Bufo Deaths & Fraud Involving Toad “Shamans” Octavio Rettig & Gerry Sandoval

An open letter from concerned members of the entheogenic community has detailed years of reported abuse and malpractice from two leading facilitators of the highly psychoactive Bufo alvarius toad venom: Octavio Rettig and Gerry Sandoval.

The Open Letter, currently sitting with over 400 signatures from concerned community members, lays out the dozens of varied accusations against the pair that have surfaced in the past decade, stating that there is “overwhelming evidence” that the two Bufo facilitators have engaged in “reckless, unethical, and potentially criminal behavior.”

A brief list of reported malpractices by Octavio Rettig include: dangerous sessions leading to hospitalizations and deaths; psychological and physical violence; non-consensual interventions and abuses of power; and neglect of people who have been damaged.

A brief list of reported malpractices by Gerry Sandoval include: rape; clandestine drugging; planting drugs on people with intent to endanger them; intentional overdosing; grossly unsafe serving practices; psychological manipulation; and financial fraud.

The collective consequences, apart from death, include physical injuries, psychological trauma, ongoing mental health issues, and a shell-shocked and divided entheogenic community.

Why Are People Smoking Bufo Alvarius Toad Venom?

The practice of inhaling bufotoxins from the Bufo alvarius, also known as “Sonoran Desert Toad,” “Colorado River Toad,” “El Sapo/Sapito,” “Bufo,” and “Toad” has become increasingly popular in a variety of underground ceremonial settings in recent years, creating corresponding pressure on toad populations and long-term sustainability.

Bufo has become a new interest in psychedelic research due to the potential 5-MeO-DMT holds for therapy as well as for the treatment of opioid addiction.

Bufotoxins are the name of a collection of compounds which can be found on the toad’s skin, which the toad secretes as a venom that protects the toad from predators. The two psychoactive compounds found in the toad venom are 5-MeO-DMT and Bufotenin; both of these chemicals belong to the family of hallucinogenic tryptamines.

5-MeO-DMT is one of the more potent naturally-occurring entheogens. The effects of 5-MeO-DMT can be felt 15 seconds after smoking it, and is often described as a intense and overwhelming psychedelic experience of fractalized ego-dissolution that gives way to a feeling of “being one with the Universe.” Because Bufo venom also contains bufotenin, many find smoking Bufo venom to be a much stronger experience than smoking synthetic 5-MeO-DMT. The psychoactive effects of smoking Bufo venom typically lasts about 15 minutes, and usually completely subsides in 30 to 40 minutes. The psychedelic “afterglow” may last a few more hours, and be felt in the following days and weeks after the session.

The Origins of Bufo Alvarius Toad Shamanism

While Bufo facilitation can take place in a more neutral, clinical setting, Bufo is commonly experienced in neo-shamanic ceremonial settings, that may include chanting, drumming, smudging and other rituals. Although some facilitators claim that Bufo medicine is traditional or indigenous, there is no clear evidence to suggest that there has ever been a tradition of using Bufo secretions in shamanic practices. In fact, the practice of smoking Bufo venom is a relatively recent phenomenon. Bufo alvarius toad venom was found to contain 5-MeO-DMT in 1965; the paper containing that fact was published in 1967. Smoking toad venom only became a fringe, underground phenomenon in the mid-’80s, when the first widely distributed description of smoking Bufo alvarius toad-venom for its 5-MeO-DMT content came in the form of an extraordinary pamphlet titledBufo alvarius: The Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert by Albert Most (Venom Press, Denton, Texas), in 1984.

While there have been efforts to suggest that the Mesoamerican civilizations used psychoactive toad venom ritualistically, due to the presence of toad icons in temple frescos, this is speculation. Therefore, any practitioner who claims that their way of working with Bufo is “ancient and sacred” is exaggerating. Any “indigenous seeming” Bufo practices are examples of neo-shamanism that adapt from a variety of sources, and are not rooted in specific traditional knowledge from an unbroken ancestral lineage.

Who are Octavio Rettig & Gerry Sandoval?

Octavio Rettig and Gerry Sandoval are authors, doctors, and psychedelic practitioners who regularly facilitate sessions with the Bufo alvarius toad venom, charging on average between $200-$400 a person. Rettig (a.k.a. the Toad Prophet) is a medical surgeon from Guadalajara who travels around the world facilitating toad ceremonies with as many as 80+ participants and claims to be endorsed by the Seri people of Northern Mexico.

