Babongo, Massango, & Mitsogo BWITI communities in the CONGO BASIN
Deep in the jungle of central Africa, where the oldest genetic pools are located, our ancestral roots, grows a plant called Tabernanthe iboga: a door to the world of the dead and the ancestors.
"I swam through rivers of various colors and walked a very long way to the country of the ancestors. There I saw many of the people I had met in life. My parents and grandparents were bigger and gave strong advice that I still follow. They took me to the gods. "
Iboga has a history of traditional use in healing rituals and initiation rites for thousands of years. Its use originates with the Pygmies, the people of the forest, who later share their knowledge with other neighboring Mitsogo tribes until it spreads through Gabon reaching even Cameroon, Congo, and Zaire.
Like many visionary and initiatory plants, iboga is a key that provides access to other ways of being and states of consciousness. Intense psychological conditioning that includes rites of confession, contacting and honoring the ancestors and building a deep psychic inventory are part of the encounter of initiates with this sacred root. For the followers of the Bwiti religion, Iboga is an indispensable means through which humans can truly communicate with the deepest abysses of their own souls and with the spirits of their ancestors.
-Iboga: The Visionary Root of African Shamanism, Vincent Ravalec
Micodi is a Babongo Pygmy, Massango, and Mitsogo village that has lovingly adopted us and initiated us into this secret cult called Bwiti.
Our initiating mothers of Micodi explain that Bwiti is secret because it refers to a dimension that is only accessible through the initiation and consumption of very large quantities of sacred wood (Iboga). Bwiti cannot be described with words ... Bwiti is "the one who has traveled to the world of the dead and the ancestors."
This sacred wood is not taken lightly, it usually involves long and complex ceremonies of initiation and transition. It is taken in rites of passage, for example, to travel from childhood to adulthood or in cases of very serious illness. During the initiation, the door to the world of death opens allowing the ancestors to come to heal us, empower us and guide us for what is coming in our next stage.
AWE has one of its sites in the Micodí village. We are supporting some of the main challenges that the mystical traditions of these tenacious people face.