Bwiti - the Tradition of Iboga


Origins

Bwiti is both a cult of ancestors and a brotherhood that enable initiates to discover another spiritual aspect of the Universe, It can be seen as a science enabling a better understanding of the interrelation between the beyond and Earth.
Every Bwiti ceremony is an occasion for initiates to travel from the world of the living to the next; and enables both Initiates and their Ancestors to communicate. They reveal to initiates instinctively and through visions, their past, present and future, and also what action to take in protecting their own folks or treating sick persons.
Nowadays, a lot of tribes or ethnic groups are related to Bwiti, however the “Mitsogos” are best known to be the most ancient in that Cult of Ancestors. In the Bwiti; “Misoko” which was spread to many other tribes thanks to inter-ethnic marriages, traveling and local migrations. The Mitsogo had been a migrant Bantu Tribe that settled in the South of Gabon close to the pygmies who taught them. The pygmy tribes were the first inhabitants of Gabon and  the traditional name that was used to refer to them and still is “Babongo” which means “small people”. Nowadays, Babongo pygmies include both Apinzi and Mitsogo.
There is no tribe in Gabon named «Bwiti» or «Bwete».

Bwiti Branches

Download and listen to some indigenous music from Gabon played during Bwiti festivals:

The original branch of Bwiti is called «Disumba». The Apinzi Pigmies, who had introduced it to the Mitsogo, founded that branch. Disumba is seen as the mother and is the most mystical branch of Bwiti. It is a rite of passage strictly reserved for men and has a strong religious orientation based on the Cult of Ancestors. 
From Disumba came Bwiti N’Dea and Bwiti Misoko. The N’Dea can be seen as the martial branch of the Disumba and is very much similar to Bwiti Disumba; while, Bwiti Misoko is the branch that came with a therapeutic vocation. Bwiti Misoko initiates are meant to be « Nganga » (healers) unlike initiates of the Disumba.
Bwiti Misoko has many sub-branches, the most popular of which are the following:
Myobe : The oldest branch of Bwiti Misoko introduced by the Mitsogo Tribe.
Ngonde: There are two styles under Ngonde; « Ngonde Bosuka », the most ancient Ngonde that was created by the Tsogho tribe, and a more recent, « Ngonde na Dipuma » which is mostly known among the Puvi and Masangu tribes.
Senguedya: This branch came recently from the personal innovation of a Masangu bwitist who withdrew himself from Ngonde to create his own branch.
Mabundi: is the female branch in the Bwiti Misoko. That name as well refers to the female initiates and is also the name of the female’s dance in the Bwiti Misoko. One can say Mabundi is a derivation of « Mabandji ”, which is the female branch of the Disumba.
Since about 1910, there has been a Bwiti referred to as “Bwiti Fang” or “Mimbwiri”. That branch is a Bwiti of possession. It is a syncretism of Byeri, Disumba and Christianity (the colonial influence). It is actually the result of an adaptation of the original Bwiti Disumba, Fang cult of ancestors (Byeri) and the integration of Christian elements and concepts.

Ngonde Bosuka

Initiate’s Logical Progression
In order to become a Nima (Bwiti master), the neophyte must follow a typical progression from Banzi (Novice) to Nganga (Apprentice /Healer), Nganga to Kombo (Intermediate /Advanced Initiate) and Kombo to Nima (Master). There are several ritual stages before an initiate can become a Bwiti master. The temporal interval between two stages does not comply with any set period of time. This logical progression is variable from one initiate to another; however, it takes many years to be completed. Not all initiates become Masters.

The Future of Bwiti

Explanation of Neo-Bwiti. Neo-Bwiti Constituition

Tours/ Traditional initiations in Gabon

For tours to Gabon or if you are interested in a more traditional experience; it is possible to organise small groups to help share the costs. For more information please visit: Ngonde Tours

14 DAYS STANDARD INITIATION PACKAGE ITINERARY

 

 

DAY ONE: (Monday)

Arrival in Libreville

You will be received at the airport and  transferred to your hotel.

Overnight at Dorian hotel

 

DAY TWO (Tuesday)

Day spent in Libreville used to strengthen personal relationships with Mikodio and potentially to socialize with other people involved. Mikodio will take you to Libreville’s African market to buy some of the required items for your initiation.

Overnight at Dorian Hotel

 

DAY THREE (Wednesday)

Transfer to the Village in the Afternoon ( 3-4 hours drive)

Overnight at the Village

 

DAY FOUR (Thursday)

Initiation day . Early in the morning , all initiate will meet with you in the

 “Mbandja” (Temple) for a check up and breakfast before entering the forest where we will be going to call the spirits of forest, earth, water and humankind.

 

DAY FIVE (Friday)

Initiation in progress

Overnight in the village

 

DAY SIX (Saturday)

Overnight Outgoing Initiation ceremony (EDIKA)

 

DAY SEVEN (Sunday)

Back to earth and recovery

Overnight in the village

 

From DAY EIGHT (Monday- Friday)

You will remain 7 days further in the village surrounded by some initiates who will teach you basic steps and teachings to familiarize you more with Bwiti concepts which you can start applying on an optional bwiti ceremony called by you towards the end of your stay in the village at an extra cost.

 

DAY THIRTEEN ( Saturday)

You, as an initiate, can call for that Bwiti night dance to gather again all initiates and their energy and also consciously experience a bwiti ceremonial.

 

DAY FOURTEEN (Sunday)

End of Initiation journey.  Time to say goodbye.

Leaving the village to Libreville in the afternoon.

Overnight at Sunset Beach

 

The proposal above is not binding and may be subject to change due to adjustments to dates or circumstances. The Bwiti will give us its own pace in the Ever moment. 

 

 

INVOICE

 

DATE : 13/04/2010                                        

 

 

Désignation / Item

Prix Unitaire/ Unit Price

Quantité/ Quantity

SubTotal

CFA

SubTotal

EURO 

Hébergement/ Accomodation

Dorian Hotel

Sunset Beach 

 

60 000

50 000

 

2

1

 

120 000

  50 000

 

€185

        €75

Activité/ Activity 

 

BWITI INITIATION Fee 

 

INITIATION RELATED EXPENSES

Transport

Food

Beverage

Required initiation items

 

 

500 000

 

 

100 000

100 000

100 000

200 000

 

 

1

 

 

 

500 000

 

500 000

 

 

€750

 

€750

 

NGONDETOUR Handling Fee

 

 

 

 

100  000

 

€150

 

TOTAL

 

(Optional extra Bwiti ceremonial + €310)

 

 

 

 

1 270 000 

 

 

 

€ 1950 

 

 

 

Please note that the invoiced amount must be paid in local currency (CFA)

The amount in euro appears for information only.

A deposit of 50 % must be paid at least two months before arrival for booking and pre-arrangement purpose.

The balance must be paid at least one month before arrival for booking confirmation.

 

 


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