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WBAC Warning Statements about conduct of Octavio Rettig & Gerry Sandoval

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Toad medicine ceremonies with Dr Octavio Rettig

At WBAC 2018 a panel discussion talked about Bufo Alvarius Facilitators' Ethics and Code of Conduct and discussed these crucial issues, including some of the controversial practices utilized by Dr. Rettig in his ceremonies. Most commentators disagreed with Dr. Rettig on the following aspects of his practice, as outlined on his website: Toad Medicine ceremony - OTAC-Bufo Alvarius - Dr. Octavio Rettig Hinojosa

Toad medicine ceremony with Dr Octavio Rettig

All participants should be aware of and agree with the following conditions. Please be informed that during the Toad Medicine ceremony, Dr Octavio Rettig:

• Might pour water on a participants face or in a participants mouth to stimulate a breathing or swallowing response.
• Can administer very small electrical shocks with a toy to keep a participant from lying down during the peak of the ceremony.
• Will blow rapé up a participants nose right after the peak of the experience.

The webpage says also: “All these actions have been carefully tested and have proven their unique value as a part of the neo shamanistic rituals that Dr Rettig developed while working with the toad medicine. They have significantly increased
the results and improved the wellbeing of participants during and after the ceremonies.”

To our knowledge, there is no evidence about reported benefits of use of those practices.

Nevertheless, experience of those techniques in the ceremony held by Dr Rettig have shown to have some risks, in some cases resulting in life-threating events, serious injuries, even in death (especially use of rapé and water as recent reports indicate). Participants have also reported it unnecessarily disturbed or cut off their experience with toad and reduced the potential beneficial effect they could get from it. Those techniques might also be forced and used non-consensually. Moreover, there have been reports and videos of other practices by Dr. Rettig:

- Rapé administered during the toad experience itself when people are not consciously controlling their body
- Participants being left on their own during or after the experience
- Informed consent rarely provided before the experience
- Water poured in the participants nose
- Physical and psychological violence

It is the belief of WBAC that these aforementioned practices are unethical, dangerous and should not be used in this way in ceremony. There is the danger of physical harm, death, emotional and psychological trauma and other mental health issues, and issues around lack of consent by people under the influence of the medicine when these techniques are used. Those practices
are also widely recognized as unacceptable in the ethical guidelines of any kind of therapy or healing (ranging from shamanic practice to modern health care).

We also want to make clear, that some of those practices might be beneficial when used responsibly, which is not always the case of ceremonies done by Dr Rettig who is using them in the excessive amounts (rapé , water).

Conversations around Dr. Rettig’s controversial practices have been ongoing for some time online, and recent reports of the death of a Mexican woman from Leon, Guanajuato, in her 40s who aspirated due to the application of rapé and water, and reports another near death in Europe from the same techniques in ceremony, have led us to believe that a line needs to be drawn in the sand for the safety of the community at large.

We ask the global toad community and all future participants to choose their practitioners well, to be fully informed of the risks of the medicine and ceremony, and to support ethical practices that nurture, not harm, those partaking of the sacred toad
medicine and more widely all psychedelics. For more information on best practices and integration, see: Best Practices for 5-MeO-DMT by the Conclave — Aware Project


Yes, to be honest there aren't any known lineage for Bufo 5 meo dmt. I know some say the Seri tribe might ahave use it in older times ( and use it again now wince Octavio introduce it back there amonst this mexican poeple, but its good thing since lot of poeple were turning to meth or heroin pretty badly ).

What I gathered too is some poeple do'nt react well and even may stop breathing so usually the practitionner pour water on the face to promote a reflex of breathing again.

I know both of the Bufo "superstar" if there is such thing, so Gerardo Sandoval and Octavio Rettig have been both praised from some of their participants but have had their integrity, safety, or behavior towards poeple around them, questionned.

They are maybe pionneer of doing such ceremonies too. Som e did smoke the toad before them, but didn't start to make it a full time job.
All I want to say, is, when you are famous, and get to work with thousands of poeple, I imagine you'll get loved as well as hated.
But I think alos the noteriety makes their ceremony quite pricey, or a lot more than some others, so it might be wise to do this with other practitionner. I know many from, some of them are women.
I did myself have had my first experience with someone who learnt it himself form Octavio and were form the same place.
But what I didn't like was, he too was in my face and I felt it went into my experience, and after, all I thought was, it is quite mind blowing and the afterglow is one of the greatest I had, so I knew I'll have to do it again without practitioner.
Which I did and at least it didn't bother me.
I hear also lot of questionnable practices for iboga ceremonies in gabon. I think there is like a local "culture" that doesn't often or really line up with our expectations, or even, what we would call respectful practices.

