What is Hapé (or Rapé)?
“Lamista Quechua shamans frequently assert that tobacco is the ‘father of all plants,’ a male consort to the ‘mother spirits’ of all shamanic plants.”~ Jeremy Narby, Plant Teachers: Ayahuasca, Tobacco, and the Pursuit of Knowledge
Introduction to Hapé
What is Hapé? Hapé (pronounced ha-pe), and also know as hapeh or rapé, is a sacred tobacco plant used by indigenous healers in the Amazon rainforest for thousands of years. In recent years, it has gained popularity among Westerners as a powerful shamanic medicine for healing and spiritual purposes. In this blog post, we will explore the history, preparation, effects, and cultural significance of Hapé.
History of Sacred Tabacco
The use of tobacco as a sacred plant dates back to ancient times. In the Amazon rainforest, Hapé has been used by indigenous groups such as the Yawana, Matse, and Huni Kuin for spiritual and medicinal purposes . Hapé connects us to the spirit world and can be used for healing physical, emotional, and spiritual ailments.
Hapeh decalcifies the third eye and scans the body for blockages and energetic misalignment. I have found it beneficial for opening my heart and creating clarity—it softens my ego and allows me to listen to my higher self.
Preparation of Rapé
Preparing Hapé medicine is a complex and sacred process involving many steps. First, the tobacco leaves are harvested and sun-dried. Then, they are ground into a fine powder and mixed with other ingredients, such as ashes from sacred trees, herbs, and spices .
The ingredients and proportions of the mixture can vary depending on the healer and the intention of the ceremony. Sacred plants carry the energy of those that prepare them; thus, where you get your hapé is very important (I recommend vendors at the end of the article).
Effects of Sacred Tabacco
When Hapé is administered, it is blown up the nostrils using a bamboo, wood, or bone pipe called a kuripe. The effects of Hapé can vary depending on the individual and the dosage, but they usually include a sense of grounding, clarity, and heightened awareness.
Many people feel a solid connection to the earth and their inner wisdom. Hapé is also known to purify and cleanse properties and can be used to clear the sinuses and lungs. The strongest feeling comes on about three minutes after application.
Application of Hapé Medicine: Tepi & Kuripe
Hapé medicine is administered with a tepi (pipe for when someone administers to you) or kuripe (self-administrator pipe), a small pipe made of wood or bone. Bamboo is the most common material used to make Tepi because it is cheap, easy to handle, and can be quickly turned into a Rapé pipe. Tepis can also be made from bones or wood.
Kuripe Made of Bone
Picking the right kuripe is essential—we all have different noses and facial geometry. You need a kuripe that fits in your mouth (on the short end) and is long enough (on the long end) to administer the tobacco deep into your nasal cavity. If the kuripe is too short on either side, you will have difficulty blowing the sacred blend into your nostrils.
Being Served By Someone Else
A tepi (buy one here) is used when someone serves you Hape. You must know and trust the person serving Hape, who must have been appropriately trained—ideally by someone from the Amazon. There is a deep energy exchange during the process, and if the person blows too hard, you may damage your sinuses.
Receiving Hape in Amazon with Tepi
Receiving Hape requires a relaxed yet mindful approach. Sit comfortably with your spine straight and your heart open. Relax your face and block your throat with a quick inhalation. As you receive, open your mouth to relieve the pressure from your ears. Set an intention or make a prayer and look the person serving you in the eyes.
Your chakras may be activated during your session, and thus, sitting with your spine erect and open is highly recommended so that the energy may flow from your root to your crown. Close your eyes during administration to prevent the powder from getting into your eyes.
Effects of Hapé
The use of Hapé can lead to various side effects, although they may vary from person to person and depend on the specific blend of ingredients. Here are some potential side effects associated with using Hapé:
- Sneezing: The administration of Hapé through the nose can trigger sneezing in some individuals.
- Increased Salivation: Some people may experience an increase in salivation after using Hapé.
- Nausea: Nausea is a possible side effect, and it may result in vomiting in some cases.
- Eye Irritation: Hapé can cause temporary eye irritation or watering due to the fine powder being blown into the nostrils.
Disorientation: Hapé may induce a sense of disorientation or altered mental states or intense emotions. Some individuals may experience trauma release or changes in mood.
Dizziness: A feeling of dizziness or light-headedness can occur, especially if one is not accustomed to the effects of Hapé.
Purging: In some traditional practices, purging is considered a cleansing process. This can involve vomiting, diarrhea, or other forms of physical release.
