Tabaquero Shamanism Options
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#1 Posted : 7/3/2012 2:20:46 PM
The Tobacco shamanism of South America is a secret hidden in plain sight. It is mentioned by practically every anthropologist who has done work with Indians in the Upper Amazon, yet it is invisible to them. Books about Amazonian ethnobotany and entheogen use often omit Tobacco altogether.

Tobacco is used as a universal curing plant by some Amazonian peoples. I was reading a book by French anthropologist Philippe Descola about his work with the Achuar. in one part he talks about collecting information on medicinal plants. He was introduced to several dozen medicinal plants. Then at some point, it dawned on him that he never saw any of those plants actually used. The Achuar used Tobacco as the medicine for every sickness. So Descola lost interest in investigating Achuar plant medicine further. (Jeremy Narby in "The Cosmic Serpent" is practically the first anthropologist to question why Tobacco is dismissed this way.)

My friend was initiated as a tabaquero (Tobacco-using) shaman in Ecuador. I talked to him today.

<<The secret of Tobacco is that the less you use the more powerful it becomes. Smoking on a daily basis accustoms the body to tobacco and we do not perceive the message of the plant as clearly when our brain is be-sotted with 1 pack a day level of nicotine in our bloodstream. Smoking once a day or less, you will feel the connection between here and now and the spirit world when you have that smoke. You will be 100 times more attuned to every flavor and aspect of that one cigarette than if you smoked the rest of the pack. If you learn something about your tobaccos and use a pipe or roll-you-own you will deepen your enjoyment even more. Eventually you may become so sensitive to tobaccos power as to experience it while holding a pinch in your hand, and offering thanks to the four directions. Many who pray with tobacco only touch the pipe to their lips and do not inhale. But they look forward to the time they spend praying and making small prayer bundles with tobacco. The less you use, the more powerful Tobacco becomes.>>

Amazonian Tobacco shamanism is based on the other end of the scale. First, it is good to know about how herbalism in general is learned among Indians of the Upper Amazon. It is learned through what is commonly known as "dieta." The Napo Runa Indians I lived with call it "sasina," which literally means fasting, although it is not usually a complete fast. "Dieta" is a practice used throughout the Upper Amazon. It has many variations, but the core is always the same, which is remarkable considering that these are cultures who are extremely varied in other aspects of their culture. Essentially, dieta involves abstaining from foods with flavor, especially salt and hot peppers, and from sex, even with oneself. A person learning herbalism usually begins with dieta with Ayahuasca, one of whose functions is to teach humans how to communicate with plants (another of her functions is to teach plants how to communicate with humans). Then the person learning herbalism will do dieta with various plants, living alone in the jungle on a semi-fast drinking huge quantites of a single medicinal plant for a week to two weeks, to the point where they become sick from overdosing on that medicine, and then they know that Plant spirit, or really that spirit is like part of them. It is kind of like a vision quest for each medicinal plant.

Tobacco shamanism is learned something in this way -- using Nicotiana rustica, Amazonian wild Tobacco, which is 15 to 18 times as high in nicotine as Nicotiana tabacum. Nicotine can be a deadly poison if ingested into the stomach in sufficient quantity (it would take much less pure nicotine to kill you than arsenic or cyanide). But nicotine also creates a tolerance. Nicotine is a poison, a nerve poison, and that is connected to his power. The Tobacco shaman is basically poisoned, and survives this poisoning and comes out changed, with Tobacco's power connected to his power. My friend who was initiated in Tobacco shamanism compared it to the Sun -- you could get harmed standing out in the sun too long if your body was not used to it, but once your body is adapted, it can take any amount of sunlight. Tobacco shamans can drink quantities of nicotine that would kill a non-initiated person; and no amount of nicotine will kill them, it only keeps increasing their power.

Pulled this article off I was watching a San Pedro ceremony and the initiates were drinking large amounts of juice made from nicotina rustica then puking and purging.
Does anyone know anything more about the use of nicotine in shamanic ceremonies?
I love all of you!
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#2 Posted : 8/17/2017 1:51:48 PM
This is ingredible interesting topic. I've been using snus, a scandinavian tobacco product that you put under your lip, daily for three years. Then I stopped using it and have only been using it sparingly to learn from it. I find that it roots you in this reality, but I would like to do it in a ritual setting with pure mapacho that are only seedlings at the moment.

