Mr. Boogie & I had the great pleasure of visiting the Ibogasoul retreat center for one month in Canada, where we supported one 8 day psycho-spiritual retreat and one 9 day detox retreat, both with natural iboga medicine and traditional Bwiti ceremony.
Ibogasoul was founded by Mark Howard and Robyn Rock. The center features sustainably and ceremonially harvested iboga medicine, with all of the naturally occurring alkaloids present. Mark and Robyn are clearly devoted providers, doing everything possible to help guests feel comfortable, safe, and cared for.
Before each medicine ceremony, with candlelight and Bwiti music filling the room, Mark offered traditional Bwiti wisdom transmissions called Fire Talks, helping people to study life, study themselves, and navigate the medicine. Mark also kept everyone cracking up and smiling while delivering the deep material. It was inspiring to witness Mark's attentive and skillful facilitation throughout each ceremony, from dusk to dawn and beyond.
Ibogasoul moves between British Columbia and Nelson in Canada. Their various locations offer a beautiful, comfortable, and immaculate retreat center.
We watched miracle after miracle there... Not to say that any plant medicine or ceremony is a "miracle," however the experience can be miraculous with these key elements: quality facilitation, a safe setting, pure & potent medicine, the full participation of guests, and Grace.
Some people have the false notion that the iboga medicine is some kind of "magic pill" that makes everything better, when in fact it is an intense journey likened to climbing the Himalayas within. It is WORK. And the guests who came to Ibogasoul were highly intentional, present, and committed to their process. People struggling with substance addiction, depression, anxiety, and trauma all gained a new light in their eyes, clarity in their minds, and a sense of physical cleansing. Several people were successfully freed from their chains of high dose opioid dependency. Everyone stood a little straighter and prouder, yet a little gentler and more relaxed in their skin—like a green tree in the wind, looking freshly "polished" by the end of their retreat, all effects I often see with iboga.
We enjoyed delicious, healthy comfort food created by the Ibogasoul chef, Rachael Anthony. She was very attentive and conscientious about each guest's unique dietary requests: gluten-free, vegan/vegetarian, dairy free, etc. When working with powerful plant medicine and spiritual ceremony, I have found that great healthy food is key! This helps to support our digestive system, the cleansing process, and the soul's delight.
The house manager, Geoff, was a phenomenal host. Kind and meticulous, he kept the ship running and made sure everyone had their special needs met. I fondly nicknamed him "MacGyver" because it seemed he could fix any broken thing or resolve any urgent matter that arose. Though a gentleman in every way, he was tough and skilled, and he brought an incredible protective energy in the center.
We were blessed to have Bette visiting at the same time, an established iboga provider and a living treasure of ceremony experience. She contributed many deep insights to the Fire Talks and healing divine mother energy to the aftercare.
Ibogasoul is fairly unique, being traditional Bwiti providers who also offer highly skilled medical support, available round-the-clock. This is Ibogasoul's medical director Patrick Fishley (shown above) is a seasoned critical care & intensive care registered nurse with over 700 iboga & ibogaine treatments under his belt. He has a solid understanding of the various contraindicated medical conditions, street drugs, and pharmaceutical medications. More, he is ACLS certified; this is an important medical emergency credential for all iboga & ibogaine treatments, whether detox or psycho-spiritual. With his guidance, guests can be properly prepared for their iboga treatment according to their unique medical situation.
Patrick is available during the actual iboga ceremonies, and he is also available on site 24/7 for the entire retreat. Adverse events are rare with good medical screening, however if they do occur, they are more likely to occur in the 24-48 hours after initial administration of the medicine rather than in the treatment itself. It was great to see their deep commitment to qualified medical support.
Patrick also happens to be one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, a true spiritual warrior with a healer's heart!
Check out my interviews with Patrick about general iboga info & microdosing considerations.
I was blessed to be able to support my friend Robyn Rock with the traditional Bwiti spiritual shower.
The spiritual shower is a powerful cleansing ceremony. Many medicinal plants, both African & local, are carefully blessed with the unique recipient in mind. The guest is washed with the soaked aromatic plants (while wearing light clothing). The spirits of the plants and the water are activated with intentions and prayers. All of the physical senses are cleansed and awakened. The ritual supports the guest to release the past and consciously bring in the new path. It is most often included in the psycho-spiritual retreat format (vs. detox). Robyn is a true heart-centered priestess and ritual artist!
I am super grateful for the spiritual shower that I received there from my Bwiti elder, Maud, who was also visiting at that time. I've never felt cleaner!
The natural environment and views surrounding Ibogasoul were stunning! Several times during the retreats, guests were taken on outings to bask in the fresh air, trees, and views of the bay.
I would gladly send my own family members to Ibogasoul. I am grateful to see such commitment, integrity, and grounded care from providers of this sacred medicine.
Iboga & ibogaine are illegal in the United States (sadly!). If you choose to experience these sacred medicines without legal persecution, you will have to go countries where these medicines are legal or unregulated such as Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, or Africa.