It’s important to note that these side effects are not universal, and many people use Hapé without experiencing them. The effects of Hapé can be influenced by the specific blend of ingredients, the dosage, and the individual’s sensitivity. Additionally, some indigenous cultures view certain side effects, such as purging, as part of the purification and cleansing process during rituals.
Here is the tepi I received on my trip to study with the Noke Kuin in the Amazon in 2023. It is made of deer bone and jaguar fur and was blessed by the tribe’s chief before I left—powerful.
Tepi Hapeh Applicator
Start with your left nostril, which is meant to clear any negativity or energetic blocks. Next, blow into your right nostril to help open your heart and creativity. Learning to administer Hapé from an experienced practitioner before using it is recommended. It is vital to approach Hapé respectfully and understand its cultural and spiritual significance.
Hapé Ceremony & Celebration
Hapé allows a connection to spirit and helps us tap into our inner strength and sensitivity while softening our egos. Rapé is a celebration of life facilitated by sacred plant medicine, allowing us to unite with great spirit. I treat it as a ceremony of the heart and dedicate my sessions to healing and connection. I wish you a beautiful exploration of this powerful medicine.
Set & Setting
Imagine stepping into the mystical realm of Hapé, where every plant is revered as a sacred messenger, a prayer to the universe. It’s like embarking on a cosmic journey with nature as your guide, and trust me, it’s a trip worth taking.
To truly honor this sacred medicine, create an ambiance fit for a sacred adventure. Prepare the space as you see fit: incense swirling, crystals shimmering, tribal rhythms filling the air, or Pacha Mama herself as your backdrop. Set your stage for a meditative and introspective Hapé experience.
But before you dive in, you need to set the stage within yourself. Find a moment of silence, a canvas for your intention. It could be a quest for wisdom, a longing for physical or energetic healing, or a search for clarity amidst life’s chaos. Once you’ve honed in on your intention, send it out into the universe or whisper it to the spirit world, asking for their guidance.
Making Hape in Amazon
Now, the hape cememony begins. Inhale deeply and hold your breath, like a sacred pause in the cosmic dance. Hapé enters your left nostril, a nod to the cycle of life and death. Then, it travels to the right nostril, symbolizing rebirth, a cosmic do-over.
Inhale and exhale gently through your mouth, grounding yourself in the here and now. Resist the urge to verbalize the ineffable experience; instead, focus on the thoughts and energies swirling within. Avoid the drama and suffering—harness the power of the experience, channel it to your heart, and feel the warrior’s strength and grounding wash over you, like a cosmic reset button.
So there you have it, Hapé as your cosmic compass, guiding you through realms of intention, healing, and rebirth. It’s a journey for the adventurous soul!
Hape Ceremony: Setting Your Intention
Your mind, like a lush garden, thrives when tended to with care, love, and dedication. To make it bloom, wield the tools of positive affirmations, self-reflection, and unwavering focus. Nurture your mental garden daily, and you’ll witness its incredible growth.
You are your own shaman. Shamanism is a world filled with a diverse array of tools for healing ceremonies and sacred rituals—feathers, drums, sticks, tobacco, chanting, and more. The purpose behind these tools is beautifully simple: imbue them with your intention, transforming them into vessels of amplified healing and manifestation.
Imagine lighting incense, reciting a prayer or mantra, channeling your intention, or taking Hapé as a creative act of embracing the present moment. These actions are your homage to the here and now, a profound acknowledgment of the plant’s wisdom and your spirit’s journey. They are your compass on the path to achieving your goals, guiding you with reverence and dedication.
In essence, shamanism (remember, that’s you) is the art of embracing intention and weaving it into the very fabric of existence, a dance of the soul and spirit.
Buy Hape From Trusted Source
Please don’t buy Hapeh from just anyone. You want to know how the tobacco is sourced, and it helps to know which tribes the Hape comes from. I made Hape this year on my visit to the Amazon (read about it here), and I was impressed by the prayers and songs invoked during the preparation.
Here is a list of three vendors I recommend to buy rapé—as I have bought Hape from each, and I can personally vouch for the quality and authenticity:
- Katukina (in the Netherlands, high quality and authentic)
- Four Visions (I find their Hape on the light side but recommend the Mint)
- Tribal Detox (fascinating blends and hard-to-find Hapi)
If you’d like to dive deeply into sacred tobacco, I recommend reading Plant Teachers: Ayahuasca, Tobacco, and the Pursuit of Knowledge by Jeremy Narby.
I also created a SoundCloud music playlist to inspire your Hapé journey.
P.S. Sometimes, with extended Hape use, your sinuses can get clogged. It’s crucial to maintain a healthy and clean sinus cavity. See the following video for tips on clearing and cleaning your sinuses.