Date: Sun, 15 Mar 1998 20:24:39 EST
From: HSL123 <>
To: Multiple recipients of list <>
Subject: Naranjo - a brief read

Below you will find a portion of Naranjo's The Healing Journey.  The chapter
is not complete as Claudio Naranjo did not provide is approval for our use of
the chapter in the Ibogaine Dossier and I ceased working on the transcription.




Ibogaine is one of twelve alkaloids obtained from the root of the plant
Tabernanthe iboga found in West Africa. From vague reports to its local use in
the Congo, it was believed to be mainly a stimulant, and it is as such that it
is mentioned in De Ropp's "Drugs and the Mind", It is as a stimulant, too,
that iboga extract was introduced into French medicine several decades ago.(1)

In July 1966 1 presented, at the conference on psychedelic substances
organized San in Francisco by Richard Baker (Roshi) for the University of
California, a report on my initial work with the alkaloid as an adjunct to
psychotherapy, which described the hallucinogenic effects of the higher doses
of ibogaine. Since then, it has been used in a similar context by an
increasing number of psychiatrists, mostly in South America.

For the writing of the present account, I have examined notes from forty
therapeutic sessions with thirty patients, in which I used either ibogaine or
total iboga extracts, plus ten Sessions with a different group, in which I
used iboga extract in conjunction with one or another  amphetamine. I my
general statements, I am also drawing upon a wider experience not documented
by notes which I could use for statistics. This is partly direct experience
with additional patients and partly information massed in clinical meetings
with my colleagues at the University of Chile. I estimate the total number of
treatments which I have either witnessed or known in indirectly to be
approximately one hundred.

As to physical effects, neither ibogaine nor the harmala alkaloids cause
dilation of the pupils or a rise in blood pressure, is the case with the LSD-
like hallucinogens or the amphetamine derivatives MDA and MMDA. ibogaine also
resembles harmaline in that it elicits a disturbance in body balance and
vomiting more often than any, other mind-affecting chemical aside from

In view of the high incidence of these symptoms, it is advisable to administer
the drug when the patient has an empty stomach, and not to use more than 4 mg.
per kilogram of body weight on a first session. I find that the optimal dosage
may range from 3 to 5 mg. per kilogram, depending on the individual's
sensitivity to the drug.(2)  Dramamine may also be used as a preventive for
vomiting , either in a first session or thereafter, if the subject is already
known to react with vomiting.

A comfortable couch or bed must be considered part of the setting for the
treatment, for most patients want to lie down during the first few hours, or
even throughout most of their session, and feel nauseated when they get up or
move. However, others feet the desire to move or even dance at some point in
the session (35 per cent in my data), and this may prove a very significant
aspect of their experience will be elaborated upon later.  For this reason
some degree of space to move about is desirable.

Proceeding to the a subjective domain, one finds some similarity between the
content of experiences elicited with ibogaine and those typical of harmaline,
although it is in this sphere, too, that the specificity of each becomes most
noticeable.  In broad terms, it can be said that archetypal contents and
animals are prominent among the visions produced by both, and the actions
involved in the plot of dreamlike sequences frequently involve destruction or

I spite of the similarity pointed out between ibogaine and harmaline, there
are specificities of the former that give it place of its own in
psychotherapy. Ibogaine elicits a less purely visual-symbolic experience than
harmaline. With no drug have I witnessed such frequent explosions of rage as
with this particular one, Aggression is a frequent theme in harmaline
experiences, but there it portrayed only in visual symbols. TMA, which has
been reported to release hostility, is in my experience characterized by a
delusional state where hostility is expressed more as paranoid thoughts than
as actual feelings.   With ibogaine, anger is not directed (I would say
transferred, in the psychoanalytic sense) to the present situation but,
rather, to persons or situations in the patient's past, toward whom and by
which it was originally aroused.  This is in accord with the general tendency
for the person under ibogaine to become concerned with childhood reminiscences
and fantasies.

The salience of animals, primitives, , sexual themes and aggression in
ibogaine, and harmaline experiences would justify regarding them as drugs that
bring out the instinctual side of the psyche. This stressing of
man-the-animal contrasts with the effect of the airy or ethereal
"psychedelics," which bring out man-the-god or man-the devil, and with man-
centered drugs like MDA or MMDA, which lead the person to focus on his
individuality and relation ship,with others.

