Rape´- pronounced hapeh – is a psychotropic shamanic snuff made from finely ground tobacco and a variety of other herbs. Some snuffs are tobacco-free, making them less likely to act as a purgative.The purpose of a rape´ ceremony is grounding and centering of the self and healing, and as such it is vital that your intentions are clearly set before beginning the ceremony. The act of taking Rape´ is considered sacred and a form of prayer by the indigenous Amazonian tribes who first introduced it to the rest of the world.

What happens during a Rape´ ceremony?

The room will be quiet, giving you the needed surroundings to clear your mind and contemplate as needed.

It’s a good idea to keep a bottle of water nearby, and a decent amount of tissues – you can expect a runny nose from the snuff. Try and drink before taking the Rape´. Any water you drink afterwards is likely to be snuff flavoured.

Once you’ve taken some time to clear your mind and set your intent, the shaman  will begin administering the rape´.

The fine powder is blown up each nostril of the participants using a two-way pipe called a Tepi.

More experienced Rape´ practitioners can self-administer using a special pipe, or Kuripe, which fits over the nose and mouth in a sort of triangle shape, but this is usually for solo practice. In a ceremony, the shaman will administer the snuff to each individual nostril for you.

A Rape´ ceremony may be held alone or in conjunction with an Ayahuasca or Kambo ceremony, as a way to enhance and direct the experience. It will be up to you to decide which combination is right for you, or if you’d prefer to experience Rape´ as a stand-alone ceremony.

What is in the Rape´?

Each shaman has their own recipe, and depending on the intentions needed for the ceremony, may adjust their mix. The tobacco used is Nicotiana Rustica, different to the standard smoking tobacco,  Nicotiana Tabacum.

This tobacco, also called mapacho in South America, has nine times the nicotine content of the usual smoking tobacco, and is used in a variety of ethnic rituals and medicines. Several cultures do smoke it socially as well, but a Rape´ mix includes several other ingredients and is not suitable for smoking.

While all mixes are different, the additional medical herbs and plants  can include tonka bean, alkaline ash and clove buds amongst others, depending on the recipe. Depending on what the mix is for, different parts of the same plant can also be used. Once recipe might call for bark, will another requires the leaves from the tree.

The plants are lightly toasted or sundried before being hand pounded in a mortar and pestle and passed repeatedly through a fine cloth until they are a very fine powder.

Depending on the blend, some snuff mixes will be stronger than others. Some mixes are tobacco-free, and these will not have the same strength as a mix containing mapacho.

Rape ceremony

What are the physical effects of Rape´?

Rape´ can act as a mild purgative. You can expect some or all of the following:  nausea,  vomiting, sneezing, extra salivation, crying, hot sweats, and the need to move your bowels.

Because your nose is so sensitive, you are likely to have  watering eyes as the powder enters your blood stream through the mucous membrane in your nose. Once the snuff enters your bloodstream, it will stimulate nicotine receptors. You’ll be both relaxed and calm yet alert and aware as the dopamine, epinephrine and acetylcholine in your body are activated.

Rape´ side-effects, and contra-indications

Rape´ should not be mixed with recreational drugs as the effects of the combination is unknown and cannot be controlled. If you’re on medication, make sure you’ve told the shaman ahead of time to ensure the ceremony is right for you. Because Rape´ contains a very strong form of nicotine, repeated use in a short time span can be addictive. Rape´ is intended as a form of healing, but like all medicines, misuse can be problematic.

How long does the Rape´ last?

The immediate effect of Rape´ is usually a couple of minutes. It’s often reported as feeling like a jolt, but not unpleasant or painful.The “afterglow”, once you’ve done the work and addressed your intentions, can last for several hours to a couple of days, leaving you feeling rejuvenated and with a new appreciation for your life and surroundings.

Rape´ adherents believe this plant medicine boosts and cleanses their immune system, while clearing the chakra points. People take the snuff when feeling low, ill or rundown, when suffering from stress and depression, and to restore the sinuses and respiratory system.

Traditional Rape´ use

Traditionally, Rape´ has been used by indigenous tribes in the Amazon in almost every aspect of their daily lives. From formal rituals to social sharing of the snuff, to quiet personal healing, the importance of it as a daily part of tribal life cannot be overstated. A shaman takes years in an apprenticeship learning to make the Rape´ used by their tribe, both to a master shaman and to the plants themselves. Most tribal blends are held to be sacred and secret to that particular tribe.

In fact, it’s only relatively recently that the Amazonian tribes agreed to share the secret of Rape´ and their blends with those outside of their tribes.

Nowadays, Rape´ enthusiasts are found world-wide, with new blends being formulated and shared. Everything from how it is produced, to storage, to consistent standardised production has been spread globally by people who’ve discovered the healing power of the herb.

Our up and coming retreat at our Costa Rica retreat center can be found below.