Where to start? To tell you the truth, I don’t know. I just meditated for 45 minutes before sitting down to write this article, but I still don’t know what to write. Yesterday, Saturday April 10th, I participated in a “Bufo Alvarius” ceremony (considered the most powerful entheogen currently known) and my life just changed forever.
Before doing the experiment, I had quickly read up on it and remembered a comment by Mike Tyson about how he felt. I remember thinking that he was probably overreacting. Now I know what he was trying to tell us and I know what I am trying to tell you.
I came across this thing called the toad. I smoked this medicine, drug, whatever you want to call it, and I’ve never been the same. I look at life differently, I look at people differently. It’s almost like dying and being reborn. It’s inconceivable. I tried to explain it to some people, to my wife, I don’t have the words to explain it. It’s almost like you’re dying, you’re submissive, you’re humble, you’re vulnerable — but you’re invincible still in all.Mike Tyson (on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in 2019)
Bufo Alvarius Experience : instructions for use
To overcome this “blank page” that I am facing, I propose to start by simply explaining what this ceremony is about.
In the Sonora desert (Mexico), a toad named bufo alvarius or incilius alvariu contains in its body 5-MeO-DMT, a very powerful hallucinogen. A single dose of 10 to 50 mg of this substance, taken in the form of inhaling smoke from a glass pipette when burning crystals, produces unlimited hallucinogenic experiences within a second of inhalation, lasting an average of 20 minutes.
The vast majority of people report mystical experiences, many “see God,” others experience a sense of sacredness, oneness with the surrounding world, deep positivity and understanding of profound truths about reality and equanimity, and many often feel a better understanding of their place in the world. Shortly after the effects, participants tend to be fully lucid and return 100% to their previous ordinary state.
A recent European study showed that after a single use, the substance 5-MeO-DMT produced a lasting improvement in life satisfaction and relief from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
When you are ready, the experience will present itself to you
For those of you new to my blog, let me give you a little background. In October 2019, I was ejected from my own startup (80 employees / 10 years of existence) overnight by my own (majority) shareholder. At the time, it was the most painful and traumatic experience of my long life as an entrepreneur.
I had no idea that, 17 months later, I would realize that this would ultimately be the best thing that ever happened to me in my life. So thanks to you, my former majority shareholder 🙂
The next day, however, with no job, emails or meetings, I quickly panicked at the emptiness around me. To avoid sinking, I decided to meet as many people as possible to open my horizons and “see other things”. One video on Linkedin later, and here I am with “100 coffee proposals with a stranger” to honor.
These coffees made me realize how much I had forgotten to dream, how much my life as a Parisian entrepreneur had disconnected me from the essential, namely “being happy”. In the week of my 35th birthday (early December 2019), I made a list of 100 dreams to achieve before I die and defined 6 energy levels (physical, nutrition, spiritual, sex, breathing and sleep) on which I was going to dedicate all my time and energy.
All this to tell you that my “spiritual journey” started almost 2 years ago. And it started very strong with a 10-Days Vipasanna silence retreat and the tour of New Zealand alone by bike. At the same time I have consumed many books on the subject and have set out on a quest to do all the experiences that come my way, like “doing a BreathWork workshop”. Of course, testing ayahuasca, kambo, mushroom and bufo are on the todo-list.
Once again we find the importance of “telling the world about your dreams” (that’s why we created timeleft.com). A friend of mine saw that I wanted to do a “Bufo Alvarius Experience”, so she shared the flyer with me and I just had to say yes.
A 3-hour ceremony in 4 steps
The ceremony was organized by Saposayulita, represented by Brandon, perfect in his role of organizer. We were 15 people to leave from the center of Sayulita to reach the house on the beach. 30 min later, we arrived directly in the atmosphere with a magnificent view over the ocean and a guitarist playing shamanic songs.
Brandon explains us the process (in 4 steps) and warns us that it will last about 3 hours. I must admit that I panicked when I imagined staying that long in the sun (bald people don’t like the sun!).
We quickly get to know Stephy and Axel, the two shamans who will accompany us throughout this spiritual adventure.
1/ Give your intentions (why are you here?)
