More on the scientific and clinical studies of Ibogaine can be found here.
Spirit of Iboga
Iboga is a plant exhibiting incredible intelligence, bringing only what each person is ready to handle. Some are treated gently, while others are pushed beyond the edge of comfort, to face difficult issues to transform the very core of their being.
We have experienced the plant as a male grandfather spirit, however in some traditions is considered a female, so identification may be personal and what the person calls forth.
Iboga asks one to see themselves in wholeness, releasing notions of good or bad.
Iboga empowers one to see themselves as they actually are, the true consequence of actions.
Iboga allows for the release of habitual reactions and responses programmed by past experiences.
Through Iboga, we are given the freedom to exist in the present moment in connection with our true being, as the whole of creation.
More specific details on the Ibogaine experience can be found here.