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The Iboga Journey

Iboga is a plant native to West Africa, particularly Gabon, Cameroon, and the Republic of Congo. It has been used for centuries by indigenous peoples in these regions for its visionary and healing properties, especially within the context of the Bwiti spiritual tradition. During a traditional Iboga ceremony, there are a few key stages that participants commonly experience, although it’s important to note that individual experiences can vary widely.


Before the ceremony, participants are often asked to set an intention or question to bring with them. This step is key in focusing the mind and setting a purpose for the experience.


Participants ingest the Iboga plant, often in the form of a bitter-tasting root bark powder. This is traditionally done at night, under the guidance of a healer or shaman.


The effects of Iboga can begin to be felt anywhere from 45 minutes to three hours after ingestion. Early effects may include physical sensations such as tingling or warmth, changes in visual perception, and a heightened sense of introspection.

Visionary Phase

A few hours in, the “visionary” phase begins. This is often characterized by intense introspective experiences that can include revisiting past memories, interacting with spiritual entities, and having deep insights about one’s life. This phase can last for many hours and is often accompanied by physical discomfort, nausea, or vomiting, which are seen as part of the cleansing process.

Integration Phase

After the intense visionary phase, there comes a phase of introspection and reflection, where the insights and visions are processed. This can be a time of profound understanding, self-realization, and emotional release. This phase can last several days, with residual effects potentially lasting even longer.

Sharing and Interpretation

Following the ceremony, participants typically engage in sharing circles or one-on-one discussions with the shaman or healer, where they can share their experiences and receive help interpreting their visions.

The exact nature of the experience can be influenced by many factors, including the individual’s mindset, the setting of the ceremony, the dose of Iboga ingested, and the guidance provided by the ceremony leaders. It’s also worth mentioning that Iboga can have serious health risks for some individuals, especially those with certain pre-existing health conditions. Therefore, a thorough health screening should always be carried out before participating in an Iboga ceremony.