There seems to be very little information about curanderismo with tabaco, in relation to the ayahuascerismo and other, more visual plants. I would love to know the spirit of tabaco and what it offers, but it seems like the only way to know this is to go at it alone and experience it for yourself.
#3 Posted : 8/17/2017 6:39:20 PM
I agree, interesting read, my friend has Mapacho which is boiled and fermented tobacco rolled into a sort of small log that is very potent , I've personally made teas with tobacco but this is with extreme care due to oral administration of nicotine can be fatal, some folks have visited hospitals with teas they have made while mine are really less potent, But non lethal , it can last longer than that of a typical tobacco cigarette effect as well , three cigarettes boiled in water have sent people to the hospital!!!!!!! , I use one to one and a half of organic tobacco. Absolutely no more !!! It is a horrible taste but its effects last for hours . I've grown tobaccos as well rustica and tobaccum , mostly to use as smudges and protective herbs during my home ayahuasca ceremonies . But the tobacco plant has had a longer use than ayahuasca and is supposedly the very first sacrament used in shamanism . I enjoyed your read .
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#4 Posted : 8/18/2017 12:17:19 PM
Forestwalker, I'm intrigued by your mapacho tea. How do you go about using the mapacho tea in a ritualistic manner? How does the teachings present themselves from mapacho?
#5 Posted : 8/18/2017 5:20:01 PM
Well the mapacho and my tobacco tea are two different things , I've personally never made mapacho , I know how to make it but never have as I'm not a regular tobacco user like my friend . There are lots of mapacho making methods you can find but I'll help you if you can't find any. My tea involves a single to single and a half regular cigarette amount of dried non rustica amount of tobacco leaf, I generally boil it in water just like you would with earl grey , green , or any other kind of tea. Ritualistic I've never used it that way with my aya ceremonies because of Maois and that danger . But I always burn tobacco during my ceremonies either smoked or just burned on a hot plate with a tin lid or on coal or on embers , or in a roll tied and fanned , I treat it like a ally , I'll pray with it, use it to help my intentions , a smudge over my aya, myself , objects , anyone one is with me , my buddy normally smokes mapacho himself , but I rarely do, I generally don't like mapacho it's mainly a preference . But I use lots of smudges, cedar, white sage, sweet grass, are some example s. So I hope this helped , again if you are making tea be very very aware of how much you are boiling you will poison yourself if you use too much, I do not recommend over one and a half cigarettes worth unless you want a Drs visit . Look it up if you don't believe me. Again as well I don't use this method ritualistically , bc of danger with interactions, but in a simple tobacco ceremony I would still be careful if you are adding it to a smoked method , I don't enjoy smoking so that's why I sought out this particular method
#6 Posted : 8/18/2017 7:23:04 PM
Snuffing the tea is quite a good start and safe, can range from super strong to light according to the concentration.
Drinking tea is no joke, people actually died.
Get real mapacho, not something you buy in a regular store to smoke.
Natural American Spirit perhaps.

Modern endeavors:

Tobacco: "Proper Food Of The Gods" By Peter T Furst, 1976
Full pdf see attachment.
Section about tobacco:

The Spanish clergy from the first classified tobacco alongside peyote, morning glories, and
mushrooms as a ritual intoxicant of traditional Indian culture. This fact may come as a
surprise, but the ministers of the Colonial church knew whereof they spoke.

The natural and cultural history of tobacco (Nicotiana spp.) as an aboriginal American
cultigen— as much unknown to the rest of the world less than 500 years ago as were
chocolate, maize, and rubber— is too complex and too extensive to fit into these pages. But
we can hardly ignore it in the present context, not so much because as used by us today it
is potentially one of the most physiologically damaging substances known, but rather
because in much of the traditional Indian world tobacco was and still is considered to be the
special gift of the gods to humanity, given to assist mankind in bridging the gulf between
"this" world and "the other"— the world of the gods themselves. In many cases this view
involves employing tobacco to attain precisely the kinds of mystical states, or the
characteristically shamanistic ecstatic trance, that we commonly associate only with the
better recognized vegetal hallucinogens. To mention only one example from Mexico: not
only before the Conquest but centuries later the curing shamans of Aztec-speaking
communities used picietl (Nicotiana rustica), in conjunction with chants of certain origin
myths, to place themselves in what we might call "mythic time"— a time when everything
was possible— and to enlist the supernatural power of the creator gods and their primordial
handiwork in the restoration of the patient's health and equilibrium. This use is about as far
removed from hedonistic smoking as one can get. We will have occasion to refer to this
particular Aztec phenomenon again in another chapter.

