Our staff at the Iboga Wellness Center have been healed and trained by a Bwiti shaman from Gabon, Africa. Many of us have been initiated into the Bwiti tradition through the full initiation ceremony in Gabon. These ceremonies are very intense and are only truly undergone by those who are living the path of Iboga.
We bring these traditions to our practice at the Iboga Wellness Center in a softer form while still holding the spirit of the medicine in the highest regard. Our ceremonies are carried out with the utmost safety, care and attention to our guests and each of their individual needs.
Since our work with Iboga began, we have had the privilege of leading over 300 Bwiti Iboga Ceremonies and guiding hundreds of guests to begin to reconnect to their soul. We do this with an unwavering passion and dedication to helping people heal.
Levi BarkerLevi is a former tech entrepreneur who has been working on himself with the aid of iboga & other plant medicines for the last 13+ years. Since being a young boy Levi has always felt drawn to helping bring out the best in people. After training for a 7 year period while managing his businesses Levi listened to his soul & dedicated himself fully to iboga. Levi spent 7 years taking the medicine and learning the tradition before ever serving another person medicine.
Levi directs the retreats and the teachings in an easy to digest way, understanding the most of us need to simplify our life rather than complicate it. Levi believes when we get down to the core truths of life and nature, the answers are very simple.
After many years of struggling with varying substances, decisions, and blame from difficult early childhood years, Levi was able to take control of his life with iboga guiding his own inner wisdom.
Levi has been through many of the same things guest come to IWC looking to solve. Having had to go to the depths himself makes Levi also plays mongongo and is learning the Bwiti harp.
Gary CookGary is the founder of Iboga Wellness Center. In 2011, when his son Jeff came to him asking for help with a serious opiate addiction, he began searching for a long term solution. With some background working with plant medicines, he was drawn to Iboga and in 2012, they both went to an Iboga facility, Iboga House in Costa Rica. Gary was able to witness the transformation from his son‘s Iboga treatment and was truly inspired by that experience. While he was there to support his son, Gary was also there to experience Iboga for himself. Having been a spiritual seeker for many years, he finally found the answers he‘d been seeking in the Bwiti tradition.
Gary immediately began training to work with Iboga. He seized the opportunity to train with a shaman from Gabon where people know Iboga and it is part of their culture. At the end of the summer of 2012, he completed his training along with his Bwiti brother, Brad. He and Brad began working at Iboga House, performing Bwiti ceremonies while the shaman returned to Gabon. In February 2013, Gary traveled to Gabon, received his full initiation, and became an honorary part of the Missoko Bwiti tribe. Later that year, he returned to Gabon to complete his second level initiation and received the knowledge that came with that experience. Gary became the director of Iboga House and gained valuable experience leading ceremonies in 2013. In 2016, he returned to Gabon a third time and was recognized by the tribe as a Nima, an honored elder.
Shortly after taking Iboga the first time, he realized that he wasn‘t happy doing what he was doing and started to envision an Iboga center that he would create. In 2014, Gary started Iboga Wellness Center along with the help of many good friends. He manifested what he had envisioned utilizing all of his experience and resources. Over time, the center has grown slowly and has become a smooth safe haven for people who are sincere about wanting to understand themselves.
Prior to working with Iboga, Gary was an entrepreneur and self-taught software engineer. He started two successful tech companies and was able to retire from the sale of his second company. He holds 5 patents in information technology. Some of his software has been highly recognized. He was involved in the early development of what we now call the internet and the personal computer.
Mark FristoeMark first discovered the medicine in March 2013 after struggling for years with depression, anxiety, anger, addictions, self-destructive behaviors, and physical pain. Seeing the profound change in himself, he immediately fell in love with the Bwiti tradition and the iboga spirit. Over the next few years Mark participated in many more iboga ceremonies, allowing him to deepen his relationship with himself and with iboga. After much time integrating these teachings into his life, Mark began training full time to become an iboga provider in August 2016. He traveled to Gabon Africa in December 2016 where he was initiated into the Bwiti tradition. Mark has a deep love for the medicine and the Bwiti tradition and is dedicated to helping others heal.
Chelsey DickensChelsey came to iboga in September 2016 as her last resort, seeking freedom from heroin and meth addiction, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and psychiatric medication dependency. After experiencing the medicine she had a deep, profound shift within herself that enabled her to change the direction of her life. It quickly became clear to her that she had found her life’s calling, helping people with the beautiful medicine that helped her save her life. Chelsey travelled to Gabon Africa in December 2016 to be initiated into the Bwiti tradition and began training to be an iboga provider the following April. During her training, Chelsey has continued to grow in her relationship with herself and with the medicine. She is very grateful for the opportunity to train with iboga and passionate about helping others climb out of their darkness and discover the beauty within.
Kali MedinaKali is a wonderful, kind, and caring person. A native of Nicaragua, she embodies the warmth and love of her people. She has used Iboga through ceremony to improve her own life, and to strengthen her relationship with her partner, Levi. She has been working at Iboga Wellness for the past 3 years, providing aftercare and participating in our Bwiti ceremonies. Kali has become an integral part of the care that we provide.
Deena CookDeena (who is not related to Gary Cook) was introduced to Iboga in 2012 when she underwent treatment to heal her from the drugs prescribed to her by her psychiatrist. Iboga worked really well for her and she turned her life around. She‘s gained great experience working with the medicine in Canada. Deena always brings her beautiful smile with her.
She is also a very skilled writer and journalist. She manages our social media as well as produces our monthly newsletters. She combines her skill as a writer with her passion for working with the medicine to produce beautiful and useful writings that so many have found to be helpful.
Nick PalmisanoNick Palmisano left his physical body on Dec 28, 2018 due to complications with malaria. Nick‘s spirit will continue on through ceremony and the beautiful energy he left with us at Iboga Wellness Center. Nick was a very special human being who helped 100‘s of people through their journeys at IWC. We are deeply saddened that he is gone. IWC will honor Nick by carrying on in this most special work and continue to help those wanting to improve their life. We love you Nick, you meant more to us than words can convey. We will stay connected to you in spirit and your teachings will live on. Nima na kombo di ngana bokaye, diboti hermano.
In 2014, Nick‘s life had been dwindling away from heroin and drug addiction. He remembered reading about Ibogaine several years earlier and had a strong intuition that it would be an effective treatment for his addiction. After listening to his intuition, he checked into an Ibogaine detox facility and started his new life from there. Nick then spent an additional two years back in the United States learning about himself and working in the corporate world. Eventually, in 2015, his intuition started telling him it was time to work with this medicine. He then relocated to work for an Ibogaine clinic in Mexico where he would be trained as a Transformational Recovery Coach and a manager for an Ibogaine aftercare house. In July 2017, Nick had been connected to the Iboga Wellness Center. Again, listening to his intuition, he followed the plant‘s call and came down to experience the full spirit of Iboga. The connection that was made was so strong; he felt no choice but to begin training as an Iboga provider.