Choose you practitionner carefully. take time for that.
One of the things that irks me about Octavio's conduct is this:

Conversations around Dr. Rettig’s controversial practices have been ongoing for some time online, and recent reports of the death of a Mexican woman from Leon, Guanajuato, in her 40s who aspirated due to the application of rapé and water, and reports another near death in Europe from the same techniques in ceremony, have led us to believe that a line needs to be drawn in the sand for the safety of the community at large.

...these are completely avoidable deaths. Having experienced Bufo myself on a few different occasions, it is quite sufficiently powerful enough on its own, and adding rapé into the mix is not only completely unnecessary, it is also dangerous (a good friend had a Bufo and rape experience with Octavio, and he found that the addition of the rape in no way added anything positive to the experience). Octavio has been flagged on his strange and unnecessary practices on numerous occasions, and he seems to have a complete inability to self reflect on them. Even the two aforementioned deaths...due not to people's physiological reaction to Bufo, but the way it was administered by him with the rape and water...worryingly don't seem sufficient to inform him that clearly his practices are deeply flawed and dangerous.
More here:

Malpractice allegations statements on Bufo alvarius facilitators Octavio Rettig and Gerry Sandoval by WBAC

The philosophy of the Beyond Psychedelics initiative and subsequently also our main event, the Global Multidisciplinary Forum BP18, is to provide a platform for an open and out-of-the box discussion. We aspire to facilitate the exchange of both scientific knowledge and practical experience and we encourage innovative discussion.

One practical implication of trying to hold on to such philosophy is that we try to invite speakers based mainly on their ability to present coherent models and reasonable arguments. Their opinions or ideas don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizing institutions. Sometimes, they are also perceived as fringe and unreasonable by mainstream society. Given the uniqueness and efficacy of psychedelic states, any attempt to debate the topic openly will have to include and share space with controversial positions and persons.

It will always be difficult to decide and moderate which speaker or practitioner should receive more attention than others. Although we do not wish to change our open attitude, we are becoming aware of the fact that the desired discussion did not always take place to a satisfying extent and by providing space for some personas we are seen as indirectly supporting the malpractices conducted by them. It is even more difficult to deal with allegations that two of our guests has been somehow involved in criminal activity or unethical practice.

There have been ongoing concerns and repeated reports of malpractice in connection to two facilitators of psychedelic experience, namely Octavio Rettig and Gerry Sandoval. The substance most connected to their practice is 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamin (5-Meo-DMT), extracted from the gland secretions of the Bufo alvarius toad.

To stay aligned with our philosophy and keep with the ideal of open discussion, we are now sharing the other side of the story, as communicated by the World Bufo Alvarius Congress (WBAC) which has dealt with a similar situation (see below).

We want to emphasize that the practices addressed by WBAC are serious transgressions of the ethical codexes of many current health care, human rights, and in some cases legislative authorities.
We want to make clear that current statements are not addressing the safety profile of the secretion from glands of Bufo alvarius toad, nor 5-MeO-DMT. Although anecdotal evidence so far suggests that similarly as other tryptamine psychedelics, also those aforementioned might be relatively safe when administered in the carefully controlled setting (including exclusion of the possible contraindications), this cannot be stated with the sufficient reliability until the rigorous studies will be done.

At the same time, we wish to remind all explorers of altered states of consciousness of the importance of study, caution, patience and diligence when putting oneself in the hands of any facilitator.

Neither is it our intention to flatly discredit the whole work of Octavio Rettig and Gerry Sandoval, but only to disclose and inform the wider public about the allegations of malpractice conducted by these facilitators.

Following texts originally appeared at WBAC webpage.


Statement on the Removal of Dr. Gerry Sandoval

Over the time the voices of opposition to our offering of time to Dr. Gerry Sandoval as a speaker and panelist at the World Bufo Alvarius Congress (WBAC) has been undeniable. The primary focus of WBAC is that of a Congress, a place for notable members of the Bufo community to gather, speak and learn, without preferential treatment.

