A photo showing the process for taking in Rapé 📸 – Povoda Floresta
My Experience W/ Traditional Amazonian Tobacco
First Things First
This article does not provide medical advice, nor is it intended to promote use of any substances for others. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice, or use my resources in lieu of treatment.
What Is Rapé?
Rapé is a powdered tobacco that is inhaled through your nose. Nowadays snuff tobacco is common around the world, but it’s first known use was in indigenous groups in modern-day Brazil.
Rapé has been used as a type of medicine for a long time now in the Amazon and beyond. While I’ve tried snuff from a few different countries, Rapé is quite different.
While Rapé can be blended with a number of things, the type of Rapé I ingested was mostly tobacco with some tree ash added as well.
So Why Did I Do It?
In the hotel I’m staying at a lot of the staff has tried it, one of my friends on the staff talked a lot about it, and I had heard stories from others, so I figured I’d try it out.
I’ve also become aware of my need for control and lack of vulnerability with others.
My lack of vulnerability shows up in a couple of different ways, but one of the biggest areas is around ingesting any drugs or mind altering substances (with the exception of alcohol of course 😂).
As a kid I tried quite a few drugs, then at some point around 17 I started getting panic attacks every time I smoked weed. From that point on I get anxious at the thought of taking most mind altering things.
I’d like to move past this, not because I want to go back to the stoner I was at 14 and 15 years old, but because I see these panic attacks as a manifestation of that need for control and fear of vulnerability.
On top of this, it’s on my bucket list to try an hallucinogenic in a therapeutic / ceremonial situation. While Rapé certainly isn’t an hallucinogenic I figured this was a first step in that direction.
For all these reasons it seemed like the right thing to try. It was a pretty low risk way for me to be more vulnerable, and see how well I can witness my mind and body as it changed, without me having a freak out.
My Experience With Rapé
Scottie with Path Pilot Prep was recommended to me, we work at the same beautiful cafe here in Medellin and after talking to him for a few minutes I felt confident in him and the Rapé he had.
I knew this time was right, and if I waited I would likely talk myself out if it, so I went for it.
We went to a side of this lush cafe and found a couch behind a row of plants. Back in this nook he pulled out his kit.
He walked through what Rapé was, where he bought it, the instruments he was using, how to go through the process, what to expect, and how long to expect it.
So What Happened?
After Scottie introduced everything and grabbed a couple extra napkins, I was as ready as ever.
I could feel my heart beating more and more quickly as he poured out a bit of the tobacco mix, and said a prayer over it. Stating how grateful he was to share this moment with me and echoing my intentions for the session.
He loaded up the Tepi pipe with the powder and it was on!
A picture of a Tepi pipe 📸 – Etsy
Sitting on the couch unsuccessfully trying to calm myself down, here came Scotty with the tepi pipe. With one end in his mouth he gently placed the other end near my right nostril and blew the tobacco in.
Just when I thought my heart could beat any more intensely, it felt like it was going to explode out of my chest.
For a split second while he loaded the tobacco for the other nostril I had this deep impulse to tell him to stop, that I’d just do one nostril, and call it good.
Fortunately, I watched that impulse come and go, not giving into it.
I imagine the tobacco was burning my nose, but I couldn’t sense anything besides my heart hammering away.
Just as he instructed I sat and focused on my breathing, observing the sensation trying not to distract myself from it, nor give into my impulse to start freaking out. After all there were dozens of people in this cafe just meters away, I don’t want to be that guy.
I sat and observed as my heart felt like it was going to burst, then slowly after 30 seconds the intensity of my heart beat began to subside.
All of the sudden I got an intense aching pain in my lower back.
I’ve had versions of this in the past when I was very angry, but never with the intensity I felt it then.
In between my breathing I had to wince in pain a couple times because it was so intense.
After another 15 – 30 seconds of that I felt my hands start to tingle a bit and I felt as though I lost connection with them.
From there my head felt very light. I felt a bit disembodied which was considerably more pleasant then the two sensations from before.
This feeling of airiness continued on for another 10 – 15 minutes, I talked with Scottie for a while about the experience. He shared some thoughts, gave me a hug and went back to the cafe, letting me know he was there if I needed anything.
So What Did I Get From It?
A shot I took of a hillside of Medellin, a concrete jungle in a valley of lush mountains
I can create more space between my impulses and my reactions than I had originally thought.
Experiencing that even a year ago I would’ve went into a full on panic attack. It still would’ve been a learning experience for sure. However, likely much more dramatic and embarrassing in the process.
I was pretty pumped at my ability to observe myself going into fight or flight without indulging in the sensations too much.
I also have something new to explore – the pain in my lower back.
The intensity in which I felt that pain tells me there’s something deeper going on. I’m going to be looking into what that could mean, and if you have any thoughts on it, feel free to message me on Instagram. I’d be happy to hear your thoughts.
While I’m more ready for psychedelics than I had thought, I still don’t feel comfortable with them, but I’m more open to learning more about what Scottie does and if it’d be a good fit for me in the future.