February 3RD, 2021

Episode #9


Iboga Initiations with Tricia Eastman

In this episode Laura Dawn speaks with Iboga facilitator Tricia Eastman about her journey getting initiated by the Bwiti tribe in Gabon, Africa.

This is a medicine that stays with you forever, and it’s going to keep working on you for the next year. There’s nothing like it. Sometimes I even say it’s almost like doing a hundred plant medicine ceremonies in one.
Tricia Eastman


About This Episode:

Tricia Eastman is an Iboga facilitator who has supported over 1600 people’s journey with this powerful plant medicine. Tricia shares how she found herself face-to-face with the Bwiti tribe in Gabon and how she was initiated into three different lineages and given permission to carry and serve this potent medicine.

In this mind-expanding episode, Tricia describes some of the bizarre practices of the Bwiti lineage from “pygme paste”, to genies, to mermaid deities. She describes what a “Nema” is, what “Mabundo” means, and the interesting use of an “Akume Torch.”

We talk about how Iboga is becoming endangered, how we can support organizations like “Blessings of the Forest” which are engaged in sustainable growing practices, reciprocity, and Tricia shares her thoughts on creative alchemy and integration.

Core Themes

Explored in this episode:
  • Iboga initiations
  • Bwiti tribe tradition
  • Sustainability
  • Reciprocity
  • Creative alchemy
  • integration

Links &

useful resources

Episode Transcript

Episode #9: Tricia Eastman Psychedelic Leadership Podcast.

Duration: 01:23:14

Laura Dawn :  Welcome Patricia. It’s so nice to see you. Thank you so much for taking the time to drop in with me today. 

Tricia Eastman: Such an honor to be here and to connect. 

Laura Dawn :  Yeah. I’m so looking forward to this conversation, the last time we dropped in, we spent an hour on the phone and I know that there’s going to be so much goodness shared here.

So I’d love to just dive right in. And I think a good place to start would be to ask you the backstory around how you found yourself in a foreign place, like Gabon. Coming face-to-face with the booty tribe and how that led you to being initiated into three lineages. 

Tricia Eastman:  Well, I will say that Iboga, which is from equatorial Africa in Gabon and is a serious type of initiation.

It’s very long, usually several weeks and involves deep cleansing rituals and purification rituals. And then there’s a long period, usually like one week is dedicated to ceremonies. And usually two or three nights working with Iboga, which is the sacrament of the Bwiti, which is considered the Mount Everest of entheogens.

It’s one of the most intense medicines. And also I believe one of the most profound and it took me a really long time to get to the point of going to Gabon to meet with the Bwiti because you’re not only risking malaria. You’re not only risking potential , complications with medical facilities and things like that. Not close by. You’re literally in the middle of the jungle.

 It’s one of the only countries in Africa that is still mostly jungle and where most of the people living which is, it’s a very small amount of people. It’s the size of Colorado, but there’s only 1.4 million people living in the entire country.

And you’re in the middle of the jungle. And if something were to happen to you it would be very hard to get, to get help. And so I took a long time and when I finally got to the point where it was time for me to do my initiations I. I really tuned into spirit and I really asked, and I looked for the signs and yeah,  I won’t say that it was something I wanted to do.

I feel like there’s a lot of initiations I’ve done. And I would say even  my work with the Makiko, which is, from Mexico connected to my lineage, which are the original, like Aztecs and Mayans when I was called to do that initiation, it was the same thing. It was like, my soul said, Oh, it’s time to go do this.

And, obviously my ego is  like Oh gosh, I don’t want to do that. But you know, it was just, it was time. 

Laura Dawn :  So maybe we should back up for a second. So you were working with Iboga before you went to Gabon and worked with it there. 

Tricia Eastman: Okay. Yeah, I worked at it at the clinic in in Mexico. And how long? 2015, six years ago. 

Laura Dawn : And so what called you to initially explore this particular plant medicine? 

Tricia Eastman: It’s quite interesting because I had a couple of friends that started working with the plant. One of them lived with the 10th generation Misoco in Costa Rica, and I was immediately attracted.

And at this time, this is before, microdosing was even a word. This person had given me a small amount of it to microdose with, and I knew that I was supposed to work with this plant. And a year later, I met Martine Polanco who owns a clinic in Mexico called Crossroads, where they do treatments for addiction using Ibogaine, which is the alkaloid from Iboga.

And they put you through a detox that happens over seven days. And at the end, you no longer have cravings for opiates. It’s quite a profound medicine and he wanted to introduce a weekend protocol. For people who wanted to come for psycho-spiritual purposes, where they would go and receive the medicine and then at the end, so you would be in the clinic and then you would go to this beach house and Baja and you would receive 5 MEO DMT.

And so When he started this program, I asked him, do you think that Iboga would cure eating disorders? And I had struggled with eating disorders my whole entire life. And he said he wasn’t certain if it would, but he would be willing to test it out and see if it worked. And he actually put me through the program at no charge.

In a sense, an experiment. And I had the most profound experience ever in my life because I always felt really like there was something I was holding back that, I never fully understood how to love and accept all the parts of myself. And it was after I had this experience where I had this unification.

With source consciousness a point of singularity. And in that space I just started crying and I just bawled for hours and hours in gratitude. Like how could I not completely love myself when I realized that I’m part of all of this beauty, you know, the whole thing, the entire universe.

And it was, one of those really profound transpersonal experiences. And what I did after that was, I said to the medicine, thank you. Thank you. I’m here of service. I want to help others. In, in, that are suffering as I did for so many years. And I left it at that and within less than three weeks, Martine asked me to facilitate the psychospiritual program at Crossroads.

And you know,  I had no experience. I had experienced as a healer. I had a vast background in everything from Reiki to tantra, to Pranic healing, to reading human design. Just I studied everything and somatic therapy and I. I said yes. I would love, and I was trained of course.

