You hear of many different substances referred to as “the strongest psychedelic on the planet”, and while that moniker is subjective, 5-MeO-DMT is certainly in the running. Whether you are smoking the secretion of the Bufo alvarius Sonoran Desert Toad which contains 5-MeO-DMT , or the pure synthetic version, this “god molecule” is known to reliably grant an incredibly intense “ego-death” experience where one dissolves into unity with the totality of existence.
Aside from the intensity of the journey that 5-MeO-DMT provides, what makes it unique is the fact that it does not have a historical lineage of traditional use that we are aware of. Hence, modern practitioners are left with the challenge and opportunity of creating a new contemporary global tradition around 5-MeO-DMT and the Bufo alvarius toad. At the forefront of this movement to unify global practitioners, codify best practices, and nurture this burgeoning scene are Rak Razam and Mario Garnier, who are putting on the World Bufo Alvarius Congress (WBAC) later this month in Mexico City. We spoke recently with Rak and Mario about this event, its history, and why it’s important for the diverse 5-MeO community to coalesce and support each other.
Thank you for speaking with us, Mario and Rak. WBAC is coming up later this month in Mexico City. Can you share a little bit about the history of the event and the vision behind it?
Rak: The medicine of the Bufo alvarius toad may have a historical usage, but there are no existing lineages that have a connection to this medicine. Medical scientists have known about the toad since the 1950’s or so, and there has been very scant cultural usage of it with White Dog and the Church of the Toad in the 80’s in Arizona, but it hasn’t really reached a larger audience until recently. There’s been this resacralization of plant medicines and non-ordinary experiences in the West, starting back in the 1900’s with mescaline and eventually leading to the LSD psychedelic revolution in the 60’s, but that movement bringing mainstream awareness to altered states was smothered and sent underground by the imperialist, mechanistic worldview inherited by the West.
From the late 20th century onwards, this movement has continued with ayahuasca and a recognition of other plant medicines from existing lineages, which has culminated in the West in what I call the “shamanic resurgence.” From 2012 onwards, there have been a few key figures in the Bufo alvarius culture who have brought forth awareness of toad medicine back into the West, piggybacking in a way on the global ayahuasca movement. This medicine is perhaps the most powerful entheogen on the planet, and it’s coming at a time when we need a global awakening. We need a shift in consciousness to realize just who and what we are, our relationship to nature, and a recognition of the divine within—which is what “entheogen” means.
Toad medicine has come out of the Sonoran Desert in Mexico and up into Arizona, and there have been a few forefathers of this medicine, including some historical lineages in Sonora. These initial practitioners have switched on thousands of people, and thousands of practitioners now practice globally. Toad medicine is a key which has the potential to unlock an understanding of our divine nature. We reached a kind of critical mass around 2017, and I felt like it was time to have a global platform and focal point for the toad community.
I first met Mario Garnier in 2017 when he was working on a documentary about the toad and we’ve formed an alliance to recognize what we can do to support the global toad community. Around January 2018, we started working on this idea to have a gathering of the toad community, which came to be called the World Bufo Alvarius Congress—and I think it’s important to note the word “congress.” All around the world there are psychedelic conferences, but this is the only dedicated gathering specifically about Bufo alvarius and 5-MeO-DMT. A congress is a meeting of the people: not just a lecture series, actually something bigger than that. It’s not only academics and science-—it contains that, but it also contains the broader community of practitioners and shamans, and information on safe practices, ethics and guidelines, with the overarching goal of nurturing and supporting people who are interested in or working with the Bufo alvarius toad. And of course, supporting the toad itself with ethics and sustainability in mind.
We had our first event in 2018, a sold-out success, and this year promises to be the same and even more. We consider the toad medicine to be a global sacrament. It is indigenous to the Sonoran Desert, but unlike almost all other entheogenic medicines in the world, it doesn’t have an established lineage like the Shipibo with ayahuasca or the Mazatec with mushrooms in Mexico. It has potential, if it’s used in the right way with an ethical and sustainable approach, to be propagated throughout the global populace. So the feeling of the Bufo Nation is this sense that we are a global community working with the toad medicine for our own awakening, in conjunction with the global awakening.
Mario: Yes, and part of the mission of the event this year is to share that this is more than medicine, more than a tool. We have found a biotechnology that has the possibility to take humanity to the next level because this is a molecule that expands your consciousness. The problems that we are having in the world these days are due to a lack of consciousness, and we have found that this biotechnology helping your brain to have more consciousness has the potential to change humanity and mankind’s history. That’s part of our mission with this congress: to bring together scientists, doctors, shamans, and the whole community to gather, speak, and share in discussions and breakout groups. It’s not just lectures; it’s bringing people together so we can all learn from and support each other.
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