Such things did not escape the attention of the Spanish chroniclers, and should have led to
many detailed investigations since, but in the modern ethnographic literature a recent study
of tobacco intoxication and shamanism, with its underlying mythological and cosmological
complex, among the Warao Indians of Venezuela (Wilbert, 1972) is literally the only
competent in-depth treatment of this important topic.


Gods and Men as Tobacco Addicts

I do not wish to imply that tobacco was universally employed to trigger alternate states of
consciousness. On the contrary, it probably served a greater variety of sacred purposes
than any other plant in the New World, among its most important and virtually universal
functions being that of divine sustenance for the gods, mainly in the form of smoke; it also
served as an indispensable adjunct of shamanic curing, primarily as a supernaturally
charged fumigant but sometimes also as a panacea. Yet there seems to have been at least
an element of incipient intoxication in shamanistic smoking in many Indian societies of
North and South America, and real tobacco intoxication, to the point of a radical altering of
consciousness or psychedelic trance, was certainly of considerable importance in the
ecstatic complex of the New World as a whole. This element, together with what we know
today of the chemical activity of Nicotiana, justifies assigning tobacco— as the Indians
themselves did— to the psychedelic flora, but with this important difference: in contrast to
the plants that we usually call hallucinogens, of which not a single species has been known
to be addictive, tobacco may be so. There seems to be no scientific reason to doubt, and
more than enough evidence to suggest (including observations among and testimony by
South American Indians) that tobacco is not just psychologically habituating, as some have
maintained, but that it does in fact result in physical dependency— i.e., is addictive in the
true sense of the word, a fact that many Indian populations recognized and codified in their
mythologies, even to the point of assigning to their gods the same physical and
psychological craving for tobacco they observed in their shamans, themselves archetypically
the mythmakers. Anthropologist Johannes Wilbert (personal communication) notes that
various North and South American Indian societies share a tradition that in giving tobacco
to the people the supernaturals failed to hold any back for themselves ("not even one pipe,"
the Fox quote the Gentle Manitou). Inasmuch as the gods crave tobacco as their essential
spirit food (usually though not always or everywhere in the form of smoke), by this act of
generosity they could be said to have placed themselves in a position of dependency,
subject to manipulation by religious practitioners. However, since the people likewise
depend on the good will of the supernaturals, the relationship was one of reciprocity and
interdependency, differing fundamentally from Judeo-Christian concepts. Because of the
similarity of tobacco rituals and beliefs in widely separated areas of aboriginal North and
South America, Wilbert thinks they diffused long ago from a common point of origin along
with the first plants themselves.

Edward Brecher et al. (1972) having adequately dealt with the problem of tobacco addiction
in the context of contemporary American society (pp. 209-244), there is no need to dwell
on it here. What concerns us, rather, is the traditional use of Nicotiana as a ritual and very
sacred inebriant, concerning which some Indians were, and are, well aware of its tendency
to addict, even if they did not phrase it in quite those terms.


The genus Nicotiana belongs, with Datura ("Jimsonweed"Pleased and such important food plants
as the tomato and potato, to the nightshade or potato family (Solanaceae), which also
includes a number of important narcotic genera, such as Atropa (A. belladonna). There may
be as many as 45 different species of tobacco, most of them the result of cultivation, but
only a few achieved wide pre-European dissemination. The most prominent of these are N.
tabacum, which may have originated as a cultivated hybrid of two other species in the
eastern valleys of the Bolivian Andes, spreading from there across northern South America
into the West Indies and to lowland Mexico, and N. rustica, another cultivated hybrid that is
found from the Andes to Canada, rivaling maize in its pre-European distribution. In the
Great Basin of western North America, particularly in California and the adjacent Nevada
and Arizona desert, three other species, N. bigelovi Watson, N. attenuata, and N.
trigonophylla, were the important tobaccos in native ritual. N. glauca Graham, the so-called
"tree tobacco" that is found growing all over the foothills on the Pacific coast of California, is
a comparatively recent import from South America that was apparently never employed by
California Indians in aboriginal times (Zigmond, 1941).

