What is Bwiti?

Bwiti is a  sacred tradition practiced in Gabon and surrounding countries Cameroon and Congo in Africa, to the Western world it is a traditional African religion. Iboga plays a central role in Bwiti. During the ceremonies and rituals of the Bwiti tradition, smaller or larger amounts of the root bark of the Iboga plant that grows in the area are used.

Those who feel an invitation can undergo the so-called Initiation, which is a roughly two-week transition ritual, when a child becomes an adult and a legitimate member of the village, similarly, in the case of foreigners, a visitor becomes a legitimate member of the community. The whole process consists of prayers and rituals, and is accompanied by music and dance and several doses of iboga and lasts usually between one and two weeks.

I visited  first Gabon in June 2022 with the main intention of undergoing this initiation. I went without a pre-arranged contact because I couldn’t find a suitable place at a distance. Through various synchronicities, I was “drawn” to a village in Gabon where the Bwiti Dissoumba-Fang branch is practiced, and there I successfully underwent the process.

How was the Bwiti Initiation in Gabon?

First there was a preparatory week, the main purpose of which was to purify the body and mind. We had an honest diet including enemas, several smaller preparatory doses of iboga, we were taught dances, songs and rituals, they asked about our intentions… Well, then came the “D-Day”, or “I-Day” (Initiation).

They anointed us with paint, the girls put a wreath in their hair, the men some kind of grass around their heads and arms. They took us to a prepared place, and with dance and song they began to load us with iboga.

We grabbed a lot of iboga there, I often get asked how much, well, I don’t know exactly because they don’t weigh it there, but it was eight honest bunches, I estimate that it was between 40 and 80 grams. They fed us straight into our mouths, and the iboga was not dried, but fresh, still moist, so it’s a little stronger, and to make sure we didn’t get too little iboga, we were given iboga tea to drink. And the iboga was made from eighty-year-old logs as most strong as possible.

Normally it takes about two hours for iboga to start working, there it only took a few minutes. The strong state of expanded consciousness then lasted for more or less two days and faded away for several more nights…  At the end of the whole process, everyone was given a new Bwiti name in the Fang language, called “kombo”. They gave me the name Nzambe, which means “creative energy of the artist, plus element of fire”. Something like “Creator detonator” 🙂

I still had three weeks of time after my initiation, so I also got to know a bit of everyday African life, I visited several Bwiti dancing ceremonies with a small dose of iboga, they are held there in many places every weekend. A unique and very magical events…

I went to Africa with the intention of asking iboga for a vision and information on how to share it in the Czech Republic. Gradually, step by step, the unique Kumacenge project is created.

Bwiti Initiation in Gabon

My other journeys to Africa

I then returned to Gabon once more in September to continue further iboga teachings.

I made my third trip to Africa in June 2023, but this time I went to neighboring Cameroon and I did well, there I underwent a new initiation in a Bwiti village, where the Bwiti Dissoumba-Benganga branch is practiced, i.e. work with archangelic energy. The people in this family are enthusiastic about the connection with the Czech Republic and have provided long-term support for our gradually emerging Czech Bwiti Temple Kumacenge.

Continue the story here: What is… Kumacenge

Bwiti Initiation in Cameroon