My Bwitiful Journey.

ibogaResearching Iboga online, the predominant thought in my head was “why do I always get called to the hardcore stuff?”

As soon as I heard about this sacred medicine, the root of the Tabernathe Iboga plant from Central Africa way back in 2010, I knew we would journey together. I had issues I needed to get to the “root” of and my instinct told me that Iboga held powerful healing for me. Then I spent the next four years avoiding it.

What I discovered about Iboga freaked me out – it’s one of the strongest visionary substances on the planet and having little experience in this field I was reluctant to jump in at the deep end. Also dissuading me was its reputation for being dark, difficult and the all-round bad ass of the ethnobotanical world.

Then the same friend who told me about it years ago emailed me that his Iboga practitioner or N’ganga was coming to Wales in Spring 2014. For whatever reason I wasn’t ready in April but when he returned in September I seriously had to think about it. Some car crash behavioural patterns I thought I’d put to bed years ago surprisingly resurfaced in the summer. I was also about to embark on a major life change so it seemed like the perfect time to face my fears. Not that I didn’t try many things to self-sabotage it though, including trying to book myself on another retreat the other end of the country on the same weekend. When awareness dawned on my avoidance tactics, my behaviour seemed hilarious.

Three things fortified my resolve – one the patience and understanding of the retreat facilitator with whom I shared an uncanny number of similarities too – including some medical history. She re-assured me this would be very safely held in the Bwiti traditions and done with the utmost safety and respect in wonderful rural surroundings with an experienced team.

She also sent me an interview with Daniel Raphael, a shamanic apprentice working with Iboga who explained the progress and insights he’d had with this plant medicine. He also said that it triggers the same brainwaves that are active during deep REM sleep so it’s more like lucid dreaming than tripping. I don’t know why but that made a huge difference. That night, I dreamt the Spirit of Iboga came to me and told me to stop focusing on all the negative aspects.

Thirdly, a quote popped up on my Facebook feed that just about slapped me round the face “that which you fear the most can hold the deepest healing”. I began packing.

I arrived on Friday night to the warmest welcome, to share the group meal and settle in. There were about 20 of us journeyers, 11 helpers and Pierre the N’ganga. Ashort meeting followed to explain the process of the following day.

Saturday itself was spent cleansing ourselves with Kambo, frog medicine from the Amazon, which helps clean the body to enable the Iboga to work deeper or in the sauna. I spent a long time meditating on my journey’s intentions in the Stone Circle. There were four main issues I needed help with, sure there was other stuff too, but for my first time I felt this was enough work to do.

About 4.30pm we started preparing the ceremony space, the mattresses where we were to lie, then ourselves with ritual bathing, dressing, anointing, singing and declaring ourselves and our intentions to the ancestors and the altar. I loved all the ritual, it added to my sense of security and propriety as did shared wisdom from previous journeyers including the simple advice “Iboga is your friend”.

Around 11pm we had our first two doses of medicine – this was the dried and ground up root bark itself, not easy to take, a bit like eating gravel but swallowed quickly with a prayer of gratitude and a swig of water. Then we did some ceremonial dancing to get the Iboga working in our systems. During the second dance I perceived the arrival of the pretty lights in my vision and not long after had to sit down and take some deep breaths. Feeling a moment’s anxiety at an impending loss of control I called on my Spirit guides to draw close, focused on my intentions and slowly surrendered as the lights and trails increased and I lay down on my bed of dreams.

After the third dose, the geometric patterns increased and it became very disorientating to walk to the toilet. My brain felt like it was in a giant glitter ball spinning not only round and round but up and down and diagonally as well as the lights danced in front of me. I moved like a drunk on board a ship in a heavy storm, luckily we were followed every time by someone in case we needed help. Although dizzying, it wasn’t quite as debilitating as I’d expected Iboga to be.

The Bwiti music played by the musicians was unceasingly exquisite and had a crucial part in guiding us in our journeys and encouraging those vital brain wave patterns. My hearing became extremely amplified and at one time could hear the music resonating in many dimensions through the room, the thick stone walls of the converted barn and on out into the night. This aural sensitivity was also disconcerting as I kept being pulled from my journey by people whispering right by my head, only to open my eyes and discover they were at the far end of the room.

The visions I saw weren’t particularly revealing – lights, trails, patterns, flying high over ice-caps following the curve of the planet, and a random black Elvis cartoon character who I was told was just for the fun of it. But I went deeply into dialogue with Iboga, asking it what was at the root of my chronic low back pain that I’d had since a child following an injury. Despite years of different therapies that had improved it a great deal, there was still something there plaguing me. The answer I received was “you are”.