So I was, it wasn’t like I was stepping in there with no experience and there’s a whole team of doctors, but when I got in there, I was really humbled at, how little the medicine was being used in a sacred way in what I was starting to learn and understand was the tradition of Bwiti.

And I really wanted to bring the aspects into the clinic, such as the music, such as some of the rituals in preparation and I believed that it actually was part of this experience. And so I started to study that and start to connect to a traditional healers who we’re either in Gabon or in France or in Europe, w or most of them that I connected with lived.

And so and I went on the steep journey of really studying and understanding the tradition so that I could be an integrity myself. And in serving this plant that had given me so much, and at the same time, I also started creating my own retreats and I started creating my own retreats in 2016, which was a year after I started working at crossroads.

And my first retreats were in Mexico, working with. Iboga, we’re working with a traditional, traditionally trained we T facilitators and they brought a Nema from Gabon and he’s the first person that initiated me into booty in the traditional way. And so you went to Gabon, you were, immersed in the BT tribe.

And then did you ask to be initiated? How does that initiation process work? Is anyone who’s, who feels ready and feels the call, or do you go through the full experience that they support you through? And is that the initiation like, do, did you have to receive permission from them to be able to hold the medicine and carry the medicine and serve it in the way that you are now?

I’m really glad that you asked that question because there’s a really blurred line in our community around what it means to be initiated versus, working with Iboga and in Gabon Pretty much any time you go and work with Iboga, you’re doing so in an initiation format. There isn’t really a psycho-spiritual.

Although there are what they call like healings, which are our works that usually are much shorter and it’s not a full initiation. Usually if people are coming to work with the Iboga in Gabon they’re doing so for. And initiation, but I could talk about two hours about why a lot of people wouldn’t be ready for that process.

There’s a lot of different things in the culture that are very different, that are sometimes very hard for Westerners to understand and can even cause problems. Just like some of the basic staff Is  the practice of animal sacrifice, which can be used in the rituals, which could be traumatizing to someone who like, for me, when I started this work, I was just a full devote vegan, although I’ve added some stuff, but I’m still mostly plant-based.

But if I had seen, when I first started an animal being sacrificed, I would have been. Traumatized. But there’s, it goes much deeper than that. There are many other aspects of that. But when you get initiated, that’s like day one of the journey and to become a Nema. Nima means that you can give initiations to others.

That’s typically the destination that someone in Gabon would look at as a benchmark for someone, for serving the medicine. That process takes 10 years. And that’s like minimum, if you ask the Nema that’s that would initiate you, they would say, when the medicine says is when you’re able to have that.

That title.  And there’s a passing of power because there’s a power in the altar. There’s a power in the ancestral lineage. And when you graduate from that process and it’s, that’s not even the right word to use, but when you step into that role, that power gets passed onto you, which allows you to have the power of the bleed T  and so what.

What I got when I went through, my initiations was I received several different blessings from my teachers, which was one blessing was to serve the medicine to others for healings. And so what you can do is. What they would call our psycho-spiritual work that my partner Dr. Joseph  Celia, and I do it, it would be called more healings even, cause we’re not taking people through an initiatory process.

And usually we’re doing a very similar format to what is done in Gabon and, but it’s adapted to really fit a more psycho-spiritual setting. And there’s a lot more preparation and integration, which you don’t really get that in Gabon. And so the first blessing I got was the blessing to have the medicine, which is the most important blessing of all, because you can’t obviously serve the medicine unless you’ve been given the blessing to, to have the medicine.

And then the other blessings that I received were access to different tools and medicines within the Bwiti that allow me to do certain types of healing working with the Akume torch, which is a torch used,  I would call it, I hate to I love making analogies, but. I don’t even think it, it could compare, but it’s like Sage on steroids.

So the Akume torch is made from the resin of the sacred tree in the jungle. And then it’s mixed with, gosh, probably at least 30 or more different sacred plants in the jungle. And they use this torch for clearing dark spirits out and there’s techniques of how you do that. And so,  I work with that in my work.

And then the other thing is the journeying process, which is part of the Gundai Misoco lineage. And in that lineage, you receive, like certain training to work on the psychology of the individual. And so that’s like very specific because you’re working with someone’s psyche and it takes many years of training and practice before  I would say that you could call yourself someone who could practice that particular type of, of work. And so I also received the blessings for that kind of work as well. 

Laura Dawn : Beautiful. I’m curious about what the format and the framework looks like for an initiation in Gabon. Is it multiple days?

Are you, I can only imagine, and I haven’t told you this yet, but since we last spoke, I actually had my first experience. It was about 24 hours that I was very deep in it working with a facilitator. There is actually three facilitators guiding the journey for me. I worked with alkaloids from the Iboga plant. 

I had a paramedic checking my vitals every 20 minutes for 24 hours. And so I, I definitely thought multiple times, like I could not imagine doing this in Gabon alone right now in a foreign country and just such a, out of my comfort zone element on top of it, it was one of the most challenging and intense and also amazing experiences of my life.

I’m definitely very much so in the thick of integration still, I feel like the biggest reset is happening in my body and my mind. I’m so grateful for the experience. And so I definitely have thought multiple times of what does this look like to experience this in Gabon? 

Tricia Eastman:  Yeah. I just want to agree with you in the sense it’s one of the hardest journeys within yourself and, when you add the other elements of, potentially malaria, potentially other forms, there’s just, the list is endless of tropical parasites and different sicknesses and things like that. And just the conditions are really intense. 

And so I would say that, first of all, congratulations I’m really excited for you because this is a medicine that stays with you forever, such a long time and it’s going to keep working on you for the next year. You’re going to still feel it working on you. There’s nothing like it. Sometimes I even say it’s almost like doing a hundred plant medicine ceremonies in one , or usually it’s over two days, but I’ll let you speak to that and I’ll add something.