There are always various risks associated with psychoactive/entheogenic medicines, and they may not be ideal for everyone. This page is for informational and harm reduction purposes only. This page is NOT intended as professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment recommendation, personal suggestion, or endorsement. Please always seek appropriate medical and psychiatric care for your conditions—from carefully selected and qualified providers that respect your personal choices for healthcare.
"This manual for self-realization comes not from a mountain but from the mud.... My qualification is not that I am better than you but I am worse."
This book is not just for people struggling with hard addictions! Though it could be especially helpful in such cases. This book is for any being that happens to be human. At some point, every human will face some form of addiction—and grapple that tendency to satiate the insatiable. It is the human condition: endless and wandering craving, grasping, and attachment, all fired up by fear. However, the opportunity to transmute addiction is also part of the human condition, and Russell Brand serves as an inspiring and seasoned way shower.
With his classic ruthless honesty, reckless humor, colorful analogies, skinned-alive humility, philosopher's perspective, oracular tongue, familiarity with non-dual states, artful cussing, and grandiose vocabulary, Russell entertains as he educates about the 12 step program and his journey of recovery. By the way, you've never heard the 12 steps quite this before. Even seasoned 12 steppers will enjoy Russell's radical rendition of the process. He shares that he's been sober for 14 years—and confesses to still taking it one day at a time. That's all he can grasp.
Raw, intimate personal stories are woven through the exploration of the steps. Brand himself has experienced multiple addictions: heroin, other hard drugs, alcohol, caffeine, sex, work, fame, digital media, fame, chocolate, and even overusing his professional taxi account. He reaches beyond his personal specifics and speaks to all forms of addiction with compassion and clarity.
12 step groups may not be right for everyone, due to a slew of various reasons. This 12 step guide is accessible to anyone, whether inside or outside of AA, NA, everything A, and especially to cynics, the impossibly misunderstood, and those who consider themselves to be worse than anyone. Whoever you are, you will find some solace and resonance reading this, and that heavy, armored shell might start to crack a little.
12 step work can be a wonderful compliment for integrating entheogenic medicine journeys, with the right mentor and community. In my experience, good integration work and ongoing self-reflection can help one to receive all the long-lasting benefits of entheogenic medicine work, and this book could be helpful for that process.
Brand freely offers comprehensive program materials on his website. Right alongside a mantra addressed to divine power, supreme truth, and love, you'll find each of the 12 steps laced with the "F" word, starting with Step 1: Are you a bit f*****?
This book is a radical act of courage and another gem in the growing culture of transparency. Cheers to the the journey of recovery and infinite personal development.
If you experience the audiobook, you will get to hear Brand's delightful Estuary English accent.
Addiction is when natural biological imperatives, like the need for food, sex, relaxation or status, become prioritised to the point of destructiveness. It is exacerbated by a culture that understandably exploits this mechanic as it's a damn good way to sell Mars bars and Toyotas.
I don’t wake up in the morning and think, ‘Wow, I’m on a planet in the Milky Way, in infinite space, bestowed with the gift of consciousness, which I did not give myself, with the gift of language, with lungs that breathe and a heart that beats, none of which I gave myself, with no concrete understanding of the Great Mysteries, knowing only that I was born and will die and nothing of what’s on either side of this brief material and individualized glitch in the limitless expanse of eternity and, I feel, I feel love and pain and I have senses, what a glorious gift! I can relate, and create and serve others or I can lose myself in sensuality and pleasure. What a phenomenal mystery!’ Most days I just wake up feeling a bit anxious and plod a solemn, narrow path of survival, coping. ‘I’ll have a coffee’, ‘I’ll try not to reach for my phone as soon as I stir, simpering and begging like a bad dog at a table for some digital tidbit, some morsel of approval, a text, that’ll do.
Support the beauty and buy this book on Amazon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Since rising to fame in 2003, Russell Brand has established himself as one of one of the world’s most celebrated stand-up comedians. Aside from stand-up, Russell is also a successful author, broadcaster, actor, podcaster, columnist, political commentator and mental health & drug rehabilitation activist. He has 2 cats, a dog, a wife, a baby, 10 chickens and 60 thousand bees, in spite of being vegan curious.
Recently I had the pleasure of visiting the Santa Cruz flagship store for Synergy Organic Clothing. Here I found a thrilling selection of clothing for women that is fashionable, luscious to wear, and ethically produced. The elegant designs hug curves in all the right places, creating a tailored appearance, yet they allow for a delightful range of movement.
I've been disappointed to find that most fashionable women's clothing is binding, fragile, and often created in poor conditions with exploitative wages. Thus, most fashionable women's clothing is literally disempowering—and a burden to the earth.
I want gorgeous clothing in which I can run, dance, go to a fancy party, AND practice yoga or martial arts—all made with sustainable materials and fair wages. I thought that was too much to ask until I found Synergy.
In addition to being invested in ethical production and fair wages; Synergy is also a Green America Certified business, which means its textiles are spun with organic fibers and employ non-toxic dying methods. Synergy also partners with the San Lorenzo River Alliance and the Waterwheel Foundation to protect local and international communities.
Synergy was recently featured in this article on Refinery29.com:
A few of my favorite items...