Is this psychedelic substance a real-world version of the Matrix’s “red pill”?

I first heard of ibogaine from Daniel Pinchbeck’s 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, even though he had previously written about it in Breaking Open the Head, which is still in my reading queue. He also talked about it in a 2003 Guardian article titled “Ten years of therapy in one night,” whose teaser reads: “Could a single trip on a piece of African rootbark help a junkie kick the habit? That was the claim in the 1960s, and now iboga is back in the spotlight. But is it a miracle cure? Daniel Pinchbeck decided to give it a go. And life, he says, will never be the same again.”

Now R.U. Sirius, the man who helped to break open my own head at the tender age of 18 when I started reading Reality Hackers, later to become Mondo 2000, later to morph, sort of, into Wired, has compared ibogaine to the wake-up pill offered by Morpheus to Neo:

Ibogaine is a hallucinogenic compound containing Iboga, a substance largely found in the African Tabernanthe Iboga root. It’s safe to say it’s the world’s least popular psychedelic substance. An Ibogaine trip lasts 36 hours and is understood to launch the deepest probe into personal psychological material available to humans on planet earth. A couple of hours into the experience, the Ibogaine tripper experiences an irresistible need to lie down and close her eyes. After than, (s)he will usually receive information — often experienced as though watching scenes on a giant screen — about all the accumulated traumatic events and the other types of awkward, uncomfortable, pathetic elements of personality and experience that the vulnerable human organism represses — partially or entirely — in order to “grow up” and maintain the socialized ego required by a complicated and competitive civilization.

What seems to emerge from these experiences is not a shipwrecked husk of a human being (as occasionally happened with LSD). It’s more like the tripper has undergone a very positive “extreme makeover” — but not one of a superficial sort. Indeed, many of those in the West who have had the opportunity (and need) to experience Ibogaine arrived at the experience as shipwrecked husks — they were drug addicts.


My sense is that most people would rather “work on themselves” for 40 years than be dragged in front of stark actuality — a terrifying something that we have no control over. So … will you take the red pill? Or will you take the blue pill … “you wake up in bed and believe whatever you want to believe” … for a long, extended time?

Full story at Red Ice Creations.

About Matt Cardin


Posted on September 23, 2011, in Psychology & Consciousness and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. A better candidate for a red pill is ayahuasca, and its primary active constituent, DMT. If the doors it opens are entries to real places (however you define “real”), that’s equivalent to discovering an underlying but mostly invisible matrix, per the film. Ibogaine seems to be more useful for personal/ancestral insight and analysis, which explains some of its efficacy in ending addictions.

    • I actually agree with you, Michael, despite my attempt to create a catchy post title by referring to ibogaine as the possible red pill. DMT is, for me, the most fascinating substance and subject in the psychedelic world right now, although psilocybin is making admirable strides in that direction thanks to, e.g., the recent Johns Hopkins research.

      • Ibogaine makes DMT look like Kool-Aid. DMT will safely take you someplace unfamiliar for a few minutes, or a few hours, depending how you take it. Yaeee, look at the pretty colors, weeeee. If you think anything like that is coming with Ibo, you are in for a dangerous shocker.

        Ibogaine will make you confront some really emotional things in your history in which you have no control. It can make you see and feel the pain you caused others. If you have a demon, you are going to confront it. The feeling is like drinking a whole bottle of whiskey while huffing gasoline. Very unpleasant feeling. There is a lot of vomit, you cant move because you feel something like altitude sickness and vertigo. It is the most powerful, and the most miserable drug I have ever taken. I do not want to take it again.

        I will say with absolute certainty that it is the cure to opiate addiction. Anyone who says otherwise does not understand Ibogaine, nor the word ‘cure’. I took it to get off the methadone, and it achieved that on both a physical and emotional level. Damn right it worked. For months after, for the first time in my life, I felt complete. I was absolutely sure that my life was about now and tomorrow, and the past did not decide my future. We can all repeat that a million times, and it means nothing. To actually feel it in my whole being completely changed who I am. It is amazing stuff.

  2. The “shipwreck” factor is definitely there with LSD

  3. Cut post. Continuing….

    The shipwreck thing can come about in many ways, but the main ones I’ve noticed are: massive de-repression of traumatic memories, Insight attainments I wasn’t ready for (leading to the Dark Night, and incredibly unskillful behavior if it isn’t consciously recognized and dealt with, as anyone reading my emails and posts knows), and recklessness with set & setting. But then again, the first two don’t have to be a problem if the tripper has the right support and practices some kind of spiritual discipline. This ain’t raver/hippie shit we’re talking about…

    Speaking of which, I wonder what would have happened to Burroughs if he’d gotten hold of iboga ? In the Yage Letters he mentions morphing into a black woman in the ayahuasca trance, and there’s definitely an unconscious feminine element in some of his earlier prose works, a dark, wrathful, knife in teeth kind of single motherhood, perhaps…

  4. italreadymiddecade

    I wonder if anyone takes this DMT and finds out how to get out of here and back into reality. I only hear reports where people have an experience, but experience for what? Because I know people who took DMT for decades and is still living here, bothering the whole neighborhood.

  5. Thisisadifficultsubject

    I have recently taken LSD and twice I have had a reoccurring dream almost aligning its self with the matrix. A red pill Blue Pill scenario and I want to know what it means because I know it’s not just “another trip” It has happened more than once and I need to know why. It goes like this, I am above almost as a cloud and upon looking down I see Idiots, Drunks, And Just uneducated people. The last time it was more like we were all herded into a group like cows, and given drugs to combat our sense of reality. If anyone can help me decipher this dream/vision it would be great.

  6. is anyone aware of a way to overcome the “shipwreck” state after a strong LSD trip? i am experiencing this for years now and have (stupidly?) refused to look for conventional help or therapy, because i somwehow think this would only scratch the surface and also would not help me out on a spiritual level, or am i just ignorant?
    to describe my state a little more, the analogy of having the blue pill and the red pill intus at the same time is expressing it really good. i feel drawn between the to since years and haven’t found a way i can live with. job, money, society, everything is forcing me to surpress this struggle but i feel something has to happen. am i just arrived in the philosophical issue of mankind? every conversation about this gives me hope, be it only in textform in the net. i am glad i found this page and the article with “blue pill red pill lsd” in a searchengine. thanks

    • embrace it brother embrace it

      don’t be afraid of it

      search for it and see it, it has no merit in this world. its a concept like science and religion an idea. and does not explain reality only complicates it.

      get off your high horse brother

      and live

      and search

      and see it


  7. I have done more than most , In terms of I have actually hacked it you won’t believe me but then thats understandable. If you are a of a certain disposition or still very aware when you are tripping you will sense and know that this is played out. Yes this will freak you out but it will anyone and make you not kind of believe it or push it aside. Obviously this kind of info is fucking rare and you will all go bollocks but then thats natural. Tripping can give you insights into collective feelings/scenarios that are gathering and morph then become readable. You can then read the people and see where they or how they are going to react. You can actually see the immediate future but it isn’t really that great as if you’re off you’re head you can play with it as you might if you are tripping. I suppose it is mainly due to time and the spatial situation but I think it has to end there as it can turn bad due to getting above yourself.Yes you can see the future but its probably not meant to be played with. I do regret what I discovered and yes it did affect me as no one knows and doesn’t really divulge anything like i have 100 percent witnessed.

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