However, to state that an entire indigenous nation endorses your work is already a suspect claim. Indigenous communities, as many communities, are divided, with leaders expressing different points of view. The premise that toad venom is an “traditional ancient medicine” is not based on any evidence found in Mesoamerican history, is motivated by a desire to offer the “Toad Experience” as something equivalent to ayahuasca.

Sandoval is a gynecologist who primarily offers individual and small group sessions, and founder of the Bufo Alvarius Foundation, through which he is alleged to have committed financial fraud. Both have appeared in Vice documentaries that have racked up millions of views.

Allegations of misconduct, fraud, rape, and death are extremely difficult to verify due to the prohibitionist environment of psychedelics. Victims are afraid to speak on public record, there is an overarching distrust of police in Mexico, and other Latin American countries, and other facilitators do not want to call attention to their own practices. It has taken many years for the accumulation of private testimonies and statements issued by therapists treating the client casualties of Rettig and Sandoval to reach a groundswell beyond hearsay.

Conferences like the World Bufo Alvarius Congress and Beyond Psychedelics have issued public statements addressing malpractice concerns while issuing best practice guidelines for Bufo facilitation. Now this latest campaign has attempted to catalogue the more verifiable abuses of the two Bufo facilitators.

Malpractice Claims Against Octavio Rettig – Non Consent, Negligence & Avoidable Death

The primary complaints issued against Octavio Rettig is that he employs questionable and sometimes dangerous techniques during his toad ceremonies, including the nonconsensual and forceful use of rapé (tobacco snuff that is blown up the nostrils using a blowpipe) during the peak of the experience, the use of electric shocks to prevent people from lying down, and the forceful pouring of water down participants’ throats. Paired with the lack of attention he gives participants (on at least one occasion leaving someone face down and slowly asphyxiating on the ground), these practices have led to several deaths.

At least four deaths linked to Rettig’s negligence as a facilitator have been reported in the open letter. The causes of the death range from suffocation due to water in the lungs, to shock due to the intensity of the rapé administration. All the deaths were avoidable, if adequate support and medical care had been present. A criminal case of involuntary homicide (homicidio culposo) is currently being prepared in Leon against Octavio.

As one participant, who nearly died from asphyxiation, states:

“I cannot rate Octavio as a medical professional because he has not behaved like one. He was not measuring doses, was not giving 100% attention to the person he was working on, even after pouring water into the nostrils […] he hasn’t looked after me, he hasn’t apologized for leaving me in my experience to attend another, he hasn’t written back after I communicated I was still struggling. This is not shamanism, this is not healing and the way I was administered the medicine, by my standards, is an insult to the spirit of the Bufo alvarius.” – from the open letter.

5 MEO DMT Shaman Octavio Rettig Nearly Drowns Someone During Ceremony

It is clear that Rettig is not facilitating his sessions with sufficient care. It is misguided to think it is safe to administer large doses of rapé during the session, or force water down people’s throats, or give electric shocks, while participants are under the influence of one of the most powerful natural psychedelics in the world. If a person is in an altered state, and not physically aware of their body, it’s logical to assume that pouring water into the unconscious person’s mouth would risk choking, and blowing tobacco snuff into their nose, would cause tobacco powder to enter their lungs, risking vomiting and asphyxiation.

Even if we ignore the risks of Rettig’s techniques, and entertained the possibility that these methods supported the psychedelic experience in a necessary way, these interventions would be non-fatal, if they were delivered in an environment with adequate medical care and supervision. However, such safety measures are not present, nor have the psychedelic community found the interventions to be necessary, or even experience-enhancing in any way.

Malpractice Claims Against Gerry Sandoval – Rape, Fraud, & Clandestine Drugging

Where Rettig’s actions can be seen as gross negligence rather than intentional malice, Sandoval is harder to defend.

Sandoval has been accused of rape both within and outside of ceremonial contexts. The cases of rape all involve the use of substances to induce vulnerable states.

His abuse involves multiple people, and goes beyond sexual abuse; including leaving a partner locked up in a foreign country for weeks, after taking away her passport.

The open letter reports three cases of Sandoval purposefully planting drugs on people before they crossed a border, in some cases resulting in their imprisonment.

Sandoval has also been implicated in fraudulent activity, involving the misappropriation of funds raised for toad sanctuaries that never materialized.