Laura Dawn : Yeah. I feel it so much, I also feel very grateful for 20 years of working with psychedelics under my belt to prepare me for this, 10 solid years of ayahuasca journeys I feel like really prepared me for this, what feels like one of the most significant and I’ll use the word initiation in just the context of, passing through a portal into, what feels like a very new chapter of my life.

And I passed through that portal on the Eve of my birthday, into the 37th year on this planet, as I am transitionin in so many ways in my life. And so it was really the perfect time. And I’d been calling in this experience for so long and it was just the perfect alignment and the perfect timing.

And I do feel. So much so that this medicine is going to be with me for a very long time.

Tricia Eastman: Yeah.  It’s one of the medicines that, I think this is why integration is so important because it, number one it really just like humbles you to your core, like anything in there, it some people you’ve even said I feel like I had a labotamy  or something, cause it just it just clears you out. And on a physiological level, it resets the neuro-transmitters, it works on every neurotransmitting system in the body. It reformats, basically, your brain.

It works specifically on the language center of the brain. It works,  it really works on pretty much everything.  There’s studies on it working on dementia and it kills parasites in the body. For instance. One thing that’s really incredible about this medicine is that most people have to take really intense pharmaceuticals to get rid of candida and it clears all the candida out of your body.

So you end up with, no matter how grueling your journey was just this, nothingness of emptiness . It’s really, to me, a very “Buddhic” medicine because you really understand what that feeling of a blank slate feels like. And I think the most important thing is that if you’re going to invest the time and the energy to do that kind of work, to really gracefully approach the integration. And I say this as everyone here is listening, but also to support you in your integration. That everything you do stepping out of the medicine, it imprints into your, into this new blank slate that you’ve just created for yourself.

And so you get to basically, like the slower you take it, the more careful you take it. But the more that you pause and you think before doing something you may have done in the past, that was like maybe led to a specific habitual pattern that you know is not a good road, the better off you’re going to be.

It’s really going to stick with you. There’s this beauty that the Bwiti  call “Mubundo” means grace. And what happens is, after your ceremony, you get this runway of Mubundo,  and the idea is take advantage of that. Like the idea is like in Gabon, people are very poor and so they have to save their money or, do some works to be able to go and get initiated.

And when you get initiated. You’ve moved up in society. Like it means something in, in Gabon to be an initiate, and it’s also an entry point into the family. So you’re you’ve become part of the family of Bwiti, and in Gabon you go and you do that so that you can get those chances so that you can increase your luck so you can make a better life for yourself.

And so all of these people who know, they come from nothing. They know that they can make something for themselves when they do this initiation, if they really take advantage of that time. And so I say the same for you and for anyone else out there who, is either working with this medicine or, being called to work with the medicine is that, it’s a great opportunity for you.

And a great blessing. And it’s, and one of the things that was the biggest distinction for me after I did my first works with the Iboga was just really, it really pulled me inward. Like I felt so deeply inward for many months and from a biological level. The medicine actually does that to you.

So literally I was at the Ibogaine conference in  (inaudible)  in 2017, and I can’t remember the name of the doctor, so I apologize, but I’ll share a link or something with you so we can put it in the notes. But this doctor took people who were doing Ibogaine treatments and took pictures of the auric field and showed these people in addiction and their field was all like broken up and wholly and it didn’t look so good.

And then while we were on the medicine, it showed the auric field completely pulled inward. So literally the medicine pulls the, auric field completely inward. And then it regenerates and then after you’re finished, it actually expands the auric field around the body. Now I can’t compare it to like ayahuasca or any of the other medicines, because I haven’t seen those.

Those photography of that before and after. But I would assume that the other medicines would actually expand because many of them are about expansion as very bogus, very much contraction. 

Laura Dawn : It’s really so much of what I’m noticing. Actually I’m grateful  I’m really giving myself so much space for this integration.  I’m slowing down. I’m also feeling so inward. My meditations are so dropped in and so deep right now. 

And I noticed after the journey, I had this very distinct voice, and being able to see a pattern that I had been repeating for so many years. And the voice was like, that’s the pattern. Look at that. Do you want to keep choosing that? Or do you want to choose a new pattern? It was just this amazing witnessing.  

And one of the ways I’ve been describing it is I feel the sense of I’ve been using the word neutrality, but I think the better word is equanimity, is just like this place of non-reactivity of just observing, and so much centerdness in my process right now.

And I’m just so grateful for that. So I’m curious, I’m sure there’s such a wide range of the way that people serve this medicine. I can only imagine, in the experience that I had, there was a paramedic there, we did an EKG before they experience, they were using my body weight as a measure for how much to, start offering me in terms of the amount of medicine, is that very Western? I can’t imagine that they have paramedics in Gabon, checking heart rate?  It must be such a different experience. I was laying in a bed. I couldn’t move for many hours. I was really in it for 24 hours.

Is that a similar kind of setup going to Gabon and having that experience there? Is it multiple days? I’m just so curious. 

Tricia Eastman: Yeah,  what I found,  I just want you  to make a comment about the type of care that you received. And there is a certain percentage of people that have abnormalities of the heart that puts them in a high risk group.

And one of the biggest things you can do in actually makes  iboga once you, cause there’s a lot of information floating around about like safety with the Iboga. And a lot of the deaths that have been recorded are people who are in clinics who had like massive addictions and were using amphetamines and heroin and all kinds of cocktails of different uppers, downers, benzodiazepines, everything.

And, they were kind of, in a sense, on death’s doorstep. And so when a healthy individual comes to this medicine, The things you have to really look out for are specific things related to specific heart condition, certain mental conditions that can be evaluated with proper screening and those that are not, aren’t really going to get the full benefits from the medicine because of these things can be screened out. 

