Sunday, December 21, 2008

Howard Lotsof's College Ibogaine Lecture - Part 1/3

Howard Lotsof gave a lecture in an auditorium at the CUNY College of Staten Island on Ibogaine.

The event was hosted by English professor Michael Christian who assembled a group of over 100 eager college students from his classes along with some from a psychology class at CSI. The students listened attentively, hanging in silence to every word Howard uttered. It was the first time I'd seen so many college 20-somethings hear Howard talk -- far from the stuffy, uptight, high-brow academic bourgeoisie at the scientific conferences I'd attended in the past where Howard was invited to present. Instead of sneering skepticism bordering on derision, these young people were transfixed by Howard's first hand account; indeed, anyone would be who actually listen.

Howard was animated and excited. I'd heard every recollection many times before; the difference here was Howard's obvious enthusiasm and zeal. Like a man spinning a yarn to sailors trapped in the bowels of a container freighter pitching and yawing in a raging storm in the Atlantic, Howard took command of his crew and captivated these young impressionable minds. They greeted him warmly and applauded in a hearty lion roar at the end.

At the conclusion Howard stood up, clapping with the audience, smiling ear to ear, like the 6 foot thin as a toothpick leprechaun he is. He grasped victory in his palm and almost made a "V" with one hand and a thumbs up with the other. He sensed his words would spread virally from these minds. He had done his job admirably and once again planted the seeds that would sprout new roots for generations to come.

Michael originally contacted me to give a talk to his students in the classroom because he came across this blog and believed I was some kind of authority on the subject of ibogaine. I immediately emailed him back and urged him to contact Howard directly. I explained, "Why invite a sailor who sailed the Santa Maria as a bottle washer when you could get Christopher Columbus himself?" Michael did not disagree. A few weeks later, the stage was set for Howard's dashing entrance. The Staten Island press corp was present, along with a video crew. This was going to be seen beyond these hallowed halls. My videotaping this event would ensure thousands more would be invited to the celebration.

It is heartwarming for me to see my good friend basking in the warmth and adulation of these young minds. I will always remember this day and will tell my grandchildren about it someday, and they theirs.

Hell, they can even watch the video below and witness it themselves. The heck with me! Who do I think I am, anyways (a mole on the butt of a beluga circling Antarctica is who!)?

Click here for Michael's Christian's original press release.

Click here for the post-lecture press release and an early video interview with Howard.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

First Hand Ibogaine Experience

From the southern tip of Africa, hailing from Capetown (where it is now summer!), blogger Simon Loxton has written 2 new recent articles including one that details his latest experience taking ibogaine in a suppository with his clinical psychologist wife as observer.

Simon's blog is called "Iboga Association of Cape Town" and he continues to be one of the best and most prolific writers on this most arcane and controversial subject.

Simon includes a revealing observation at the end of the article:
"I learned the inclinations of my own soul."

Well put, Simon, and quite a wonderful revelation.

As I wish, always, to get to the root of a matter and share the gold nuggets of news I come across with my visitors (I scan the ibogaine webosphere daily for these), Simon makes a checklist of his most important ibogaine learnings that are quite lucid and from the heart true:

"I learned many things from this experience.
1.) I learned that I needed to do things, not to just think about doing them. I seem to have come from a place where it is easy to manifest things just by thinking about them. The process of developing things is abit more difficult for me, but it is something upon which I should focus.
2.) I learned again not to lie. Never misrepresent the truth, not even in jest. It confuses the thoughtfields, making our understanding of reality that much less clear, serving no one.
3.) I learned of the effect of self-criticism, and the importance of staying positive.
4.) I learned that I need to be easier with myself, more self-forgiving.
5.) I was again impressed with the importance of self-discipline, self-responsibility, self-reliability.
6.) I learned that I truly love my wife."

I guess if you could grind these learnings up in a mortar and pestle you'd be left with one flavor and color: self-realization.

Simon has written a very detailed and candid account of the entire process of obtaining the raw ingredient, preparing it, mixing cleansing drinks, and readying his environment for the trip.

