around Summer 2000
I’m standing at the sink about to swallow a 325mg dose of ibogaine [ibogaine HCl]. It takes about five minutes of debating with myself to do it, because I really don’t want to all that much (it’s my third trip to the land of Iboga) but even though I don’t feel strongly compelled this time, I haven’t gotten any strong messages not to, either. I’ve heard it said that a long-time addict would probably benefit most by taking ibogaine 3-4 times over a two year period, and although I have been clean of my addiction to prescription opiates for a little over a year, during the holiday season I sure felt like I was going to fall off the wagon and it was only by taking steps for a third session, that seemed to turn the imminent relapse feeling around. I reflected later that just setting up the session did the trick, and maybe I was supposed to just leave it at that – as a sort of psychological antidote…
Anyway, how bad could it be… a little dose like that, less than 5mg/kg. I figured I could jump in, feel a few feelings, and jump out. Maybe I wouldn’t even have much of an experience at all. So, I finally swallow the damn thing. I just wanted this day to be over with. I go in and lay down. I have a good friend to sit it out with me and she comes in about a half hour later. Not much is happening although I feel a little heavier and some body tingling. My thinking gets a little more emotional too, but that’s about it. Occasionally I chat with Jane.
Now it’s been at least an hour but everything feels the same – not much happening and I begin to feel like not much will. I tell Jane that I seem to be getting the message that I have been working so hard on a lot of things that maybe I don’t need another strong experience. She says, “really?” I say I feel like maybe we could just go hang out at the picnic table outside (as it’s a beautiful sunny day) and go through this. She says, “really?” Yeah, right…
As soon as I make the comment about going outside, I feel an incredible oppression come over me and I say to Jane, “Uh oh, here we go.” And now I feel very afraid.
First a huge red iron wall comes zooming in over me to accompany the oppressive feeling. A head of the devil sticks out of it and he screams, “you’re EVIL,” over and over at me. I know I am guilty of thinking this way both about myself and humanity in general but now I can feel how oppressive it is to my being.
Thankfully after a few minutes that passes away and then I see a man and a woman inside of a tube. They are attempting to make love with each other but it is very difficult because they actually feel rather aversive to one another. The woman is too needy and critical and the man just wants the heck out of there. A light appears at the end of the tunnel though and seems to suck them both out and away.
Then the scenes switch to more anger-related stuff – which seems to be my usual. I see a hole ripped in the right side of my body and red liquid comes geysering out. Then I see me stabbing my father in his heart – more red liquid. An old lady who looks awful comes rolling through and rolls away again. I know she represents my mother and somehow she is definitely dying. Seems like I still can’t face my anger and negativity towards my parents yet, and a feeling plays out again and again about how hemmed in I feel by them, so that I can’t feel the love that I also have for them.
During all of this, I am just sort of waiting and praying for it to be over with. The feelings are SO intense and unpleasant and there is no relief, but somehow I can seem to lessen the visual parts so that they are in “soft focus,” making it a little easier to bear. I would “lose track,” though and then they would get very vivid, at which time I would sort of tune them down again.
The hemmed-in feeling around my parents lets up rather suddenly and I feel relieved, hoping that perhaps the intense stuff is over, so I ask – but no, there is just a feeling that one other big issue needs to be examined. I don’t want to but I can just tell that I am not going to get out of this without examining this other issue – I guess it’s really what I came for anyway.
Instead of my usual red walls, now a very thick grey wall appears and then it turns into being inside of a very large rock. It is suffocating and claustrophobic as hell. I keep searching and searching for an opening but can’t find one. Now and then I would see one in the distance but it kept moving away from me, or it is somehow too small for me to escape from anyway. The lesson behind this scene seems to revolve around my own self-hatred, self-criticism, being too “hard” on myself, etc. etc. I am told that I have been ignoring my own “emotional needs” too much and that thinking I am doing good things for others is only really adding to the negativity since I am not being kind enough to myself. Somewhere in there I also see a woman with a baby sitting on a park bench. She just sort of stares off into space though, and lets the baby fall to the ground. I have the feeling that my life has been this baby or my “self” is this baby and I haven’t been taking good enough care of it.
