In May 2021 I participated in both a Kambo Cleanse and Bufo Ceremony with Sapo Sayulita and was very happy with my experience. I’ve decided to share about my experience to help others decide if these types of indigenous medicines would be helpful for them. If you’re considering trying Kambo or Bufo Alvarius I recommend Sapo Sayulita whole heartedly. I felt safe and in good hands throughout the entire experience.
How I was Called to try Bufo (5-MeO-DMT)
March 2021 was when I first heard about Bufo Alvarius after a friend did a ceremony with Sapo Sayulita. I had always been interested in trying Ayahuasca to help with my anxiety but hadn’t had the opportunity to try it, so when I heard that Bufo ceremonies were being offered in Sayulita my curiosity grew. Ayahuasca made me nervous because it can last over six hours. The thought of having a bad trip that lasted that long scared me. Bufo Alvarius is much stronger than Ayahuasca but lasts for 20 minutes or less.
The only insight my friend was able to offer after his Bufo trip was, “I can’t explain it.” So I knew I had to dive in myself if I was going to find out. After my Bufo Ceremony I now understand his response, it’s so hard to put the experience into words. I brought a notebook with me to my ceremony and wrote in real time about what was happening. Having those notes to look back on has been very helpful to articulate what it was like.
Note: there has not been a lot of scientific research done on either Kambo or Bufo (5-MeO-DMT). Funding doesn’t really exist for indigenous medicine, its mostly cast aside as myths in the mainstream. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, what I have to share with you is my firsthand experience. I hope that in the future both Kambo and Bufo Alvarius can be professionally studied and used to help people with ptsd, anxiety, and depression. Studies are finally beginning to take place with drugs like MDMA and Psilocybin (mushrooms) and showing great promise.
Bufo (5-MeO-DMT) is the most powerful hallucinogenic known to man, it’s 4-6 times stronger than DMT. Bufo is derived from the Bufo Alvarius Toad also known as the Colorado River Toad. The secretions are collected from the toad and dried to form a powder which is then smoked from a pipe. Bufo has many uses by indigenous tribes but the main being: to connect with the divine power, heal from both physical and mental suffering, and to prepare the dying for death.
After using Bufo many report “ego-death,” profound understanding of life, healing of PTSD, anxiety, and depression. The most common reaction to Bufo is a state of Samadhi, or divine bliss. This is when the ego and mind are dissolved.
Bufo is usually done in a group setting and located outdoors in nature. Forming a bond with others that are interested in this type of spiritual growth is a beautiful dynamic. There were six people in my group. Setting and comfort are a vital part of this experience. Feeling safe and secure in such a vulnerable state is so important. I’m grateful Sapo Sayulita provided that for me.
How to Prepare for a Bufo Ceremony
To intensify the effects of Bufo and have a more profound experience it’s recommended to do a Temezcal ceremony, Kambo cleanse, or both beforehand. The week before also requires abstaining from alcohol, drugs, sex, red meat, processed foods, excessive fats and sugars. It’s crucial to prepare your mind and body by being healthy.
Why do Temezcal or Kambo first?
To detox the body of toxins and enter the Bufo experience with a clear mind. During a Temezcal ceremony you sweat all of the toxins and bad energy out of your body. It’s common to have a powerful emotional release during the ceremony as your mind and body endure intense heat. A similar release (more intense in my opinion) happens during a Kambo ceremony by a different method. In a Kambo cleanse the body purges out toxins and emotional pain.
I tried both methods, however I was unable to achieve an emotional release during my Temezcal ceremony. I didn’t get hot enough/sweat enough. This is because I was by the door during the ceremony due to my low blood pressure, it was a safety concern. Learn more about Temezcal ceremonies here. After an unsuccessful Temezcal ceremony, I opted to do the Kambo cleanse last minute on the morning of my Bufo ceremony. I wanted to do the experience properly since I’ll likely only do it once in my life.
I have done the Kambo cleanse twice, a total of 4 burns. I will only be discussing my first time and I’m not going to get into personal details. My purpose in sharing this experience is to give readers a general idea of what to expect. Note: my two experiences were quite different from each other. With that being said, just as no two ceremonies are the same, no two people will have the same experience.
