“Man is a stream whose source is hidden. Our being is descending into us from we know not whence.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~
If you could give the person that you loved most in all the world any gift you could possibly imagine, what gift would you choose? Would it be the same gift if the person you love most turned out to be yourself?
What would you say or ask of yourself if you had the full attention of every dimension of you? What is it that you’d like to know, and what is it that you’d like to share with your very own soul?
In the cultural absence of experiences which heal and renew, we are in a crisis of ill-being. With little footing in the world of spirit, we constantly burrow ourselves deeper into the void within, while always trying to fill that void with whatever materials we can find. Past traumas and unresolved doubts and fears are buried here, going unacknowledged to fester as wounds which carry us ever further away from our soul’s purpose, clouding the path and leaving open the door to self-destruction.
“The [Bwiti] Fang believe each person is made of a body and a soul. The soul gives life to the body. Therefore, when the body dies, the soul lives on. Ancestors are believed to possess even more power as spirits than they had as living people. This is particularly true if the dead had lived honourably and had died in a similar fashion.”
Face-to face reconnection with the soul is possible, however, with a shamanic plant medicine from the rainforests of Western Africa, iboga. It is the sacrament of the Bwiti, a thriving spiritual tradition which uses this hallucinogenic plant as a means of communing with one’s soul and with the soul’s of our ancestors. It’s not a religion, rather, more of a study of life itself, and the purity of its message is universal. Life is a gift. We ourselves are nature. Happiness is an inside job. There is but one truth.
“From the Bwiti tradition of Africa, we know that each of our lives is a gift from our creator. And we know that when we are born, we are also given everything we need to live and to create a good life for ourselves, one filled with happiness. When we value our life experience and are deeply thankful for the gift of Life, it leads us to a deeper connection with our soul, our personal guide through life. Through guidance from our soul, we take action to create what needs to be done to be happy.”
Gary Cook, Iboga Wellness
The Bwiti believe the answers to our questions about life are found within, and with iboga as the guide, the journey in search of truth begins with a face-to-face encounter with the over soul, that infinite part of us which carries the entire contents of our many lives, our accumulated knowledge, and our storybook of personal experience.
The ceremony is conducted under the care of experienced shamans and providers whose role it is to assist the initiate in learning how to navigate the dream-like state of iboga. Similar to astral travel, once the participant is fully detoxed and the mind’s eye is fully activated, the attendant provider talks them through an exploration of their deepest questions about life.
Beginning at home, the seeker is instructed to look around in search of their self, who is often found in a bedroom or an office carrying on with some ordinary task. The initiate speaks aloud to this cosmic version of themselves, striking up a conversation.
It is here, in this first encounter with the infinite version of one’s self that a profound truth is revealed; the truth about one’s relationship with their own soul. In our modern world of addiction, abuse and silent suffering, it is quite common that the soul has been so thoroughly ignored or abused in day-to-day life that it simply will not communicate with the seeker, often turning away, running away, or simply refusing to respond. In this moment exists the greatest potential for personal healing, for the soul is pressed to come nearer, to reply and to forgive.
“As the experience deepens, the barrier between the conscious and sub-conscious mind seems to dissolve, and the information in the sub-conscience becomes available for review and rejection by the reflective self. In this, a lifetime’s worth of learned mental processes, memories, emotional impressions, false judgements and psychological conditioning that combine to inform and instruct the self are presented to the patient in rapid fire fashion … a sort of high velocity behind-the-scenes tour of one’s personality. A multi-dimensional impression of one’s character emerges, and they are given an incredible opportunity to re-assess or reject misunderstood feelings, traumatic events, implanted suggestions, negative self-images, and habitual behaviour.”
Dylan Charles, Opiates, Iboga and the Roots of Self-Destruction
The experience literally feels like being inside of a five dimensional movie and standing face-to-face with your own soul. There is no doubt as to what is happening, and there is no confusion about the meaning of the encounter. You are here to make peace, to rekindle love, and to seek guidance from that part of you which knows all but cannot ordinarily reach out to you in the everyday cloud of contemporary consciousness.
Peace is achieved with an embrace, a simple but loving hug signalling a renewed companionship and a profoundly meaningful reconnection. Beyond this, the soul is available for counsel once again, and the provider prompts the seeker with prepared questions in an effort to unravel one’s past in search of understanding. How did life go awry? When and where were we tripped up on the road of life? How do we recover from these stumbles?
Answers are received as bursts of knowing, a concentrated form of intense intuition where knowledge is passed directly from heart to heart, shared as imagery and telepathy.
Ask how to forgive yourself and others and your soul might offer you something as direct as holding up a feather in its hand, then blowing it away. Ask what it is you need to be happy and you might be presented with a strikingly vivid vision of a buffet of lustful trinkets which is then swiftly brushed away with a brisk, knowing hand … the answer being that you already have everything you need. You may ask what your purpose in life is, then hear a stern voice reminding you of you most important roles, that of friend, lover, spouse, or parent.
What unfolds thereafter is a deep journey into the deepest recesses of the psyche, where truth is unravelled from confusion, and lies are tossed asunder and robbed of their power.
“…the sheer psychobytes of content downloaded from Iboga is unriva;led, and part of what makes that medicine so incredibly powerful.
“The Iboga Bwiti shamans speak of going deeper, not farther. They believe that their medicine accesses the infinite nature of the soul inside of us, and that the soul’s infinite knowledge extends all the way to the beginning of time. In my entire 24 hour encounter with Truth, there was never the feeling that I was accessing anything outside of myself. It is simply that the self I was accessing was virtually omniscient and had our best interest at heart!”
~ Aubrey Marcus ~
The lasting effect is happiness and the rediscovery of laughter. The most precious of commodities in our troubled world. The iboga experience is a return to self-love and a renewed appreciation of the true nature of life as the greatest gift.
“Love is your natural state of being. Love is the energy that is all around you. It is the vibration and essence of every part of the Cosmos and every living thing. You come from a place of pure authentic love, whatever you believe that source place to be, you will return to a place of pure love, therefore you are pure love. So what stops you from living in this state of love and bliss, and enjoying loving relationships with yourself, your partner, family and friends?”
~ David James Lees ~
Happiness is the gift I’d give to the one I love most. And the truth about life is that if you most love yourself out of everyone else in the world, then you’ll be rewarded with the abundant love of others. A little cosmic rewards program if you will, something the Bwiti have learned by studying life under the tutelage of heart medicine.
“The end of the ceremony is just the beginning. The visionary gifts given by sacred medicine are a new starting point for more adventures, great life changes, fresh challenges, and many long, ordinary days of extraordinary practice. The physical, mental, and spiritual healing prepares us for new tasks.”
E. Bast, Heart Medicine: A True Love Story