The Bwiti Tribe and Iboga

Iboga and the Bwiti Tribe

Erick Erickson describes life in terms of a series of stages that people go through. Starting
through infancy dealing with trust and mistrust. Into adulthood, the person begins to deal with
intimacy and isolation. Towards the end of one’s life, a person begins to deal with integrity
versus despair. A person begins to unravel their previous triumphs and transgressions in life and
determines whether their life held meaning or not. A person does not need to wait until old age to
deal with this. Many cultures in fact suggest that this is something that should be dealt with as
early as possible. Among these cultures is a tribe located in Gabon, West Africa. The Bwiti tribe
has shown promises of hope in their spiritual ceremonies. They use ibogaine to initiate life
revelations significantly earlier than they originally would be, amongst members of the African

It has been suggested that someone who enters the initiation becomes a person with knowledge
of the other world, having this revealed to them with their own eyes (NY times). The physical
pleasure of this world can be quite deceiving. People seeking out money, property, and prestige
are often left with despair later in their life. Having knowledge of one’s subconscious gives them
insight into pleasure far greater than one can possibly imagine. The Bwiti tribe understands these
principles. With the aid of mother earth, they help a person gain perception that allows them to
live a more fulfilling life without the materialistic pleasures of the superficial world. It has been
revealed that the Bwiti tribe view Ibogaine as a superior spiritual entity (NY times).

The Bwiti tribe has been compared to Buddhism (NY times). Like Buddhism, their traditions are
merely a way of life and not a religion. They believe anyone can take part in their traditions
regardless of their spiritual background. They also believe people can simply pick and choose
which traditions they wish to take part in. It’s a spiritual practice that these natives are engaged
with and religion is not discriminated against. The Bwiti traditions follow an indirect set of
instructions and simply offer suggestions (NY times). This means that they do not give orders to
dictate how people should live their life. They simply allow people to make their own choices
and help guide them into a happier more fulfilling life.

The Bwiti tribe has different forms of medicinal ibogaine. In low doses, it is used as a stimulant
(Drugs and Shamanism). This is used in everyday life settings to help enhance people’s

performance. In high doses, however, it is used for initiation purposes (Drugs and Shamanism).
The psychoactive effects of ibogaine are not something many people can understand, and it is
suggested that they use this medicine under the guidance of those who have experience with it.
Ibogaine can have tremendous benefits given the right settings and supervision.

By dissociating through the materialistic benefits from the spirit world, the Bwiti have
established many therapeutic benefits from the use of iboga. This includes wisdom, teaching,
medicine, healing methods, understanding of music theory, and many more
( The ibogaine connects a person to a higher level of
consciousness. In doing so, the person gains an understanding of individual emotions and what
they represent. It is as if the person can begin to articulate their emotions and express them in
forms of art.

There are various reasons that the Bwiti tribe has for this powerful initiation process that people
undergo such as helping people overcome personal issues, healing the body, and facing demons
from the past from previous traumas ( The
ibogaine speeds up the natural process of the central nervous system helping the body repair
itself to normal. It helps a person develop a stronger sense of self-actualization through an
introspective experience. Most importantly, it awakens the subconscious. This brings the person
in touch with feelings associated with memories relating to traumatic events in their life. In doing
so, the person may revisit the events and help themselves heal in ways they could not in the past.

The Bwiti tribe has discovered something so fascinating that many people have challenged the
effectiveness of Wester Civilizations. In addition to knowing about this incredible medicine, they

have vast knowledge on how to administer it in a safe and effective fashion. Bwiti traditions help
unravel many of life mysteries in a far shorter amount of time than most people are generally
able to accomplish. It is fascinating to learn about the hidden talents of ancient cultures.

Dr. Ashok Bharucha
MD, MA – Adult and Geriatric Psychiatry Specialist