So on and on, I travel again through the rock. It is very oppressive, but finally I can feel the intensity of the feelings lighten up. It’s been about two and a half hours since the devil appeared, and NOW maybe the worst is over. I can tell I have to hit the bathroom, and find that I can walk (stagger) in and I am very happy that I am out of Iboga’s prison. I then stagger out to the living room where Jane and Drew are chatting and starting to eat lunch. I sit on the sofa and enjoy the sunshine immensely. I have to keep my eyes closed though because the light is just too much. After only a few minutes I feel my friend Iboga come back and say, “we’re really not through yet. I have many more things to say.” I am DISMAYED. I say, “well can’t you tell me here.” Nope. So I stagger back to the bedroom where it is dark and the intensity and dizziness starts in again.
Now it’s about my mother’s propensity to be both too sensitive and too negative. I am told that the combination of these qualities has made the world literally “toxic” to her as she has a lot of autoimmune problems, and I am warned that I tend to these two qualities as well.
Next I see a lovely pool table. Very green and the balls look like jewels to me. Pool has been my greatest love, but then the table turns to cement, similar to how Midas’ touch turned everything to gold, and I am told that I have turned this love to cement by being too self-critical and self-pressuring in playing the game.
Then it’s back to the rock. Sometimes I get outside of the rock and see people jumping off the rock, but somehow that doesn’t feel positive either – more like suicide or something, and I try hard to turn that scene off.
During this whole trip I have the feeling that I made a mistake by taking the ibogaine and that this trip was just one more act of self hatred where I couldn’t accept who I was and where I was, and had to force myself to “grow” and be better and better. I see some white ceilings too, that seem to indicate another pressure to be too “pure and pristine” although they aren’t nearly as oppressive as my rock (probably because I am not so pure and pristine.)
Now it’s about four o’clock and once again I feel like I am let out of the prison. I want so much to go sit in the sunshine and try once again to wobble to the back deck, with some sunglasses on. I get out there only to find that the light is still too much, the dizziness is still too much and Iboga STILL won’t let me go. So it’s back to the bedroom.
Now there is more about feelings of shame and I see dirt on myself which turns into cement too so that I can’t get rid of it. Everything seems to keep turning to cement or rock. I see water falling from a kind of dam but then these large bolts screw in and prevent the water from flowing and it seems again related to me not allowing my feelings to flow.
Meanwhile Jane has left and Drew has picked her six-year-old daughter up from school. Now the daughter, Minna, is checking on me about every 15 minutes or so. She wants me to come outside to play, and I keep telling her, I’m going to just as soon as I can, believe me.
Minna makes me a bed out in the lawn, and finally about 5:30 I stagger out to the blankets in the grass and we lay there and look up at the puffy white clouds and see shapes (boy do I see shapes.)
From then on the whole “lesson” seemed to revolve around Minna. Iboga’s voice keeps telling me to watch her and I do, while she runs around getting into everything like a puppy. At one point she and her mom get into a big beef and Minna is madder than I remember ever seeing her, yelling and crying. Her mom finally sends her away and then Minna comes back a few minutes later to “rock a bye.” I have the feeling that her anger at her mother scared her and now she needs to get close again. I can feel all her feelings blowing through her and it feels freeing yet scary to witness.
For the rest of the evening I watch and play with her and Iboga keeps saying, “see how innocent and beautiful she is.” It’s like – how could you think poorly of humans after looking at this one six-year-old girl. I can also feel an incredible “meaningfulness” to everything which is beautiful as well, but almost unbearable for some reason too.
For the next few weeks I feel rather traumatized – “cracked open” like a clam without it’s shell. Obviously it has not been a comfortable feeling but hopefully the new shell that I build will not be a huge rock – hopefully something a little more flexible and breathable. It feels like I have a “long haul” to change some of my attitudes and behaviors towards myself and others. I certainly didn’t feel Iboga expecting me to solve this issue very quickly. I still look forward to the changes I hope to come from my third and likely last visit, but perhaps the key for me is to just accept myself whether those changes come or not.
*An amendment to this trip about 10 months later – I found this third ibogaine session to affect my life in the most profound way, although it was the mildest dose of the three. It seems like Iboga constantly weaves its teaching again and again, sometimes in very unpleasant ways. For about two months I often felt “back” on ibogaine and that was very frightening and difficult indeed. In spite of the difficulties I’ve concluded that Iboga still seems to lead me to greater psychological health although at times I have cursed my involvement with it and felt the “cure” was worse than the illness. Now it is easier again though, and although I am much less inclined to recommend ibogaine to anyone I feel that Iboga does the real work anyway of drawing to it who it’s likely meant for.
I am happy to answer any further questions and can be reached at [email protected]