And we do,  in all of our retreats, have a doctor and we do require EKG  because it’s kind of a no brainer. It’s if we can save some lives and I have had a significant amount of people that have gotten screened out it’s surprising.

And in Gabon you would go to the medicine. There would not be a doctor onsite, but these practitioners of the medicine, these Nema and Nema combo, which is kind of the father of the village, the highest level of Bwiti that you could get, they’ve been working with the medicine for, 10, 20, 50 years, and they’re so connected to the spirit of the medicine.

And when I work with the medicine, it talks to me, it tells me what dosage to give certain people and tells me certain things about that person that I need to watch out for. However, I need to listen, and I need to be present within myself to be able to receive those things. Now, most people, unless they’ve had a really high level of experience and training working with that medicine probably wouldn’t get that information.

So I would say that in Gabon, the people who are working with the medicine, there are very little deaths. There are deaths though. A lot of the deaths have to do with other complications, such as malaria which is very common. 

We actually lost one of our friends who went to Gabon during our initiation in 2018. And he was in a different village than us. And he contracted Malaria and he didn’t make it. Yeah in Gabon  they give you very large quantities of medicine. Although there are different types of initiations and works that do work in lower dosages and there are specific lineages that aren’t necessarily trying to,  for instance the Bwiti from the jungle, which is a lot of the like Mitsogo, the tribes that are referred to as the pygmy tribes, such as the Bobongo, the Gonde Misogo, which is the tradition that I’m  initiated in.  Those are Bwiti from the jungle. And in those traditions, they are trying to create a death experience like an ego death, in a sense.

So like they’re trying to create the condition of having this profound, mystical experience. And so they give you as much medicine as they can. They actually even stick a pin in you, and if you can’t feel the pin, then they know you’ve had enough medicine. Like they, they keep feeding you medicine.

Basically the book Daniel Pinchbeck explains it the best “breaking open the head until you kind of crack open.” And of course. With that level of training they are pushing some very dangerous edges, but most of the time, people make it through those experiences, but they’re quite intense.

Laura Dawn : I had someone tell me that they went through this experience in Gabon and there was a lot of water involved, that they had water poured on their head for multiple days in a row. I was like, Whoa, that’s intense! 

Tricia Eastman: Yeah. 

Laura Dawn : Have you heard of that? 

Tricia Eastman: Yeah, so in, in most of Bwiti initiations and ritual, there are different forms of bathing rituals.

And the idea is that the bath rituals are designed to return you back into that clean state. Like when you were in the womb and prepare you to receive the medicine. And many of the times that you’re doing those rituals, you’re making confessions. So you’re confessing all the things wrong that you’ve done.

And most of them are things that we’ve done to ourselves. So, really going through and the more thorough  these confessions that you’ve made, the easier your journey is going to be with the medicine. So they, you start off and there’s many different herbs and you go into the jungle and when you work with the plants and the jungle, it’s very important to get permissions and all the Bwiti  that I’ve worked with have to take that very seriously. And I do as well. And what that means is that there’s very specific divination techniques, right? And you ask permission to take certain plants from the jungle and you’ll go to different trees and you’ll harvest different barks.

And within all of these plants are the sacred spirits called the genies, and the genies are what are doing the healing on you when you’re doing these, these bathing rituals. So they’ll be different clays, red clay and different plants. And there’ll be prepared in a specific way with specific ritual and music.

And usually a candle is lit to have the element of fire. Yeah. And you’ll go in and you’ll clean yourself and you can also make prayers to the spirits of the water. 

 In Bwiti, they believe the water spirits are the mermaids. And so we’ll call them the mermaid spirits and the mermaid spirits will assist in the cleansing of the individual.

And then after your , when you go through these rituals, there’s like different, like for instance, when you’re doing the preparations, there’s the smoke baths that you receive called Efulu, where they wrap you in blankets. And it’s like your own personal sweat lodge, except for way hotter. And you literally have a fire underneath you and they’re burning different  things like sacred plants, that creates smokes to clear the darkness out and and the women, yeah, I don’t know what the men wear, but the women wear all black. When they’re, when like a sarong and then you have all these blankets around you and you do that, and you alternate between that and the baths. 

And you do quite a few baths. Yeah. Usually do, depending on the initiation, but you could do like easily 10 baths in a week, that’s a little more on the extreme side, but I would say at least one in the morning and one at night. At least several times before you go into the initiation and then you also take “vimitif” plants, which make you throw up and you do all of that for a week. Usually a week, it could be longer in preparation to work with the Iboga and go into the initiation sequence. Those are different and there’s different rituals and different things within that sequence. And of course the bathing rituals are also used. Like when a baby is born. Yeah. The village, the first thing they do is they take them to the river and they perform this ritual to, to clean the baby.

Laura Dawn : And so in your practice in, within a more Western model, are you also using some of these plants, these other plants that are native to Gabon? And how do you feel about bringing these plants that are non native and non-local to the places that you’re serving them? Is that a consideration for you?

Tricia Eastman:  Yes. So, right now Bwiti is  one tiny country and Iboga only grows in that country. It only grows in an equatorial region at sea level. There’s a very specific soil consistency, a very specific environment. And so every day I think about the future of Bwiti and how even my.

Actions could impact the future of team to make sure that I’m doing it in a good way. And I ask, I, obviously when you ask permissions to take certain plants or if you’re asking your Nema or Nema Combo, the person that initiated you for permissions to have certain plants like to send you certain plants they’re also, asking those permissions as well.

And so some of the things that I use, one of them is called its nickname is pygmy paste and it’s like this mixture of different clays and herbs. And when you’re doing the ritual of journeying, the individual doing the psychology, the psychological work that, that I was talking to you about earlier, we put that on the forehead to open up the third eye and it helps to enhance the visions and help the person to, to journey, and it’s prayed with.