“No, I don’t think you understood me, Iboga, what’s at the root of my pain?”

Again, the same answer. “You are, the way you take on too much and don’t accept your limitations, the way you don’t prioritise the physiotherapy that you know will help you, the way you push yourself so hard and have to take strong painkillers to cope. Why would you do that to yourself?”

Errr….OK….I was expecting something more esoteric like I was stabbed in the back in a previous life or it was related to unexpressed emotional stress following early childhood trauma, not this starkly simple truth. It was a little hard to accept so I moved swiftly on to another issue. During the course of the night Iboga showed me more truths about myself which were uncomfortable but it presented them with love and gentleness. It revealed outdated modes of behaviour that weren’t serving my soul,  asked me if I was done with them and on agreement from myself, deleted them.

I thought I’d gone into the journey with four separate intentions but it revealed their connectedness and suggested to me better ways in which to conduct myself, how I waste my time and energy on people and projects that don’t serve me, how to improve my romantic relationships and heal the relationship with my Father. During the course of the night it became my ceremony for releasing “childish things” and stepping up to be the Sovereign of my own reality, an initiation into the rest of my life if you like.

The Guardian published an article about Iboga in 2003 describing it as “Ten years of Therapy in One Night” That description was pretty bang on for me as it gave me everything I’d searched for and more. I spent most of the journey in a state of deep peaceful bliss with the hugest grin on my face, but experiences in the group varied. Some experienced very little at all, a couple of guys had a pretty dark time, others also experienced a powerful healing journey.

The vision trails lasted for a surprisingly long time and I was only capable of driving home about 12 hours after, and they stayed with me for about 5 days appearing in the mornings and at night. I quite missed them when they finally went. My sleep pattern took about the same time to settle down, all that “power dreaming” negated the need for much dozing.

But the feeling of peace remained for a long time. I just wish I’d taken a few days off after the weekend as there was so much to process and I longed to stay immersed in that pure state of bliss as long as possible. Whilst journaling the next day the tears rolled down my face from a profound sense of relief and harmony.

Like all these sacred medicines, taking them is just the start of the work, and I don’t believe they should be a substitute for a regular spiritual practise or self-enquiry which helps maintain and build on the valuable insights bestowed.

I will definitely be back to journey with Iboga again. I loved the Bwiti rituals, they helped me feel safe and introduced a great sense of honour and integrity. I can’t praise the team enough, they worked tirelessly to ensure we got the most out of the weekend, it was all such an immensely rich experience.

And my back pain? Well it hasn’t lessened but somehow has got easier to bear as I know I’m the one ultimately responsible for it. I’m not looking to blame some outside influence anymore. Also, not one of my stated intentions but as an occasional smoker, I still enjoyed the odd cigarette. Not any more, Iboga deleted those desires completely. The last lesson it left me with is that I need to forgive myself, be more gentle with myself. For me, Iboga is the soul of consciousness and you don’t lay with it and not come back a changed person. Bassi Bassi!

For info on Iboga ceremonies with Pierre in the UK please email bwitifuljourney@gmail.com

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2003/sep/20/booksonhealth.lifeandhealth

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Registered Kambo Practitioner.

kambofrogAfter a thoroughly intense training course with master Kambo practitioner Karen Uma Kanya Darke in the stunning Portuguese countryside, I’m delighted to report that I passed and am now registered with the International Association of Kambo Practitioners – http://www.iakp.org The training covered many important aspects of giving Kambo  – contra-indications, record keeping, maintaining safe boundaries, holding ceremony traditional applications, chakra Kambo, auricular Kambo and meridian Kambo and treatment protocols as well as the IAKP code of practise.

This is an amazing medicine which has a powerful detox effect as well as giving incredible energy and immune system boosts. Kambo is one of the strongest natural anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antimicrobial and analgesic substances found on the planet. Due to the peptides it contains it’s  very effective at treating pain as well as treating depression, malaria, fertility problems, candida albicans and allergies. It’s properties are also being heavily researched for the treatment of cancer, HIV/AIDs, Parkinsons Disease, Diabetes, Chronic Fatigue and Alzheimers disease. However, it is a toxin and it is important to be treated by a trained practitioner.