“Soon after Gerry moved into our home we began to discuss the future of his now defunct Bufo Alvarius Foundation. We went to work fast, and legally established the Foundation in Washington State under my Social Security Number. It was OFFICIAL!!! Amanda was the acting Secretary, I would be the Vice President, and Gerry The President. Our associates answered the call for help building an official website as well. We were working at a fast pace because Gerry had a wealthy benefactor that was ready to contribute a large donation, $50,000 to the Foundation, with only 2 stipulations. He needed an official website, and an EIN number issued by a government agency, to prove the existence of the Foundation. Gerry had everything he needed, and the donation was sent. The donation however did not go into the Foundations Bank Account. It went directly into Gerry’s personal account.” – from the open letter.

Finally, the reported actions of Sandoval suggest he engages in willfully harmful activities, with multiple reports of him clandestinely drugging friends with high doses of psychedelics, spiking Bufo mixtures with unknown additional substances, using dangerously high doses of Bufo, and holding ceremonies in unsafe places.

If People Have Been Harmed, Why Are There No Negative Reviews?

A common objection to any criticism of Rettig or Sandoval’s methods are met with, “But I had an amazing experience with him,” or “I know lots of people who had great experiences with him – this must be fake news!”

It’s important to note that 5-MeO-DMT and DMT can elicit powerful experiences of transcendence, bliss and love just on their own, regardless of who the facilitator is or the circumstances by which the substance is administered. An individual having their first experience could be in the worst Bufo session or ayahuasca ceremony, for example, and have a profound healing experience when they are in that expanded blissful state of universal love where everything feels connected – with no idea that they were in a terrible ceremony with an unqualified facilitator.

Furthermore, Rettig and Sandoval are media-savvy psychedelic facilitators who have flooded the Internet with positive testimonials and press mentions, and have been featured in several documentaries. Anyone doing their own online research would only encounter page after page of positive reviews and adoring press. Anyone vetting either of them directly would be told to check out all the reviews.

That hundreds or thousands of people may have had positive, profoundly healing experiences does not vindicate the risky, dangerous or willfully fraudulent actions that are being highlighted by the psychedelic community.
What the public rarely ever sees are the testimonies or personal struggles of people who have been harmed, and are in a worse state than before they went into ceremony.

MAPS, the producer of the Psychedelic Science conference, received numerous letters from the psychotherapy community asking that Rettig no longer be given a platform.

If Octavio & Gerry Are So Dangerous, Why Do So Many People Rush to Defend Them?

It’s true that many people have been profoundly healed and have had “their lives saved” by their experiences with either facilitator. This is especially true in the case of drug addiction: Bufo and 5-MeO-DMT have shown remarkable results in cutting addiction cravings. The implications of Bufo for addiction therapy warrants more scientific research.

Here’s the deal: administering thousands of people a psychedelic substance that illicits a strong direct experience of healing coupled with unshakeable belief that healing has occurred makes for a steady stream of staunch, unwavering allies.

Spiritual bypass in the New Age community that shames people for engaging in anything “negative” results in a segment of clients who refuse to even consider that a shadow side to either facilitator exists.
Even when presented with references, sources, and citations, a common response is even more passionate denial that the negative information can be anything other than fake news generated by jealous rivals.

As mentioned, powerful psychedelic substances like 5-MeO-DMT elicit profound experiences of healing and oneness on their own. Often the most avid defenders of either facilitator would not even be able to tell you if it was the Bufo the resulted in the healing, or the facilitator himself. They readily associate the healing, life-saving experience with the facilitator, and willfully ignore any flaws or criticisms.

Even clients who have been on the receiving end of abuse – such as being kicked while in a completely insensate state on the Bufo – later post a video testimony defending Rettig’s actions in a manner similar to Stockholm Syndrome. This is the power of 5-MeO-DMT, and what makes psychedelic “gurus” so dangerous.

Here are some of the common objections raised by staunch defenders, and the common spiritual bypasses that they reflect:

Objection #1: “Unless you’ve experienced their work, you do not have the right to any negative opinions about it.”

The spiritual bypass inherent in this statement is that no objective observation of unethical conduct is possible, if the observer has not directly experienced the action being criticized.

Corresponding logic could be applied to a similar scenario:

  • A person is passed out drunk. The individual who is responsible for getting the person drunk, then administers electric shock to the passed out individual, and kicks them, without having sought prior consent.
  • A witness says, “This is wrong. This is abuse.”
  • Another member of the drinking party says, “You have no right to judge, you did not get drunk with us!”

An extreme example or corresponding logic might be:

“You have not been raped before by this person, therefore you have no right to say that rape is bad.”

Opining that rape under the influence of a mind-altering drug is “bad” is not the same as debating the truth of whether that person delivers an objectively good Swedish massage.

