There was a buzz around my body, like I was caught inside a high voltage shed. The humming field of energy extended at least two to three feet, enveloping me in a palpable cocoon. My heart was pounding in my chest. Was I nervous? No fucking way, that couldn’t be possible. I had traveled to the other side of consciousness too many times for that. I tried to relax. I breathed deeply and exhaled a full breath, pushing out any nervous energy that might be lingering. Still my heart was pounding. Okay, maybe I was terrified! I moved on to explore my other senses further. The flickering firelight coming through the corners of my blindfold formed brilliant lens flares. I tucked the black cloth into the indentions of my sockets. I knew there was nothing but jet black pupil in my usually brown eyes. I felt a mild nausea. Already? Then I heard my fiancé on the mat parallel to mine cry out to the shaman, “I’m spinning!” Receptive to suggestion, my own world started tumbling like an oak barrel caught in a whitewater eddy. The shaman replied matter-of-factly, “Make it stop.” Good advice--It worked. Then it happened… I came face to face with Truth. Truth with a capital T.
We’ve all heard the old biblical tale from Genesis, but like many things in that famous book--They had it all backwards. While the Garden is all around us, Adam and Eve were never born into bliss. Human existence, except for some small pockets and outlier individuals has largely been a story of ignorance and struggle. For the ancients it was the struggle to harness the capacity of their developing brain to conquer the forces of nature that regularly maimed, starved, and killed them. For the modern Adam and Eve the challenge is just as difficult: To escape the insidious sabotage of the mind that causes us to live in mental squalor while surrounded by abundance and safety.
As if to show the benevolence of a loving God, on every major continent grows an ally that can lift us above our condition of ignorance and struggle--the fruit of knowledge. The indigenous cultures revered these fruits. To the Vedics it was the mighty Soma. To the Aztecs it was Teonanacatl – The Flesh of the Gods. To these cultures and countless others it is the master medicine. But the church, seeking to keep the populace from questioning their claim to power calls it the ‘forbidden fruit’ and declares it a doorway to witchcraft and evil spirits. They kill and repress those initiated into its covenant, banning its use whenever possible. But their reach did not extend everywhere. Millennia ago in the heart of Gabon, a land untouched by the relentless march of the Catholic mission, the very Tree of Truth itself was delivered to a Pygmy shaman--If the legend is true, not by a snake, but by a porcupine.
Snared in a trap next to a strange shrub, the Promethean porcupine gnawed away at the bark until the shaman/trapper arrived. He delivered the animal back to his wife who cooked it as she was accustomed. The shaman did not make it to dinner that night, so the wife gorged on the porcupine herself. An hour later her pulse started to quicken… Her sight started to falter. She could feel a buzzing all around her. And the visions began… After the sheer terror of her condition faded, she understood things with a magical clarity that boggled her clansmen. Everything started to make perfect sense. The shaman, taking note of her condition and seeking to repeat it went back to the gnawed tree stump. He harvested some bark and repeated his wife’s experience, directly from the source. Truth was found, and the Iboga Bwiti tradition was born.
But as I lay on my back with pulse pounding, listening to the Bwiti tribal music that sounded like the fastest symphony of thumb piano in recorded history, I didn’t know the story of the porcupine.
I didn’t know much more than the fact that whatever I was experiencing was supposed to last 24 hours, and I was feeling something as foreign to my perception as the very first time I ate a psilocybin mushroom. The reality was that after my deftness in dealing with the Ayahuasca experience half a year earlier, I was a bit cocky. I did very little research, and asked even fewer questions. I expected fireworks, I expected visions. So when Truth arrived like the blinking cursor on my mind’s computer screen, asking where I wanted to go, I was astonished. Despite immense physical discomfort and wholesale synesthesia, the Iboga was patiently waiting for me to give marching orders.
Knowing his medicine well, the 10th generation Bwiti shaman named Moughenda had me prepare a list of questions prior to the session. So I started from the beginning as best as I could remember.
Question 1: What was the source of my unhappiness that robbed me of joy even as my dreams came true around me? How do I defeat this source?
The Truth: Led by the blinking cursor accessing my soul’s infinite Google search, I plumbed the depths and came up with a rather simple explanation. There was an aspect of my mind, differentiated from my true-self, at the helm of my being that was not serving my best interest. It was the overactive mind. Later, somewhere around hour fourteen I would name this entity Mind Boy. With Mind Boy in the captain’s chair every new success was just a higher precipice from which to fall. He thought he was helping, preventing me from the pain that would surely come, but in reality that pain never needs to come. There need be no fall from grace. And the more you believe you will not fall, the less likely you will be to do so.