I’m thinking of doing a dedicated newsletter on the subject because this seems to me the most important point. If your intentions are not good, you might have a bad time. And I can confirm that, considering the power of the experience, it is better not to go on a bad trip.
Of the 15 people present, each one lived the experience in a completely different way. Some went far away, others stayed grounded. Some had revelations, others just moments of euphoria. Some ended up in a much better “state of mind” than when they arrived, others it was very complicated. It all starts with the intention: “Why are you here? What are you looking for? What are you hoping for?”
I like to give the analogy of a NOS TURBO (for those who don’t have the reference), installed in your mind, connected to every cell in your body. Your intention is the steering wheel. When you take the substance (or press the turbo), all your cells will be accelerated in the direction of your intention. As in real life, once you’re going full speed, it becomes difficult to control and the smallest grain of sand can send you into the ditch.
Personally, I came with positive energy and a lot of good mood. As soon as I arrived in the house, I felt I was in the right place at the right time. My intention was: “I would like to reconnect with my body, with my spirit, with my soul. I know I am not alone in this body. I wish to be unified for a moment.”
2/ The rapé experience
Nicotine is best known in our modern world for being a nasty substance, but for many indigenous cultures, tobacco is a sacred plant known to purify both individuals and ceremonial spaces. Such is the case with Rapé (pronounced “ha-peh”), a very potent and purifying snuff used by shamans in Brazil and Peru in important medicinal rituals.
Rapé is taken before Bufo to help you relax and sharpen your mind. The shaman explains that it also helps to get rid of bad energy in preparation for setting an intention (see previous chapter) and detoxifies the body and mind and cleanses your energy field.
In a way, it is the ideal preliminary.
Personnellement, je ne m’attendais pas à avoir de la poudre injectée aussi violemment dans mes narines, d’où ma réaction (voir vidéo). J’ai suivi les instructions de Brandon qui consistait à tout garder dans les narines (donc ne pas renifler) quelques minutes, avant de tout évacuer. Sur le coup, cela m’a fait aussi penser à des vieux souvenirs et j’ai moyennement apprécié. Mais en ouvrant les yeux, je suis revenu à mes intentions positives et le Rapé a commencé à faire effet.
Personally, I did not expect to have powder injected so strongly in my nostrils, hence my reaction (see video). I followed Brandon’s instructions which consisted in keeping everything in my nostrils (therefore not sniffing) for a few minutes, before evacuating everything. At the time, this also reminded me of old memories and I didn’t like it. But when I opened my eyes, I came back to my positive intentions and the Rapé started to work.
Result: excitement and a little euphoria for 10 minutes under the Mexican sun
3/ The Bufo Alvarius experience.
My “Bufo” experience will take place in 4 phases instead of 2. Why? Because I didn’t do it right the first time by not inhaling enough smoke. As a result, I felt moderate effects and I remained “conscious” throughout the first trip. Let me explain it all to you.
Phase 1: first non-conclusive test
I offer myself as a volunteer to be the first to test. Axel prepares the glass pipe with the substance in the form of crystals inside. During this time, I calm down in my head and recite my intentions. He positions himself in front of me and re-explains to me what I have to do: empty my lungs completely, then inhale as much as I can by small puff, while keeping the maximum of smoke inside my lungs.
I do my best, but the stress (of taking too much surely) makes me cough and I don’t do it properly. One aspiration, a second, three, four and here comes the fifth. I feel myself going away as if I was turning into a cloud. Axel sees this and takes the pipe away to start his shamanic incantations.
This drug is so powerful (I’ll find out later) that even when taken the wrong way or halfway, it sends you far away. In less than 3 seconds after my last puff of smoke, I feel my body relax, as if I was floating in a cloud.
A flush of warmth comes over me, I take off my shirt. I feel so good, like all the problems and stresses of life have evaporated around me. Brandon lays me down to relax as much as possible and the rest of the team surrounds me, each in their own role, to make this experience an unforgettable one.
I feel myself leaving but not completely. I remember to keep the notion of space and people around me. I know where who is and more importantly, where I am. Seeing that the experience is going to be much less “high” than expected, I relax and enjoy the trip.
10 minutes later, the effects are dissipated. I find myself on my knees in front of this ocean as far as the eye can see, I completely let go of my emotions.