Objection #2: “This is fake news. I had a good experience and I know many others who have.”

The spiritual bypass in this argument is that because one has had a good experience, or know others who have, it’s not possible that the facilitator has committed any harm, based on their own positive personal and direct experience.

Two naive and erroneous beliefs driving this statement are:

  • “This news makes me feel uncomfortable. I don’t like this news, therefore it is fake.”
  • “I had a great experience. Therefore this person can do no harm.”

Objection #3: “You are a hater. You operate a hate site.”

The spiritual bypass in this argument is that anything negative is hateful. If you browse the content on this site, you will find that very little content on EntheoNation is negative. The Open Letter Concerning Abuses by Octavio Rettig and Gerry Sandoval exists solely for the purpose of gathering signatures that acknowledge the harmful actions of these facilitators. It’s not an online forum dedicated to discussing New Age Fraud.

Objection #4: “These allegations and negative reports are from jealousy and competition between facilitators.”

This spiritual bypass negates the experience of victims, the testimony of therapists treating these victims, as well as the best practice guidelines put forth by the industry.

Objection #5: “If a crime was committed, these people would be in jail. These people are not in jail, therefore no crime was committed.”

Bufo ceremonies are underground because the substance being administered is 5-MeO-DMT, which is illegal in most countries. For this reason, it’s very difficult to gather evidence for a criminal investigation when:

  • Families do not want to be on public record or file charges because the death involves the administration of an illegal drug, 5-MeO-DMT, and this will open a criminal investigation.
  • Hosts do not want to go on public record because it calls attention to their own activities hosting events involving illegal drugs.
  • Psychotherapists do not want to go on record about criminal activities because it violates the privacy of their patients, and it’s up to the patient to file charges; which they may not want to do if they are in a psychologically vulnerable stage.
  • Law enforcement in the countries where the crime occurred may be notoriously corrupt, so that witnesses and family of victims may feel reluctant to enter the criminal justice system.

Objection #6: “All of this is just hearsay, because people do not want to make public statements. If they are not willing to go public, their word cannot be trusted.”

Yes, indeed victims and witnesses face an incredible burden of proof, especially when many do not want any public visibility. For this reason, criminal prosecution has remained very difficult.

However, when you have multiple testimonies gathered over time, from people with no personal or financial interest (but everything to lose by speaking out), gathered by by different members of the entheogenic community, plus video documentation, there is a compelling groundswell of information that suggests that allegations of malpractice are warranted.

Objection #7: “But the facilitator saved my life! This cannot be true.”

But was it the medicine? Or was it the medicine facilitator? Powerful entheogenic experiences can indeed be lifesaving. Especially in the case of long-term drug addiction – the ability for entheogens like Bufo, iboga, and ayahuasca to cut addiction cravings is remarkable. They are also remarkable in their ability to heal trauma and PTSD, as well as improve the psychological and emotional well-being for people who have struggled with treatment-resistant depression. For these reasons, more clinical studies are needed into the therapeutic benefits of DMT-containing psychedelics.

For someone who is vulnerable and who has struggled with severe health conditions, just one application of Bufo might offer a powerful reprieve from their suffering and a shift in consciousness that supports them in breaking free from the causes and conditions of their suffering. And the person who administered this experience, appears like a savior. A Godsend. A true shaman and healer.

But here’s where some inquiry might be helpful. Some questions to ponder might be:

  • What was it about the Bufo facilitator (and not the medicine) that made the experience life-saving? Was it because that person gave exemplary after-care and integration support? If there was little to no aftercare or programmatic integration support, it may have been the toad medicine that saved your life, and not the toad facilitator.
  • Is this the only Bufo facilitator you’ve worked with? If this is the case, how would you know objectively whether he is good or not? Or if his method is superior to other ways of working with this medicine? If there is no point of comparison, it may have been the toad medicine that saved your life and not the toad facilitator.
  • Are you certain that it wasn’t simply a matter of dosage? That in a previous experience with a different facilitator, you were served a lighter dose, and that with the “life-saving” facilitator, the dosage was greater, thereby leading to a more amplified experience? If you cannot compare dosage, it may have been a stronger application of the toad medicine that saved your life and not the facilitator.

You see, a substance like Bufo will give you the ineffable, transcendent, blissed out, “All is One and All is Love” experience by itself, regardless of who is firing up a glass pipe up to your mouth, and telling you to inhale.

Objection #8: “I had a good experience with the facilitator and I feel disrespected by these allegations.”

