Dedicated to my dearest friend and teacher, Ninawa Pai da Mata
Rapé or Hapé is a powerful Amazonian based snuff medicine that has been served and utilized for thousands of years. It represents the force of the forest and acts as an ally spirit to and for our spiritual growth. At first, Hapé acts as a medicine of sickness, bringing out of us all that is hidden, dark and ignored. We are confronted with immense pain and un-comfortability. We set our intention and allow this power to shake us and push us to our utmost limit.
The first leg of the journey is just that – facing our darkness. That, in it of itself is such a challenging phase. We, with our conscious choice, embrace our dark. Those corners of consciousness, which we hid from ourselves, ignored and wanted to leave unattended. The shadows emerge and bring about a profound transformation. Our immediate attempt would be to grasp unto our light and run away. However, with the aid of Hapé that seems almost impossible.
At first we are confronted with this immeasurable power. It seems to have no direction and is sweeping our consciousness with no discernment. Our body trembles and our mind is taken out of its usual sense of control. We are but witnessing the process and are completely enveloped within its chaotic nature. Though we can try and make sense of this experience, as we might have certain visions or even clarity as to what we are purging or what darkness is coming unto the surface, this first stage almost happens on its own accord. We are nothing but backseat passengers as the spirit of Hapé is leading this journey in its entirety.
The transformation happens organically. Without conscious choice or awareness. We slowly find that we have more capacity to face our dark and stand in our challenges. We realize that through this conscious choice to go into our pain we actually find liberation and empowerment. What used to feel like an uncontrollable power is now morphing into a direct force of awakening. This power is now harnessed with our conscious choice. As we sit to receive this medicine we are asked to focus our intention and direct our conscious mind to be fully present.
Hapé is administrated with a powerful, yet directed blow of intention and clarity. That alone is one of its first teachings – focus and intention. When relating to our spiritual growth we are often misguided and spread our consciousness thin. We practice multiple methods, read many conflicting sources of information, go to numerous workshops and teachers and get swept away as we make our steps upon our path. Hapé teaches us how to center. It teaches us how to focus the rays of our consciousness and stop ignoring our darkness and pain.
If we don’t face our dark, our healing will never start. If we don’t face our shadows, our light will never shine in its utmost brightness. Once we learn to harness the chaotic nature of this sacred medicine, its extensive power is transformed to a directed force of healing and growth. Power, in a way, is undefined and undirected. Force is an interaction between two elements, directed, guided and holds a specific measure. As mentioned before, we start our journey with this medicine with surrendering to its power. As we become allies and confidants, our relationship takes form and turns into a dance of purpose and intended directionality.
Now, once power turns into force, we have a powerful tool to use towards our growth and awakening. We find that we can use Hapé to focus, to clear, to empower and to make clear choices. However, Hapé is first and foremost a spirit. A sovereign power that cannot be controlled or manipulated. In other words it has a “mind” of its own, and will be forever teaching us humility and respect.
Hapé has in it ‘Nicotina Rustica’, a form of a powerful, unprocessed tobacco. In most shamanic and indigenous traditions tobacco is used in sacred ceremony. For grounding, for protection, for fending off challenging spirits. If we lose sight of its sacred use, Hapé can turn into an addicting force and a challenging friend. Other than the actual physical addiction to tobacco, we can easily get addicted to the ease in which we can shift our mood, our state of focus and clarity.
Lord Acton taught us – “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. When we stay focused on Hapé as a power, which means we lose sight of harnessing its force with direction and intent we might find ourselves lost within the possibility of its corruptive powers. We will find ourselves dependent on its support and that, in it of itself will be a journey of facing our addictive tendencies. With great power comes great responsibility… and so when utilizing a force of nature such as Hapé we have to approach with respect, with care and guided supervision.
Ninawa Pai da Mata, the chief Pajé (Shaman) of the Huni Kuin tribe tells us to approach Hapé with: “Segura Firme” – securing or firming our faith, not only when facing its power, but also when learning to use its force. These medicines are used to awaken us not lead us deeper into sleep. He teaches us to receive with “Só Alegria” – only joy, with a smile, with a surrendered sense of trust. Healing he teaches, happens with a smile, darkness is faced, and light is reborn.
This post is a continuation of ‘Sickness Hapéns’ which describes the first stages of using Hapé as medicine of sickness and give a deeper description of its administration and historical use.