Dissolution into the White Light with Bufo Alvarius (5-MeO-DMT)


By Craig Marshall, UK

My first experience with DMT came as part of a much larger personal process working with plant medicines – primarily ayahuasca. Below is my first experience with Bufo Alvarius/5MeO-DMT. The subsequent encounters have been even more powerful and all entirely unique.  

I had a lot of experience with psychedelics before it, though I’m not sure I could say they helped prepare me for this particular experience, or if anything can prepare you for it. I am still very much on my journey of inner healing with ayahuasca and other plant medicines but this experience in particular taught me something special.  

The only reason I’m able to describe the experience in the amount of detail that I can is because the whole event was filmed as part of a documentary project my friend and I were working on at the time. We had both sat with ayahuasca twice before with a different retreat team, but found ourselves back on the Balearic island of Palma a few months later with a separate group of facilitators – a shaman and shamana together with a small team who formed a group with the intention of liberating people from the suffering of the repressed emotional trauma accumulated over the course of years spent living in the darkness.  

They call themselves Ayahuasca Plantas Sagradas and operate across Europe, combining shamanic techniques with modern psychotherapy, and influenced heavily by the works of Carl Jung, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Carlos Castenada. This was a perfect match for me and my previous experience and understanding of psychedelics and their impact on the psyche.

Looking back now, its clear to me that neither of us had any idea of the scale of the project or the inner journeys of emotional exploration and release that we had embarked on.

I first witnessed my friend smoke Bufo Alvarius

I watched my friend, Jamie, smoke Bufo Alvarius on our first retreat and I will never forget the expression I witnessed on his face. Ever. It was dumbstruck, innocent… transformed, childlike, terrified! These emotions were all visibly occurring simultaneously on his face and in his mind as he repeatedly asked [himself?] if he was dead.

He then stated suddenly and with perfect purpose, “The secret of life and the universe is…” but then lost himself, trailing off again in the wonder of his new discovery before he could share it with the rest of us. We never did find out this most treasured of secrets. I watch this particular piece of footage often. 

At my third ayahuasca retreat, I too was ready for Bufo Alvarius

It wasn’t until our third retreat of ayahuasca [with kambo] that I felt the moment was right for me to experience this profound medicine for myself.

The dense white smoke began to fill the chamber of the glass pipe as Antonio [our shaman] held the blowtorch lighter beneath the sprinkling of crystalised flakes of Bufo Alvarius. I emptied my lungs and slowly drew in as much of the smoke as I could.

When I couldn’t inhale any more, I felt the hand of the shamana, Mariela, come across my nose and mouth to stop me coughing and accidentally releasing the medicine before it had worked its way into my body. Antonio began heating the rest of the Bufo crystals for my second inhalation, but with this being my first encounter with this molecule, a single inhalation was by far enough… or perhaps this was just my unconscious wish to retain some semblance of control. 

I was overwhelmed by pure and brilliant white light 

With my lungs full I immediately began to feel the effects. I was quickly overwhelmed by the most pure and brilliant sensation of white light. This ‘feeling’ wasn’t just confined to a closed-eye visual kind of bright white light. This was the actual experience of white light. It was in every cell of my body. It was everything and everywhere. Put simply… It Was [capital I, capital W].

It was vibrating in my cells, causing my entire body to hum as if were an instrument being played as it was intended for the very first time. The vibrating hum intertwined with this new level of white light awareness, which only sought to amplify its significance and intensity. It felt as if the experience was increasing in its power with each second by a factor of infinity to the power of infinity, ∞∞, until they merged into a single uber-experience of orgasmic creation.

My concept of reality, of myself and of everything I had considered to be existence up until that point in my life vanished… and all that was left was the truth. I felt that this white light of energy and vibration is all there is and ever has or will be.  

The only comparison I can possibly attempt to make for this is that of dying; of simply and suddenly not being anymore, compared to what I had previously considered as being. This was the universal and original mode of consciousness.

Every day reality is a single entry in the cosmic encyclopaedia

I was now aware that normal waking reality - what we all think we know as human existence - is only a pin prick in the truth and totality of the universe, time and space. I now knew that human experience is only a drop in the ocean – a single entry in the cosmic encyclopaedia of different modes of conscious experience or existence.  

