For the Iboga provider, holding space with compassion, love, integrity and humility is the bridge that connects the journeyer to the medicine.
Holding that sacred space means embodying truth to serve as a clear channel for the medicine to do its work. The provider is a vessel for the medicine’s truth. And the rooted, present, grounded energies of Iboga are reflected in those who work with it.
For Anthony Esposito, arriving at this grounded place first meant taking a personal journey into himself —by facing fears, embracing truth and accepting all aspects of his life.
In his early days of working with the medicine, he began shaping a crucial understanding of life—that everything in our lives happens exactly as it was meant to, both the easy times and the challenging times.
“The medicine called me right away after my first Iboga retreat in Costa Rica,” he said of his initial ceremonies. Anthony’s first retreat resulted in him returning to Costa Rica, beginning to train, and then traveling to Gabon, Africa for a Bwiti Full Initiation. “In that process, I studied myself and the Iboga spirit on deep levels. I began absorbing the medicine’s teachings and the simple wisdom of the Bwiti tradition.”
During intensive training under a 10th-generation Bwiti shaman, Anthony began to understand and implement the Art of Living—a simple and sacred way of life practiced by the Bwiti, the people of Central-West Africa who discovered Iboga thousands of years ago.
Once he committed to living by these truths, he began embodying the spirit of Iboga in all areas of his life.
After a 7-month shamanic apprenticeship, Anthony graduated from his training. And yet, five months later, his teacher sat him down.
“My teacher told me I was not ready to be a provider, and pulled my ‘stripe,’” says Anthony. “He was 100 percent right. I had some deeper personal work that needed clearing.”
A year later, Anthony returned for a second time to Gabon, Africa, and to the Bwiti. After being pushed through a Men’s Rites of Passage, he received full graduation in his training.
From that moment, the medicine clearly told him he was chosen, and that a spiritual contract existed between them.
Only after confronting his own personal challenges and rising up without fear, Anthony says he truly embarked on the path of a provider.
“I had to go through a deep transformation the moment I began working with Iboga in May of 2013,” said Anthony. “That is exactly what needed to happen before I could get to a place to truly hold space for others with this sacred medicine.”
Through his training, Anthony has learned to listen to the spirit of Iboga and his own intuition to guide him in his healings. Part of this means honoring and respecting the medicine on every level, following the tradition and sharing Bwiti wisdom.
“The Bwiti wisdom is a crucial part of these healings. It is about learning how to train your mind, to never abuse yourself or nature, to always speak the truth,” he says of the sacred teachings. “It’s about not holding on to the past or projecting into the future, and letting go of false belief systems that limit our highest potential.”
Learning these truths in his own personal journey has shaped and defined his role as a provider.
“My purpose is to share my own experience with the medicine, to share the wisdom of Iboga and the Bwiti tradition, and to design an open healing space where each person can have their own experience and interpretation,” he says. “To rekindle the true awakening of the soul.”