Aside from differences in the quality of the quality of the ibogaine
experience, there are differences in content: a Iess purely archetypal
content, more childhood imagery, and certain themes that appear to be specific
to the mental state evoked by the alkaloid - notably fantasies of fountains,
tubes, and marshy creatures.  The reader will appreciate this specificity
throughout the clinical illustrations on the following pages.

The first case report that I am presenting consists of the description of a
complete session. The variety of episodes in it may serve as a condensed
panorama of the drug's possible  types of effects and lead us to a
consideration of how these may be pertinent to psychotherapy.

The subject of this illustration is physician in psychiatric training whose
interest in therapeutic encounter  arose out of a sense of lack of contact
with others and of not giving his whole being to his love life, his work, or
his doings in general."I feel that much in me is automatic and
that what I do is worthless," he said. "I would like my contact with others to
be more from center to center."

In preparation for the session with ibogaine, he had undergone four Gestalt
therapy sessions and complied with the request for a written autobiography.
Forty-five minutes after the ingestion, he reported a great relaxation and a
desire to lie down. He did so, folding his arms and legs and closing his eyes,
while he listened to a record that he had brought with him. Every note in the
music was clear and forceful in a way he had never heard before.

When he opened his eyes , he was surprised by the beauty and richness in
detail of objects in the room, which he had nor noticed before. Looking at
photographs in the Family of Man book, which lay next to the couch, he had
insights both into the significance of the scenes and into his own attitudes.
After this, he felt like lying down again, and when he closed his eyes he had
a fantasy of his father making faces as if in a game with a contented smile.
He commented that this how the expression of his father must have appeared to
him as a small boy. But then the expression turned
into a contortion of great rage. He visualized a naked woman with round hips
hiding her face with her arms, and then his father, also naked, falling upon
her to penetrate her. He sensed controlled rage in the woman, whom he now
identified as his mother.

I chose this sequence a starting point for a therapeutic procedure and asked
the subject to have these characters talks to each other. This is a means of
bringing out the latent content of the images, so that it becomes conscious
and explicit. "What does she say?"__ Go away."__"What does he feel?" He could
net imagine that. "Maybe perplexity,he suggested. This was an appropriate
moment to take another step in the same direction, that is, to unfold and
bring into the spheres of feeling and action the meaning that is packed in the
fantasy. "Be your father, now," I said. "Become him to the best of your
dramatic ability and hear what she has said to you." He now found himself able
to impersonate his father and felt, not perplexity, but great sorrow,
suffering, and anger in the face of rejection. He wrote down on the following
day: "I see my mother as hard, with no affection and afraid, and I no longer
regard my father as that insensitive being who hurts her with his love
affairs, but as somebody who wants to open the gate of her love without
succeeding. Yet I feel compassion toward my mother."

     There followed a fantasy of being licked by a lion, and then a lioness
bit his genitals off, leaving him as a lifeless doll. At his point, he left
the couch, walked around, went into the garden, where everything looked to him
"as it existed for the first time." He went back to the room, put Stravinsky's
The Rite of Spring on the record player, and                   
with the very first notes felt drawn to move, specifically his hands.

This is how he later describes the experience: "I gradually surrendered to the
rhythm so that I soon found my self dancing like someone possessed. I felt
balanced, expressive, and above all, myself. At one point, I saw myself in the
mirror and noticed a conventional movement of the hands which did not stem
from the music. I rejected it at once. When one side of the record was over, I
turned it over and went on dancing. I felt no fatigue, and movement gave me
great pleasure.

After the dancing, I proposed that we work on a dream, which I shalI not
describe, though it was important in giving him a greater sense of his own
worth.  Following the dream, he looked at family photographs that he had
brought along with him and which helped to clarify more of his relationship to
his father and mother. Four hours after the initial symptoms occurred, he felt
that much of the effect of the ibogaine had worn off. He talked to some
friends who came over. "Some faces I saw as very beautiful and expressive," he
reported later. "Others I saw as distant, fearful, and these did not show
their beauty, but hid it behind the fear." This perceptiveness of the masks
people wear, as he puts it, went on through the next day.

After the session, the subject felt that the experience had been valuable to
him in several ways.  After a month, he pointed out different aspects of his
life in which he sensed improvement. To one of these he refers in the
following terms.

     "A fineness of perception, a revelation of the true or genuine - a
knowledge that there are false and incomplete things in the world, human
attitudes that are not whole, experiences that are watered down, works that
are half-works. I now feel the need to go beyond this. And I acknowledge
aggression as a means of going beyond."