And so I use that  in the ceremony. And then I use the Akume torch, which is the torch from the residence of the Akume tree. And that comes from the jungle in Gabon. And then I use the clays that are used in Gabon for the bath rituals. 

It’s okay to harvest any plant from any region. And what you’ll find is that okay, most of the plants are the same species, but it’s the version of your local region. And so if I was going into the woods, I live in the Malibu mountains and I was asking for permission, I would go to the tree and I would take a machete and I would just take a little chip of bark.  And if the chip lands outward than it means I have permission  to take medicine from that. A

nd I would just shave a little bit of bark and it’s okay to use local plants to make up the medicines for the baths. And the genies are there, that they’re the ones doing the work. So it doesn’t matter whether they’re genies from Gabon or they’re genies from Costa Rica where I do retreats or Ibiza or, wherever Mexico. 

And then the other medicines that I use from Gabon, of course, the plant Iboga and Iboga is a plant that I am concerned about the future of its sustainability. It is considered a national treasure in Gabon and it’s protected. But there is a lot of things happening in the black market.

A lot of elephant poachers that are selling medicines online. And, the sad part is a lot of people that are getting stuff online, aren’t even getting real medicine. So who knows what you’re taking and whether it’s safe for you to be ingesting it. 

Yeah. One thing that we have to look at not to digress too much is like, when you have shows, like Hamilton’s Pharmacopia where one episode reaches like millions of people and, they’re promoting it by putting billboards up in the New York subways and all over Los Angeles.

That is not the way to necessarily I don’t feel like medicine should be displayed in that way. I think there’s, like talking about it, one-on-one having a conversation on a podcast is one thing but we do have to start thinking about the future an d I’m really  concerned with,  I do feel like this medicine is going to become more popular. 

It’s definitely not for everybody, but I do feel it’s definitely gonna grow because the whole psychedelic movement is just moving at such an insane pace. And I’ve already seen how the toads have been decimated in the snore because of, ESPN running cartoons with Mike Tyson showing him smoking a toad and having a psychedelic experience and all of these things.

And so the thing I would say most importantly is, I’ve been involved with conservation projects with Bufo Alverious, I’m been involved with conservation projects with peyote, even though that’s not a medicine I work with. Because it’s,  I feel like it’s not a sustainable medicine and I feel like there’s alternatives and we need to keep that medicine for the indigenous peoples that use it in their sacred ceremonies.

But I’ve also been working with blessings of the forests, which is the only organization that I’m aware of in Gabon, that is planting Iboga. And so one of the recommendations that they made is that I think, I can’t remember if it was three or five, but it was every time that you work with the Iboga, you should buy  at least three to five plants and have them planted so that we can have it for future generations. And I would say even at the rapid rate that it’s going, cause you tell 10 people they’re gonna, or let’s say you tell a hundred people and then those people, 10 people go do it. We need to make sure that we’re…. the plant itself takes seven years to mature, to harvest medicine, but the good medicine, which is what I work with is 34 years old, 34 year old plants. 

So We want to make sure that those plants don’t get torn up and that things are being done in a good way. And we want to make sure that future generations of Bwiti will have medicine for their initiations.

And then hopefully there’ll be some leftovers for the rest of the world too. 

Laura Dawn : I just I think it’s so important what you’re saying about really focusing on the sustainability. How would I go about buying three plants? Would it be through that organization that you mentioned? 

Tricia Eastman: The only one that I know of right now is blessings of the forest.

And that’s really the only way that. People listening that are not connected directly to someone and want to be support, supportive to the movement, can do it through blessings, the forest. And, there are people who have tried planting in Costa Rica and other countries where the climate is favorable.

I’ve heard there’s been some successes. But the plant itself is very hard to transport and basically it’s this Bush that has these little kind of yellow waxy fruits, and those are the seeds and they kind of look like an avocado pit. So it’s like looks like a yellow bell pepper, but it’s shaped kind of like a, like an eye and it needs to stay moist in order to propagate the best way for the plants propagate because the  elephants in Gabon, they eat the fruit is when an elephant has eaten it and then it’s evacuated it. And that leaves a nice soil for it to grow in and nutrients for it to grow in. And I love the idea of it growing other places and the chances that it’s going to have the same alkaloid content are very low because it’s really the soil and the environment it’s relationship with the Akume tree.

It’s relationship with which is the sacred tree where they, we get resin to make the torches it’s relationship with the elephants that pull on the plant when they’re taking the fruits and it makes the roots stronger. But it has a deep relationship with the forest and with everything in the jungle.

And so when you take it, yeah. Out of that space. It definitely changes it. But I think that we do need to look at the future. We do need to look at, number one, I was watching this documentary and I was seeing. And I’ve seen this in Gabon  and just like the massive amount of logging that’s happening there, where the whole forest is being decimated and mostly by China.

Like there’s been mass and a small amount of it. It’s been dedicated by the recent government for parks, but it’s like a tiny amount. And there were con some contracts for the trees that were already made with the government and China and other countries that they basically had to pay.

They had to buy their way out of these contracts that they had made a long time ago. And so my dream, and just on a bigger scale is, let’s preserve the jungles and Gabon and let’s not see what happened in the Amazon. And, the last few years happen in Gabon. I really want this is the home of these beautiful people. That beautiful culture that’s been around since I believe the beginning of time. And I believe one of the oldest lineages that is practicing with plant medicine. 

Laura Dawn : I’m so curious your take on the difference between working with the full plant with Iboga versus alkaloids. And the popularization of working with ibogaine for addiction is really spreading quite rapidly.

Are they using synthetic compounds, alkaloids? How does that, and what would be the main difference in your perspective of the experience? 

Tricia Eastman: So, just to speak to the plant, there’s over 30 known alkaloids in the plant. One of those alkaloids is Ibogaine those 30 known alkaloids work on every neurotransmitter system in the body.

