[ibogaine] -Laurent- Re: [ibogaine] rootbark & homemade extract

Bill Ross ross at cgl.ucsf.edu
Mon Jan 5 14:06:00 EST 2004

> I guess you didn't understand the part where I've already
> been initiated by the Bwiti- in Cameroun alas, not Gabon. 

I wonder if it is possible to download the many lives of
experience that the Bwiti have with iboga in a single
initiation? Or to make a judgement about what it's about.

It seems like one underlying difference here is between 
collective and individual shamanism. What interests me 
about the collective shamanism of the Bwiti is the notion 
that a group of people might come to a deeper understanding 
of a sacrament than a shaman working alone or with isolated 
teachers. That understanding would require some translation 
from one culture to another, and even within a culture may 
take more time to convey than a single initiation. 

One thing that might make translation more difficult is that 
the individualism of our society (finding its low point in 
consumerism) encourages us to take things home for ourselves 
rather than engage in a collective process.

This doesn't invalidate anything that one might learn on one's
own, nor is it to say that what comes from such a group
should be accepted uncritically.

It took me over a year of listening to Pygmy music regularly
before the collective nature of it began making sense. At first
it was almost like an interesting noise that I couldn't take
for long at a time. Now it seems like almost a purer form of
Bwiti music than the actual Bwiti music I happen to have. This
makes some sense in that the Bwiti credit the Pygmies with
giving them iboga, and Pygmy culture seems to have been constant
since at least as long ago as the ancient Egyptians.

Bill Ross

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