Kambo is poison derived from the Amazonian leaf frog, it’s applied to an open wound by burning the skin and applying it as a powder. The goal is to cleanse the mind, body, and spirit. Kambo is not a hallucinogen but can bring intense mental clarity. This can feel like being on an hallucinogen or other mind altering substance for some. This experience will vary from person to person and depends so much on your mindset at the time.
What happens when you take Kambo?
Kambo poison runs through the body’s lymphatic system quickly searching for toxicity plaguing the mind. The pharmacological effects are extreme nausea, facial swelling, intense vomiting, palpitations and hypotension. The time frame of the effects is dependent on how many burns you receive and where they’re placed. I received two burns and the physical sensations lasted about 30 minutes, the mental clarity lasted for days.
Why would anyone want to do that to themselves?!
I had the same question and actually had no desire to participate in Kambo until an hour before. I was going to skip it and go straight to the Bufo ceremony. After talking with one of the shamans I realized that the Bufo experience would likely be more meaningful if I were able to let go of and understand some things first. I was told the Kambo would help me do this. Admittedly I was a skeptic, but I can tell you now, it worked for me.
How to Prepare for Kambo
•Water water water. You must drink 2-4 liters of water right beforehand.
•Fasting. Fast for almost a full day other than small amounts of fruit. The idea is to vomit only water and Kambo.
•Have an intention.
•Be ready and willing to face whatever emotions may come up during this process.
What happened when I did it?
When in the right mindset and setting Kambo provides a profound look within your own mind. That is what happened for me.
My ceremony was held in the jungle of Sayulita in the morning light. There were two shamans, the event organizer, and about six staff members that were experienced spiritual guides. The guides played music during the process (guitar, bongo drums, flutes, vocals) this helps bring a lot of comfort to the situation. Yes, this is all a very “hippy” process, I’m aware it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Five people did the Kambo at the same time as me in their own space. Palm woven mats were provided in shaded areas with a bucket. A good friend was next to me but in her own space so we could have our own experience, however it was still nice to know she was right there.
First I felt very light headed like I was going to faint. Next I focused on taking deep breaths and keeping myself calm. My whole body began to heat up and my throat started to swell as if I was having an allergic reaction (this happens to everyone). The only way to rid myself of the physical pain I started to feel was to purge. So I put myself in a comfortable position and prepared myself to vomit into the bucket. I sipped water which was helpful, the extreme nausea forced it to come right back up. Once I started to puke I felt better and rested on my side. With my face swollen I was unable to open my eyes, I felt completely enraptured inside of my mind.
Although I had set an intention for the pain I wanted to detox myself of, I was open to letting my mind go wherever it wanted to go. This is important. I do believe setting an intention is a vital part of this process even though it may not end up being where your mind goes. The Kambo will lead your mind to where it needs to go if you let it. I found during my second time with Kambo that if you do not let your mind go where it wants to you will find yourself in more physical pain.
With my eyes swelled shut I found myself hearing and seeing significant moments from my past like watching a movie. I then fell so deep into emotional pain and reflection that I couldn’t stop crying, it overpowered me. You know the type of crying that happens with your whole body? It was that kind of deep crying.
The shaman saw that I was having an internal struggle and came to my side with a couple guides. I couldn’t open my eyes but they were all there with me. One person held my hand, another sang softly, the smell of copal calmed me. They assured me that it was going to be okay and that the medicine was helping me heal the pain I was holding on to. It was time to let it go.
I continued to throw up a couple more times while my thoughts started to narrow in on key factors that had clearly been the cause of lifelong emotional pain and anxiety. As I laid there the thoughts went even deeper. I started to think about ancestral pain that I carried. Realizations started to become so clear. The same things that had caused me so much pain also caused my parents pain, and their parents, and so on. Personal memories from my childhood continued to play through my mind, some on a loop. I was powerless to my thoughts at this point, all I could do was lay there and try to understand what it all meant.