The spiritual bypass in this statement is that this article is about you, and it negates the harm experienced by victims and their families, the work of psychotherapists supporting those who have been harmed, and the tireless work of the psychedelic community and Conclave of 5-MeO-DMT facilitators who are working towards establishing best practices, ethical guidelines and accountability in the industry.

In fact the Open Letter addresses the fact that many people have had positive experiences with either facilitator, stating:

It’s important to note: that negligence or malpractice has occurred by all means does not negate the positive experiences of all those who have experienced toad with either facilitator. As the Open Letter states:

We readily admit that many more people may have benefited from Gerry and Octavio’s provision of the toad medicine than have been directly hurt by it. However, the material we have managed to assemble is only a fraction of what appears to be a larger pool of reports of physical injury and psychological damage from some of their sessions.

What Should You Do?

Because of the environment of drug prohibition surrounding the use of anything containing DMT, there are no governing bodies regulating the use of Bufo and other underground psychedelics. For this reason, enforcement of safety and harm reduction best practices depends entirely on the self-regulating capacity of the psychedelic community.

Here are the suggestions posed by the authors of the Open Letter Concerning Abuses by Octavio Rettig and Gerry Sandoval:

  • That this Open Letter be widely distributed and hosted on different sites.
  • That anyone hitherto involved in hosting or otherwise promoting Octavio Rettig or Gerry Sandoval anywhere in the world cease doing so.
  • That anyone contemplating making further documentaries featuring either Octavio or Gerry, seriously consider the damage to others involved in sweeping the evidence that is now known of malpractice under the carpet.
  • That anyone contemplating making future podcasts, interviews, conferences, and other media featuring either Octavio or Gerry on their public platforms seriously consider the damage to others.
  • That hosts should support any further victims in coming forward with experiences of abuse.
  • That members of the entheogenic community recognize and label such behaviors and practices as dangerous.

The open letter is clear that they are not trying to shut down Rettig and Sandoval’s ability to respond to this issue, but that it is imperative that we label their behaviors as dangerous, and completely at odds with the values of the Bufo and entheogenic communities. It is important that we allow this discussion to evolve, so that we can allow the whole truth to surface.

You can show your support by signing the open letter here, and by sharing the letter on social media, or to any friends or colleagues who may be considering visiting a 5-MeO-DMT retreat in future.


About Lorna Liana

Lorna Liana is a new media strategist and lifestyle business coach to visionary entrepreneurs. She travels the world while running her business as a digital nomad. Lorna's boutique agency provides “done for you” web design, development and online marketing services for social ventures, sustainable brands, transformational coaches and new paradigm thought leaders. She is also a personal development junkie, and 20 year practitioner of shamanism, with extensive training in Tibetan Bon Shamanism and the ayahuasca traditions of the Amazon Basin. A self-professed ayahuasca snob and perennial ayahuasca tourist, Lorna has been drinking ayahuasca since 2004. She's been in approximately 150 ayahuasca ceremonies (from terrible to fantastic), and tasted wide variety of ayahuasca brews (from awful to exquisite). Her ayahuasca experience spans 30+ different shamans and facilitators, 7 indigenous tribes, several Brazilian churches, and a host of neo-shamanic circles, in Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Europe, the US, and Asia. Through this widely-varied background, she hopes to shed some perspective on the globalization of ayahuasca.


  1. fregosof@gmail.com' Federico Fregoso on April 26, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    It seems that you are not getting anything right and you want to discredit anyone who hurts your wallet

    • lorna@entheonation.com' Lorna Liana on April 29, 2019 at 6:57 am

      Please explain:
      1. What is bullshit?
      2. What is not “right” about this article?
      3. How exactly do you think that publishing this article “hurts my wallet?” What do you think it is that I do? Have you read my bio?

      • davidavida444@gmail.com' DaVida Sal AKA Jil Love on August 1, 2021 at 4:08 pm

        Great to see you here lorna, keep fighting, Love Ya…

  2. Pamelapage1082@Gmail.com' Pamela Page on April 26, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    I had a good experience with Octavio. I feel disrespected that my experience is not accepted for what it is and what I want to say about it in this article. In fact I feel like defending Octavio because of the slant and twisted nature. He doesn’t need me or anyone to defend him.

    • lorna@entheonation.com' Lorna Liana on April 29, 2019 at 6:56 am


      I’m glad you had a good experience. I addressed your objection as Objection #8 added to this article. The Open Letter addresses the fact that many have received benefit from working with either facilitator. I quote this statement in my article:

      We readily admit that many more people may have benefited from Gerry and Octavio’s provision of the toad medicine than have been directly hurt by it. However, the material we have managed to assemble is only a fraction of what appears to be a larger pool of reports of physical injury and psychological damage from some of their sessions.

