Karlo: My Ibogaine experience
- How did you stop smoking, was it hard?
It was easy after an Iboga session.
- Iboga session? What is Iboga?
Iboga is an African plant, a shaman thing, with centuries’ long tradition, the longest in African tribes of Gabon. These and Pygmy tribes have been using it for healing of various conditions but also for psychological preparation for initiation of adolescents into the world of adults.
- It is quite new to me. Is it used in the western culture?
It’s become known in the western modern civilisation not earlier than the ’50s of the last century. Sure enough, it was soon put on the list of the forbidden substances in most of the western countries due to its healing effects, which was in contradiction with the ‘pharmaceutical philosophy’ of treating illnesses. Some inexperienced users labelled it as a drug because of the visions it instigates, but I assure you it is not a drug, but a cure given directly by God, just as many other medicinal herbs that we find in nature. It is still free of judgment in many countries mostly because they don’t even know it exists; it is just a bush, and I believe that people in my country don’t even know what it is. The laymen compare it with LSD, magic mushrooms or Ayahuasca. Although it is more powerful than LSD and Psilocybin, it is considered slightly milder than Ayahuasca or Mescaline.
- A hallucinogenic plant?
There are no hallucinations, there are visions.
- What is the difference?
Hallucinations are created by your subconscious or conscious mind under the influence of a hallucinogene substance, while visions initiated by Ibogaine or Ayahuasca are created on a higher energy level. In modern shaman circles, it is called a drug against drugs.
- I don’t understand.
Apart from initiating visions, it also instigates a deep detoxification of body, so that after such a session there is no addiction to anything, you are completely free, and it’s up to you what you will do next. Many use it for curing alcoholism, heroin addiction, depression; herpes and hepatitis disappear. There are numerous positive effects on the body, for it cleanses it of many things that we have taken into it, starting from junk food to the heaviest drugs.
- Interesting. How did you come up with an idea of having such an experience?
Well, ever since I was I boy, especially after reading some books like ‘CA Blues’ or ‘The Teachings of Don Juan’, I’ve wanted to try Ayahuascu or Mescaline. Unfortunatelly, they could not to be found here, as you probably know. In a conversation with a friend, he told me about Iboga, and that he could get it from a ‘man’ that he was going to take me to. I was waiting for the opportunity to try it and to meet the man for almost a year. One day I was invited, and I went to meet an Ibonaut.
- An Ibonaut?
Yes. Let’s say it’s a modern shaman, but working only with Iboga, and having a vast experience with it. An Ibonaut is a man who prepares you for the session, measures your weight, prepares the Ibogain; it is a substance made of the powdered root of the plant which is then put in a capsule. The size of the capsule is determined by your age and weight, but also by the aim of the session. The Ibonaut first interviews you, assessing your experiences and the level of consciousness you are on. Naturally, he has to know your goal and the true reason for such experience. He is there to watch over you while you are experiencing the effect of the plant, to assist you when your motoric functions go to hell, or to prevent you from drowning in your own vomit.
- How long does the effect last?
Actually, about 14 hours, plus 48 hours of rest after that. Personally, I was cool 20 hours later, but it’s individual.
My Ibonaut asked me right away what it was that I was addicted to, and from which addiction I wanted to get rid of. I told him that I was addicted to smoking and the morning coffee. He laughed. When I asked him what was so funny, he explained that people usually came to him with grave problems and serious addictions, and that it had been a while since he got someone without such petty problems. Then I confessed that I came there for the experience and visions, and if I could get rid of cigarettes along the way, it would have been great.
In truth, I wanted to make a contact with universe on a higher level. I wanted to know my real purpose here on Earth, and to see beyond the material world around us. He absolutely understood me, saying that Iboga usually picked those to whom it would share the answers with, and that it was entirely up to it; since its effect is long lasting, some answers might come later, through dreams, intuition, ideas. Many world known artists had used Iboga sessions to get inspired.
- What was the session like?
In the morning, I arrived at the said location in a prominent part of town. It was an apartment, with a bed covered with a plastic sheet. He told me that it was a precaution, in case I peed or pooped in my pants. There was also a large green basin next to the bed in case I vomited. He turned all the lights in the room off, and pulled the blinds and curtains. Only one night light was left on in the hall leading to the bathroom.
Familiar scent of incense spread all over the room, and I inquired if that was it. “Yes, it is. The fumes of the incense cleanse the room of any bad energies and demons.” He came to me bringing two large capsules filled with a black mixture. Putting them in my hands, he said, “Hold them for a while to get to know Iboga. Talk to it mentally; ask it to show you the things you want to find out.”