Once I started to come back to reality and stop crying I felt so much relief. It was an “ah-ha” moment filled with so many realizations. I realized really big things about why I am the way I am and do the things I do, even why the last couple years played out the way they did. I described it to a friend as, “years of psychotherapy in 30 minutes.” In talk therapy the goal is for the therapist to get to know you and your past, then hopefully identify what is causing you emotional pain so you can heal. I’ve been through years of psychotherapy, I see this as a method to figure that out all on your own. You already know yourself and your past, this is a way to become more aware of yourself on a deeper level. Of course there are other ways than throwing up in the jungle but, hey, it worked for me.
The Bufo Experience
Before I stepped up to take my turn I was given a preparatory medicine called Rapé (pronounced rah-pay) used to calm the mind. I had already tried it the night before at the Temezcal ceremony so I knew that it had a major grounding effect on me.
Rapé (Rah- Pay)
Rapé has been used for thousands of years among many different cultures. The Amazonian snuff is a powder made up of natural tobacco, various herbs, and Amazonian tree bark ashes. This prep process is a critical component to assist participants in grounding themselves, connecting with the earth, and relieving any excess tension.
I’ll warn you the application is uncomfortable. Rapé is blown up the nose with a pipe called a “Tepi.” Admittedly I don’t enjoy the application at all but I knew the discomfort was worth the calming effects I needed before this huge experience. Rapé was a very necessary part of the process for me, an instantaneous rush of clarity and peace to the mind. I have now tried Rapé four times, each time the natural medicine takes away all of my anxiety and completely clears my mind.
My Personal Ceremony
I chose to be the second person in the ceremony group to have my turn. That way I didn’t give myself the opportunity to chicken out or set any expectations based on others. I sat down on a padded mat in the shade with sun leaking through palm trees above me. Spiritual guides surrounded me playing instruments and burning copal, it felt like a safe space of no judgement. Two shamans prepared the Bufo in a very large glass pipe, it was time.
Then the shaman asked, “are you ready?”
I replied, “no, but I’m gonna do it anyway.”
I inhaled as much smoke as I could but couldn’t even ingest the full hit. Remember, I had been fasting for over a day at this point. Plus being a small human I knew I didn’t need that much. “More, more, more” I heard the shaman saying. I shook my head as I tried to hold it in without coughing. I knew I couldn’t inhale anymore as fear completely took over.
Don’t Question It
In that moment I did what you should NEVER do. Learn from my mistake. I thought, “What am I doing? Why did I do this?” Then went into sheer panic mode. Don’t do that. I still shake my head thinking about the fact that I almost put myself into a bad trip. You can’t question it, you just have to let it be, as with all hallucinogenics or edibles.
So like I said from the beginning, what happened next feels impossible to put into words, but I tried. If you are serious about trying Bufo (5-MeO-DMT) I would skip reading about my trip below because you shouldn’t set expectations for what you will see and feel. If you’ll likely never try it or you’ve already done it… then read on if you’re curious what my trip was like. Again, if you’re seriously planning to try Bufo, skip ahead to my “final thoughts” section so you don’t skew your experience by basing it on mine.
Here is the excerpt from my notebook that I wrote immediately after my trip. I was still in the moment when I wrote this so I’m not sure how much sense it will make to the average person…
Immediately as I inhale I feel it go straight to my head. Everything happening around me sounds far away like echoes. I’m still sitting up with the pipe right in front of me wondering if I need more. I start to see geometric shapes everywhere coming at me like a kaleidoscope. The shapes are transparent, I can still see the shaman in front of me, the jungle surrounds me, the sky feels like it’s coming down on me. The guides surround me and watch with curiosity wondering if I’m feeling it yet. Am I still here?
I feel light headed, I think I’m surely going to pass out or throw up. Hands hold my head assisting me to lay down, but I still don’t feel ready for what is definitely already happening to me. My soul is trying to leave my body and my brain is saying “no no no.” I’m not sure if I’m actually saying “no” out loud but I’m certainly making some sort of sound. Then I start to cry as I realize I’m no longer in control of my body, I can see myself as it’s happening now. It felt like total acceptance of death and surrender to a higher energy.
