Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What you can learn from a 2 year old

Today is the eve of my daughter Mikayla's third birthday. Witnessing her life evolve in front of my present eyes has been the most amazing gift imaginable. She blows my mind everyday as I watch her absorb life, and in that process I am relearning the fundamentals beside her. Its so easy to loose touch with these essentials of life, I know I did for waaaay to long. Everyday she reminds me to: be open to anything, not care what other people think, question everything, never give up, be yourself and most importantly...to love life! Thank you Mikayla Lee Cook, words can not describe my love for you. So excited about what this next year will bring and what you will teach us as a 3 year old!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

My First Iboga Experience: An Interview with Dr. Joseph Barsuglia



“I set the intention of healing the nerves in my body and
removing this persistent brain fog that I self-medicate with coffee and
things like that. And I also just wanted to have a spiritual experience.
I got all that and then some.” – Dr. Joseph Barsuglia

Approaching any psychedelic experience — especially a week-long shamanic journey with one of the most potent psychedelics known to man  is
a nervous and exciting undertaking, but Dr. Joseph Barsuglia was more
than ready. Joseph, a counselor and psychologist who studies the
effectiveness of ibogaine-assisted addiction treatment at Crossroads Ibogaine Treatment Center
in Mexico, was highly impressed with the results he was seeing in the
people who underwent ibogaine treatment, and he was ready to try the
medicine for himself. What he found was more than even he ever expected.


Embarking on a Shamanic Journey

Joseph’s introductory journey with iboga took place at Iboga Wellness Center, a shamanic iboga retreat in Costa Rica that we’ve featured on this site before.
We caught up with Joseph just a week after he arrived back in the US.
When asked about why he chose Iboga Wellness Center, Joseph said “I
wanted to experience Iboga Wellness because they have a longstanding
tradition with the Bwiti. I wanted to learn more about that culture and
that form of sharing the medicine connected with the lineage in Africa. I
also just wanted to go to Costa Rica, too!”

The shamanic foundation of Iboga Wellness Center’s program lends
itself to an interactive group experience facilitated by ceremonial
leaders who are trained in the Bwiti tradition.
Coming from a more clinical and academic background, Joseph found the
interactivity to be a wonderful segue into a deeply personal journey.
“The evening you take the medicine, you start around the fire. We talked
about life and got real. In my training as a psychologist, I have all
these complicated ways of understanding the unconscious and development,
and it was refreshing to just get real with your soul, asking what is
preventing you from being happy, being yourself, being authentic. We
spoke about that around the fire and then took the root bark.”

Iboga is a very powerful psychedelic, and Joseph described how the
onset of the iboga felt: “The best way I could describe the physical
experience is being really drunk, with the ground moving and not being
able to keep your equilibrium. You might see some faint visual tracers
but there’s not much of a shift in your visual field. Once I laid down
and put eye covers on, it was like boom, sci-fi, like being transported
into this…dream in fast forward, an onslaught of images.”

It’s hard to use words to paint an accurate picture of a transcendent
experience, but Joseph told us about one of the most striking visions
he had during his journey. “I saw a pulled-back view of the universe,
and a tree of life going up to the top of the cosmos. I saw iboga,
spirits, guides, and Christ at the top. I saw all the plant medicines in
the tree, and I saw iboga as the godfather or grandfather of them. The
earth was slowly ascending up towards the top of the tree as if by
magnetism, and the medicines were coming down.”


Healing the Mind and Soul

Before he was doing postdoctoral work in psychology, Joseph was a
Christian pastor, and he still considers himself to be a progressive
Christian today. “Being a Christian, I’d say the majority of Christians I
know are very against psychedelics and very suspicious of them. To see
Christ dancing with all of this, as a master orchestrator of what I was
experiencing, it brought together two parts of myself that seemed hard
to reconcile. And it gave me a sense of my own mission, to share the
healing that psychedelics can offer with that demographic.”

