Rapeh, Rapé, Hapeh, Ruma – Shamanic Snuff
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Is Rapé a tobacco product? Like the Rapé of Europe?
The #1 thing for you to know is that the Rapeh we discuss on this page and sell on our website is not the same “Rapé” commercial tobacco product also called Snus. Products like “Göteborgs Rapé” have nothing to do with the “Rapé” that is used by Amazonian tribes in a traditional context.
The word rapé comes from the French word râpé, meaning “grated, shredded”. It does not universally refer to tobacco. Snuff refers to insufflation, which means something that is snorted into the nose. (Amazonian Rapé is actually not even snorted, it is blown into the nose.)
A short history about rapé and snuff in Europe, and how it is not the same thing as Amazonian rapé and shamanic snuffs
What we know as “tobacco” in the west comes from a plant called “Nicotiana tabacum”, this product was brought from the Americas back to Europe after the colonization of the new world. Nicotina tabacum is the plant that is grown for the production of cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco in most of the world. There is no “Nicotiana tabacum” in rapé.
Now that is all cleared up, what exactly is Amazonian Rapé?
Rapé is pronounced “rah-pay” or “rah-peh” in Spanish speaking countries like Peru and “ha-pay” or “ha-peh” in Portuguese speaking countries like Brazil. The letter “R” makes a “H” sound when placed at the beginning of a word in Portuguese. It is also called Ruma “hoo-mah”. The spelling is often changed from Rapé to Rapeh when used in English speaking countries to avoid confusion with the word of the sexual attack “rape”, even though their pronounciation is very different.
What is Rapé made of?
Usually, rapé is made up of powdered plant products mixed with the ash of other burnt plant products. For example someone could make a rapé from the hibiscus tree. That hibiscus rapé would likely be made of some combination of alkaline ashes, powdered hibiscus flowers, finely ground leaves and powdered bark of the hibiscus tree. It would produce a nice brown fluffy aromatic powder.
How is Rapé used?
Rapé is blown into the nose. It is not snorted. One must use appropriate tools to blow it properly into the nose. One can blow the rapé into their own nose with a kuripe, or blow the rapé into someone else’s nose with a tepi.
It is used ceremonially by many shamanic cultures in South America.
It is also used casually. While we assume that the plant’s usage was sacred and holy 100% of the time, that is not necessarily true, it was also used for “fun”. For example, the Matses tribe would blow nunu rapé into eachother’s noses over and over again back and forth to see who could stay standing the longest and handle the most blows before being the first to tap out, like a good old game of arm wrestling.
Kuripes and Tepis
These are tools that are used in order to apply rapé.
A kuripe is for self-application. Give rapé to yourself.
A tepi is for partner-application. Give rapé to someone else.
Where can I buy Kuripes and Tepis in Canada?
On our webshop, of course!