This may be the place to mention that, in spite of the subject's wish to
undergo the experience, he could have been described as a contented,
easygoing, passive viscerotonic, but now presents  himself more striving,
active, and firm.

Another benefit of the session he reports is a clarification of his family
relationships He now felt that he could see his parents as they really are; he
became aware of how "castrating" the relationship with his mother had been.

As a third gain from the experience, he cites the knowledge or awareness of
the body as a means of expression, as it became apparent to him in the
dancing, "It was important for me to know," he says, "that there are movements
of mine that are not mine but borrowed, used in view of ends, but not
emanating from an inner being." This awareness of a distinction between that
which stems from his "inner being" and that which is not really his seems to
be the same as that of the difference between what is genuine or not in other
domains, and which is the source of his new longing for greater depth in
experience, action, and relationships. It is also related to what he regards
as another area of progress, which is an enduring awareness of masks"__an
awareness of how faces are manipulated, and how behind the masks there is

Finally, the subject has discovered both a Iack in his experience of the
religious and the fact that what he used to regard as his religious problems
were only imaginary.

To this it must be added that the subject had been a devout and rather
proselytizing Catholic, raised in religious school, and a member of several
religious organizations. To persons who knew him well, and to myself, much of
his religiosity seemed conventional, and some problems which he labeled
"religious" involved the decision of accepting or rejecting a dogmatic
religious authority. It is noteworthy that his insight into the distinction
between such concepts of religion and religious experience proper was not
brought about by the discussion of his life and problems, but spontaneously
elicited while looking at the photographs in the "Family of Man" collection,
where he found one of a Buddhist monk, praying with true devotion
and another of a man kneeling out of Idolatrous respect for the religious

The session that I have briefly recounted shows a variety of situations which
have been sources of insight and therapeutic benefit: relaxing, dancing,
Iooking at objects and people, looking at photographs, acting out fantasies,
working on a dream, a guided reverie. All these are possible domains for self-
unfolding and discovery or for more elaborate psychotherapeutic procedures. In
the case of this particular person, we find that it is of his contact with the
external world that we can more appropriately speak in terms of self-
unfolding, Self-expression, self- discovery. In fact, his basic experience
was, in dancing, that of his own style and his own movements; looking at
external objects or persons led him to a discovery of the truth of things by
means of the use of his own eyes, whose functioning he had, in a way, been
holding in abeyance. The fantasy, however, had a different experiential
quality. The sexual scene where his mother rejects his father, or that of the
castrating lioness or the dream sequence, which I have omitted for the sake of
brevity, express his psychopathology rather at than his sanity and his
fragmented personality rather than his "self." Where life may be the best
psychotherapist in the moments when it is flowing at its natural, undistorted
rhythm, this is not the case in those moments when the person's sub-selves are
in conflict. It is here that the psychotherapist finds his proper element.
Here, his function - like that of the Eskimo
shaman - is that of finding lost souls. Accordingly, it is with the darker
side of the ibogaine experiences that most of this chapter will deal.

Yet before moving into that domain, we must consider the most typical form of
the ibogaine peak experience which is precisely the kind that the subject in
the illustration above did not display. Whereas in his case -probably due to
his being an extrovert-it was his contact with the external world that was
permeated with peak-experience
characteristics, for others it is the symbolic medium of imagery that reflects
such a quality, assuming forms of great beauty and significance or the half-
veiled meaningfulness of myth. This is the realm of archetypal experience, if
we take the expression in its more common meaning, which stresses the visual
medium of representation. Particularly from my experience in working with
ibogaine, though, I think that the essence of an archetype is not the visual
symbol but the experience that the latter conveys, and this experience may
just as well find a motoric form of expression (dance, rituals) as be
projected upon the perception of the external world. This was the case in our
patient's perception of things, "as if they had just been created," his
feeling of communication with the selfhood of other persons beyond their
masks, and, in Iooking at photographs, his proneness to see each gesture as a
symbol and embodiment of transcendent intention or on the contrary, as
remarkable for its meaninglessness. Whatever the validity of speaking of
archetypical perception, movement, thinking, or relating, as well as
archetypal imagining, the latter is a distinct psychological event which has
been part of the experience, either fleetingly or throughout much of the
session, of about half the persons that took ibogaine.