Beyond the amazing spiritual aspects of Joseph’s iboga experience, he
also felt immense healing within his body and his brain. “I was blown
away by the brain healing effects of the medicine and how much I could
literally feel it while it was happening. I’ve had longstanding lyme
disease for 15 years or so, and it has been really hard on my body and
nervous system. It felt like someone was going in and doing surgery on
the frontal lobes of my brain. I don’t know what exactly the iboga was
doing, but there was a sensation of a kind of sweeping across the tissue
of my brain. I don’t know if it was a placebo effect or something
actually happening, but after going through it twice and sitting with it
long enough, it was undeniably massively brain healing on a
neurological level. Afterwards, I felt so euphoric and calm and
centered. Not like a substance-induced euphoria but a lasting bliss or

The neurological healing properties of iboga are not just wishful
thinking or subjective hallucinations either. As Joseph told us, “This
medicine is one of the few things in nature that reliably regrows brain
cells and stimulates new brain cell growth. It creates new neurons,
particularly in the dopamine centers of the brain that are heavily
implicated with addiction, depression, and ADHD. I noticed that after my
experience I didn’t need coffee, I was able to focus longer, and I’ve
had had much more mental clarity.”

Iboga and its purified form ibogaine are mostly known for their
addiction-interrupting properties, but it is great to hear from a
trained psychologist like Joseph about the immense mental and even
spiritual healing properties that this medicine offers as well. We’re
grateful to Joseph for sharing his experiences with us, and it sounds
like we have only just begun to scratch the surface of what iboga has to

Link to article here:

My First Iboga Experience: An Interview with Dr. Joseph Barsuglia


Love what this kid is doing with his music! Fellow homie from MA... would love to meet this dude one day and take him on a journey with iboga...

Take back your life, your mind, and your soul!!!
They tell us that we're free but its all mind control!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A psychologist's experience with Iboga @ Iboga Wellness Center

Awesome testimonial from Psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Barsuglia. I had a great time getting to know him and working with him this past session at our center. He's a great guy and look forward to working with him in the future.

Here is what he wrote on his facebook page: Just got back from iboga wellness in Costa Rica and it was the best experience of my life! This medicine is the most potent and healing substance on the planet. I was blown away by the healing and growth I experienced. I felt like I had a massive brain reset and upgrade. This medicine is used to get people off of heroin and opiates, but has amazing medical properties. It regrows brain and nerve cells, kills candida, detoxifies the brain and body, heals trauma, depression and anxiety. I believe it is far more therapeutic and longer lasting than any psychotropic medications. It helps treat chronic pain, Parkinson's disease, chronic fatigue and multiple sclerosis. If you are interested in discussing I would love to share more with you about my experience. I work at a clinic in Mexico and I'm definitely going back! Here is my short video testimonial.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

PTSD Treatment with Iboga

Now that I live in Costa Rica, one of the ways I keep in touch with my friends back home is on Facebook. A few months ago I could tell my good friend Eric was really struggling again with his PTSD from his FB posts. So I reached out to him and let him know that iboga can really help with PTSD. At first I could tell he was a little skeptical and thought that iboga was only for drug addicts trying to kick their addictions. I had a good talk with him on the phone one night and he started to realize iboga could really help him.  He had tried everything the VA had to offer and nothing had worked. He was sick and tired of living that way and was willing to try anything. I am so happy for him that he decided to give iboga a shot and face his PTSD head on.

Here is his testimonial after his treatment I gave him with Iboga. Eric struggled with PTSD for 12 years since his tour in Iraq. So pumped for him to have finally found some peace. It was amazing for me to be a part of and witness his transformation.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Cool interview my Pops did with PsychedelicTimes.com

Shamanic Iboga Treatment in Costa Rica: Interview with Gary Cook of Iboga Wellness Center

