28 Dec Sobeys Testimonial
Courtesy of Sobey Wing,
The preparation for the ceremony in itself was something I appreciated. The night I arrived was mainly sharing conversation and more background about how Robyn and Mark connected with Moughenda and the Bwiti. On the day of the ceremony I spent about 3 hrs doing yin yoga and pranayama with Robyn and Mark’s house mate Lola, a certified yoga instructor. I also enjoyed a last final breakfast and lunch before the ceremony knowing I would not be eating much until the night after. One of my highlights as well was gathering river water from nearby and using that water for a ritual bath to let go of things I did not want to bring with me into ceremony and bring in what I wanted to have with me.
In November 2014 I had my first iboga ceremony facilitated by Robyn and Mark of Iboga Soul at their home in Squamish BC. I did one ceremony which is mainly a detox when you take it the first time but felt lots of things move for me and felt great afterwards. It helped I think to prepare in a good way and eat healthy in advance as well as practice sexual abstinence .
As a former facilitator at the Iboga Therapy House years ago I had yet to experience a large dose of Iboga, only a stimulating dose. So for me this was a big continuation of a journey I began years ago, something I had been waiting for and had felt that needed to be deeply rooted in the Bwiti tradition it comes from in Gabon, Africa. Indeed it was explained to me that the ceremony we’d be doing would never encompass the full experience that one has in Gabon with the Bwiti, not here in North America with so few initiated Bwiti available to support that. What I was going to go into was thus considered a pre-initiation. That subtle re-frame means a lot to me as someone who is sensitive to cultural appropriation and wishing to honor the tradition that these holy medicines come from. It meant a lot to me when they shared the story of the origins of the medicines discovery by the Pigmy indigenous people of the forest and how it became a Bwiti tradition and that what was being shared was directly as taught by the Bwiti with nothing taken out and nothing added. It meant a lot to me especially that the Iboga medicine was directly coming from the Bwiti who are sharing this ceremony beyond their land and that Iboga Soul is thus supporting their community financially. This is especially important given what is known about the unsustainable nature of the majority of Iboga harvesting. Even with its hope of being made more available through what is being done by Dennis McKenna I personally would rather support the Bwiti however possible and connect with its ancient land of origin.
Indeed the Bwiti were a prominent part of the entire experience and it dawned on me that this might be the ideal way to be initiated into their culture coming from Turtle Island. Learning more about them here and what is possible to connect with there. I know for the most part that it’s a wild goose chase to just land in Gabon and seek out a place for initiation and that for the most part one needs to be fluent in french to be able to communicate there. With Moughenda ,a relatively young 10th generation Bwiti, and fluent English speaking initiate being the contact between worlds and instructing facilitators like Robyn and Mark I felt like I was being privy to a lineage that had roots. Having met Moughenda years ago on his visit to the Unceded Coast Salish Territories and had him as a guest speaker in one of my Evolver Spore events I already had a sense of him as a person coupled with accounts of him and his work since then.
Perhaps it’s because I prayed to the Bwiti and to the land where the medicine grows or maybe it’s just how it flowed but I most definitely felt the connection with that part of Africa which was deeply special to me. I couldn’t help but think about it as connecting with the origins of the human race. I kept inwardly telepathically sending an introduction of myself to the Bwiti and the Iboga plant deva as I waited for the medicine to kick in. When it did I had visions of the Bwiti throughout my ceremony and felt like they were coming to look upon me several times with faces emerging and peeking in on me. I saw images of wild boar, monkeys and birds from the jungle.
It meant a lot to me that there was the balance of male and female energy supporting me in the facilitation provided by Robyn and Mark. I felt engaged with by both of them and well cared for throughout. I think there’s something to be said for ceremonies being led by people who hold a deep love for each other and shared sense of purpose and life path. I know I was nervous going into the ceremony, especially with having asthma. Thankfully I seem to do well with the medicine. It was good at the same time that they weren’t far from the hospital and had been in contact with their medical staff to inform them of what they were doing. I’m glad they’ll be continuing to maintain the due diligence around health considerations for people in this field that has is known for its risks. For me a true rite of passage isn’t about removing all the risks but that is still important for the protection of this work in Canada.
I feel fortunate to experience the work being done by Iboga Soul in its early stages and look forward to watching them grow. They feel like people I want to be connected with for a long time and who knows, perhaps some day I will make it to Gabon as well. The notion definitely felt more tangible after my ceremony. I feel confident in recommending to any loved one the work being done by Iboga Soul especially for psycho-spiritual purposes. I can imagine that their care and benefit to those seeking them for addiction purposes would also be very beneficial though I think that anyone unwilling to connect with this plant spiritually may not appreciate the ritualistic elements as much. For me, respect for the medicine is important and thus I think Iboga Soul most benefits people who connect with the notion that we do have souls and are ready to communicate with it. May this work continue in a good way and help those ready to be helped. I especially would like to see if help the indigenous people of Turtle Island. Long live the Pigmy, the Bwiti, the iboga, and Iboga Soul! Gratitude to Robyn and Mark and Moughenda and especially the holy wood.