Our initial intention was to allow Gerry, and the community, an opportunity to express opinions and grievances in a way that would hopefully bring about a change in what is seen by many as extremely irresponsible facilitation practices. The loud opposition did not fall on deaf ears. While we had hoped to give rise to a dialogue on good and bad practices–with all facilitators–recent information has been presented to us by concerned parties regarding the behavior of Gerry Sandoval that if true, goes beyond bad practices with the medicine and amounts to grievous criminal acts.

Our intention to hold space for an exchange of valuable information is further undermined by the real possibility that victims of such acts may be further traumatized when exposed to such a confrontational setting. Therefore, we have revoked his invitation to attend, speak or participate in any way at WBAC. This decision was not taken lightly, as this is a medicine of unity, and we had hoped to be agents of change in a meaningful way. In general, we have instituted a “No Naming, No Shaming” policy when discussing facilitators and their practices as the best way to approach issues that are coming up in the community. However, in this instance it is now clear, more than ever, that Gerry Sandoval’s inclusion is inappropriate and being misunderstood as unilateral support, which it was not. The Congress is not a vehicle for the approval of Gerry Sandoval’s actions.
We will now be taking some time in the WBAC programming schedule to offer a space for those who feel harmed by any facilitator, to express themselves in a moderated dialogue so that we as the community can be honest and transparent about our traumas, to unify and to heal.

It is not the intention of WBAC to promote, condone, or reprehend individual Bufo facilitators, but rather to assemble the global Bufo community to bring about a safe space for dialogue on issues such as best practices, duty of care, ethics, sustainability and the like, in a way that can hopefully transcend politics and online aggression.


"A line in the sand needs to drawn"

NO!! A very clear and unbreachable barrier to this type of behavior must be put in place. I for one support legal action against Rettig and Sandoval for everything from tax evasion to murder.

Unfortunately they have a built-in protection in that they are supplying illegal drugs which leaves the possibility open for their victims to be included in any legal action. Very few of them would out themselves and risk persecution, damage to professional life etc. Let's hope that that action won't have to be undertaken by the family of someone they go too far with

Good on the WABC. I feel that this issue of abuse is the most important one in the community, and any apologist conversation needs to be steered towards a understanding that all is not well.

If it was just Rettig, that would be egregious but the fact is that there are many, many of these "toad practitioners" out there along with self-made "healers" using all sorts of psychedelic drugs who are nothing more than ego driven hucksters. A very sad part is that many like Octavio and Gerry actually think they are doing good. There were guys at Auschwitz who thought they were doing good too. (Not to equate the holocaust or Nazis to anything going on here).

Mike Tyson of all people is one of the new for-profit entheogen prostitut proselytizers and in the first episode of his new podcast on the subject he, or rather his cohost who does all the talking, interviews Doc G, who prattles on as if he truly is the second coming carrying the light of the toad to save humanity as if the rape, medicine theft, emotional, sexual and physical abuse allegations that prevented his inclusion at the WBC2018 didn't exist! He will undoubtedly score many new victims through this and add to the $3,000,000 tax free dollars he-by his own admission and my math- made in the last two years. Sandoval doesn't even pay for his own travel and is surrounded by acolyte sycophants who work for him for free.

These people, all of them, need to brought into the light and held accountable. It saddens me that there is so much pushback against conversations in social media and in forums dedicated to seeing these men get what they deserve. I still support the creation of a site for recommendations and warnings fueled with content from consumers as a resource to help the good ones and get rid of the bad, it's just not my thing to do.
I know there has been rumors about deaths or rape with those two practitioners but there are no proof either.
I think however there are proof of abuse. So probaly safer to avoid those two, but maybe not judge them on crimes.
Now I see all " famous " practitioners gets also a bad rep, one other in the kambo circle said he had a romance with one of his apprentice in mexico, but later, she went on suing him for rape.
From investigation, it appears this women tried to sue different men for rape as a way to actually earn money.
Then I wasn't there as witness to see if there was someone dying or being raped, so its hard to be completely 100% positive when you have one voice against one other. The water and rapé is proven by numerous videos however.
I received water on the head I think, but ti didn't bother me. it is part of the "ritual " for some, being outside, in sunlight, with air, water ( like a second baptism, cause you die symbolically and rebirth ).
So I do'nt go too quick in judging.Not saying anyoneis innocent either. But all those " public figures" get loads of fellowers who really praises their practices and always also a few ones who would say they are terrible ...
Then there is porbably Ego and Money issue with those two.
there also has been death happening in ayahuasca and kambo retreat and those center somehow still operates.. so I don't know but one center in USA ( Soul Quest ) is both well recommended by some, but the death of a young man still happened.
So yeh, I think death is still a probability.I would say, like with extreme sports.
peersonnaly, now I prefer to do it wihtout practitioner. Had the occasion once, but I prefer to do it my way. Without someone interfering in my field. Doing it alone isn't recommended with toad secreiton vaping as you may choke and stop breathing. So you need someone experienced with reanimation in theory.
be safe poeple !
here is Octavio's testimony, its in spanish, feel free to translate via electronic translator :

