Rapé in the Yawanawa village of Mutum

Rapé the Beggining

The beginning by Alan Seo MS Brazil

There was a time when death still did not reach humanity and the people lived in the forest, their king was called Ruwá. They fed on game, for that they had a special technique, there was a small hut in the middle of the forest where the chief waited with his wife for the game to appear, the people made a big circle around the hut and came running inside, hitting the foliage and thus leading the animals to the center, where their leader awaited death. One fine day they went out to hunt and as usual Ruwá waited in the hut for the game to appear with their bow and arrow ready to shoot. The first animal to pass the hut was a local bird species, one of the Chief's favorite foods, he took aim and shot and the animal fell. His wife quickly went out to get the bird and bring it inside. When she entered the hut she had a shock, there was her husband unconscious apparently dead on the floor, she was terrified and screamed for help, quickly some of the tribesmen appeared and carried him to their Shuho, as they call their big malocas (long houses ) where they all lived together. After a while, Ruwá appeared and people were relieved. Ruwá asked what had happened and then asked about the bird that had shot: “What happened to the food? I'm hungry,” he said, and people laughed in relief. "Quick, quick, his wife shouted, go prepare our dear leader's meal."

When the food arrived, Ruwá took the first bite and fell down again, this time really dead. People were surprised and couldn't believe it and cried.

The men gathered and started talking about what to do with their leader's corpse, one said let's go outside, another said let's burn it. “Let's play in the lake” suggested another, and then the shaman, the sorcerer said let's bury him here in the middle of our big house and so they did and life went on. After some time, something curious happened, different plaques began to sprout on certain parts of his body.

A vine grew and they called it Uni, meaning something new, previously unknown. Elsewhere it is known as Ayahuasca, but the Yawanawa and most other cloth root tribes in the region call it Uni. On another part of his body grew pepper, a plant that people used in ancient times for darker magical purposes. Then a leafy plant appeared and they were wondering what to do with it and the wise Pajé ordered it to dry and then they took a bamboo or bone pipe and blew through their nose and called it Rumã or Rumé. Most people know him as Rapé or Sacred Snuff. And so magical medicinal plants came to earth and began to help people raise their consciousness and heal themselves and others.

This is the Yawanawá legend about the origin of their sacred plants and Ruwa is their patriarch from the most ancient times. This is the origin of Rapé, one of its most sacred medicines.

Chief Biraci explained to me that the sacred Tobacco is a plant that cannot be used to do evil or black magic; it can only be used for healing, unlike, for example, Ayahuasca which can be used for both sides. This doesn't mean that tobacco and snuff can't be bad for you if used incorrectly or in excess, it just means that you can't use them to harm others.

Their old Pajé used to say that when you take Rapé you open up a spiritual work, like when you drink Ayahuasca, but less strong and different of course, but you access, or you can access a higher state of mind and with that the spiritual dimension. That's why it's always good to take Rapé in concentration, sitting for it, calmly and in a good environment where it doesn't absorb the negative energies of the environment.

Hapé, when taken calmly, is a good tool for meditation as it opens you up and makes you more sensitive to your surroundings.

It can also be used to heal or clear up a situation, either from yourself or, when the person knows, from other people. In concentration, the energy field created can be directed wherever your intention goes. For this, it is necessary to have a clear mind, free from confusion and a willpower directed to take the energy with a certain frankness, like an arrow well shot to its goal.

In the past, only sorcerers took medicine like Ayahuasca, if you went in search of a cure they would not give you the medicine to take, but the shaman drank it and then in his view he either cured you, or looked for the cause of your illness and medicine to cure it.

In a lighter tone, Rapé is used to relate to friends and family, in the afternoon after a good day at work, talk about the day, about life, make jokes, watch the sunset over the forest and consecrate your Rumã , Seu Rapé, but always calmly, with respect for the medicine, a little silence and a positive attitude.
The people of the forest take their Rumã for different purposes, but when there is something to contemplate or if they need an answer the first thing is Rapé, concentrate on the subject, say the intention, ask for strength and courage to clarify and take the medicine in concentration to gain clarity on the matter at hand. When being very calm you can feel if the tingling sensation you feel is stronger on the right or left side of the body and this can be used to know your answer, right is yes and left is no.

Back to blog