Ayahuasca, Eboka and similarities of language use in Akan and Bwiti Culture
February 2011

My attention has been led once again to ayahuasca and another psychoactive substance called eboka , this second one being an important component of initiation ceremonies carried out by the Fang people of Gabon. The religious ceremony and those who take part in it are both called "The Bwiti". The Bwiti itself in its original form was started by the Babongo, forest dwellers who were originally hunter-gatherers.

It seems to have become a fad these days to try ayahuasca and iboga/ibogaine, so much so that spiritual tourism to the Amazonian regions of south America to try out ayahuasca are now very popular. Ibogaine is said to have its spirit that is the custodian of the plant Tabernanthe iboga. Apparently some who have taken iboga have seen a very black man, the spirit of the plant.

Westerners have discovered that ibogaine can rewire the neural pathways, being effective at helping "cure" long time cocaine and heroine addicts. The scientists have no clue why it really works or exactly how it does so. 30 to 45 minutes after taking iboga (after the energy of the plant moves from the solar plexus up the spine), the drug addiction is...gone! Of course then there are the other visions and such. Many drug addicts who take iboga do not ever return to their drug use habits, while some don't go back for months. Talk about flushing out those toxins. I think it is illegal in the US to take ibogaine but not in Europe. In the US it is classified as a "schedule 1 drug" apparently because of the halucinogenic properties of the active substance although because it has "medicinal value" it doesn't quite fit this classification. The Bwiti shamans however say that it is not a hallucination but a visionary experience of a concrete nature, and there is a difference here. Those who take it go "journeying" for about 3 days, during which time some say they have been able to see the dead, some have out of body experiences while others have various experiences.

Some druggies say that they see a 'doorway' at the end of their trip. Moving through it ends their ordeal. Thus they get to face themselves.

The Bwiti in Gabon have been using this plant for their initiation ceremonies. The Babongo believe that eboka makes the spirit free to leave the body to journey to meet the spirits of animals and plants. Those who take the plant see themselves "as they really are, from the inside out. Days later you are reborn, cleansed". They know exactly which part of the plant to use, I guess this knowledge comes from the Spirits. The Bwiti call their deity Nzame/Zame (sounds very similar to the Akan 'Nyame'! And in fact they 'god of the underworld' is 'Nzame asi'!) There are many other correspondences between the two languages. There is a story of how this plant was brought to the Afrikan people. Through this plant and the initiation rites surrounding it, the people are able to keep in contact with their ancestors. They also use an Egyptian harp for their singing.

According to the Fang people, "Zame ye Mebege (the last of the creator gods) gave us Eboka. One day … he saw … the Pygmy Bitamu, high in an Atanga tree, gathering its fruit. He made him fall. He died, and Zame brought his spirit to him. Zame cut off the little fingers and the little toes of the cadaver of the Pygmy and planted them in various parts of the forest. They grew into the Eboka bush." [1]

There are parts of the human brain that certain psychoactive substances can activate, temporarily giving users of these substances access to experiences that an otherwise fully functional brain would have. I still support (as my preferred method) slow, step-by-step spiritual training that has the potential to gradually expand spiritual capacities. But at the moment I'm learning quite a bit about Bwiti, Gabon and the Afrikans for whom this is part of their traditions.

Bwiti words similar or identical in meaning to Akan equivalents:

BWITI------------ AKAN------------ ENGLISH

Zami Ase --------Nyame Ase--------- the god of the below
Zame Oyo ------ Nyame Osoro------- the god of the above
Nzi Eboka -------Odzi Eboka----------the eater of eboka
Nze/nzeng -------Di/Dzi---------------general hunger (Eating in Akan/Twi)

What these language similarities go to show is that although Afrikan groups separated by vast distances can have very different language structures, certain words that relate to basic functions such as eating or to such fundamental socio-cultural and religious functions (such as the role prayer plays in many indigenous societies) can share similar sounding words across these Afrikan cultures.

The final point I would like to emphasize is the importance of the spider in Akan and Gabon cultures. In Akan culture, the spider linked with Nyame (Nzame in central and southern Afrika) and is related to Oannes of Babylonian times who taught the Babylonians wisdom. Among the Akan, the spider is referred to as 'Ananse' and Ananse plays the same role among the Akan -- Ananse folktales/stories are meant to teach wisdom to the Akan people. Oannes is connected with Ea of the Babylonians, who is the same as Enki of the Sumerians. It is known from translations of Sumerian tablets that there were black people in the Near East at the location where the Sumerian and Babylonian cultures once existed. Their Sirian-Reptilian masters were at one time responsible for genetically engineering the black race. I have also shown in The Akan Book that the Akan people are descendants of Enki and his bunch of Sirian-Reptilians (and not only these, see section 7.4 of The Akan Book). It was this group of extraterrestrials who created (genetically engineered) 'Adapa' of the Epic of Gilgamesh saga. Among the Akan people, we have a word called 'Adepa' which means 'a thing that is good'.

[1] http://www.travellersgarden.com/productinfo.php?productmain=676

Mallendi Nzamba

Mallendi Nzamba, a comtemporary Bwiti medicine man from Gabon
(Photo credit: Documentary Ibogaine - Rite of Passage)