Gary Cook is the founder of Iboga Wellness Center (IWC) in Costa Rica where he, his son, and their staff offer iboga treatment. IWC is unique among ibogaine healing centers — whereas many centers today use synthetic ibogaine, Cook and his son use the traditional iboga root bark and are initiates of the Bwiti shamanic tradition where iboga use first emerged. Gary spoke to us from his home in Costa Rica.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Gary. How were you first introduced to iboga?
I came to Costa Rica about three years ago with my son, who was a heroin addict. We went to a clinic here in Costa Rica that was run by the shaman that we eventually trained with. He worked on my son for about nine days: I was there to witness the most incredible transformation I could imagine. Beforehand, [my son] was a mess, battling a 17-year-long drug problem. I’m so happy to say that he is doing wonderful nowhe has a baby girl and he works here at the center. We have a great relationship again, which was something we didn’t have for a long, long time. It just couldn’t have gone better, it was amazing.
Myself, I was a spiritual seeker, and I came to support him for his treatment and also to have my own experience. I had worked with some other plant medicines before and had been interested in shamanism for a long time. Iboga was what I was looking for on a spiritual level [to] open the way for me to understand my life and what it is to be a human. It just answered so many questions.
Both my son and I were blown away by the experience, so we decided to train and learn how to facilitate it ourselves. We worked at another center for a while and got some experience there before opening our own center. We were happy to find out that the medicine works just as well for our clients as it did for us. The medicine itself is just so remarkable.

You and your staff are all initiated in the Bwiti tradition and have traveled to Gabon to learn directly from them. What was the initiation and your time with the Bwiti like?
It was great, although it was very difficult. There was a group of about twelve of us, and we started out from Libreville in Gabon. Then we took an 18-hour SUV ride over dirt roads to reach the village in the jungle. We lived there for a few weeks and went through initiation. At our center, when we want clients to have a meaningful experience, we offer them about 5 grams of root bark. In Gabon, we did over 100 grams of root bark in the span of 5-6 hours as part of the initiation ceremony. We had to dance one by one in front of the tribe, and do some other things that were physically demanding, especially while under iboga’s strong effects. I’m really, really happy that I did it. It’s one of the treasures in my life and I’m so glad I got to live with them for a few weeks. We also visited a pygmy village that was more primitive. We were only there for one night, but they did the ceremony for us all night. I came away with an understanding and an intuition about what life is, how precious it is, and what we are doing here as humans.

How do you feel about ibogaine treatment centers that offer ibogaine therapy without the Bwiti ceremonial context? Do you see pros and cons between the two methods of sharing this medicine with people?
I believe very strongly in the way we do things here. It feels very right to me, but I do see the value in ibogaine being used elsewhere. For people with opiate problems, an ibogaine clinic would be  good for them. It has a tremendous effect on reducing opiate withdrawal symptoms, and that’s often what addicts are often most afraid of. Clinics that offer ibogaine are definitely doing a good thing. Addiction is a real problem across the world, and putting people on substitute addictions like suboxone and methadone don’t seem like good solutions to me. One of the astonishing things I’ve learned is that suboxone, which is the standard treatment for addiction in the United States, is actually more addictive than heroin and about twice as hard to get off. Both iboga and ibogaine clinics can get people off opiates without putting them on something worse.

How do the Bwiti traditionally see the potential dangers of iboga, and what sort of medical pre-screening do you do for your clients?
Where we were in Africa, there are no hospitals, the shamans are the doctors. Those are the people you see when you’re sick, and those are also the people that give you iboga. It’s just part of being healthy over there. They are very strong, healthy people and they don’t consider it to be dangerous. The jungle there is a crazy place. You’ve got to be strong because it’s unbelievable.
At Iboga Wellness Center, we do medical screenings, and a doctor [attends] each of our group’s eight-day sessions. At the beginning, we take an EKG to look at the heart, and we ask clients to send us a liver panel/blood test before they arrive so that we can make sure no complications will appear. There are also specific things we screen for, particularly certain pharmaceuticals where there can be a lot of interaction. In my experience if there is anything artificial or synthetic in your body, iboga just flushes it out. In the case of benzodiazepines like Xanax, if those are taken away from people overnight it causes some strange effects, including psychosis. In general we don’t like to take people who are on those drugs; we have them get them off of those first before we expose them to iboga.

You mentioned in a past conversation that you do not consider iboga to be a psychedelic, but rather a visionary tool. Can you describe how you see the distinction between psychedelics and the iboga experience?
My experience with psychedelics goes back about forty years when I was in college and experimented with LSD and mescaline. I would observe distortions in reality under those substances. Iboga is not as cosmic or “groovy” or visually stimulating as those, but what you do see is extremely pertinent to your life. Like a movie reel, you can see the truth about what happened in your life, and what to do about it. It’s about yourself and not really about the cosmos. It’s drawn me to be a lot more truthful, personally. I see the value of that now.
Thanks for talking with us, Gary!

