Monday, March 29, 2010
Went to watch a local Bwiti ceremony a while ago. Bwiti is a local religion that has been followed for hundreds of years by several different tribes throughout this region of Equatorial Africa. It is practiced by the Fang, which is the largest ethnic group here in Gabon. It is a very colorful ceremony with lots of fire, dancing and drums. During ceremonies, it is usual for participants to chew the root bark of the iboga, which acts as an hallucinogenic.
I don’t know anyone who has tried iboga, but people take it to produce visions and other hallucinations. They don’t recommend that you take it without 2 “guides”; one who goes on the trip with you and one who “stays behind” so he can help you get back. During initiation rites, young men supposedly take it and stay up for 3 days and nights.
It was a very interesting ceremony with a break in the middle for local dinner. I assume that some of the participants were using iboga, because it went on for hours and was still going when we left.