Leaving the body
I see myself trembling and crying. The sound of the shaman spinning pendulums attached to strings pierces loudly, it’s all I can hear. The sound is a high vibration humming that radiates through me. As the sound is happening everything goes white and I’m not “me” anymore. There’s flashes of colors and shapes I’ve never seen before and I am within them, not just watching. The colorful shapes change and move in all directions before becoming thousands of moving white triangles. Then everything goes white again for a brief moment and I dissolve into it.
The geometric shapes return and begin to mutate into colorful shapes of godlike characters that resemble statues I saw in temples of SE Asia and indigenous artwork. The “faces” are never clear they continue to change and move into different shapes and colors. It feels to me as if it’s a massive energy force or god(s) trying to communicate with me. Not in words, in feelings. I am not just watching, I am within these shapes, it’s very difficult to explain. I try to hold onto this feeling for as long as I can. Blissfully I am in another dimension where life as we know it doesn’t exist, only my soul.
The visions start to fade and I try to stay there in that space, I don’t want to leave. Now I can hear the shamans and guides singing. I am holding the hands of both shamans, one on each side of me. I’m squeezing their hands because I know they have been keeping me safe throughout this journey. A woman is fanning me with copal smoke. I hear voices telling me I am safe, to remember where we all come from, and that we are all one. Voices echo words of love as I start to crack my eyes to see the sun shining through the tall palm trees above me.
I can’t put into words what I am feeling at this moment. I’m overwhelmed with emotions as the profound realization that I exist in such a small realm of the universe hits me. Our reality is truly only one of many. Physically I start to feel my body again and tears are streaming down my face. I’m now laughing and smiling feeling so much love around me. Thankful I experienced something so much bigger than I can even explain I’m exclaiming “What the fu*k” and my whole body is tingling. The guides start laughing with me and holding me as I come back to earth still streaming tears of happiness. We all rejoice together in the moment. Gratitude is contagious for both giving and receiving the chance to feel at one with the universe.
This was by far the most intense experience of my life, a day I will never ever forget. Kambo and Bufo were very different experiences from each other. Kambo is a journey within your own mind, Bufo is a journey bigger than yourself.
My best short description of the Bufo trip is that it felt like dying and coming back to life. For that reason I believe Kambo and Bufo go hand in hand. If you don’t gain the personal clarity that Kambo can provide, can you come back feeling any different after “dying?” Sure. But for me personally I don’t know if it would have changed my mindset as significantly without the Kambo clarity. However, if you’re someone that’s at a point where you’re emotionally healed and not holding on to any pain then maybe Kambo isn’t necessary and you can skip straight to Bufo.
- This is not an experience for everyone. It’s up to you to decide if you fit the profile of someone that’s ready for Bufo.
- I don’t think it’s something that anyone should do “just for fun.” One should have an intention for trying such a powerful hallucinogenic if they want to have a profound experience. A Bufo Ceremony is about rebirth and understanding your own spirituality as well as your place in the universe… bigger concepts than just to “trip out.”
- In my opinion the right candidate must be interested in spiritual growth and actively working on knowing who they are on a deeper level.
- Do not try Kambo or Bufo if you are in a bad mental state. This will greatly impact your experience and has high potential for a bad trip that can be scarring.
- Individuals with a history of psychosis shouldn’t use any hallucinogenics.
- SSRI’s are a contraindication to Bufo. Always check with the shaman and event organizer about any medications you’re taking and your health history.
- This is not a “fix-all” cure. I was able to figure out where my emotional pain stems from and better understand my place in the universe, yes huge concepts, but it doesn’t mean I was magically healed. That’s not how it works.
- This is only the beginning of a bigger spiritual growth process that’s different for everyone. For me this whole thing has actually been extremely difficult to process, especially after the excitement wore off. SO, are you at a point in your life where you are ready to face all of your own sh*t? That should be the first question you ask yourself before making a decision to try Bufo or Kambo. You must be ready to face your past, understand your present, and change the path of your future self.
Trying Bufo for Yourself
If you are interested in participating in a Bufo Ceremony in Sayulita, contact Sapo Sayulita. The team at Sapo Sayulita is happy to assist you with any questions. It may also be helpful to set up a personal consultation if you are unsure rather you’re the right candidate for Kambo or Bufo. If you’re looking to do more research about Bufo (5-MeO-DMT) I found this article to be very informative.