Link to article - PsychedelicTimes.com
Shamanic Iboga Treatment in Costa Rica: Interview with Gary Cook of Iboga Wellness Center

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Men's Rite of Passage - Gabon, Africa - July 2015

Here are some pictures from my "Rite of Passage" this past July in Gabon, Africa. I am not going to say a whole lot about my experience. It was so much deeper than words for me to describe. What I will say is that this traditional ceremony is designed to BREAK YOU: mentally, psychically, emotionally, and everywhere between. To break you from your childhood baggage and show you that fear is not real... to prepare you for manhood and life in general. Our rite of passage lasted 5 days. There is no Iboga consumed during the rite of passage. The "full Initiation" into the Bwiti Tradition is a different story, LOTS of Iboga is taken then. I will make another post with pictures from my "Full Initiation"

Was this tough? O hell yeah it was...but the gains for me personally are off the charts.

"Everything you want is on the other side of Fear"

The line up. 18 of us total. 8 white boys & 10 Africans.

Do I look like I am having fun?

My favorite picture, ever. Some real life shit right here.

We slept 4 nights here... no pillows, no nothing

Through the jungle we go...
and go...
We made it through.... :)

"Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Danger is very real, but fear is a choice."

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mark's Testimonial - Iboga Wellness Center

Mark just spent the last month with us, it was awesome for the whole team @ Iboga Wellness Center to be a part of his transformation. Nice work Mark! You da man! We gonna miss you bro. ‪#‎iboga‬ ‪#‎bwiti‬

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Top of the world!

Tim & I at the top of the waterfall today. Tim came down to Iboga Wellness Center back in January to detox from opiates, it was his last chance at life. He's here now 9 months later a new man, happy enjoying life. So great to see him and his wife doing so well. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015


Check out my very close friends - MERCY WHITE's new music video for "PRIDE". So Siiiick! Video is legit!! Song is badass, about self medicating and addiction. Bruce A. Cutthroat did an amazing job capturing that feeling you get when addicted, when you feel like there is no way out! Shit gives me shivers up my spine! Love that my boy Sean Parsons is rockin a WFO4LIFE shirt!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


@Regrann from @jeff_iboga - Just kinda feelin like a hero today... Haha!!! thanks for the shirt @newlyfeclothing love it! #livingthedream #freedom #sober #soberlife #iboga #ibogaine #bwiti #ibogacansetyoufree #detoxwithiboga #ibogawellness #ibogawellnesscenter #puravida

Friday, August 14, 2015

New Location for Iboga Wellness Center - Video Tour

Check out our new location for Iboga Wellness Center! I had a ton of fun making this video tour. Thanks to my homie Scott for bringing over his drone and shooting some sick areal shots! Super pumped to get back to work, been crazy busy getting everything together. Its all finally falling into place nicely :) - Pura Vida

Monday, June 29, 2015

Going into the Jungle! For my Rite of Passage & Full Initiation into the Bwiti Tradition in Gabon, Africa!

Today I am leaving my house in Costa Rica to go to Gabon, Africa. I will be taking part in the Rite of Passage & Full Initiation into the Bwiti Tradition. This is something that I have been preparing myself for over 3 years now. THE TIME IS NOW!!! It amazes me to think back to February of 2012 when I first detoxed of heroin with Iboga. For me to say that I have come along way since then is an understatement. The amount of growth I've experienced as a human being since that first time with the medicine is mind boggling to me. I awoke from my detox a 17 year old kid in a 33 year old mans body. Over the last 3 & 1/2 years I have taught myself how to live again, yes I had my struggles along the way, but that's what life is, I just needed to learn how to handle it. I have learned these lessons through first hand life experience which is of the most powerful kind. The spirit of Iboga has been there with me the entire time, but most importantly my soul. I am so grateful to have this opportunity right now, there is no doubt that this will be an experience of a lifetime. I am so excited to see my Shaman Moughenda do his thing in his true element. The impact that man has had on my life is profound. He has taught me so much, and most importantly that everything I need is right inside of me. I can truly say that I am living a pure happy life now. Something I honestly believed for 20 years was impossible for me to achieve. Putting work into myself and my life has been the greatest investment ever. The returns are amazing! So as I head into this amazing journey, fully aware that some of the trip isn't going to be easy...especially the Rite of Passage, I know that from all of my past hard lessons, I always come out bigger, better, and stronger then before! I am ready to face all my fears on this trip and travel further inside myself than ever before. You can always go deeper, that's the path I am on, the path of life!

