What is Iboga?
A small shrub growing wild throughout Gabon and Cameroon, Tabernanthe Iboga typically grows to a height of seven feet. Under optimum conditions, the plant can mature into a small tree up to 30 feet tall. With vibrant green leaves, this tree produces clusters of tiny white and yellow flowers and orange-colored, oval-shaped Iboga fruit.
But its roots are what best define its spirit. Iboga root bark contains alkaloids which are scraped, powdered and ingested, containing entheogenic properties which have been used for spiritual study for centuries—beginning with the Pygmy and Bwiti cultures of Africa, and, most recently, to help heal an ailing Western world.
The forest people, or Pygmies, of Central-West Africa are said to have first brought the knowledge of this plant to others. These oral teachings were eventually shaped into the practice and culture of the Bwiti—a spiritual tradition founded on the usage and teachings of Iboga. For hundreds of years, the Bwiti have used Iboga in healing ceremonies and spiritual rituals for self-discovery, personal development, physical healing, and to master the art of living.
In Gabon, Iboga is regarded as sacred, at times referred to as the ‘holy wood.’ At the pillar of each tribe or community is a chief shaman, who is responsible for leading medicine ceremonies of initiation and healing.
Awaken Your Soul Founder Anthony Esposito has been trained and initiated by a 10th-generation Gabonese Bwiti shaman who was also the first African to bring the full Iboga root to the Western hemisphere.
Why Do We Use Iboga?
Iboga’s purpose is to detoxify the mind, body and spirit, healing at the deepest physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels.
At some point in our lives, most of us have been wounded on some level. For many the wounds run deep, for others they may have been as simple as being made fun of in school, an underestimated trauma.
While they may have affected us in ways we never fully understood, memories are stored in our subconscious minds, at times resurfacing and impacting us without our conscious knowledge.
Our wounds may have been abuse in emotional, mental, sexual or physical form, or severe grief or loss. We may have been involved in, or witnessed, a traumatic incident. They may have affected us as children, youth, adults, or at multiple times periods throughout our lives.
Over time, these experiences imprint into our subconscious mind, creating conditioning and programming to help us cope with life. At some point along the way these safety mechanisms no longer keep us safe, but create the opposite effect, blocking us from our truth and joy.
These blockages manifest as fear, insecurity, depression, anxiety, disconnection to self and source, debilitating emotions, frightening memories, or feelings of continual worry. In essence our mind has been hijacked and we become the prisoner, and our thoughts taking control of our lives.
With the mind running the show, we enter a vicious, repetitive cycle of self-limiting thoughts, which can result in unhealthy behaviors and uncomfortable feelings or emotions. In its direct, decisive fashion, Iboga reveals what we have simply forgotten: that we are not our mind, and that we deserve to love ourselves.
How Does the Plant Medicine Work?
Iboga is known to be the greatest hunter for the truth inside of us. When we discover our truth, and we have seen how our lives are operating at a dysfunctional level- we cannot “unsee”, the switch has been flipped. It is no longer comfortable living in the same patterns that once felt so ‘safe,’ and destructive behaviors are magnified tenfold. Once we become aware, we are blessed with the responsibility to create change.
Iboga has the wisdom to seek out the root of our traumas. A master teacher, Iboga will give us insights on what life would be like if we continued down a path lacking awareness of our true self. It reveals how wondrous life can be when we cleanse old patterns and begin to treat our lives with value, respect and love.
This medicine allows for a reconnection to our soul and aligns us to our purest state, before we were wounded. The wisdom of the plant will heighten our awareness to help us gain clarity about our passions, inspirations, creativity and purpose. By connecting us to our soul we receive this opportunity to feel profound gratitude for the gift of life itself.
Iboga opens us to our greater potential and greatly expand the mind. It illuminates the ways we can heal and transform our lives to create abundance and well-being.
On a physical level, Iboga detoxes the body of toxins, chemicals, emotional blockages and can also assist with viruses and parasites. Many things the medicine encounters which do not aid in our well being will be cleansed.
This detox also cleanses the mind of belief systems and negative thought patterns that do not serve us. This will also aid the medicine to address the physical aspects of these stored emotions and many people notice a great improvement in their entire well being.
Iboga teaches us to regain control of our thoughts, and use the mind to our advantage by unmasking a clear understanding that we have the power to manifest anything we desire. It shows us that the mind is simply a tool, but we are not our mind.
It will show us not to live in the past: in our depression. Nor in the future: in our anxiety. Iboga helps teach us how to live in the moment, to become our own witness and to be present now. This medicine has the power to begin to transform the way that we think and how we approach or lives.
It is important to note: that while this is a powerful medicine on many levels, it does not DO the work for us. We must respond to the teachings and implement new behaviors and create new thought patters. The Iboga retreat is just the beginning of the journey. The medicine will help guide the way but we must decide to walk the path every day to create new grooves. Click here for more on what to expect from the integration process.
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