#27 Iboganautics is the podcast on iboga

Hey everyone, just finished Eric Nuzum’s book, Make Noise: A Creator’s Guide to Podcasting and Great Audio Storytelling. I might be new to podcasting, but I learned how to learn over the years. Ok, not sure if I said this before here or somewhere in my stream of consciousness archives pre AMhouot.com, so apologies if I’m restating this analogy: I believe our minds are like smartphones and every chunk of information regardless of its medium (e.g. audiobooks, books, articles, podcasts, blogs, etc.) is like a downloadable app. Over the last few days, I made Nuzum’s ideas my own because I want to accelerate my learning of podcasting and honing my craft. 

Cover of Eric Nuzum's book on podcasting called Make Noise.

I originally heard of Nuzum and his book on Buzzsprout’s podcast (my podcast host provider). I read a much shorter, and in my opinion not as well prepared/written, book on podcasting from a famous podcaster in the field of entrepreneurship. However, Nuzum’s background alone sold me on his book: he started the podcast division at NPR (National Public Radio), then moved to Amazon’s Audible audiobook company, finally starting his own podcast production company. Done. I listened to the audiobook version and took notes in Evernote while he spoke. There were many things I took away from his book. One of them was that you can teach skills, but you cannot teach attitude. Podcasting skills are what I need, and I’ll get there by downloading books like Nuzum’s and getting on-the-job training. I just need to do it to know how to do it. It’ll take time and I’m willing to put in the effort because I believe my podcast and the guests I’ll bring on will give much value to people seeking information about all things iboga. 

The next really important concept I took away from the book was his idea of the 10-word description. More like a one-sentence elevator pitch to explain to people what the show is about and why they should listen, I changed my description from the one I had during my first three interviews. I was saying: “Welcome to Iboganautics. I’m your host, AM. This is the place to learn everything there is to know about iboga, one of the most powerful psychedelics in the world.” I like it, it’s good, it tells you what my podcast is about. But it’s too long. And I thought it would become kitschy after a while. Also, I don’t factor in why you should listen. Actually, who are you, my listener? This is what I had to put a bit more thought into. I realized that the listener is me, or rather was me when I was researching iboga before I put it into my body. Any new experience can be scary, yet we all know from previous experiences that it’s never as bad as we make it out to be. I want my new description to communicate that Iboganautics is a podcast primarily for first-timers who are in “research mode,” vacuuming all information about the experience prior to their first ingestion. As well, I want my guests and topics to be interesting to intermediate users and even iboga shamans/guides/healers. My new description for the podcast is as follows: “Iboganautics: Unveiling the iboga experience for first-timers and shamans alike.” For more information about the podcast, please visit the official Iboganautics podcast page up above (see it up there at the top of this page?). And if you’re reading this Nuzum, I’m curious what you think about my new description. I like it, but considering you wrote the book on this I’m sure you’ll have a comment or two. Without further ado, I will deconstruct my 10-word max podcast description that Nuzum details. 

The word Iboganautics is a spin on the word psychonaut and psychonautics. Psychonaut means “the psychedelic astronaut, explorer of the inner cosmos” and was coined by the German philosopher Ernst Jünger (Sjöstedt-H, n.d.). Psychonaut can also mean “sailor of the mind” or “navigator of the psyche” (Blom, 2010, 434). Blom says psychonaut can be any sailor/navigator of the mind/psyche using any means, psychedelics being only one of them. The question I have is this: if Jünger coined the phrase psychonaut, then did practitioners of other mind-navigating techniques appropriate the term to encompass any and all forms of altered states of consciousness? If you know, please leave a comment below. Obviously, I knew of the term psychonaut, which isn’t a far jump to psychonautics, which leads to Iboganautics, considering I began this project in January knowing full well that my podcast would be called Iboganautics. What I didn’t know was that psychedelic researcher, Jonathan Ott, is given credit for coining the word psychonautics, which means “(the art of) ‘sailing the mind’ or ‘navigating the psyche’” (Blom, 2010, 434). In a psychedelic context, we can interpret this to mean the art of psychedelic users sailing the intoxicated mind or navigating the intoxicated psyche. It seems fitting then, even confirmatory retrospectively contemplating it now, that Iboganautics would refer to a very narrow audience in the psychedelic community: prospective and recurrent iboga users, and the information gleaned from such a podcast would educate listeners on a wide range of topics within this very niche topic. 

I chose the word unveiling to communicate an unconcealment, a disclosure, exposure, discovery, or demystifying vibe. As well, the classic term in psychedelia, veil, is communicated, thus, I aim through my podcast to lift the veil of iboga experiences. Iboga experience, yes, need to communicate that in my description. First-timers and shamans I describe above. I think my description communicates exactly what I want to get across: an interview-based podcast wherein the host (me) and expert guests have a conversation that is educational, informative, and engaging. Important: I’m not advocating people take iboga, but we all know that people will whether they listen to my podcast or not. I just want to put information out there that helps people and that will steer my research in new ways and make me think of things I hadn’t considered. I’m just as much the student as my listeners. Additionally, I want to raise awareness of responsible and sustainable iboga use, as discussed on my Iboganautics podcast page.

Finally, Nuzum grills his listeners (e.g. up-and-coming podcasters) to think about the What, Who, and Why of podcasting. This inspired me to painstakingly articulate my “grand why” or grand narrative to the entire AMhouot.com brand in addition to my standalone subprojects—Stream of Consciousness blog and Iboganautics podcast—that feed into my greater vision. Accordingly, I rewrote my Homepage and the webpages for SOC blog and Iboganautics. I clearly explicate what I’m doing, who I am and who I envision my listeners to be, and why I produce blog posts and podcasts. 

The lesson for today’s post is that everything is changing, evolving, and will continue to do so. As new things come up, I’ll change parts of my website, adjust here, tweak there, and I imagine things will look a lot different than what they are now. 

Blom, J. D. (2010). A Dictionary of Hallucinations. New York, NY: Springer Science & Business Media.

Nuzum, E. (2019). Make Noise: A Creator’s Guide to Podcasting and Great Audio Storytelling [Audiobook – Unabridged]. Dreamscape Media, LLC. 

Sjöstedt-H, P. (n.d.). The Psychedelic Influence on Philosophy. Published on HighExistence.com. Retrieved, March 22, 2020, from https://highexistence.com/hidden-psychedelic-influence-philosophy-plato-nietzsche-psychonauts-thoughts/

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