The aspect that needed to be in charge of operations was my soul. The real Aubrey Marcus. Aubrey Marcus the infinite, the ideal, the culmination of years of incarnations and the wisdom gained therein. I could feel my soul’s rise to power, and over the following 24 hours he would put a beat-down on Mind Boy the likes of which would land someone in the physical world 20 years to life!
After uncovering the Truth about Mind Boy and my true-self, the third component of my being came into focus. I named this part Mud Body. Mud Body is the exoskeleton for the soul that frolicks in the mud we call Earth. Mud Body likes to dominate and procreate above all else, but he is also happiest when healthy, connected to nature, and part of a tribe. It is natural to want to have the best mud-body around but it is important to keep these motivations in perspective. I’ve spent a good portion of my life testing my mud-body against others, and while some of this helped to develop my character, other times it was just silly… Like the time I sparred full contact against Paul ‘The Headhunter’ Buentello. Was that really necessary?
While looking in shape and competing certainly isn’t a bad thing, the problem is that when we get too focused on the achievements of the body we start to think we are accomplishing great things when really we are focused on a very mundane and temporary goal. However, sometimes competition can pave the way for true growth of all aspects of the being. Any high level competitive athlete can attest that the rigors of competition are as much mental as physical. And as another caveat, one must recognize we still live in a world where there are forces that may try to take our lives before we have a chance to actualize our potential. A strong body, capable of both flight and defense is still necessary to minimize risk of the premature snuff out.
Question 2: What is it that I am afraid of, and how do I conquer my fears?
The Truth: Fear is an illusion also created by Mind Boy, the adolescent driver that stole the keys to my car. While ‘danger’ may be real, it is most efficiently dealt with outside of the grasp of fear. Fear is a phantasmal force that should be disintegrated like a shadow in the light of the sun. One defeats fear by pulling aside the curtain and exposing the mechanism for what it is… Smoke and mirrors. It is not real. And what is not real cannot hurt you.
Question 3: What can I do to accelerate my path to actualizing my destiny?
The Truth: We live in a belief based system. What you believe becomes true, as long as that belief is stronger or independent of other people’s directly contrasting beliefs. Realizing this, the limitations on what I was capable of expanded exponentially. I realized that in order to achieve great things I simply had to believe I could achieve great things. What the Meso-American shamans called Intent, was really just another way to phrase belief. After re-listening to Bruce Lipton’s podcast on the Joe Rogan Experience I realized that my own Truth was a resounding personal confirmation of his hypothesis in the book, The Biology of Belief.
Our society generally fosters something of a paradox within us. While ambition is praised, a big ego is looked down upon. But how do you believe that you can change the world without having a big ego? It is impossible. Alexander the Great believed he could conquer the known world and so he did it. Humility is still important, as once you understand the system you realize that you are simply participating in a game designed for you to win. Iboga had just given me the cheat codes. Instead of up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, a, b, a, b, select, start – It was simply, BELIEVE.
At this point my questions started to turn from the purely introspective to a greater exploration of the mysteries of the world at large. My physical body, however, was still dealing with immense discomfort. Nausea was mounting like the steady climb of a roller coaster on the initial hill, but sitting up and vomiting in my bucket seemed monumentally difficult. My heart still thumped in my chest, and finally I realized that it wasn't because I was terrified, but because Iboga is an intense stimulant. I should have known with the active alkaloid ending in 'aine'. Despite the stimulant effects quickening my pulse, most of the time it felt like I was on a plate of sticky syrup with a 500lb pancake stack on top of me. I would later wonder if this was the Iboga or the immobilizing toxins of the ants that were apparently savagely biting me (I couldn’t feel them at the time). After hearing a few more accounts of other initiates who did not get the pleasure of the ants, I am pretty sure it was the Iboga.
Question 4: What is the nature of God, Infinity, and the Universe?
