around 1999

I can clearly remember the dream I had just before awakening on the day of my second ibogaine session. In it a rather strange farmer hands me a baggie full of five thousand dollars. I am very pleased, but ask where it came from. He tells me that it’s the result of a rather small investment I made awhile ago. I held this dream very close for the next 24 hours as I suspected that I was making that “small investment” this day.

Having had one ibogaine experience I thought I would have some idea what to expect this time. I remember reading somewhere in an article about ibogaine that this plant was very unpredictable and I can certainly agree.

Even though the effects came on just about how I remembered, with the heaviness and tingly feeling, the first process was different. No visuals. No feeling of a divine presence or a wise comforting feeling. I felt my fear mount along with the altered state and then just felt a black void of fear for about 40 minutes or so. I kept waiting for some visual scenery to show up so that I might ask some questions and perhaps feel more comfortable, but nothing showed up – just the black fear feeling. It was very depressing and faraway and lonely too. At the house I was at a five-year-old girl lives and even though the door to my room was closed and a towel stuffed under it, I could hear her humming a tune. It sounded so forlorn and sad to me I could’ve cried, although I also knew that I was somehow interpreting it this way and that she probably wasn’t singing so sadly. Finally a sort of grey wall appeared very vaguely and it was implied to me that this fear was a result of, or connected to, hate. Then I saw a very vague visual of a person being blown or dispelled from a tube back into a lighter space.

Right after this I felt myself rapidly emerge to the surface from the deep heaviness, and found myself feeling totally and utterly straight and sober. This had happened the first time I took ibogaine so I just laid there waiting for the effects to return but they didn’t. About 20 minutes later I kept thinking that somehow this dose was ineffective and that the one hour was all I would receive from it, like its potency had been damaged and that was all the effect it had to give.

I felt so completely straight I sat up and felt angry and dismayed as I and some other folks had gone to a fair amount of trouble to arrange this setting and now I would have to wait for another time. After putting on some clothes I wondered what to do, and finally settled on going out to mow the lawn. I chatted with my friends a bit and was about to go outside when suddenly I felt dizzy again, and lay back down. I closed my eyes and there were all the visuals that I had been waiting for in grand and glorious splendor. I have often felt some sort of trickster humor in that hour interruption on Iboga’s part, but then again I am thankful that it didn’t wait until I was actually mowing the lawn to return.

The first time I took ibogaine the visuals sort of “warmed up” with a montage of different things and plenty of positive images along with some negatives. This time there were no positive images or feelings whatsoever. What appeared to me were rotating red iron walls and ceilings, over and over. They had a woven look as though they had been built up piece by piece. Occasionally they would open up to reveal white ceilings above but the white ceilings weren’t as thick or ugly and I certainly preferred them to the red walls. But the red walls just kept coming and coming. I felt utterly trapped and confined by them.

This lasted about three to three and a half hours. I kept telling myself just to wait it out — there really was nothing else I could do anyway. Occasionally I would get too overwhelmed by the intensity of the confined feeling and would open my eyes to the room which was fairly dark, but still it was a sunny day outside and I could see a lot of strange shimmering light around the room. Plus the walls bulged and shifted just like my internal visualizations did, so looking at the room was not much happier to me than the internal scene. Once or twice a short scene around my family showed but this was rare and brief.

Also, my first round of ibogaine had contained one central message — that I looked at the world with only one eye open (my “right” eye), which was my critical rational view — that I needed to get my left eye open, which contained my loving gentle view of the world. I was more or less instructed to say “I love you,” over and over sort of like a mantra, which I had been doing since the first session.

This second session actually seemed like just a continuation of the first, as though they made up one long movie that had had a four month intermission. The same message about my eyes was played out again and again with my right (critical) eye closing and all sorts of attempts to open my left (loving) eye. I was told over and over to learn to love these red walls and to learn to love all of my feelings. At one point a voice said, “If you’re angry, get angry,” and a head appeared that popped open while people inside of it cheered and clapped. But then it was back to the red walls.