      In other words, we do not wish to take away from your positive experience, we merely wish to point out that there is sufficient evidence to warrant a public statement that the Octavio’s practices and negligence have created tremendous harm to others, so that anyone seeking to host or work with him, it is important that they know this.

  3. deanjefferys@gmail.com' Dean Jefferys on April 28, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    Thanks Lorna for this detailed article and shining light into this dark hole. I have been served by Octavio and I love him as a brother, yet I and many others feel he has not resolved his shadow and that is sometimes played out in unsafe practices. No one is above peer review and feedback and it seems Octavio has refused both. I wish him well on his journey and trust that this article and the open letter of testimonials of abuse and malpractice will assist him and Gerry to see and acknowledge their mistakes and step back on the path of right action and deal with what ever they need to. These testimonials of abuse and malpractice is another reason why I believe a thorough training and accreditation process is important to help avoid these situations from occurring in the future, something myself and others are working on.

    • lorna@entheonation.com' Lorna Liana on April 29, 2019 at 7:04 am

      Thanks Dean for your acknowledgement. It’s so difficult when someone you love and appreciate simply will not listen. And it really sucks to have to cross another facilitator off your list as someone you can work with and recommend. This happens a lot in the ayahuasca community, especially around sexual misconduct.

      No one is above peer review and feedback and it seems Octavio has refused both.

      I wholeheartedly agree with this statement. I’ve watched quietly from the sidelines and witnessed the denial take place in front of my eyes, engaged in a number of private conversations, and had all kinds of information passed on to me. I’ve seen enough videos of questionable practices. And one of the deaths took place in Ibiza, in my medicine community. Publishing negative news is really not my editorial focus, but when there is no oversight or governing body to ensure compliance with best practices, its really the only way. This public denunciation has been a long time coming.

      • vprassa@hotmail.com' Vicky on July 9, 2021 at 1:51 pm

        Thanks Liana for taking the time to talk about your experience.
        Each and any of us and our experiences are super personal.
        If any of you happen to meet any of the 2 no matter the result with the molecule it self, you have to agree that the practices they are using while the procedure are super unhealthy, unprofessional and dangerous.
        Above all it’s a shame for the molecule it self.
        I can go on and on and write a lot of mal practices they are using knowing them 7 years now and how much they are NOT enlightened at all what’s so ever.
        Full of themselves, money and power driven seriously dangerous.
        Very sad to find out here about the rape and the water choking.
        It’s the strongest entheogenic molecule known to man kind all you need is just a safe environment to go through it.
        Very sad indeed

  4. walkingpublicationsllc@gmail.com' Alex Walking on May 23, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Octavio Rettig, who claims to be an internal surgeon who graduated from the University of Guadalajara, doesn’t know basic anatomy. At a loss as to what it was called in a private conversation with me years ago, he referred to the fifth lumbar vertabra (L5) as, “You know, the first one down there.” To a guy who’s supposed to have operated on people’s viscera while knowing where gastrointestinal nerves exit and be able to communicate with a medical team, this is like not knowing that the alphabet starts with ABC and claiming to be an English professor.

    Seems no one has ever checked into his credentials. Just another ex-crackhead scamming people. He started off smoking up tourists near Cancun and probably concocted the ‘doctor’ story there to give himself credibility. I’m surprised he’s lasted this long.

    With all of his popularity/notoriety and high profile speaking engagements, it’s strange that he never gets searched at borders and that includes the US. What’s going on? I wonder if he’s tailed to see who he’s in touch with next.

    I never had the experience with him although it was offered free of charge.

  5. info@anaholub.com' Ana Holub on May 27, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    People need to know the truth about facilitators – both their strengths and weaknesses. We’re all growing and need to give each other honest feedback. That said, kicking participants, over dosing them, neglect during sacred ceremony, rape and sexual/financial abuse is just plain wrong and we need to speak out and be very clear about what we, as a community, will support and what we won’t. Let’s look out for each other, support each other, and call out the negativity when we see it. Excellent article. Thank you, Lorna Li!

  6. 5starlettesanchez@gmail.com' La mexica on June 6, 2019 at 10:59 pm

    I’m so glad somebody is finally speaking out!
    Thank you for this article! ❣️

  7. damiggy@yahoo.com' Dave on July 21, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    Thank you, Lorna. Very thorough. I haven’t used the venom nor met either man, but I’m grateful you took the time and tremendous effort to compile and organize this into an easily digestible article. It takes a lot of courage for these folks to come forward and this article is an excellent vehicle for their sentiments. Thank you for your service.

