Root Medicine: Ibogaine, Relapse and Relationships

Published on:
January 20, 2023

Elizabeth Bast is a traditionally trained ceremonial iboga facilitator. She has authored Heart Medicine: A True Love Story and is the founder of SoulCentro iboga retreats. 

“I entered into the greatest joy of my life through one of the greatest tragedies of my life.” 

Bast’s introduction to ibogaine came through her partner’s relapse after being six years free from chemical substances. This was heart-breaking for both of them, being unsure of what to do or where to go next. Bast took a walk into her church of nature, and began to clear her mind and pray. 

“In order for us to know anything, we have to not know, first.” 

Surrounding herself with the empty that she feels is the necessary state to receive in, something spoke to her.

“Pray, wait, listen.” 

These three words came through and she continued to do just that.

Viewing her partner’s relationship with the “spirit of addiction,” she saw just how much it can possess a person. This reach for relief alters a person’s mind, their behaviors, their state of being. She saw how this strong energy of the spirit of addiction can reach out and affect those closest to the vessel as well. The energy of addiction being contagious, can lead to serious codependency in a caretaker-like relationship. Until they can accept that they cannot save anyone. 

“I love my life, I never want to disrespect myself again.” Bast’s husband recited these words after his ibogaine ceremony. Setting on a new path of recovery. This beautiful statement lends also to Bast’s journey with ibogaine to heal her own PTSD. They both worked on themselves which ultimately led to working on their relationship and unveiling how this powerful psychedelic, ibogaine, can heal in so many ways. 

“The medicine loves relationships.” Bast goes on to discuss how we are all connected to each other and to nature. She engages in how ibogaine sprouts compassion, which is integral to any relationship. The plant forces us to be vulnerable as our greatest strength. The beauty in this is learning how to be honest with yourself, so you can be honest with the medicine and in all other areas of your life. 

This beautiful sentiment on relationships, not just with each other but with ibogaine itself speaks to who Elizabeth Bast is. Her compassion and care for not just her husband but the people she hasn’t even met or heard of seems to come out in every point she makes. She regals that curiosity is intimacy, and this is the answer to being able to show up in the best possible way.

This same curiosity and compassion extends to heralding reciprocity in the plant medicine space. She emphasizes how indigenous people have spent eons with these medicines and gifts and the western world could deeply benefit by learning to be good students and guests to these practices. 

Bast urges those who are curious to build relationships with iboga communities to do so yet, to accept that some may not want to welcome outsiders. This trust has to be built over time with respect and curiosity. Through these relationships that strengthen our relationship with the planet, it opens the door to how we can heal this Earth that we live on. 

Listen here.

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