I am shown a young woman who moves very close to the red walls and gives them a kiss but the closer she gets to them the more awful I feel and after the first kiss I opened my eyes to break the scene.

At the time I did not understand the reason for the red walls. I speculated that they were a result of both my anger over the years and from growing up in an angry environment. The only thing I was told was that I already intellectually understood all the reasons behind my difficulties and the only real answer was to be willing to experience my feelings. So there was no need to explain the red walls, I guess – just to feel them, or their effects. I had known for many years that I seemed to wear a blanket of anger since my youth, but had never found a way to release it. Now I could feel what a prisoner I was to it. It worried me a lot that the red walls didn’t give way very much which made me feel as though I would not make much progress from this session either.

When the red walls would collapse to show the white ceilings above, the white ceilings looked to be made of cardboard and I could easily imagine putting my fist through them. I intuited that the white ceilings were my drug issues and that I could easily break through them if I could collapse the red walls which were made of iron (my iron will, perhaps.)

Finally, finally the intense overwhelming feelings start to lighten up. Now I am shown my mother wearing a couple of capes. She has the same eye problem I have, only worse, and she tells me that she’s dying. She topples over again and again. Then both my parents appear in sunny yellow barbershop quartet-type suits. They are in a little train car smiling at me and waving bye-bye. I am rather glad to see them go.

I keep getting shown that if I can continue to open my left eye, all sorts of nicer things can come into my life. I see a lot of sunny yellow landscape and a wedding scrolls by over and over. Then a human figure appears with another figure spinning in a circle on top of the first. The second one lines up with the first and I am told that I will now begin to realign with my natural self. The last scene in this group is of a baby crying, and I am told to go pick it up.

Once all this has happened I feel like chatting a bit and I have a couple of friends around so we discuss things for awhile. While we are talking I get that feeling that everything is minutely connected and that everything is happening the way it is supposed to, although these feelings don’t really hang around. Then I can finally make it to the bathroom on my own although I still see plenty of strange sights with my eyes open – most notably, blue threads outline all doorways and walls. I remember seeing this same phenomenon during the first session too. It’s very convincing.

After hanging out by myself for another couple of hours watching more red walls and white ceilings (but not so intense) I feel like I ought to eat something and my buddy invites me out to the living room to watch a movie (Driving Miss Daisy) with him. A few other folk are around and everyone looks especially beautiful to me. I feel like I love them all greatly and the five-year-old is really a delight to watch. We are all laughing and joking about a few things and I feel like I could laugh for a long time.

The movie is a little tough to follow at first but then I do get caught up in it and I feel very peaceful and pleasant. At one point during the movie a voice tells me to close my right eye and say “I love you” a few times, which I do. The whole room including the television screen gets noticeably brighter and all of the colors appear more vivid and intense. I play around with this phenomenon a few times.

Later, everyone has gone to bed and I take a shower. While standing in the shower I close my eyes and now see my legs and feet just as though my eyes are open but everything is tinged with red. It’s bizarre but not frightening. I feel like I am in “the red zone” which I knew I had to go through to ever beat my drug issue. I am told that the ibogaine will not get me totally through the red zone; that I have to walk the last bit myself which will take a few weeks. I am also told that the ibogaine will not really take away my drug problem either; that I have to make a decision and a personal commitment to do it through my own will.

It’s been about three weeks since I have gotten high. The first week was plenty tough. I didn’t really lose the craving that week except for the first day after my ibogaine session. Actually there hasn’t been much difference between this time and other times that I have tried to quit except for one thing. Usually in the past when I have tried to quit I would run into that anger issue around the third day. Sometimes I have gotten through it, but mostly not. This time I have started to feel angry off and on but it never really manifests. It seems to make a difference in my ability to say no to my cravings when I don’t have that anger pushing at me. It’s still very much a day at a time thing though and I would be foolhardy to draw any conclusions right now. I feel a great deal of hope at times though, and I am hanging on to my vision of the day when my eccentric farmer shows up and hands me that five grand!

I am happy to answer any further questions and can be reached at [email protected]

By Dev