By Mike Canady of Spirit Rising
Rapéh (rhymes with ha-pay) is a powerful medicine used by the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Its history spans nearly 5,000 years. From the 15th century until the early 20th century it was known by European cultures as snuff. Traditional rapéh is made from powdered tobacco and ash made from trees considered sacred to the people making their specific blend of rapéh. Often the medicine was made by only a few members of a tribe and it was made with different purposes. Being considered medicinal first, it has also been used recreationally for social events.
At Spirit Rising, our intention is to educate people on the spiritual and medicinal purpose of rapéh. The method of using rapéh is the same whether you make a Ceremony of it or simply apply it through a kuripe. We do not condone casual use of any tobacco product, even ours. But when used properly and responsibly like any sacred plant or medicine tobacco can help guide and heal our minds, spirit, and bodies.
There are two proper methods of administering rapéh. The first is through an instrument called a tepi, this is a long tube with a bend on one end. The second is through what is known as a kuripe. The tepi is used by two people one administering the medicine to the second. The kuripe is for self-application. It is recommended that you only let an experienced medicine person or shaman to apply rapé with a tepi. There is always an energy exchange on any level of interaction, and this goes doubly so when someone is applying any form of physical material or by touch. Make sure the person giving the rapéh is properly trained and spiritually clean and energetically balanced. When self-administering rapé be sure that you focus on your purpose and intention.
Typically, you only need a pea sized amount of rapéh for both nostrils. Having your pea sized amount in hand, begin mentally focusing your intention into the rapéh while spreading the medicine out into spiral directions with your kuripe. Once the rapéh is flat and even in your hand divide it evenly. Scoop one half of the medicine into your kuripe. Place your kuripe to your forehead at your third eye, focus your intentions while praying to the rapéh and thanking the spirit of the medicine for guiding you and helping you. Now place the kuripe at your heart and repeat your intentions and gratitude for the guidance of the medicine. Place the longer side of the kuripe into your left nostril, then place the shorter end just inside your lips and create a seal, then gently blow the rapéh into your nose. This represents the release and removal of ego, cleansing the energy and spirit. At first, it can be extremely uncomfortable and shocking to the body. Relax and breathe through the mouth. Do not sniff, swallow the drain, hold your breath, or blow your nose. Once you regain composure it's time for the right nostril. You must finish, do not leave one side undone, balance is critical. Repeat the entire process for the right nostril. The right nostril represents rebirth. Your focus and intention should be replacing all that was removed with the left nostril with positive and love.
Your first time it is possible that you purge physically. Which may include crying, vomiting, defecating, swearing, or laughing. Every experience is different. Be fully present, relax and take deep breaths. Focus on your third eye and surrender to the emotions, feelings, and physical sensations you experience. The only way out of it is through it. Once you feel you have fully experienced the medicine, you can blow your nose.