rapé

Rapé

Overview

Rapé (pronounced “ha-PAY”), also called Shamanic Snuff, is a traditional preparation of powdered medicinal herbs, often with a tobacco base, that is indigenous to the Amazon region. It’s used by various indigenous tribes in South America, primarily for spiritual and medicinal purposes. The powder is usually administered through the nose using a pipe made specifically for this purpose, known as a ‘kuripe’ (for self-application) or ‘tepi’ (for application by another person).

Experience

The first experience you will get directly after consuming rapé is the physical one: burning sensation in the nostrils, nausea, maybe vomiting. Then the mental experiences will appear, like this feeling of groundedness. Eventually, Spiritual experiences will happen.

As with each substance, the experience will depend on a lot of factors: your metabolism, your mindset, your physical and mental health, your environment, your set & setting, and the dosage.

Effects

Physical SensationsStrong sensation in the nostrils and sinuses.
Can lead to burning or stinging, and it usually leads to an urge to expel mucus. This physical cleansing is considered an important part of the experience.
Mental and Emotional EffectsFocus & clarity.
Grounded & Centeredness.
Calmness or relaxation.
Increase in alertness or energy.
Spiritual or Mystical ExperiencesFeeling more connected to the natural world.
Experiencing profound insights, or having visions.
These effects are likely influenced by the setting and intention of the ceremony.
Purging and DetoxificationRapé is sometimes used for its purgative effects, believed to cleanse the body and spirit. This can involve physical purging, like vomiting or increased bowel movements, which are seen as part of the cleansing process.

How to

Equipment

  • Rapé: The herbal snuff, which is a fine powder.
  • Kuripe: A V-shaped self-applicator pipe for solo use.
  • Tepi: A longer blowpipe used for administering rapé to another person.

Setting and Preparation

  1. Environment: Choose a calm, quiet environment. Traditionally, rapé is used in a ceremonial or ritualistic context.
  2. Intention: Set a clear intention or purpose for using rapé, which is important in traditional use.
  3. Relaxation: Before consuming, take some time to relax and focus on your breathing.

Consumption Process

  1. Filling the Applicator: Place a small amount of rapé in the narrower end of the kuripe or one end of the tepi.
  2. Self-Administration (Using Kuripe):
    • Hold the kuripe with the loaded end pointing to one nostril.
    • Place the other end in your mouth.
    • Gently but firmly blow the rapé into your nostril. It’s important to be gentle to avoid blowing the powder too forcefully.
    • Repeat with the other nostril.
  3. Administration by Another (Using Tepi):
    • The person administering will load one end of the tepi.
    • They then blow gently into the other end, sending rapé into your nostril.
    • This is often done alternately in each nostril.

After Consumption

  1. Sit and Breathe: It’s common to experience strong sensations in your nose and head. Sit quietly and breathe through the experience.
  2. Expect Physical Reactions: Sneezing, mucus production, and even vomiting can occur, which are considered part of the cleansing process.
  3. Integration: Allow time for reflection or meditation after using rapé.

Can you mix it with other substances? Click here for a detailed chart of safe drug combinations.

Benefits & Risks

BenefitsRespiratory Issues: The insufflation of powdered substances can irritate and harm the respiratory system, particularly for those with pre-existing conditions.
Nicotine Addiction: if used too often with high dosages.
Nausea and Discomfort: Especially for those not accustomed to it, rapé can cause nausea, dizziness, or general discomfort. These effects are typically short-lived.
Cultural Misappropriation: The use of rapé outside its traditional context can be seen as disrespectful or a form of cultural misappropriation.
RisksRespiratory Issues: The insufflation of powdered substances can irritate and harm the respiratory system, particularly for those with pre-existing conditions.
Nicotine Addiction: if used to often with high dosages.
Nausea and Discomfort: Especially for those not accustomed to it, rapé can cause nausea, dizziness, or general discomfort. These effects are typically short-lived.
Cultural Misappropriation: The use of rapé outside its traditional context can be seen as disrespectful or a form of cultural misappropriation.

Therapeutic Use

Rapé is often used in other ceremonies, such as Ayahuasca. It helps to be present, rooted, grounded and to meditate. It can also be a powerful tool in your daily routine, to relieve stress. Plus, the stimulating effects of the nicotine and other herbs in rapé can enhance focus and concentration, which is helpful in both ceremonial and everyday contexts.

Anecdotally, some users claim relief from various ailments like headaches, colds, or sinus issues. The medicinal herbs often mixed with tobacco can have various healing properties, depending on the blend.

Personal Growth


Rapé, in the context of personal growth, is often viewed through the lens of its traditional use in indigenous cultures, where it serves not only as a medicinal tool but also as a means of spiritual and emotional development. The use of rapé can enhance your:

  • Respect for Tradition: Using rapé with an understanding of and respect for its cultural origins can foster a sense of connection to history and tradition.
  • Self-Control and Moderation: Regular and respectful use of rapé can cultivate qualities like self-control, especially given its potent effects and the discipline required in its administration.
  • Social Connection: In traditional settings, the communal aspect of rapé use can enhance feelings of connection and empathy with others.
  • Integration of other experiences.

Legality

To our understanding, many countries don’t know what rapé is and don’t consider it a drug. Since mostly composed of tabaco, rapé is legal but might be regulated.

However, if the rapé contains coca leaves, it will be treated differently.

History & Stats

Indigenous Origins: The use of rapé dates back several centuries and is deeply integrated into the spiritual, medicinal, and cultural practices of various Amazonian tribes like the Matsés, Yawanawá, and Kaxinawá (Huni Kuin).

Ceremonial Use: Traditionally, rapé has been used in ceremonial and ritualistic contexts. It’s often administered by a shaman or spiritual leader and is employed for healing, spiritual visions, cleansing of body and spirit, and connecting with the spiritual world.

Cultural Significance: The preparation and use of rapé are surrounded by symbolic and spiritual significance in indigenous cultures. Recipes and techniques are often closely guarded and passed down through generations.

Spread Beyond Indigenous Communities: With European exploration and colonization of South America, knowledge of rapé began to spread. Over time, it has been adopted and adapted by non-indigenous people, leading to variations in its preparation and use.

Contemporary Interest: In recent times, there’s been a growing global interest in rapé as part of a wider exploration of traditional and alternative healing practices. This has led to its availability beyond indigenous communities, though this also raises issues of cultural appropriation and ethical use. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see young people using rapé during raves or festivals.

Myths

There are various myths and misconceptions surrounding 2C-B, such as:

  • Safe for Everyone: The belief that rapé is safe and without side effects because it’s natural is misleading. Rapé contains tobacco and other substances that can have strong effects on the body and mind. It can be particularly risky for people with certain health conditions or for those who are pregnant.
  • No Addiction Risk: Since rapé contains nicotine (through tobacco), there is a risk of developing dependence, especially with frequent use. The belief that it’s not addictive because it’s a traditional or spiritual substance is a misconception.
  • Cultural Appropriation Is Harmless: A cliché in some Western contexts is the casual use of rapé without understanding or respecting its cultural significance. This can be a form of cultural appropriation, overlooking the deep spiritual and cultural roots of the practice.

It’s important to approach rapé with caution and understand its effects and risks. Have you had an experience with rapé and need support to integrate it? Or do you plan on having one and want the best setting possible? Book a session with one of our coaches.