Although other alkaloids may contribute to the psychedelic aspects of Nicotiana intoxication,
the most important active principle is nicotine, a pyridine alkaloid that occurs in the
aboriginal species in much higher concentrations (up to four times) than in modern cigarette
tobacco. It is nicotine that produces the craving for tobacco in confirmed smokers, as it
does among Indians who use it in great amounts for ritual rather than pleasure. The
nicotine content of TV. rustica is significantly greater than that of N. tabacum, which, along
with the fact that N. rustica is also the hardier of the two species and requires less attention
in cultivation, probably accounts for its far more extensive geographical and cultural
distribution. In any event, being more powerful, N. rustica was much more widely employed
in metaphysical and therapeutic contexts. It was the sacred picietl of Aztec ritual and
medicine, also the divine tobacco of the Indians of the eastern Woodlands and also,
probably, the petum of aboriginal Brazil. Today, secular smoking of commercial tobacco for
pleasure, wholly unknown in the Americas in pre-European times, is probably general
among most Indian populations, excepting those in the remote interior of South America.
Nevertheless, the aboriginal Indian tobaccos have nowhere passed into secular use. Even
many relatively acculturated Indians who participate to one or another degree in the
national economy still make a distinction between white man's tobacco and their own.
Commercial cigarettes or cigars may be freely smoked at any time (and are sometimes
even used ceremonially), but the powerful N. rustica continues to be everywhere reserved
for traditional metaphysical and therapeutic purposes. This differentiation is also
emphasized in the terms applied to the traditional species. For example, the Huichols of
Mexico refer to N. rustica as "the proper tobacco of the shaman," while the Seneca of New
York call it oyengwe onwe, "real tobacco." At the same time, it seems that some Indians,
the Huichols included, are aware that N. rustica is not without danger; among the Huichols
there are even reports of imbibers of tobacco infusion falling ill with what is apparently
nicotine poisoning. There are also stories of peyote pilgrims dying after a tobacco
purification ordeal in the course of the quest for peyote. Considering the very high nicotine
content of N. rustica, occasional accidents of this sort are certainly possible.


The importance of tobacco in Huichol shamanism is especially interesting because it is yet
another example of the functional and symbolic coexistence of tobacco with a sacred
hallucinogen, in this case peyote. The shaman to whom tobacco is said to belong is not only
the actual shaman of a particular group but also the principal deity, the "First Shaman," Our
Grandfather, the deified fire, who established tobacco as well as the peyote ritual, and to
whom N. rustica is ceremonially sacrificed, not only in the peyote rites but in all other
ceremonies. Furthermore, tobacco smoke is as essential to shamanic curing among the
Huichols as it is everywhere else in American Indian shamanism. Huichol shamans "with a
bad heart"— i.e. in their malevolent role, as sorcerers— also use tobacco to speed "arrows of
sickness" to their victims, a phenomenon of which we will hear again shortly. My Huichol
informants say that evil shamans have their own special tobacco, which may or may not be
true in the literal sense, but which in any case reminds one of a Carib Indian tradition of a
mythological contest between a good and a bad shaman. At one point the good shaman
challenges his rival to reveal all the kinds of tobacco he has, and when the other fails to
enumerate more than ten, shows him up by magically producing many more varieties of his
own (Koch-Grunberg, 1923:213-214).

Tobacco also enters into the contest between the Young Lords or Hero Twins in the Popol
Vuh, the sacred book of the Quiche Maya of highland Guatemala, and the rulers of the
Underworld. The latter challenge their visitors from the Upperworld to keep two cigars lit
through the night. The Hero Twins pass the test by placing fireflies at the tips of their cold
cigars, only pretending to smoke incessantly, and relighting their still fresh cigars in the
morning, a feat that mystifies the rulers of the dead. As a matter of fact, the Tzotzil Maya of
Chiapas, Mexico, still believe that tobacco shields one from the evil beings of the
Underworld and from death, and the Lacandon Maya of the Usumacinta region even now
offer the first tobacco harvested to their gods in the form of cigars (Thompson, 1970).
Similar practices and traditions abound all over the Americas.

