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

adam gur adamg at
Tue Jan 6 00:23:34 EST 2004

From: "Bill Ross" <ross at>

> > 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.

hi Bill,

I think a person could download no more than his or her
own ibo experience... and that's more than plenty in itself.
The collective body of Bwiti experience only exists in the realm
of mental constructs; it cannot reside with a person nor conveyed
to another. You can touch a tree but not a forest.

Passing judgement on it would therefore be nonsensical. The same
goes for cultural, traditional and religious structures and beliefs.

Knowledge, on the other hand, is a free-for-all; it is only as valid
as it is proffered, assimilated and cross-pollinated.

My one contestation is that the Bwitis are not iboga's custodians.
Nor the medical profession its' dispensers.

I like the part of 'engaging in a collective process'-- but I
wasn't aware of the bwiti's collective shamanism. How so?
I know that initiation is a one-time deal, and unless one
has voyaged to the land of the ancestors, one has failed and
will never be 'banzi'. Other than that, iboga is really an annual,
ten-day religious ceremony where the congregation only sips
minute amounts of 'automatique', the iboga brew...

My preference is for people to undergo their experience
as part of a small group comprised of strangers, as opposed
to friends. To share this experience with strangers is very powerful.
As only a stranger can represent the rest of humanity. It is as though
all of mankind, thru this stranger, has beared witness to your
rebirth and then you realize that you are also bearing witness in return...
I managed recently to bring together such a group. One close friend
was very relunctant to experience this with these unknown others, but
I managed to convey this point and even though the rootbark was
almost entirely alkaloid-free, the experience of participating in this,
vomitting and all, with strangers, was something he still cherishes...

There are other such things that can sanctify, intensify and heck,
I'll say it, beautify one's ibo experience. We need to make this list
a collective shamanistic-cartographic endeavor....

About the Pygmy music you listen to-are these recordings
of Baka Pygmies? I have 2 cds, "Spirit of the Forest" and
"Heart of the Forest" by Martin Cradick...
'Heart' is pure pygmy music while 'Spirit' is Martin jamming
with them.... very cool stuff indeed....

all the best,


> 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

More information about the Ibogaine mailing list