Rapé (pronounced ha-PAY) is a blend of powdered medicinal herbs that the Indians of the Amazon basin have been consuming through the nose since pre-Columbian times. Sharing rapé, or “passando rapé,” takes place in all aspects of Amazonian life. Rapé is used in formal rituals, including rites of puberty, initiation, and festivals; but it is also taken simply while hanging out with friends.
Medicinal rapé is traditionally consumed in a ritualistic way. This is because it is believed that the act of sharing rapé connects you with the forces of Nature and allows you to receive the healing and blessings of sacred, medicinal plants. Depending on the specific combination medicinal plants used in the rapé blend, the experience can range from fragrant, to stimulating, to completely psychoactive.
Amazonian rapé is consumed in two primary ways:
- As a “Soplada” given by a shaman or medicine brother / sister via a blowpipe called a “Tepi”
- Self-administered, via a blowpipe called a “Kuripe”
Determining Rapé Dosage
Aerodynamically, it’s considerably harder to overdose yourself with self-administered rapé via a kuripe. However, if you have a regular practice of consuming rapé on your own, it’s good to be mindful that it doesn’t turn into an addiction or personal vice. When you are receiving a soplada in a ritualistic way, it’s easier to treat the experience as a ceremony. Alone, it’s easier to treat the rapé as a substance.
For beginners, start with a pea-sized amount of rapé for each nostril. You can gradually increase the dose as you get more confident and experienced.
Ultimately, to fully experience the intensity of the rapé, it’s much better to have a friend blow you than to blow yourself. But if you don’t have a friend around who knows how to deliver a rapé soplada, here are step-by-step instructions on how you can self-administer medicinal rapé.
How to Self-Administer Rapé – Step-by-Step
The most important success factor in self-administering medicinal rapé is finding that perfect fit Kuripe. You are really going to need to test this out as best you can. Simply holding the Kuripe up to your mouth and nostril does not mean it will easily send a strong jet of snuff into your nose once you get down to it. If you are shopping for a Kuripe, you really do want to put one end into your mouth and another into your nostril before choosing which Kuripe to purchase. It’s a bit like trying a toothbrush before selecting the one you want to buy. I know it’s weird.
If you end up with a Kuripe that doesn’t snugly connect your mouth with your nose, and you can’t just go to the Kuripe store and exchange it, the best thing you can do is saw down one end until it does fit.
If you are unable to travel to find a physical shop selling Kuripes, Waking Herbs offers a high-quality selection that you can order online and try out at home. These copper hand-engraved Kuripes, pictured below, are our favorites. You can also buy mahogany or marble Kuripes.
Here are the steps to self-administering rapé through a Kuripe:
Step 1: Find an appropriate place to take your rapé.
Step 2: Ground yourself into the present moment and focus on your intention for this prayer. What information are you hoping to receive from the plant medicine. What guidance are you seeking from the spirits of the Forest?
Step 3: Recite your rapé chant of prayer as you measure out the amount of rapé you want to consume on the palm of your hand.
Step 4: Load up the nose end of your rapé applicator with half the amount on your palm. Tap the V end on a hard surface to remove any stuck rapé or air pockets.
Step 5: Take a deep breath, place the mouth end of your Kuripe into your mouth and fit the nose end snugly into your nostril.
Step 6: Lean forward a little, close your eyes (so you don’t blow rapé into them) and forcibly blow the rapé into your nostril.
Step 7: Take a moment to experience the first dosage of rapé. Do you need more, do you need less?
Step 8: When you are ready, load up the nose end of your Kuripe with the rest of the rapé on your palm. Tap the V end on a hard surface to remove any stuck rapé or air pockets.
Step 9: Take a deep breath, place the mouth end of your Kuripe into your mouth and fit the nose end snugly into the opposite nostril.
Step 10: Lean forward a little, close your eyes (so you don’t blow rapé into them) and forcibly blow the rapé into your nostril.
Step 11: Take a moment to experience the rapé. You can move the force of the rapé through your channels with your fingers. Place your fingers on your middle fingers on the top of the bridge of your nose, move the energy of the rapé up your forehead and and run all your fingers along the top and sides of your heads. Brush the energy down the back of your head, along your shoulders and off into the air. You can snap your fingers to clear any old, stuck or negative energy that is being moved out of your field.
Step 12: Ground into the present moment and allow your consciousness to connect to Nature, to the healing plants in the medicine you just consumed. Lean forward to minimize rapé backdrip. Feel the ground with your hands.
Video Thumbnail Credit: Geenss Archenti Flores
Once the experience of the rapé has subsided, you may want to clean yourself up to feel more fresh, by rinsing your nostrils or patting cold water on your face.
In a similar way to working with master plant teachers like Huachuma or Ayahuasca, when you take rapé you are also signing up for an apprenticeship with the medicinal plants in your rapé blend, but on a more subtle level. As you keep taking your rapé, you enter into a dialogue with the plants. I invite you to listen.
If you’re now interested in learning how to administer a soplada of rapé to someone else, check out our step-by-step guide here.