So in terms of a complete holistic experience you’re getting so much more working with the whole plant. Now there is a method and I actually, I do this myself to make what’s called a total alkaloid extract, and I do it myself with organic vinegar, and I pull the alkaloids out. And I do a concentrate in capsules and that can help people to get deeper into the medicine because sometimes what can happen is when you’re working with the whole plant.

And let’s say you’re like halfway through the night and you’re Oh, well, I’m not really having, it’s not really happening for me, but maybe that person wouldn’t  necessarily break through in the way that they would have the experience. They need to really get the healing from the medicine.

But the problem is if I gave them more root barks, they might either throw it up. Or they might instead of it actually intent increasing the intensity of the experience, it would just link them the experience, meaning more time until that person would get to sleep. And so they just kind of be in that same place for a longer period of time, because, the root bark gets very fibrous and very, the body is not used to breaking down, things like that.

It takes a while for it to have an effect. So then the is. You can either get it from the plant, which obviously is the worst way to do it because as you’re throwing away a lot of good stuff,  and that would be really sad because cause that’s good medicine and some people still do it that way.

Although I highly discouraged that. The other way of doing it is what’s called a semi synthesis process. This plant is so sophisticated. It can not be made binding on it. It can be made because there is a, another plant called  in VOC, conga Africana, and there’s an alkaloid called conga lien. And the Voacanga lien is like one oxygen or hydrogen off.

From Apple gain. And so by going through a process, a chemical process lab in a lab they remove that and then it becomes Applegate.  And I would love to also for sustainability, see lots of that plant also being grown and my, I don’t know a ton about . I just know that.

It’s definitely more accessible. It’s definitely easier to grow. But that would also be, I think, a really important thing. And I think the world needs more obligation for sure. I think that there’s a lot of people that are really I think like veterans that are addicted to opiates and actually worked at a program called the mission within where we actually worked with veterans special ops.

Navy seals Greenbrae different, different departments of special ops that trends working with them with abrogating and five Mel. It was really profound work, like really to see the before and after. I mean talk about if anyone will follow integration protocols, it’s the Navy seal.

Wow. Yeah. I can imagine really dedicated. So we hear this term flood dose. When I was in my experience, I felt like I felt this moment where I felt that the critical mass of alkaloids flooding my neuro-transmitters and it felt like this wave of like really bright white light in my like inner visual landscape.

Can you describe what it means to have a flood dose? So. A flood dose is typically like, what is actually meaning to Detox out reset the opiate receptors and what that means is like you’re taking a high enough dosage that you’re resetting the addiction in the cap tap the opioid receptors of the body.

And it’s also very intense. So yeah, it’s definitely like flooding your body. Typically when someone is detoxing. From opiate or, any other form of detox. Usually there’s a lot of purging involved. I’ve witnessed a few detoxes and they’re not fun journeys. They’re not definitely like getting whisked off into some place and seeing white light.

Although some people do have really. Profound transpersonal experiences on a will gain. You’re just not getting a lot of the nerves, the alkaloids that create the visions like Iboga , you’re not getting those alkaloids, so you’re not having as much of that. Even though you do have visions it’s not.

Not as pronounced what you were experiencing is something I have personally experienced and it’s really almost like the entry into the spirit world. Like what it felt like it’s like with the Iboga, you don’t leave your body, you more like you if you’re in this waking dream. So It’s what’s called a, it’s not a psychedelic.

Iboga is what’s called an Oni or phrenic, which means dream maker. And so the idea that you’re in this dream state, that you can open your eyes and the visions go away. But what happens is when you’re taking these like higher doses or for someone who’s sensitive and the medicine really. Obviously cause like I’ve seen people journey on like a spoonful of root Mark and some people are that sensitive where they can just be, travel right into the spirit world.

But when you’ve gotten past the point of the medicine cleaning you, that’s when you start to journey. And so it sounds like to me that you were kind of. Cracking through like a Bardo, like going into another dimension. Interesting. I also purged four times during my journey and I don’t struggle with full blown addiction now, but I feel like part of the reason I had more of a challenging experience was because.

I’ve struggled with addiction for many years of my life. And now, and that was the reason that I actually started doing research about five or six years ago on a BOGO. Cause I was so curious about what would that feel like to have a total dopamine neuro receptor site reset? What would that experience really do?

And so I’m curious anything that you want to share around why. Why this helps people with addiction, why we’re seeing so many people go who have serious heroin addiction and how they’re not going through weeks of withdrawal they’re going and literally coming out clean within a few days. I think part of the main issue of relapses set and setting environment, going back into old environments where people are using, but why does this medicine work so effectively for helping people with addiction specifically?

There’s two levels of that. One level is, the idea of. The physiological effects of addiction, which is, basically the reset to the neuro-transmitters, which is profound. It doesn’t necessarily work for all things. Like not all people who are addicted to tobacco who go and work with the Iboga are going to stop smoking.

Although. What I noticed for me, cause I’ve always, I think our whole culture is addicted and I think our whole culture is living. I really believe that the Western way of living is the way of addiction, which is this model of extractive ness. Of seeking outside of yourself of living outwardly versus inner resourcing.

And I think we’re all, at different stages, in our paths of getting closer and closer into our own balance within and I feel like what happens on the medicine and this is what makes this medicine, so. Profound is, a couple of things. One,  he is one of my favorite doctors related to the idea of why psychedelics in general work for people with addiction.

And that is that we need to resolve the trauma. We need to go back to the original templates of when the trauma began and this medicine. Takes you in there. It’s very common for people. Not all people have this to have a replay of kind of their life like scenes in their life, where they’re shown by the medicine.

And this is why this happened, or this is what this created in your life for, kind of a reconciliation. So to say of this past stuff. And then. On top of that on a physiological level, the medicine just. I don’t know how it does it, but it gets into every nook and cranny of the body into the bios films, into the crystals of trauma.