  8. Gardenofaraina@gmail.com' Anonymous on July 31, 2019 at 3:29 am

    The accusations are all True. I have personally been in close relation with Rettig, after being manipulated and brainwashed into becoming his intimate partner for about two years. It took me a lot to get out of it and caused lots of damage, emotionally, physically, and financially. I have seen him doing these malpractices to many people. Yes, he has deep shadow work to do, but as I have experienced him so intimately and closely I must say he does not have the intention to heal. He says to the outside world and the community that he does want to heal, but I have heard him repeatedly say he believes he isn’t doing anything wrong and that he loves treating people like this. He is a master manipulator. He knows very well what he is doing and these malpractices do not come from unresolved issues, yet from simply impure intentions. I wanted to believe like most people that he has pure intentions, but I have many stories to prove he is purely doing this to create a “prophet-following” and has no intention to resolve his ego. It is good to see this is coming to the light. I haven’t spoken to this as I needed to fully step out of this/his world to release the manipulations fully and completely. But it’s really good to see this article. Thank you Lorna for being courageous to address this subject.

  9. kbtwood@yahoo.com' Ana on September 20, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    I was in a retreat with Octavio in Romania. Terrible experience, still terrible after 2 months… it was only a ilusion of solving something…. never again
    Some others participants are also worse now.

    • elisa.rusu1976@gmail.com' Ana on June 1, 2021 at 2:46 am

      Buna! Poti detalia?

  10. atomrec@gmail.com' Ned on November 16, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    I went to a conference that Laura had advertised and met many wonderful people including Octavio. I watched a number of highly influential people receive Bufo. I’d seen a lecture and a documentary about the experience and talked to people who’d worked with him around the world. They were complimentary and had been positively affected by his work. There were a couple of things which hung around in the background that made me feel uneasy but its new terrain so I took guidance from some highly respected and proportioned individuals.

    During the ceremony the practices did seem rushed and rather haphazard. We lined up for the sacrament and it felt a bit like a numbers game but the explanation was effective enough to get me in and out safely. He seemed like an immature shaman performing the ritual. I concur with the feedback both negative and positive here. The rap’e and water were new to me and were administered with relative care but not by him.

    The Bufo medicine was good, the team of people around helping to facilitate were compelling and brilliant and were also hardcore entheogenic warriors.

    I’d just come from a heavy holotrophic breathwork course which had the highest standards of aftercare and some excellent protocols. The difference was marked but the strength of Bufo is quite extreme. I can understand how you could easily die during the experience as it is totally out of body and transfers your consciousness to another dimensional plane.

    I’d fed back what I just said here to a friend who’s had the offer of the same medicine and without knowing that I was in earshot of Octavio sitting with his partner. He approached me and was reasonable about my critique.

    During my investigation I’d also looked for other traditions using Bufo and found none. I had witnessed a lecture detailing background, Octavio’s journey including one of the deaths and it had been explained as if it was the persons time. He had also spoke about the tribe who he’d been training with and detailed the linkage to the wall carvings. I’m fine with all of this apart from the death and to hear others have also expired is rather damning.

    The experience was fantastic in part due to the magnificence of the whole trip (thanks Laura), the medicine and the cohorts in the ritual. I appreciated the care of the group whom inducted me. I was not convinced about dear Octavio and have witnessed him being surrounded with worshipping admirers, which i think has given him a doting crew, a rather good income and a huge connection to the Bufo Space.

    I’d love to do some more but with more competent aftercare and decent preparation. I have no knowledge of Gerry but he sounds again like a teen shaman who is living fast and loose.