The Truth: This answer came not to me in words, but in epic, metaphorical images. I first saw the big bang… Near infinite planets and worlds exploding out from a single point and hurling into space. As they moved many of them would spark life, and that life would spark more life. But eventually the momentum would wane. The planets would reach their outer extremity and then slowly they would start to retract. Then the retraction would gain momentum, exactly converse in momentum to the explosion of the big bang, and like candles on the back of a fast moving car, life itself would extinguish. Faster and faster the planets would suck inward until they once again reached a single point. Then BOOM, another big bang. This was a heartbeat, and the heart itself was in the barrel-chest of a translucent blue Titan… And this titan was methodically running. The Titan was God, and the heart keeps pumping as long as he is running. That is the force behind life. God’s love is the commitment to never stop running. But just as this image was starting to sink in, I realized there were thousands of blue Titans, each with their own universe hearts, running around a track in a race that never ends. And then of course, there were thousands of tracks. That is the nature of infinity.
As I watched the planets hurl from the heart of the God Titan I realized that each planet had its own unique frequency. And every frequency together created a symphony that became one sound. That sound was the only sound that God makes… The sound of everything all at once. The sound of existence.
Question 5: What is the future of our planet?
The Truth: I had an image of the Earth, not as a composite of many different living and non-living things, but as a single reactive organism. Disharmony on its surface led to turmoil in the organism core, and that turmoil would build intent toward a balancing correction. When we look at the mass extinctions of the Earth’s history we tend to think of them as random events. But what the Truth was showing me was that each of these were the causal result of the Earth’s intent to generate balance. This revelation became a cautionary tale. If we don’t get our shit together on our own, the Earth is going to do what it always does--Take care of it for us. Our planet is being run by the wrong type of people, and the wrong aspects of ourselves, much like I had been controlled by Mind Boy, the wrong aspect of myself. We can either correct it… or else. I had an image of the magma core heating up… I think I may need to re-watch that show about Supervolcanos.
Well, fuck. With this pleasantry fresh in my mind, what better time to go ahead and puke. So I sat up and let the blindfold fall. Immediately I was struck by an overwhelming dizziness and disorientation. The world around me appeared through the filter of a television channel with a bad signal. Horizontal lines of white distortion ran across my line of sight wherever I cast my gaze. I found the bucket through the static at the foot of my bed and heaved. Globs of bitter, acidic bile splashed in the pail. Unlike ayahuasca where the nausea quickly passed after the purge, I was hardly relieved. I sat up for a good 10 minutes wretching every last bit of fluid from my stomach. I could taste several distinct types that I could only surmise were mixed with toxins being released from different organs. When the heaving was done, I realized that I had to piss. Might as well go for it.
Standing up was an immense challenge, and walking was a disaster. I felt like I had just taken a thousand rides on the Disneyland spinning teacup. I staggered, lumbering half-blind toward the door that housed the bathroom. I crashed down onto the toilet and tried to focus on the business at hand. This was no small feat either, as I soon discovered that my penis had shrunk into what can only be called an anti-erection. It was a size that defied the limitations of what I thought physically possible, and as firm as any boner I’d ever had. The ideal penis for sex with a woman 1/7th normal size. Yikes. I made a note to myself: Do not attempt sex on Iboga. However at the thought of sex, my mind naturally wandered to the topic of vaginas. And that was an even bigger mistake.
Truth was like a rampaging bull with no off switch and at the thought of Vaginas my mind wanted to understand a vagina. And here is the Truth: Nobody wants to understand a vagina! There is no faster way to ruin a good pussy thought than to do it on Iboga. Instead of savoring it at face value (a favorite past time of Mud Body) Truth insisted on dissecting its mechanical functionality. There are certain illusions that I intend to keep intact, so I couldn’t push the thought from my mind quickly enough. Crisis narrowly averted, I turned on the sink to run some water over my hands and looked up. Thankfully, there was no mirror. I staggered back to the mat.
With the main questions out of the way, I decided to try something that the shaman had suggested before I was fully under the influence. He said that if there was anyone I wanted to talk to, dead or alive, I should just do it. He said I would be speaking directly to their souls. This became my pre-occupation over the next few hours. I had lively, inspiring, healing, and sometimes hilarious conversations with all of those friends and family I cast my gaze toward. I could talk to them in different ways. One way was to imagine them in a familiar spot where we had talked before, and then we would simply be there. I spoke to my father in our childhood home, and to my astonishment I could recall every piece of art, furniture, texture and fabric in the entire house. It was as if the memory itself came alive, and I was actually there speaking. I have never had visions so vividly realistic in any psychedelic journey. Almost a week later now, and I have not lost the ability to explore my memories. Nearly every place I have ever been with any regularity I can picture with immaculate detail. The memories are warm and rich, almost like I am experiencing them all over again.