That’s calcified in all these different, if you think about a chart of like acupuncture and you think of all those acupuncture points and you think of where all those noddies are blocked within, or those nodes or whatever you want to call it are blocked within your body and it’s going in and.

Like the , which is the mouth heart that’s most commonly used in the gun thing, the SoCo tradition many people and I believe this call it the Chizler because literally as they hear it, making it sound, it’s almost like there’s a little Jack hammer in the brain, like going in and scrubbing out.

All of the little kind of wrinkles in the brain where there’s like stuff hanging out hiding. And, I, one of the things in the journey work that we do is, first, we go and we reconnect to the soul and that’s the most important part of the psychological work. And I have each person prepare questions.

That they have for the soul. And once you’ve made that link to your soul, and once you’ve really like anchor that connection, you don’t want to do addictive patterns anymore because you use the thing that you really wanted. The thing that you were really hungry for was connection. And you get that connection through.

Your soul? No, I so appreciate that response. I also had a lot of visions and seeing patterns. I saw this like rapid succession of images of my father enacting a whole bunch of different behavioral patterns. And you mentioned you struggled with eating disorders and I did as well for many years of my life, and I saw some of the root causes of that.

And. But had no like strong sense of emotion, I just witnessed it and witnessed so much. It was like being in a lucid dream for so many hours. So there was so much content there. And part of this integration has just been a lot of like, how can I really nourish myself right now? How can I bring so much loving, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and just give myself a lot of space to breathe and to rest and to eat well.

So I really appreciate all of that. In addition to someone being able to go onto that foundation that you mentioned blessings of the forest, I’m going to include that link. I just want to touch on reciprocity and the importance of reciprocity. Do you have any other suggestions? I would love more ideas.

I’m definitely going to go on and buy five plants so that they can be planted and support that in that way. But what are other ideas for people in terms of reciprocity? Yeah. I feel when we do this work, there’s many different exchanges that happen. And I feel that in our culture, the idea of getting healing and then paying a price, like it’s very transactional, but in most cultures that, the original peoples indigenous cultures, There’s always an ongoing exchange.

You become in relation with each other. And it’s very common. Like when you live in a village, you take care of your aunt and you take care of your uncle. If you kill an animal, one leg is going to your uncle. One leg is going to your grandfather. One leg is going to your sons and so on and so forth.

It’s not like you came home. And this is my idea that I killed. Like in our culture, we think about the money in our bank account belongs to us. But when we think about this work and we think about the mobile condo, the grace that it brings in our lives everyone’s going through a hard time right now.

And all the people in the Amazon and all the people in Gabon, they’re not having people flying in and doing ceremonies and the way that they were before. And so like thinking about the people that, that could use help that are. Doing this work, that’s so humble and they’re not necessarily in it to make a big profit.

And so I think like we have to think about that ongoing relationship is the most important thing. And also to answer your question I usually ask and listen, like I tune into myself and I ask and I listen and. Not everyone can receive those clear messages, but a lot of times, synchronicities will show up that will kind of point you in the direction of what that looks like.

And then I think the other thing is like one of the reasons why I started the nonprofit, which is. The nonprofit that we brought, the Zulu tribe to burning man, and what’s done some other projects ancestral, heart ancestral. That’s the name of it. And the reason we started that was to bring elders on the stage, give them a platform and ask them these things, questions.

And the funniest story is even myself, gosh, I had answers in my own mind to some of the questions that I was asking the elders in these different panels that we did for the remote burn and during burning man, we did a bunch of different events with. With some elders Minda here, best DDA was one of them.

He’s like a Mayan elder Joe T ma who’s like the head of the she organized the 13 grandmothers council and one of my. Teachers and healers at Taronga Maru, who’s Mallory and and a ton of others. But it was crazy because some of the questions that I asked them, I felt like I knew the answer.

And then I was just completely humbled by the answers that they gave. Like for instance we were in South Africa and we created a group of people created a declaration for protection of sacred sites called the ASA Gaia, which was. Basically launched at Davos for the world economic forum last year, beginning of 2020 when I asked these different wisdom keepers, how do we approach sacred sites?

Like I was expecting them to say protocols and they were like, well, You don’t go to them. They’re like, keep them sacred. They’re like, if you do go to them, go and do regenerative projects, obviously with the permissions of the people that are there, go and plant things and clean up trash and work the soil and all that stuff.

So, I really feel like we, I really feel like what’s missing from our culture. Is this like kind of guidance of having wise. Elders that can kind of help us direct us in the right direction. Cause even in doing a lot of work, you still it’s surprising, how much, you don’t know, you don’t know.

Right. Exactly. Yeah, I appreciate that perspective. And it’s just amazing, I heard what you did at burning man, and I was like, you go girl. That’s awesome. I was like, yeah, just following your journey from a distance and just so impressed and inspired by the work that you’re doing. I wanted to ask you about the term I love creative alchemy and how we can leverage any suggestions throughout our integration period, to open our creative channels.

For me, I feel like the framework that. Our culture has been in for a long time, especially in the new age, spiritual community has been this idea of, like I’m not whole, I need to be fixed. And,  and I think even like in doing medicine, drinking ayahuasca every weekend, sometimes we can get.

Stuck in these traps of you’ll never run out of things to fix, within yourself Oh, I want to change this and I want to fix this. But the idea of creative alchemy is I believe that we were all brought here because we’re souls we’re ultimately our soul is perfect in every way.

It, all the stuff that. You probably don’t like about yourself is all connected with your ego, which means that it stuff you can, work with. And in some respects, not all of it,  is necessarily malleable but you can work with it. And so the way that we step into creative alchemy is the idea of stepping into complete alignment with our soul, because the soul is the creator.

