Tobacco Plant As a Healer-Medicine

Tobacco Plant As a Healer-Medicine

We offer a diverse selection of 16 different hapé blends from various tribes throughout the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon. Collective Journey's hapé medicine is deeply connected to its roots. With prayer and intention, each hapé medicine is consciously created by the Indigenous families in their home village.

Each and every hapé bottle is unique in that each carry a significant purpose, healing modality, and meaning.

Tobacco Plant As a Healer-Medicine

In our journey, we are reclaiming tobacco's spiritual essence and its wisdom in a mindful path to reconnect with the mother earth. Since tobacco is a very misunderstood plant in western culture, our aim is to open the gateways to bridge this plant’s ancient wisdom to the world. We bring a voice to the wisdom keepers, who continue to practice this knowledge.

Tobacco is a sacred medicine descending from sacred soils that come from the lungs of our planet. It is not only a plant. It is a spirit. Tobacco is used as an offering for many first nation peoples of North and South America. It has also been used for blessings, prayers, rites of passage, protection, and wisdom from the earth. Our sacred mother, the source! The ancient wisdom of this plant transcends beyond recreational use. Used with intention and respect, tobacco gifts you its healing powers.

For centuries, tobacco healers known as ‘tabaqueros’ on the Peruvian side of the Amazon, would use this plant to heal various illnesses in their communities. Not only would these healers smoke or chew tobacco, but they would also make teas. The teas were intentionally brewed to either clear intestinal parasites, to aid with constipation, to clear phlegm or congestion, and (or) to clear headaches. It is also used on the skin for cuts, stings, bites, and other wounds. Indigenous Amazonian cultures also make snuffs, which is famously known today as hapé or rappeh. 

What is Hapé?

Hapé is a powdered tobacco snuff that is often mixed with alkaline ashes of other plants, seeds, leaves and tree barks. Hapé is blown into the nose with a blow pipe or an applicator.  It comes from the Amazon rainforest, where many indigenous cultures do not only use it daily, but also revere it as a sacred medicine. It is pronounced “rah-pay” in Spanish and “hah-pay” in Portuguese. Both are correct. There are also many other names in other indigenous tongues from the Amazon region.

In order to serve this medicine to one’s self, one would use a blow pipe applicator known as a kuripe. It is more common to use a tepi, which is a larger blowpipe that is used to serve a partner or to receive the medicine from another person. Hapé is mainly made of cured jungle tobacco, known as mapacho, and tree ash. In some cases, though, seeds, leaves, and plants may be added to the ingredients of hapé. Whether it is for the aroma itself or the energies of the hapé recipe, each ingredient is added with prayer and  intention. Although this is rare, not all rappehs contain tobacco or tree ash such as Yopo and Apurina versions. Since mapacho (Nicotiana Rustica) has 8-20 times higher amount of nicotine than regular smoking tobacco, medicine makers will create a hapé snuff that contains no tobacco for users. The tree ash is also intentionally used as an alkalizer to balance the tobacco. The ash also comes from sacred trees, plants and leaves that each carry a specific healing power or piece of wisdom. Seeds like yopo or wilka may be added to increase the visionary properties of the snuff. Flowers may also be added to instill a more feminine and nurturing energy.

How to Work With Hapé

Since various indigenous cultures use hapé, there are many ways of working with it. As this medicine continues to spread through the west, many different practices evolve around its use. Not only can hapé be physically beneficial, but it can also benefit one’s mental psyche, emotions, spirit resetting, and (or) energetic field. Hapé has the power to clear any mental static, allowing one to focus and center the mind, which helps one feel grounded. It can also open one’s physical and spiritual senses, bringing in more awareness to the self, along with cleansing and purifying your body and activation of pineal gland.

The Amazonian tribes commonly use this medicine before, during, or after a ceremony to ground.  It can also pair well with many rituals and (or) sacred plant medicines. Traditionally it is conducted for the purpose of its own ceremony or within other ceremonies (e.g Ayahuasca or Kambo ceremonies). It can also be used recreationally or before going hunting to increase the sensation, awareness and focus. Hapé is known to native tribes with no contraindication to human health other than one’s own comfort level.

Using Hapé Ceremonially 

The depth of this medicine becomes more potent when using it with intention and (or) in a ceremonial space. The effects are incredibly profound. Since each culture has developed its own unique ritual of using hapé, there are many ways to experience this medicine. You may wish to begin by opening a sacred space in a way that is unique to you. Intention is a powerful fortress, and with that said, taking your time to focus on an intention is encouraged. Perhaps that may include more time for prayer, or singing a medicine song, or playing a ceremonial instrument prior. When you feel ready, you can put a single serving of hapé in the palm of your hand (for beginners, we recommend a pea sized amount for a  nostril). Depending on your experience level and intention, you can discern whether to use less or more. For those with more experience and (or) who need a deep cleansing, we recommend a larger amount.