When I didn’t want to be mesmerized by the setting of our conversation, my acquaintances would appear to me in the doors of a cosmic advent calendar. Toward the end of my conversations, those friends who I had almost forgotten would always give me shit for taking so long to get to them. But no matter what, they were always happy and always smiling. The message was this: that souls (true-selves) unfettered by earthly constraints are all in a state of bliss. When our conversations would cease being useful they would let me know, often in no uncertain terms. For example, after i had finished speaking with my good friend Bode, every time I would get lazy and try to go back to say hello would just flip me off and then laugh!
While I was still scrambling to find more people to talk to, I heard the shaman call out to his assistant in his thick African accent, “You smell that stinky bastard?” Then the scent washed over me. “He sprayed us as he walked past.” We were anointed with skunk juice. I laughed. Just another pleasantry to add to the physical joys of my journey!
At this point I was beyond my planned agenda, but while I had such incredible access to Truth I tried to ask as many questions as possible on any variety of topics.
Q: What would need to happen to improve society quickly and decisively?
T: “Do this.” It said, referring to Iboga. These plants were put here for a reason, to help us find our way back to the Truth. But Truth, apparently in a humorous mood, wasn’t quite finished. “Take away everyone’s clothes,” was the second answer. I laughed out loud at the thought of all of our politicians doing their presidential debates with their dicks hanging out. The image of congress in session was equally amusing. Would anyone take Newt Gingrich seriously if he was naked? It seems to me far more difficult to lie, and scheme, and put forth false exteriors when fully naked. There is a certain humility that would offer a natural counterbalance to the ego.
Q: What’s up with aliens?
T: This simple question led me down a rabbit hole that was much deeper than I expected. The answer was that alien civilizations have had a keen interest in the survival and development of sentient life on this earth for millions of years. In the last 100,000 however they have started to speed up the process with genetic modification. This is a theory that is well explored on shows like Ancient Aliens, but there has never been a truly satisfactory reason as to WHY they were doing this. The voice of Iboga explained to me that there are certain classes of souls in the spiritual (non-physical) dimension. In order for these souls to inhabit a body, the body has to have certain levels of DNA development. For example, a human soul couldn’t enter the body of a baboon. Once the soul reaches at minimum human level of development, it won’t fit inside a simpler life form. The same principle is true for souls that have experienced more advanced alien embodiment. The aliens were tampering with our DNA to allow a higher class of soul to enter into the human form to help lead mankind away from the brutality of our nature and toward the higher ideals. Whoa.
Nota Bene: While this certainly seems to have some logical validity it is a bit too far out for me to say that I believe it with any kind of certainty, despite the fact that it came from Iboga induced Truth. Lets just put it out there as a hypothesis and leave it at that--One scenario in a pantheon of possibilities.
Q: Whats up with Crystals? Do they have power?
T: “Crystals are pretty!” the voice said. But the only time they have power is when the beholder believes they have power, in which case it is not really the power of the crystal, but the power of the believer that has merit. Any old stick or stone can have the same power as a crystal if the beholder believes it does.
Q: Whats up with Astrology and Numerology?
T: Humans are relentlessly pattern-seeking. There is no innate truth to these esoteric theories, except of course where it concerns belief. If one believes that seeing the number 23 is a good omen, they will see the number 23 on the verge of a correct turn in the path. If someone believes they are a Pisces and should exhibit the characteristics of a Pisces, they will.
Q: What is the best diet for me?
T: As someone who enjoys a good cheeseburger, the message that came back was a not what I was hoping for. It said that I would thrive off of foods that have been touched by sunlight. Vegetables, grains (even wheat, which goes against paleo principles) and fruits. As far as meat was concerned it was a matter of light vs dark. Chicken and fish were good for me, but the darker meat (steak, lamb) were not. But the worst thing of all was cheese and other fermented products. Cheese literally takes a no-light scenario to culture, and represents one of the worst things I can eat.
By now I was literally scrambling for new things to think about. While there was lucidity in the answers, forming the questions was proving more difficult as my mind started to wander, slipping in and out of what one might call the dream dimension, cluttered with unattached thoughts and images. I would occasionally try to ask the shaman something, but as soon as I formed the question in my mind, the answer would dutifully appear.