After that I signed a disclaimer, to affirm taking responsibility for myself in case that I had given him any false information or consumed any drugs before the session; for in that case I had a very good chance of dying during the session.
Then he gave me a cop of unsweetened tea to help me swallow the two capsules more easily. After that he told me to lie down still, not moving any part of the body, except my head, for the next two hours; the best thing to do was to be quiet and to relax. I wondered why I should do that, and he explained that Ibogain was one of the most powerful detox substances in the world and that, when getting in contact with the stomach wall, it caused strong urge to vomit. If that happened at the beginning, Iboga would be vomited with the rest of the stomach content, and the session would produce no effect at all. That piece of information convinced me to lay still for the next couple of hours, waiting. I was so bored I started inquiring about the effects that I could expect. He just smiled and said, “You’ll see it for yourself, be still and patient.”
“How do I know it started?” I asked. He said, “The sounds will change, i.e. the way you hear them.”
- And, has the sound changed?
No, I could hear everything quite normally. The room was filled with sounds of Tibetan bells from the lap top, to help me relax. However, some two and a half hours later they started to disturb me, reverberating slightly, so I turned my head to him to ask him to turn them off. The moment my head moved I felt Iboga spreading through my stomach, and I thought that I would vomit.
When I told him that, he checked his watch and said that I could turn to the side if I wanted to. As I did that, I felt an intense nuisea and urge to vomit, and I told him that. He brought the basin closer, but I wanted to do that in the bathroom, since now I also felt an urge to empty my bladder and bowels. He told me to sit up very slowly, and I did so; while doing that, my brain felt like a rock floating in the river and banging on the walls of the skull. An ‘uh’ grasp came out of me, as the feeling was three times stronger than the worst hangover imaginable. I stood up only to realize that I was not quite in control of my body; if I had kept walking at the usual pace, I believe I would have fallen flat somewhere to the left, wherefrom I felt the gravity was pulling me. I managed to find a rhythm and way of walking which was the spitting image of the waddling penguin like walk of the shitty old people. He commended me for keeping my body and the urge to vomit under control. A thought went through my head, “Carlo, you have to do this like an ace, you must not shit your pants like a pussy.” And I managed to get to the bathroom and the toilet without holding to him or to the wall. Then the massive vomiting started, followed by a very strange diarrhea that resembled a soya sauce, squirting out of me at such a pressure and speed that I had the impression it would never stop; then the vomiting again. The vomiting was hard, because the taste of Iboga in my mouth made me vomit again, which caused cramping of my stomach muscles, sweating and shaking like a junkie in a major addiction crisis. As a matter of fact, I have always taken vomiting badly.
When I went out of the bathroom, he told me that my body was cleansed of the toxins and grime that had been settling in me. Dripping with sweat, I lay down on the bed and closed my eyes hoping to fall asleep and take a rest. The moment I closed the eyes I saw the stars on the sky. Actually, I saw them as if I had been flying through the universe, or that the universe was flying toward me; whatever, I saw various stars in various colors. I opened my eyes and the stars were gone, but the room was filled with sweeping energies.
Yes, energies. There were literally waves of colored light, pink, blue, green, yellow, like the heart beat peaks on the EKG machine, going through the walls without stopping. I asked him what it was, and he said that I was seeing the same phenomenon as everybody else, the energies in the room otherwise not visible to the naked eye. I closed my eyes again and saw the universe again, as if flying through it, or the universe flying through me, I really couldn’t tell.
After a while I thought, “Okay, will you give me those visions or what?”, and at that moment the stars started gathering and forming a shape of a man standing with his arms crossed at the chest, but in the American format, and smiling. I tried to look at his eyes, and I found them somehow familiar; actually I found the whole man somehow familiar, and when I realized that it was I, he – I moved toward me. I know it sounds weird, but that was what I saw. As he moved toward me, the only thing lagging behind was one big eye, and that was my wife’s eye. It literally entered me swiftly, I twitched my eyelids, and then everything was gone. I believe I fell asleep after that, but I might as well have been dreaming of flying through universe while still awake; anyway, whenever I opened my eyes, the sweeping energies were still there. And that was it.
The day after, I felt craving for pineapple and fruit, which I usually disliked before, but I had no desire to have a cigarette or a coffee. To tell you the truth, I had no desire to eat anything save for the ice-cream and fruit. The meat has started stinking of corpses, making me sick, and ever since then I couldn’t eat it unless it is grilled or smoked.
The experience affected me in other ways, too; I became calmer and more mature after it.
And that’s why I’m telling you – Iboga is not a drug, Iboga is a medicine given by God.