Rapé or Hapé is a shamanic snuff, usually made with tobacco and found throughout the Brazilian Amazon. Traditional Amazonian medicine and shamanism uses it as a medicinal herb, and as a tool for shamanic journeying. The word Rapé comes French and means finely grated. This comes from the time when snuff was the main form of using tobacco in Europe. The Pano tribes have their own names for their shamanic snuffs: The Yawanawa call it Rumã, The Shawãdawa have Dawê Rupusuti, the Huni Kuin call it Dume deske, the Katukina have Romo poto, the Kuntanawa and the Nukini also Rumã e por ai vai
If you want to hear more about its use and history in indigenous tradition listen to Chief Biraci Yawanawa.
What is Rapé?
Indigenous snuff usually contains finely powdered tobacco and special ashes. It can contain a number of different herbs and plants. These are for flavour and sometimes for their alleged medicina properties. In addition, the strength of the tobacco used can change depending on the blend!
How to take Rapé
Rapé is usually administered by a shaman, through a pipe called a tepi. Small quantities of rapé are blown up the nostrils, one after the other. The effect can be powerful and immediate!
There are many distinct ways to apply Rapé, from the short Beija Flor blow to the longer Jiboia.
You can also take rapé yourself, using a special V shaped pipe called a kuripe. You will lose out on the experience and knowledge of the shaman, who can impart energetic healing and guidance too.
Rapé use in the tribes
Distinct cultural group use Raoé in different ways. They consecrate it on its own for its transformative power or to enhance the power of other plant medicines. Sometimes they use it recreationally as a stimulant to give energy for physical labor. It has a number of purported medicinal properties – its capacity to provoke purging means it has a reputation as a cleanser of toxins from the body, and a booster of natural immunity. Rapé heats the body and as such the natives use it when going out in the rain or when feeling an upcoming flu. In indigenous communities there are a variety of reasons to take this medicine. This can range from a confraternization with friends in the afternoon to the deliberating of a serious issue of the community, to calling the force of the forest and the ancestors in a spiritual ceremony.
Use with respect and care; it is a tobacco product and can be habit forming!