  11. Cafetonic@yahoo.com' Chris on December 5, 2020 at 12:30 am

    I am new to bufo.never done it in fact.
    I first learned about it from the joe rogan podcast and Mike tyson.
    I started to investigate on you tube.
    The video I saw was of octavio..i think on vice.
    He seemed like a very experinced guy.
    I watched more and more videos on him. Talks he gave .he comes across very knowledgeable on the subject! Highly knowledgeable about the toad. The history and administrating it.
    Im.not sure i found anyone on the internet more experienced than him..
    I said to myself ” when i do it. Id like him to do it with me”
    Now. I joined a Facebook about bufo and the first post i saw was scam! Evil! Bad..
    Regarding octavio.. i thought. This cant be true surely.. so i read more. Used the search function and yes. More and more negative posts about him.but all seemed to be from critics. Not those directly involved.
    Now.. in the western world we have doctors. Plastic surgeon. Dentists. Medical people who are highly skilled. Qualified but some reason some people dont feel a good vibe from the person or felt he or she wasn’t kind enough or took extra care.. others say. The guy was a professional and saved my sons life. Yes not very friendly or approachable. But we didnt go to his hospital to have a chat! We went for his skill..
    My wife has had surgury before. She told me she didnt personally like the doctors character. He wasnt kind enough.. and she isnt sure she will do another surgery with him based on his character. I asked my wife. Do you believe he is a great doctor? Are you happy with your results? She said ohh yes. Of course he is good. I know he is great. He is the best. But i just wish he would be more kind to me and show me some more kindness and care..
    I said. Thats not really his job!
    Thats just his character.. as long as he is professional and knows what he is doing. Its not important if he smiles and says hello or not.

    Now regarding octavio. Maybe he has administered 1000s of bufo. 1000 people.
    Like anyone there is no way he is gonna have a 100% great record.. no chef. No actor. No builder. No painter. No singer. No doctor will ever have all his clients say yes he is perfect.
    There will always be a few who say..
    They weren’t happy..
    Does that mean the guy is bad?

    Regarding people dying.. people die daily on operating tables around the world under the knife of the best surgeons..
    Shit happens..
    People die from all kinds of reactions.
    Some people die smoking marijuana!
    Die from a pain killer..
    Drinking too much water..
    Etc stc etc

    Are these two guys who seem well regarded in the community as professionals. Well knowledgeable. Really that bad?
    So bad where everyone should avoid them because they will beat you up. Rob you and leave you on the street?
    Not use real bufo. But some caster sugar..
    Deceive you.. cheat you..??

    • Patrick Smith on December 5, 2020 at 8:58 am

      Well I think doctors should be nice and kind to their patients, because healing is best when it’s holistic.

      Rettig is not a surgeon. He’s a practitioner of a substance that should be easy to use without killing people. Yet it’s happened again and again.

      This is not just someone who’s “imperfect.” This is a wilfully negligent practitioner, who is probably guilty of manslaughter.

      Would you go to a surgeon who isn’t nice to you? Yeah, maybe. Would you go to a surgeon who occasionally lets patients die on the table because he believes it’s a necessary sacrifice? I’d argue you shouldn’t.

    • pinner10121@gmail.com' Dave on September 3, 2021 at 1:21 am

      Umm if Ur wife was taped by said Dr s and surgeons would be be sticking up for them?

  12. distrito71@gmail.com' Jay Distrito on February 8, 2021 at 6:08 pm

    I have not smoked the toad with Mr. Rettig. but i did see videos on how he treats people under the toad medicine. i wonder if his medical credentials are real, because what he does with gallon jugs of water would be considered water boarding. i work in a military hospital so im familiar as to what that is.
    my first experience with the toad was with just one guy one one one. i think he used it daily. there was no rattlers, drums, chanting, i think i smoked several times in a row that last one being a megadose. it was life changing and the guy didnt charge me anything. he just told me he could tell i needed it. that was it.

    • jm08601@yahoo.com' J-Love on February 24, 2021 at 6:49 pm

      I’m searching for a facilitator of Bufo Alvanius in Mexico or Canada. Any recommendations?

  13. Fushejwow@gmail.com' Fuck Octavio. on November 7, 2021 at 12:14 am

    This man is dangerous! Please do not get involved with him. He manipulates his patients and tries to get them to do things for him. Sexual things. He has taken advantage of many women and men. He will hurt you. Please save yourself from the fate of me and my sisters. Do not get involved with the dangerous and scary Octavio Rettig Hinojosa

  14. Mary@gmail.com' Mary on November 7, 2021 at 1:24 am

    Octavio Rettig is a thief and a charlatan. He will try to control you and force you into things you don’t want to do. PleSe do not practice medicine with this man.

  15. Bradythomasmott@gmail.con' Billy bob thorton on November 7, 2021 at 8:53 am

    I would say that Octavio is dangerous, but more accurately he is just pathetic. He hurts his patients. He faked his medical credentials. Also, he is not really a doctor. It is all a big lie. He is just another ex crack head who takes advantage of weak and needy people. Please do not trust this man. He has killed multiple people, and he will kill again if given the chance. He really should be in prison, no joke. If you’re looking for a Bufo or Kambo experience, do yourself a favor and look elsewhere. No need to be mixed up in this murderer’s nonsense.

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