Phase 2: Tears of joy and hugs to myself
I will burst into tears for the next 20 minutes. Tears of joy, tears of caring for myself. As with my Breathwork experiences, this reconnects me with my body and helps me realize that I am not alone because my mind is connected to my body and vice versa. So there are two of us traveling through this impermanent life.
So if there are two of us, then I’m not alone.
Sitting on the edge of the garden, with the view overlooking the ocean, I will take the time to process all of this, with warm tears that will not stop flowing down my face. I hug myself, feeling my hands along my arms, perfectly connected to the moment.
I finally realize that I will never be alone again, that I will never have this feeling of loneliness that has been so painful for so long. I am finally beginning to understand things that I have read or that people have tried to explain to me (thank you Seb, thank you Thomas). You have to start by loving yourself before you can receive love from someone, before you can give love. Because at the beginning as at the end, there is only you.
This quest for spirituality shows me how, living in these big cities like Paris, we are disconnected from what really matters, as if anaesthetized by everyday life. When you are in the wheel, spinning like a rabbit (I was there for 18 years…), you have the impression that it is normal, that everything is fine. We don’t realize the flow of negative energy that surrounds us, that we are unconsciously fighting against the current every day, whether we want to or not.
I think it’s a pity that we have to live somewhere else to realize this and that we have to go through these old experiences to get answers to our questions.
Phase 3: immediate take-off for a parallel universe
After my experience, it was the turn of an American and a Mexican. At the sight of their completely unreal reactions, I quickly understood that we had not smoked in the pipe in the same way.
As the day draws to a close, two of the 15 participants remain doubtful about our experience. I speak openly about it with the shaman. He suggests me to try the experience again.
I sit down in front of him. He explains me again how to do it. I simulate the action. He tells me it’s okay. We can go back. Having less fear of the effect, I concentrate to inhale the maximum of smoke possible in my lungs. I smoke about ten times, when suddenly…
I am literally thrown out of my body. Exactly like the Hulk in Avengers Endgame when he meets The Ancient One (if you don’t get the reference). Just like in the movie, my physical body is stretched out all over the floor while my mind is at the same height, slightly backwards.
After having exchanged with the other participants, it is surely the only thing we all have in common: “I have no words to explain what I have just experienced”. What I am going to try to describe to you in writing today will be far from what I have felt. You have to live it to believe it.
I found myself outside of my body or rather, I would like to say, that I became my soul for a moment, floating above the ground, surrounded by a parallel world of bright and intense colors. The sensation is unspeakable because it is the first time I feel that. I found myself conscious but “without my body”.
I remember exchanging with the shaman by thought. He smiled at me and understood what I wanted to say without having to speak. His face was particularly clear and his eyes sparkled with life. He welcomed me into this parallel world and explained to me that everything was going to be fine for me.
Then I moved in the air towards the ocean, wondering if this was “real life” after all. Then I had a slight fear that came up: “what if I get stuck here?” That’s when I heard my heartbeat. In a subtle way then very intensely. I saw my body calling my soul back to him. Little by little, I recovered sensations like the ground under my legs or the sun on my skin.
I lay on the floor for 20 minutes, completely inert, but in my mind it lasted a few seconds. I will take my time to recover my senses and take in what I just experienced. Clearly, the most intense experience of my life, without any comparison.
4/ Share your feelings
As in many spiritual experiences, the day ends with a “circle” where everyone can freely express their feelings and emotions. There is a palpable positive energy between us, as if we were a tight-knit family, protected by a bubble of caring.
I won’t share with you what others have said, but I can guarantee that for all the participants, there is a “before” and an “after” this day. Seeing that another world exists, getting out of your body or confronting your greatest fears, it necessarily raises you spiritually.
>> Whatever the experience, the most important thing will always be your intention.
>> Do not ask yourself too many questions, when the time comes, the experience will present itself to you.
>> Before working on your spirituality, I recommend that you stabilize your first energy levels. There is a logical order (in my opinion) to respect: breathing > sleep > nutrition > physical > sex > spirituality
>> Do your experiment in good conditions, surrounded by positive people and supervised by serious people on the subject.
And for the rest, I will be happy to exchange with you (here)