The Ceremony


An important part of honoring sacred Bwiti tradition involves inviting the spirit of the fire to open each ceremony.

Known as the Chief Spirit, fire was the first portal the Bwiti discovered into the spirit world. A protector, the fire illuminates the ceremony space, its smoke serving as a runway for the spirits to enter and assist.

Its energy parallels our intention; to burn away what no longer serves us, and to create space to build a new foundation.

Our fireside talk opens each ceremony in the evening, and leads into the administration of Iboga and the subsequent journey.

During the fireside chat, vital Bwiti teachings are shared. We must Nima Na Kombo Bokaye, or pay attention in Bwiti, when this information is presented.

The Bwiti pride themselves in having mastered the Art of Living, and these sacred gifts are essential to receive as we begin to open ourselves to the medicine and to our truth.

The talks are meant to impart mastery in understanding the gift of life, learning who we are, connecting to our soul, controlling our thoughts and choices, finding inner peace, and learning how to release our past and future in order to live in the present.

By giving 100 percent to all endeavors, facing our own truth, and living the truth, we can reconnect with our joy. We remember that everything we need is already within us.

The timing of the fireside ceremony—just before medicine is administered—is crucial. Guests will enter ceremony with Bwiti teachings at the forefront of their awareness. By the fire, the facilitators will also discuss the effects of the medicine and share their own healing experiences. As the medicine begins to take effect and they become more open to receive, these insights are deeply understood and applied to the individual’s life.

As the journey takes effect, many experience feelings of euphoria or heightened senses. It is common to receive auditory, visual or intuitive messages. The body may begin to feel warm or cool. We may become shaky in our movement and balance, or see tracers and flashing lights in our vision. Our heart rate may increase, and so may the speed of our thoughts. There may be a need to purge. All of these are normal, and may be experienced on and off throughout the journey.

Bwiti music is an integral part of ceremony. As providers, we refer to the music as the ‘driver,’ of the journey. If at any point we are wrestling with our mind, we can stop and focus all of our attention on the music. It helps us move away from the surface chatter of the ego, to dive deeper into the medicine and our own truth.

The journey continues throughout the evening and into the following morning. When it starts to get light out, guests are escorted back to their rooms to begin a day of rest, relaxation and recovery. This entire day is about introspection. We are meant to take a deep look at the messages and teachings we have received from Iboga.

The use of any electronic device, as well as communication with anyone outside of the retreat, is restricted on recovery day. This time should be focused wholly on healing and integrating, with no external distractions.

We must feel proud of our courage, in choosing to look at ourselves on the deepest level. For being willing to finally break free from our limitations.

There is honor in what this experience reveals to us. Embrace each moment, because the journey with Iboga is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Life itself is the greatest gift of all. And within the gift of life, Iboga is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. A beautiful medicine, it provides access to our own inner depths, to heal any wounds that might be limiting our ultimate potential. Iboga’s purpose for humanity is to facilitate the spiritual exploration of self discovery, to teach us how to be present, so that we can manifest abundance in our lives.