“Accidents can happen with untrained givers and there is now an upsurge in those who having taken Kambo themselves or watched someone else do it and now believe that it is an easy step to start giving it to others and call themselves Kambo Practitioners. This is incorrect and dangerous and if this irresponsible behaviour led to a fatality could compromise the integrity and legal position of this medicine. The application of Kambo requires skill, knowledge, experience, integrity, responsibility, mindfulness and a deep understanding of this powerful medicine. A trained practitioner will know where, how much and how to treat you, if at all and they will have been trained in techniques that enable them to assess this. If there is a problem, they will know how to deal with this but they are also trained to minimize the possibility of problems and never go beyond the limits of their ability.” http://www.iakp.org/training/4584763571

kambosticks

Sticks of Kambo

If you wish to try Kambo, please ask the practitioner about their training, where it was given, how long they’ve been practising and using the medicine themselves. Please ensure your safety. The training course also involved several Kambo treatments for the trainees, including the 3 on 3 initiation which involves taking Kambo 3 times in 3 hours. This was an intense process but vital to understand and experience if this treatment is requested by a client. The 3 on 3 left me feeling totally amazing afterwards with glowing skin, a face-lift effect around my eyes and forehead, and with tons of energy. This treatment is used in some tribes as an initiation for boys into manhood, so I guess that makes me a real man now! Since returning to the UK, I have jointly held kambo circles in West Wales with fellow practitioner Rakendra – www.bodyflow.uk.com. I will be holding circles in Bristol and South West England and can also be booked for private treatments. Please contact me for more information. Viva Kambo!

Kambo Warrior!

Kambo Warrior!

 

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Sunrise Festival 29th May – 1st June 2014

celticgod


Just landing after a super sparkly sunny funny time at the Sunrise festival in Chepstow. What an awesome gathering of chilled out, open hearted, beat loving funksters. I had an amazing time, despite the rain showers on Thursday night that had me wishing I was at home in my nice warm toasty bed. But no, Joe Driscoll and Seckou Kouyate were playing at Chai Wallah’s and I wasn’t going to miss that for all the rain in Wales. They played an awesome set – so happy I finally got to hear them and to see Seckou’s unbelievably fast finger work. I see why they call him the Jimi Hendrix of kora. P1000224

 

Mouse Outfit, a nine piece band with MC Dr Syntax rocked the tent on Saturday night with  an exciting and eclectic blend of hip-hop, jazz and funk – tight in delivery and  devilishly good. Then it was over to the Cat’s Cradle stage for Eat Static for some old skool trance and then back to Chai Wallah’s to catch Bristol based band the Allergies.

Sunday’s smorgasbord of sonic delights included Bristol Afrobeat Project who play afrobeat flavoured with a heavy dose of soul and jazz. I interviewed Ben and Marie from the band afterwards and this will be played on Phil Vickery’s “In-tune” show on BCFm 93.2. A staple of the festival circuit, Sheelanagig got everyone dancing with their blend of Balkan beats. Top band of Cat’s Cradle on Sunday was Smiley and the Underclass, dub punk rockers from London – loved their energy and the sassy performance of their female vocalist. Born to perform!

Asbo Disco revved up the party vibes with a massive mash-up of house, jungle, hip-hop, funk and everything else in between. A brilliant roller coaster ride through sound and the perfect set to close the festival. P1000244

Also saw some amazing circus acts – Merlin as Wonder Woman – doing her costume change not in a mere phone box dear readers, but whilst twirling several hoola hoops around various limbs. I can’t even manage one so my respect is mighty.

Loved the new site too, although it did take time to grow on me. Just off the Chepstow racecourse, it was a more interesting site to discover with a hidden faerie grotto, craft workshops, talks and to see the Severn Bridge lit up at night as it stretched back to Babylon. sunnyfunnymates

I have to give a massive thank you to the Back Angels who visit festivals with their luxurious inversion tables. Designed to hold you comfortably whilst you hang up side down, they take all the pressure off your spine and joints and help re-align the vertebrae. Just the job after all that dancing, carrying back packs and sleeping in a tent. Hanging like a bat is blissful – so good to feel those deep stretches and the relief is immense. I’m sure that my sessions there helped me last as long as I did and would totally recommend trying them at a festie if you see their stall. They have their events listed on their website – backangels.com/Back_Angels. BackAngels

Huge thanks also go to Jos and her team in the GAMA field who help the disabled festie goers. The job you guys do is amazing and makes it possible for so many people who would otherwise be excluded attend these events.

