What do you mean by “there is no Bwiti without iboga”?

The Bwiti have a saying, “there is no iboga without Bwiti, and no Bwiti without iboga.”

This post explains how the Bwiti tradition and its teachings will work to provide the sensemaking framework — and the springboard — for the personal realizations you will have on iboga on your Root Healing retreat.

When will I encounter the Bwiti teachings during the iboga retreat?

The Bwiti teachings themselves were told by the spirit of iboga itself to the first people to discover and consume it, thousands of years ago in southern Gabon. The “study of life itself” that is the Bwiti tradition consists of these exact teachings, which have been passed down ever since the first iboga ceremony as an oral tradition.

These are the same teachings that have been shared with all the Lead Providers at Root Healing by our teachers in Gabon, where our medicine comes from, and which we share in our iboga ceremonies today with guests on our retreats.

You will always be introduced to Bwiti teachings at the firetalk, which precedes each night-long traditional Bwiti iboga ceremony. There are two firetalks and two full ceremony cycles (firetalk, ceremony night, processing day, integration day) per eight-day psychospritual retreat.

The Bwiti teachings form the basis of each firetalk, and also any of the psychospiritual techniques our providers may draw on in supporting you as the ceremony unfolds.

Everybody’s experience of iboga is different. Correspondingly a personalized configuration of possible techniques, delivered responsively at appropriate moments, will provide the best kind of support for your personal experience of iboga.

How will the Bwiti teachings help or support me in my experience with iboga?

Not everybody will encounter all the possible psychospiritual techniques that may be used — but everybody will be taught the main core Bwiti teachings over the course of the eight day retreat.

If you are confused or daunted during your experience with iboga, the Bwiti teachings are the sensemaking compass you have; to come back to at any moment. (At a time when all your other frameworks are under renovation — having any toxic elements removed or revised by the iboga — and may be being totally cleaned away!)

How do the Bwiti teachings combine with the effects of the iboga?

As the iboga scans, polishes and perhaps pulls away the long-laid tracks that your trains of thought are used to running on, you are undergoing a mental and physical detox.

You’ll be left with a fuller understanding of yourself — and of all the belief systems that you’ve developed over the years. You’ll understand how the layers of your identity have piled on top of you over the years. And you’ll see how you’ve gone through your life so far — as we all do — forming new beliefs about the world and ways of living in it.

Beliefs and belief systems are our survival strategies, and the fact that you have your unique set of beliefs when you come to iboga will always make sense in terms of your experiences of life — but, as you’ll be shown by the iboga — your beliefs are not you.

What will I experience as a result of encountering the Bwiti teachings with iboga?

Each of the Bwiti teachings we pass down to you around the fire at Root Healing in our iboga ceremonies — and in the psychospiritual dimension of our retreats — is another mechanism you can use to sift your experiences and see your beliefs for what they are.

It is through this process that you will find your freedom:

  • In knowing, for the first time how these beliefs and coping strategies formed; and, through the iboga
  • You will start feeling into how your beliefs are separate from you.

Join us for a traditional Bwiti iboga ceremony

We have a few spots left at Root Healing (Thailand) for our final retreat of 2023 (05-12 December), or you can join us in 2024.

Book a free consultation call