The birds announced dawn approaching at hour 10 of our journey, and Moughenda asked if we were able to move to our room. The nausea was more tolerable and my balance, though bad, was manageable. In an ironic coincidence signifying the initiation I had undertaken, I stepped right through the hot coals of the fire without even noticing. I smiled to myself. It was as if the universe was trying to tell me that there was no need to seek further initiation. The Iboga, the ant bites, and the hot coals all came in one session!
The next 14 hours back in my room would be some of the best of my life. I lay in bed with my fiancé helping her to explore the depths of her own amazing journey, while Truth rode like a champion on my shoulder. While I could hardly move, could hardly drink water, I have never been more lucid, or funny than that day. We laughed as all the questions that were asked were immediately answered identically by our mutual truth. Or rather, answered by the one Truth. I could talk to any of my good friends or family simply by pulling the covers over my head and thinking about them. It was pure magic.
I passed the time talking, laughing, and reliving memories with fresh zeal. I watched a dragonfly go by on our porch and I slipped inside his perception to see how he perceives the world. It was all black and white, with only the relevant facts to his survival revealed during flight. There was no beauty in the vision of the insect, only function. I thought about a hive of bees and how it was possible that a bee would evolve to have the instinct to sting something when stinging meant its death. The realization was that the bee evolved for the survival of the hive, not for the survival of itself. What other creature will sacrifice itself for the betterment of its peers? Humans will.
I thought about how the megalithic structures like the pyramids were built, and determined that we are underestimating the sheer power of a multitude of slaves building these things under a life or death imperative. How did they move that 15 ton block? Because there was 15,000 of them who moved it because their lives depended on it!
This led me to understand why these great civilizations collapsed. A society without a certain level of parity is destined to become unstable. The slaves, or the ‘mob’ will eventually no longer accept their condition and they will rise up and create parity through force. In doing so, the organizational structure of the society will fall, the strength will be broken, and the jealous neighbors of the civilization will sweep through and sack anything left standing. Once solidarity gives way to every-man-for-himself, it takes very little time for nature, human or Earthly to wipe out what is left.
Around 30 hours after I took the two capsules, I lost memory, which could only mean I finally went to sleep.
The next morning I finally found a small appetite and ate breakfast. The other members of Iboga House were extremely supportive. I had some good talks with a father and son who had just beat a heroin addiction that week. I checked my email in a daze but was jolted to find that Onnit.com was down and nobody knew about it. Anger flared up in me to the point that it frightened me. I wanted to fire everybody. Where did that come from? The rest of the day would be a challenge, as my body deprived of sleep, depleted of serotonin, struggled to remember the truth of my experience just a day earlier. Fear and doubt crept back in. Was it real? Or was it just some drug-induced mania? I decided that I would believe in its verity on faith for the time being, and that the doubts and fears were simply my old nemesis Mind Boy up to his familiar tricks. I took some New Mood™ (a serotonin boosting supplement) and after a strong 12 hour sleep, rose the next day considerably more vibrant and refreshed. Each successive day, just got better and better. It was as if the intense vibrational energy of the Iboga realigned the frequency of my body like a master tuning fork. If one understands that sickness is in part do to an energetic imbalance, it is no surprise that Iboga boasts so many "miracle" physical cures.
So how much of this experience came from within myself? The Bwiti would say all of it. But they also say that all knowledge is contained within our eternal soul, so in accessing those parts of yourself, you are accessing infinite knowledge. Whatever it was, and wherever it came from, it certainly knew what was best for me. And because I believe it was real, it is real, and will mould my life forever. I had tasted the fruit from the tree of Truth, and it did not expel me from the Garden...It led me right into it.
AFTERMATH: As I sit here and write the accounting of my experience from the foot of the Arenal volcano, I still feel changes happening around me. The hedonic adaptation (thanks to Jason Silva for the term) that has acclimatized me to the joy of living has been wiped clean. Each dip in the hot springs, every workout, each meal has a virginal appeal. Music comes to me like I am hearing it for a first time. My usual workout mix has songs that bring me unbridled excitement, and others to righteous rage. My memory is fresh, my appreciation for life is renewed, and I have never been more motivated to play my humble part as a warrior poet in service of the light.
Interested in finding your own Truth? Make sure to find a reputable facility, somewhere you will feel safe and comfortable. Please read all available reviews, and DO NOT GO ALONE if you are a single female. This is not an easy journey, but its rewards can be immense.