As the effect finally came on, he writes:
"The nearest feeling I had previously experienced in college was not with LSD, sacred Peyote, or shrooms, but with a really good sativa high, only about a thousand times stronger and more clear. There was zero diminution in my cognitive faculties, and I was insightful, although I did have a hard time articulating at times."

Interestingly, taking the ibogaine as a suppository limited the most difficult aspect of the experience: nausea and vomiting. In Simon's case (Simon: correct me if I'm wrong), the effect came on with minimal side effects. He even took Dramamine as an anti-emetic.

As many others have related, Michael had a spirit encounter:
"As I went deeper into myself I found myself in another completely different realm. I lost the use of my five senses, and felt the need to somehow orient myself spatially. Through me, a disembodied voice uttered “Use your sense of imagination to see”."

Without giving too much away (it would take much too long, anyway), Simon takes a trip to what he perceives as heaven, passing by the gate. He was told if he went through it, he would never return to his body.

Especially detailed is Simon's post-peak experience with trippy vertigo and much reflection and observation of his surroundings and sense objects.

This is one of the best posts I've read on the subject. I came away with whole new understanding and perpective, having never experienced this chemical first hand.

I urge you to read the full post by clicking here.

Happy Holidays to all!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Nature's Cure: Know Thyself?

On November 6, 2008 a citizen journalist, Sheryl Walters, posted an observant and passionate article about how iboga, the west African shrub whose root contains the indole alkaloid ibogaine hydrochloride, is a holistic, all-natural treatment for drug addiction. She uses the word cure, but I would not make that claim based on my own personal knowledge of addicts who relapse and need further treatment. It is uncanny, however, how a single dose of ibogaine in a pill form can interrupt the cravings for drugs for a period from a few days to a few years, with most relapsing in a few months (3-6, on average).

Howard Lotsof, social workers Rommell Washington and Barbara Judd, and Ken Alper, MD, have observed that relapse is dependent on whether the addict returns to their former addict environment or moves away to start anew.

As Ms. Walters writes:
"Ibogaine is a psychedelic, dream creating drug. The person taking Ibogaine lies down and experiences incredible visions that are relevant to their life. It seems to go straight into the unconscious mind, bringing incredible insights into one’s nature. Every person’s experience is totally different. For some it is as if they are watching a movie of their life, for others it is as if they are being reorganized like a filing cabinet, and for others, the visions may have no recognisable meaning at the time it is being taken."

In discussing the psychotherapeutic aspects of the ibogaine experience, she notes:
"In fact, Ibogaine is not only being used for drug addicts, but also for people who want to sort out a whole range of issues that burden them."

And so I hear, many non-addicts are undergoing ibogaine treatment to help them understand themselves, their own personalities, and to unravel the roots of their present day behaviors.

I'd read quite a few posts from these people, non-addicts on a journey of self awareness. As Ms. Judd wryly observed in the ENDABUSE REPORT VIDEO posted on this blog, years of psychotherapy can occur internally within a couple of days. If you were self aware and wanted to figure out why you are so unhappy, neurotic, with tendencies for anti-social or self-inflicted wounds, I would think that ibogaine may be an efficacious and expedient way to cut through all the bull crap and get yourself right down to the core of your being and the root of your problems in a calm, unemotional, detached re-experiencing of key psyche forming events from your past.

It's not a cheap, easy ride. It can cost from $2K to $20K depending on who, what, where, and when. It isn't covered by Medicare or American health insurance companies. It's a ticket to adventure, external and internal, with the possibility of powerful catharsis and personal epiphany. But don't jump into it. There are risks. And rewards. Be sure to do your homework, dot your "i's" and cross your T's. Take all the required medical tests and make sure you're healthy enough for the ordeal. Get healthy, exercise, eat properly, and be well rested, well read, informed, and hip.

It's worth the trip.

For all of you who wish to indulge in Ms. Walters' excellent article, click here.