Manual for using rapé
In my previous blog I described my first experience with the sacred tobacco medicine rapé. Its origin lies in South America, especially the Amazon. The basis of the use of rapé is in the state of Acre, Brazil, located on the border with Peru. Several indigenous tribes have their own recipes for the preparation of rapé. But what is it exactly?
Medicinal herbs, flowers and mapacho
Rapé is a mixture of different ingredients, the main ingredient of which is Nicotiana rustica. This tobacco plant grows in different parts of South America and originates from the rainforest. She differs in several ways from her better known sister Nicotiana tabacum, the common tobacco plant used as the main ingredient by the tobacco industry. The use of tobacco in the form in which it is used by most people, or rather abused, is absolutely not recommended here. The tobacco plant from the Amazon rainforest is also called Mapacho and is much stronger than regular tobacco. The plant is used as a medicine and generally does not have the status of an addictive stimulant, as is the case with ordinary tobacco. However, it is important to note that it is still tobacco and, because of its high nicotine content, can promote both physical and mental addiction. Sirius recommends the respectful use of rapé, in a ceremonial setting and with conscious knowledge of its medicinal power and possible side effects.
Rapé also contains the alkaline ash of various plants, flowers and tree bark. Rapé is the umbrella word for all these different mixes, which can consist of various ingredients, which are very finely ground, giving the end result almost the consistency of dust. An almost imperceptible gust of wind makes the rapé fly away...
Use of sacred tobacco goes back to the Mayan era
The use of holy tobacco goes back a long way in history, up to thousands of years. In Mayan culture its use can already be found. Medicine men and women saw tobacco as a way to cleanse the body and help with grounding. Grounding means that a deeper connection is made with the earth and the user is brought into a certain peace and focus. Hence, for people from the Amazon, tobacco has the function of creating the right (mind)set. This is useful for example before participating in an Ayahuasca ceremony. Several tribes, including the Kaxinawà, Yawanawà, Nu-nu and Katukina see the use of tobacco as an essential part of their culture. Tobacco is seldom smoked, but mainly used as a snuff and also to chew.
In shamanic rituals rapé has several functions. As mentioned before, it is seen as a medicine, but also as a way to open a ceremony, to help predict the future and for spiritual purposes, for example during a vision quest or trance. A vision quest is in the original sense a rite of passage, usually intended for young men reaching adulthood. In their community they participate in various rituals and ceremonies, led by older people.
The modern rapé user
For those who have no direct connection to the Amazon and have not experienced the traditional use of rapé first hand, fortunately there is help from other sources, including the internet. Still, this huge soup kettle of endless information can cause confusion. Smartshops also have the function of disseminating information and knowledge about psychoactive plants and entheogenic substances, in order to promote correct and safe use. Whether psychedelic drugs such as psilocybe mushrooms or mescaline-containing cacti, or medicinal plants and seeds; wise use of these gifts of nature increases the added values and strengthens the synergetic bond between man and the entheogenic, or divine.
How to use rapé?
To come closest to the original way of use, you prefer to see rapé as a tool used during a ceremony. In other words: consciously, with attention and with an intention. Why do you use rapé and what can it do for you? Blowing rapé into your nostrils while waiting for the bus and drinking a coke in the meantime is not a good idea.
Go into your house, apartment or wherever you are looking for a place or space where you feel good and are not disturbed. A nice spot outside, for example in your garden, in a park or in a forest, is also recommended! Be careful when the wind is blowing, as mentioned before, rapé quickly flies along with the wind.
It's nice to clean the room by lighting delicious incense or expel negative energy with Palo Santo. Then it's nice to sit in a comfortable, yet active posture (for me this is tailor made, on a pillow) and meditate for a while with your eyes closed. I always do this myself before I administer rapé and it helps to find peace in myself and to prepare myself.
This is also the time to take time to place your intention. Sometimes this is a clear reason why you are doing rapé, what your question or wish is, what is bothering you. It may also be that your intention is to open up to what rapé has in store for you.
About administering rapé and the dose
When you administer rapé to yourself, you use a kuripe. This V-shaped blowpipe makes it possible to use a powerful breath to blow the fine powder into your nostril.
First it is important to dose the rapé. A normal dose is about the size of a pea, but you can start with less in the beginning and possibly build up later. Place the amount of powder on the palm of your hand and scoop it up with one side of the kuripe. Now the powder is in the pipe.
Start at your left nostril. The left nostril is a symbol for death. You breathe quietly and deeply, hold this breath by not letting any more air through your nose. Place the kuripe with one opening in your left nostril and with the other opening in your mouth. Be careful not to inadvertently inhale, otherwise you will experience the annoying feeling of powder in your throat.
Blowing takes some practice. It is best to give it a powerful blow, which ends with a short blow and the rapé quickly flies into your nostril. After this, try to breathe through your mouth. Then repeat this process, but with your right nostril. The right nostril symbolizes rebirth. Try to blow as fast as possible for the second time and not leave a long pause between administering. This is to keep the harmony of the two nostrils (and thus the two halves of the body) in balance. After this, keep your eyes closed, the best way to let the rapé come to you and stay in the right focus.
The experience of rapé
Rapé is not necessarily experienced as pleasant. Chances are that your nose stings, you get tears in your eyes and you might even feel that you have to vomit. If that's the case, just allow it! This is also seen as 'cleaning' the body and getting rid of negativity. It will also release a lot of saliva and snot. Hence the bucket, in which you may unabashedly spit. Don't swallow the saliva and snot that is released, it's not good to swallow rapé. You can try to breathe quietly through the nose. Use the handkerchief to blow your nose. Getting rid of the saliva and snot is a liberating feeling and is seen as letting go of what no longer serves you. When you are able to breathe freely again, a deep peace and focus can fall over you. It is nice to stay in this meditation with your eyes closed for a while and to be open to that which comes up in your consciousness. It is possible that after the experience you are still nauseous or perhaps dizzy. It is best to keep breathing quietly, if necessary drink some water or juice and sit down or lie down.
Advantages of rapé
To summarize what rapé can be good for, here is an overview:
- Rapé can help the body get rid of dirt, both physically and mentally. Physically this means cleaning the nasal cavities of excess snot, toxins and bacteria. In this way, rapé helps to protect the body against flu and colds.
- Rapé also has a mental cleansing effect. Unnecessary thoughts disappear, the energy level is balanced and the connection with the earth and the universe is strengthened.
- The nicotine level also ensures a certain alertness and focus. This is because the brain produces the neurotransmitters dopamine, acetylcholine and epinephrine.
Decalcifying the pineal gland?
There are many rumors going around that rapé helps with the decalcification of the pineal gland. The pineal gland, located in the middle of the forehead (the 'third eye') plays a mysterious role that has to do with our perception of time, sleep and the production of DMT (dimethyltryptamine). The calcification of the pineal gland is associated with the deterioration of brain functions, including diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. However, there is a lot of discussion about this. Scientific research is needed to underpin the link between the pineal gland and the use of rapé.
Rapé as a medicine
For indigenous peoples, the use of rapé is seen as a medicine. It is used for the treatment of certain diseases, as a painkiller, as a remedy for fatigue, pain, hunger and thirst. It is also seen as a way to strengthen the medicinal power of entheogenic substances and plant medicines such as ayahuasca.
Blowing Rapé into someone else's body
By using a special blowpipe, a so-called 'tepi', it is possible to blow in rapé at someone else. It is important that the blower is aware of the healing power of his breath. In tribes, this is usually left to someone with more experience.
They call this 'Soplada' or the healing effect of blowing.
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