I am bringing a few cameras so I plan on getting as much footage/pics as possible. So my next post will be just that, see you then! -Pura Vida

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A letter from Albert Einstein to his daughter: on The Universal Force of Love

In the late 1980s, Lieserl, the daughter of the famous genius, donated 1,400 letters, written by Einstein, to the Hebrew University, with orders not to publish their contents until two decades after his death. This is one of them, for Lieserl Einstein.

"When I proposed the theory of relativity, very few understood me, and what I will reveal now to transmit to mankind will also collide with the misunderstanding and prejudice in the world.
I ask you to guard the letters as long as necessary, years, decades, until society is advanced enough to accept what I will explain below.
There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us. This universal force is LOVE.
When scientists looked for a unified theory of the universe they forgot the most powerful unseen force. Love is Light, that enlightens those who give and receive it. Love is gravity, because it makes some people feel attracted to others. Love is power, because it multiplies the best we have, and allows humanity not to be extinguished in their blind selfishness. Love unfolds and reveals. For love we live and die. Love is God and God is Love.
This force explains everything and gives meaning to life. This is the variable that we have ignored for too long, maybe because we are afraid of love because it is the only energy in the universe that man has not learned to drive at will.
To give visibility to love, I made a simple substitution in my most famous equation. If instead of E = mc2, we accept that the energy to heal the world can be obtained through love multiplied by the speed of light squared, we arrive at the conclusion that love is the most powerful force there is, because it has no limits.
After the failure of humanity in the use and control of the other forces of the universe that have turned against us, it is urgent that we nourish ourselves with another kind of energy…
If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer.
Perhaps we are not yet ready to make a bomb of love, a device powerful enough to entirely destroy the hate, selfishness and greed that devastate the planet.
However, each individual carries within them a small but powerful generator of love whose energy is waiting to be released.
When we learn to give and receive this universal energy, dear Lieserl, we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life.
I deeply regret not having been able to express what is in my heart, which has quietly beaten for you all my life. Maybe it's too late to apologize, but as time is relative, I need to tell you that I love you and thanks to you I have reached the ultimate answer! ".
Your father,
Albert Einstein

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Thank You For Today

Here is a pic of some new ink I got last week.

The one and ONLY Bwiti prayer "thank you for today". In the Bwiti tradition, we don't pray for things to happen, we make things happen. Our only prayer is to thank the creator for today.

Something for you to try:
Every morning when you first wake up, simply thank the creator for today. Think about all the things in your life that you are grateful for. Do this for a few days in a row and watch what happens!

-Pura Vida

Thursday, April 2, 2015

My Boy Derby's 8 Month Update after Iboga Drug Detox Program @ Iboga Wellness Center

I first met Tim Derby around 5 or 6 years ago. I still remember the day very clearly, Tim came to my shop to meet a mutual drug dealer, we were both getting our daily supply. While at my shop Tim was checking out my Harley's. We got to talking about bikes and it turned out he was a Harley mechanic. He loved bikes just as much as me, we have been brothers ever since. We had a lot in common, both shared the love for motorcycles, and both had drug/opiate addictions. This made for an instant friendship and brotherly bond that we still share today. We still both love motorcycles, but have both dropped our other initial connection. We both live free now, a freedom that we had searched for our entire lives. Iboga set us free, not only from our long term drug addictions, but from our minds. We are free now from the illusions our fucked up minds created. Derby was just here in Costa Rica at my house this past week visiting, we had so much fun, and all while completely sober... something both of us used to truly believed was impossible. Its amazing to see how well he is doing and how at peace he now lives. I love to see everyone I have worked with doing well, but its especially gratifying for me when its one of my boys from back home. Nice work brotha! - Pura Vida