So thanks to Sun Bird and all the crew involved in making this event safe, sparkly and successful. See you for more fun in a field sometime…. :-)

 

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The Bars – energy healing from Access Consciousness – now in Bristol.

As featured in issue 118 of Kindred Spirit magazine.

The Bars is an energy healing process which works on 32 points on the head helping to rapidly move energy on multiple layers, realities and dimensions. The Bars can also shift points of view and judgements that are no longer working for us and creating limitation in our lives.

Having the Bars run helped me a lot with chronic back pain and detoxing from medication. It’s also proved successful in treating stress, migraines, insomnia, anxiety eating disorders and menopausal symptoms.

The Bars is one of the healing processes from Access Consciousness who’ve been established in the U.S for over 20 years. I trained in the Bars, MTVSS & Cellular Memory techniques last year when in the States. If you’re interested in finding out more or scheduling an appointment, please contact me on 07817 557570 or email shivanifox@gmail.com.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=3BaBWRHnN-s#!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hRbzdlnWIQE#!

BarsImage

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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,300 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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KOSMIC KITCHEN KOMBUCHA – YUMMY NEW FLAVOURS

So after slowing down production in the Kosmic Kitchen over the summer season, I’m pleased to say that Kombucha is most definitely back on the menu again. I had to stop brewing and drinking kombucha as I was away so much this summer. A decision I don’t think my stomach was too happy about. I had a flare up of my gastro-intestinal problems which is the result of taking prescription medication long term. The acid indigestion, bloating, cramps and constipation returned for the first time since I started drinking this miracle brew. Happily these have now subsided on resumption of kombucha consumption. I’ve also been experimenting with some fabulous new flavours and am pleased to launch these goodies onto the market. I’ll be at the Canteen, Hamilton House, Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3QY on Tuesdays from 4pm – 7pm if you’d like to come by and some.

  • White tea & rose
  • White tea & elderflower
  • White tea, hibiscus & rosehip
  • Green tea & orange
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Kosmic Kitchen Kombucha – “The Elixir of Life”

kombucha2Looking forward to hanging out in the Canteen, Stokes Croft again tomorrow. There’s always such an interesting bunch of people coming through the doors and some fabulous projects to learn about. I love Bristol for it’s creative and left-field kinda vibe.

I’ll be there from about 4.30 – 6.45pm with some of my Kosmic Kitchen Kombucha if you’d like to come and buy some from me, it’s only £5 per bottle. Kombucha is an amazing pro-biotic health drink that alkalises the body. I’ve been drinking it for about two years and it’s really helped my digestion problems as well as made my nails much stronger and my hair grow quicker. Plus I no longer need so many different vitamin and mineral supplements, so it’s saving my £’s as well as my health.

Good digestion is vital for optimum health, it enables our bodies to absorb more nutrients from food and helps keep the gut bacteria balanced. Here are some of the other health benefits that have been attributed to drinking kombucha regularly:

Kombucha is a health drink that’s been brewed for centuries. It can help alkalise and detox the body and contains many probiotics and vitamins such as vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12 and C, folic acid, amino acids, glycuronic acid, L-lactic acid, carbonic acid, caprylic acid, citric acid.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Kombucha tea was referred to as the elixir of life as it balances the Middle Qi (spleen & stomach). By aiding the stomach to better digest food and by assisting the spleen to deliver more nutrition, the body heals itself. Kombucha helps break stagnation, reduces damp and phlegm and expels toxins from the body.

These are some of the other health benefits that have been attributed to drinking kombucha tea:

*Alkalize the body – balances internal pH (an alkaline body can help prevent cancer)
*Detoxify the liver – happy liver = happy mood
*Increase metabolism – rev your internal engine
*Improve digestion – keep your system moving
*Rebuild connective tissue – helps with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism
*Alleviate constipation
*Boost energy – helps with chronic fatigue
*Reduce blood pressure
*Relieve headaches & migraines
*Reduce kidney stones
*High in antioxidants – destroy free-radicals that cause cancer
*Improve eyesight
*Heal ezcema – can be applied topically to soften the skin
*Speed healing of ulcers – kills h.pylori on contact
*Help clear up candida & yeast infections
*Aid healthy cell regeneration
*Lower glucose levels – prevents spiking from eating

PLEASE NOTE THAT KOMBUCHA TEA IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PREGNANT WOMEN.

Please call Shivani on 07817 557570 to arrange purchase or email shivanifox@gmail.com

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