This was a ground-shattering and humbling revelation: that the human condition (as I have come to know it) through the five senses, typically lasting 70-80 years and through the very specific lens of a focused-attention kind of awareness, is minuscule; it is of almost inconsequential relevance in the grand scheme of what is the truth.

Imagine for a second everything that you think you know of the world/nature/the universe. Imagine everything that has ever happened or possibly could happen based on our current understanding and assumptions of nature. Now consider that all of that - all that you could possible comprehend in the universe - is actually only the equivalent of a single atom and that the true reality which you never even knew existed is actually as big as the universe.

That is the best description I can muster for this new revelatory truth I had become aware of… and yet on reflection this description doesn’t even begin to capture how this experience really felt

A fundamental shift occurred within me

Understanding this has created a fundamental shift within me; a kind of comforting assurance of the futility of what I had previously viewed as my own mortality. Health anxieties and fear of death have subsided. My sense of ego and of being at war with the world has lessened to almost zero.

So, looking back to the dissolution of myself, and what I can only assume to be what those uber-experienced psychonauts refer to as ‘ego death’… as this dissolving into nothingness occurred, with it went all of the masks, barriers and worries that I had accumulated during my life.  

All concerns and worries about what people might think of me and all the notions of not being ‘good enough’ that I had absorbed since I was born (or had been imposed on me by others) simply vanished. All of the things that prevent and limit the self-expression of human potential were lifted. I started to let out an involuntary groaning of release, which must have sounded pretty sexual in nature {and probably amusing) to the others in the group, who were stood watching my rebirth unfold.

Next came a release of pain and anger, followed by laughter

It was at this point that Mariela must have sensed that I was on the precipice of releasing this blockage of self-imposed limitation, and she began pressing deeply and pretty forcefully into my solar plexus. As I stood swaying, and not at all conscious of the auditory exorcism that was being released, the groans turned very sharply into screams of anguish, of pain and anger.

A flood of repressed emotion was being released from my solar plexus via my throat and out through my mouth in a way that was definitely not of my doing, nor under my control. This was happening at the request of my unconscious mind, with the nurturing support of someone highly experienced in the healing of the human condition.

After about 60 seconds of this continuous involuntary screaming at the absolute top volume my body was capable of, the screams melted organically into hysterical and uproarious laughter. This was simultaneously a deep and lighthearted childlike laughter arising from my newly liberated solar plexus.

I had returned to an entirely new reality  

I had returned from the realm of non-existence to an entirely new reality and a new body. I was lighter, refreshed and invigorated with a sense of childlike wonder. Mariela and I turned to each other at the same time and she gave me the most wholesome and nourishing embrace. At that moment she was the embodiment of divine feminine energy and I felt truly blessed to be in her presence and to be alive, surrounded by nature on that Mallorcan finca. 

I became progressively more aware of the rest of the team around us as they were softly singing and shaking rattles, and I felt their pure intentions directed towards me. This was a group of healers, I realised at that moment, whose sole intention was the healing and liberation of repressed emotions in individuals who are courageous enough to put their faith in them and embark on the process of healing the suffering in their lives.

A Tibetan bowl and grounding in nature completed the experience

Almost entirely back in my body, but by no means returned to a state of normality, I lay on the floor and Mariela placed a large brass Tibetan singing bowl on my chest and began to evoke utterly otherworldly vibratory tones. Again, vibration penetrated every cell of my body and I felt a vague notion of nausea, which quickly passed without purge.

My friend Joanna, who is also part of the team of facilitators at APS, suggested that I take off my socks and shoes and go for a walk among the olive trees; she suggested that I really dig my bare feet into the earth and feel the connection with pachamama.

This was an incredibly emotional and moving experience and something I still do often. In fact, this experience of connection with the earth was so profound that it warrants its own story for the emotions and sense of utter oneness that it gave birth to within me. I will be forever grateful to Joanna for suggesting this to me, as this has sent my life on an amazing new path of working in symbiosis with nature for the benefit of human psychological health.

To conclude, Bufo Alvarius has given me a glimpse into the bigger truth of reality - an insight that has had a long lasting, soothing effect on my outlook on life. This experience (together with my ongoing ayahuasca journey) has shown me something truly important: that unexpressed and repressed emotional blockages manifesting themselves in negative or destructive ways in our lives can be liberated, and when this happens, the consequences are profound and life changing.