And so the idea is when you empower your soul, basically every everything that you’ve ever wanted to create every, like download every vision you get, in a sense like this energy from the universe to do it think of it almost alone funding or like a credit card, of, but it’s an energy bank and then you use your soul and listen to your soul to get there and move through that process.

But what happens is the ego, kind of steps in and gets in the way now. That’s the healing, because everything that pops up along the way in the creative process, which is the ego, is the pathway to your healing. And so what you do is you align with your soul. You’re not bypassing your soul. You’re not bypassing your ego, but you’re choosing to move towards your highest vision for your soul.

Your highest expression of. The template that exists within you, which is the template of your soul. And then the ego stuff that comes up along the way you just work on it as it comes up versus, kind of this other approach that kind of has been popularized. And a lot of it is because obviously marketers make lots of money with people that have things to fix.

And do you have, would you say any specific recommendations during the integration phase for how people can make peace with that? Yeah. What I would say is, again, it’s really about what you focus on. So if you can do things that bring you joy, part of relaxation and rest, cause we’re like go all the time.

Pushing, not resting enough, having so many things on our plate, but that time where we rest. That’s where we actually talk to our soul. That’s where we actually receive information. And that’s where we start to receive these downloads. So the more you can spend time being creative, you can do things nature.

The more you’re going to start to get those like downloads around what things really truly are your highest things from your soul that you want to create. And once you feel like. Clear on that, then you can start to move into your creative process by empowering your soul to lead. Love to sit with you, Tricia.

I would love to experience your format and your framework. Yeah, we use, we actually use a combination of Fong and Misoco. What does that mean when we’re doing it? Because my father, they believe that they came from Egypt from the ancient mystery schools and, the lineage that I’ve been I’m deeply connected with my family, from my teacher had tumor Benga.

That’s kind of just been like my soul family and we actually went to Albi together. We were in Egypt together just last February and I definitely feel like that lineage did come from Egypt. But the, so I use a lot of, more like a gypsy alchemy rituals along with the stuff that I’ve learned in the GOM day tradition.

So like they don’t use the torch as much in the farm and they don’t do the journey work. How do people find you or get in touch with you? And how often are you holding retreats around this? We’re in this time of still prohibition in the U S so I’m sure you’re holding space outside of the U S where it’s a little a little less dangerous for us to be doing this work.

How do people find you? Well I my website where I do my retreats, which is psychedelic journeys.com. And I also have Instagram, which is at psychedelic journeys and with all the things that have been happening in the world. Obviously we’re taking a break from our bigger retreats, but I’ve been doing some smaller retreats outside of the country and, like Mexico and in Costa Rica now that they’ve, opened the borders I’m still always open and sometimes.

I just have such a long wait list now with everything having, I had a retreat the day that locked down, started in March and it was crazy because the medicine told me, well, it was just a crazy scenario. Cause it basically protected me from obviously having some problems. If you have to cancel something, a lot of times you lose money and things like that.

So. But we’re really excited to start doing retreats again in a safe way. And we’ve just been doing smaller groups. Usually I do groups of 12 and I’ve been cutting it down for eight to 10 and, just providing a lot of distancing and obviously having testing and different things in place, I think definitely helps.

But yeah, I would love to work with you and hopefully, yeah, hopefully it will be up and running again really soon. Is there anything that you would like to share before we close? I know you’re working on a book. When is your book going to be out? Do you have a working title for your book yet?

Yeah. So my book is traversing, the introversive plant medicine, ancestral wisdom, and the path to transcendent consciousness. And we talk all about the ego and the soul and how to traverse your introverts and how to connect, how to communicate with nature and about psychedelics and about.

Integration and altered States of consciousness, but really all from the standpoint of I’ve worked with 1500 people in the last six years. And just what I’ve learned. To be true about the nature of how we can get the most out of these experiences start to finish and how we can really ground them into joy and abundance and manifestation in our lives.

Okay, great. Well, it has been such a pleasure dropping in with you, Tricia. I really look forward to coming and checking out your retreat center to journeying with you as well. Like I said, you’re a definitely a bad-ass woman on the path. And so I commend your leadership. And all the work that you’re doing.

So thank you. Spot it. You got it. It’s such amazing. To see someone who’s really stood out there and you’ve done so much and you’re holding so many codes with all the different. Projects. I can’t believe like you,  you’ve had a retreat center all the way to like the podcast and all the other projects and just offerings that you’ve brought so much to the community and it’s such a blessing.

So thank you. Thank you so much. That’s so touching and received. Thank you.


Tricia Eastman


Tricia Eastman is a pioneer in the psychedelic movement, integrating ancestral technologies with modern protocols designed to address the ailments of the “western mind”. For nearly 20 years Eastman has consulted for top-destination spa and retreat centers on novel treatments and best practices. As a medicine woman operating internationally as founder of the leading transformation retreat platform, Psychedelic Journeys, curating integrative retreat experiences with Iboga, 5 MeO-DMT, and Psilocybin in destinations like Tulum, Ibiza, Costa Rica, and Portugal. Eastman has supported 1600+ people through powerful healing experiences including celebrities, political leaders, and veterans.

Eastman is a writer, speaker, medicine woman, and advocate for the indigenous knowledge systems. Over the last decade she has been involved with numerous projects related to preservation of sacred medicines,  cultural traditions, and sacred sites. Eastman created a nonprofit, Ancestral Heart, to address the impacts of globalization of ancestral traditions as a result of the resurgence of psychedelics and spirituality in western culture.  She has been involved with numerous projects from sustainable and respectful approach, keeping on ongoing cultural exchange and delicate, noninvasive forms of support.

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About Laura Dawn

Through her signature Mastermind Programs and Plant Medicine Retreats, Laura Dawn weaves together science with ancient wisdom. She teaches business and thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals how to mindfully explore psychedelics and sacred plant medicines as powerful visionary tools for inner transformation, fostering emotional resiliency and unlocking new depths to our creative potential.