How to Use Hapé

The use of the applicators is important. The reason why we blow is because the particles in this tobacco and ash blend are too fine to ingest into our lungs with our breath. The goal is to get the medicine on top of the upper nose bridge and allow the body to absorb it. Thus it is primordial to use a blow pipe Kuripe or a Tepi.

With that in mind, scoop half the amount you intend to use in your hand. This amount will serve your first nostril. In order to focus, take 3 deep breaths and then ask for blessings. When sharing hapé with a partner, we recommend taking 3 breaths together as a way of connecting with each other's energy before serving the medicine.

For the first breath, hold the hapé and the blowpipe towards the earth and breathe in the blessings of Pachamama (Mother Earth). On the second breath hold the pipe towards the sky and breath in the blessings of the Creator (Father Sky). On the third deep breath, hold the air in at the maximum capacity of your lungs, and bring the pipe to your heart, praying and calling in any personal allies or guides to bless the medicine, and ask for these blessings to come from the heart.

These three breaths signify the three worlds in Incan culture: lower, middle, and upper. Blow the hapé into your left nostril first. (We should add step by step format of bullet points  here) If blowing for someone else, tell them to hold their breath before blowing it in, and then afterwards, to breathe only from the mouth. As soon as possible, scoop the remaining hapé into the pipe and serve the right nostril. 

While it differs from side to side from one tribe to another, we believe the left nostril symbolizes rebirth (what you want to call in) and the right symbolizes death (what you want to shed and let go of).  Nonetheless, what is truly important is the intention itself.

After the application of the medicine, breathe only through the mouth while the medicine settles. We recommend sitting with it or meditating in stillness after taking hapé. Avoid blowing your nose despite the urge for 10-15 minutes to maximize the intake. We recommend wiping,  spitting out, or swallowing the back throat leaks.

The most basic and common breath is the deer breath. Begin by taking a deep breath in through the stomach to  connect with your power and medicine, and then blow long. At the end, blow hard while simultaneously closing your throat.  This is just the beginning of what you can learn about hapé: the real benefits come from experiencing it yourself. 

This medicine can be a very powerful way to cleanse your body and energy, as well as connect with your spirit allies through prayer and ceremony. The real beauty of this medicine is that it can be used expertly in the hands of a master, but it is still effective when used by a beginner. Just remember to be mindful and respectful of the medicine and to pray from the heart. 

Hapé as a Ritual

Singing songs may help to deepen the effects of this medicine. Prayer is also another potent option. Most times the hapé can naturally put you into a meditative state. While at other times, it may cause intense purging and shedding. While not as common with smaller doses, it is possible to experience purging, bowel movements, shaking, or any other energetic releases. This medicine is powerful and the purging effects are signs of profound healing and release. 

We offer a diverse selection of 16 different hapé blends from various tribes throughout the Brazilian and Peruvian Amazon. Collective Journey's hapé medicine is deeply connected to its roots. With prayer and intention, each hapé medicine is consciously created by the Indigenous families in their home village. 

Each and every hapé bottle is unique in that each carries a significant purpose, healing modality, and spiritual essence. While some hapé bottles are used for protection, others can be used specifically for cleansing or grounding. Further, some of our hapé medicines contain flowers and (or) plants that invoke more of a feminine essence, while other medicines are deeply masculine. For example, our Rose hapé, made by the Huni Kuin, and Nunu hapé, made by the Matses tribe, are warm and nurturing. Our Mulateiro and Murici hapés, made by the Huni Kuin, carry a masculine force that invokes focus and a warrior spirit. Additionally, all of our hapés activate specific chakras, energy channels, within the physical and spiritual body. Some of our hapés may pull you deeper into the roots of the earth, while others may open up channels in the third eye or crown chakra.

Honoring the Roots-How Do We Source it?

Collective Journey Art’s founder, Su-Ata Ongun, first connected with this sacred medicine in Peru, in 2012, when undergoing a dark night of the soul in his life. In the midst of his grief, he miraculously met a tabaquera (tobacco healer) who offered her healing wisdom. The force of the tobacco was so potent and profound that it planted a seed of curiosity around the healing properties of tobacco. This is the exact form of healing he had been searching all along. Not only did it serve as a full spirit reset, fully rewiring his internal software program, but it also served as a portal to transcendence, eliminating internal struggles. 

His curiosity expanded when first connecting with the Matses tribe of Peru. The Matses people taught him the ceremonial ways of working with hapé. Not only did he experience the powerful healing effects on the body, mind, and spirit, but also the honor of witnessing the whole journey of how this medicine is made in their village. He witnessed the ways this medicine heals, along with how it also embodies the ancient wisdom of mother earth. A profound wisdom that interconnects all living beings. Collective Journey now conducts these rituals at workshops, festivals, and ceremonial gatherings.

We continue to stay connected to all of the Indigenous families we work with. We work with 9 different tribes, which include the Yawanawa, the Huni Kuin, the Xucuru Kariri, the Apurina, the Matses, the Nukini, the Katukina, the Kuntanawa, and the Bora tribe.

Back to blog