"A la comunidad entera, hago esta declaración pública y abierta, con la intención de asumir mi responsabilidad en torno a mi práctica con la medicina y mi trabajo. He sido duramente criticado por ser violento, irresponsable, poco ético, y que mis acciones han resultado en daño, lesiones y muerte. Como médico el enfrentar el desenlace de la vida es parte de lo que hago, no puedo esperar tratar personas enfermas y que todo salga siempre bien. Hay accidentes, eventualidades, riesgos propios de la experiencia, pero además la relación directa con el estado de salud del participante, su peso, edad, antecedentes, padecimientos, medicaciones, vicios, experiencias previas con medicinas ancestrales, en fin, siempre he dicho que se requiere un alto grado de compromiso y responsabilidad al tomar o compartir algo como el sapo. Sin duda hay muchas formas de cómo la ceremonia se puede guiar, hay diferentes aplicaciones posibles para la medicina, cuál es la correcta?, creo que hay muchas, todas, no, he ido aprendiendo sobre la práctica y a través también de los errores. Soy humano como todos, lleno de aptitudes y defectos también, jamas perfecto. En constante evolución. Esto no es justificación, es una explicación y una disculpa. También un compromiso de cambio y mejora. Al paso de los años, tantos países y las miles de personas atendidas puedo poner todo en una balanza, sentirme tranquilo y orgulloso por lo logrado. Demostrando con acciones que soy mejor siempre. Por lo tanto y como lo había dejado saber a todos los coordinadores de las sedes en las que comparto medicina, será un requerimiento contar con servicios de transporte de emergencias disponibles, equipados y con personal capacitado para atender una posible emergencia, para brindar tranquilidad y seguridad, no solo a los participantes sino también a los organizadores y poniendo el ejemplo y marcando precedente como siempre lo he hecho para que otros facilitadores hagan lo mismo. Lo anterior como resultado y producto de el hecho que nadie tiene el control de la reacción que la persona tiene con la medicina y que es deber de todos crear la cultura que permita transitar estos estados de la manera más segura posible."
rOm said:
I know there has been rumors about deaths or rape with those two practitioners but there are no proof either.

Hi rOm - there is certainly proof of deaths during Octavio's ceremonies...it is not hard to find online and he has spoken about them directly and in one case I know of he was investigated and cleared of any wrongdoing in Mexico.

I have three nurses in my family, and all have worked in Emergency Rooms for several years. They tell me there is absolutely no reason to pour water down someone's throat to try to get them to breathe. They say you can simply spray them with water - no need for it to go down their throats and possibly get into their lungs causing real damage.

Perhaps there are nurses on this board who may be able to chime in here and expand on this with more direct knowledge?
There is a horrifying video of Rettig stimulating a 'death rattle' in a participantby pouring the water down his throat. Rettig continues administering the water even though the man is clearly in distress. It is an arrogant display of control over another human being, with that person's life or death in Rettig's greedy, greasy hands.

I'll make an effort to find and link to said video.

There is a knee-jerk reaction in the community to run to the defense of these men that runs directly counter to the social conversations going on around women, for one, that i find deeply disturbing. I feel that many of the people that i heard make decisions on (now Chief Justice of the USSC) Cavanaugh's past and unsubstantiated behavior are making opposite judgements on Sandoval and Rettig by jumping to their defense, simply because the lifestyle of those men is more aligned with that of the community. Is it a case of "activist blindness" in which we see members of activist communities rally around anddefend members accused of egregious behavioral abuses? I feel these men are hiding behind silence and the support of sycophants, refusing to answer allegations. In my experience, if you call out a rapist and they don't respond, they are likely guilty.

Also, you'd be hard pressed to find one person with a similar complaint against me. Why are we to ignore multiple complaints against one industria individual? Is it a conspiracy to demote their standing?
SWIM did a session with Rettig and was very put off by the man's blatant egotism and the insane dosages applied. I was strongly advised to never see Rettig for a Bufo session. Not the least bit surprised to read this.
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