The Antiquity of Tobacco in America

How ancient is tobacco in the New World? Its spectacular aboriginal distribution and the
striking similarity of tobacco ideology suggest that it is very old indeed. It is entirely
possible that the progenitors of N. rustica and N. tabacum are the most ancient cultivated
plants in the Americas, older even than the earliest varieties of maize and other native
American food plants, whose initial domestication in southeastern Mexico dates to ca. 4000-
5000 BC There is of course no reason why the first cultigens should not have been intended
to feed the spirit rather than the stomach. In any event, tubular stone pipes, probably
(though not certainly) for tobacco smoking, rivaling in age the earliest primitive Mexican
maize, have been found in California— and smoking is not even believed to be among the
oldest methods of tobacco use! By the time of Columbus there was virtually no Indian
population, from Canada to southern South America, to whom one or another of the major
species of tobacco was not sacred and that did not either cultivate it or obtain it by trade
from their neighbors. This was true as much for societies that also used other psychoactive
species as for those that did not. Not only did Nicotiana enjoy a far wider geographical and
cultural distribution than any other vegetal hallucinogen, but it was also consumed in many
more ways and for many different purposes, from shamanic intoxication to feeding the
gods, to curing. Best-known and probably most common is smoking, but it was also drunk,
snuffed, licked, sucked, eaten, and even injected rectally as enemas, a technique that
permits especially rapid absorption of the active principles into the blood stream, while
bypassing the digestive system and thereby avoiding unpleasant side effects.


Psychedelic Enemas?

The rubber enema syringe is actually a South American Indian invention, but other suitable
materials were also employed for the bulb. Intoxicating as well as medicinal enemas have
been described both in the earliest European accounts of native customs, dating to the
sixteenth century, and in the more recent ethnographic literature. Tobacco juice, ayahuasca
(Banisteriopsis caapi), and even a species of Anadenanthera (A. colubrina) whose seeds
(huiica or wilka) were used for hallucinogenic snuff and in intoxicating beverages, all seem
to have been employed for enemas in western South America. Very early Quechua
dictionaries mention huiica syringes, and the sixteenth-century chronicler Poma de Ayala
(1936) likewise reports enemas made from these potent hallucinogenic seeds among the
Inca. Enema syringes also appear in the pictorial art of the Moche civilization, which
predates the Incas by more than a thousand years. Sahagun mentions enemas in Aztec
medicine, but does not tell us the purpose for which they were employed. Not so the
Anonymous Conqueror (1917), another sixteenth-century Mexican source, who writes of the
Huastec Indians of Veracruz that, not content with intoxicating themselves by drinking their
"wine" (actually pulque, the fermented juice of the agave cactus), they also injected it
recta I ly.

It has only recently come to light that the ancient Maya, too, employed enemas. Enema
syringes or narcotic clysters, and even enema rituals, were discovered to be represented in
Maya art, an outstanding example being a large painted vase dating AD 600-800, on which
a man is depicted carrying an enema syringe, applying an enema to himself, and having a
woman applying it to him. As a result of this newly discovered scene, archaeologist M. D.
Coe was able to identify a curious object held by a jaguar deity on another painted Maya
vessel as an enema syringe. If the enemas of the ancient Maya were, like those of Peruvian
Indians, intoxicating or hallucinogenic, they might have been compounds of fermented
balche (honey mead), itself a very sacred beverage, fortified with tobacco or with morning-
glory-seed infusions. Of course they could also have been a tobacco infusion alone.

The suggestion that the ritual enemas of pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica were in fact not just
medicinal or therapeutic in our sense but, like those of the Incas, were meant to affect the
user's state of consciousness and place him in touch with the supernaturals, is supported
not just by the sixteenth-century and later evidence from South America but also by the
recent discovery of peyote enemas among the Huichols of the western Sierra Madre in
Mexico (Timothy Knab, personal communication). The Huichol syringe is made of the femur
of a small deer, with a bulb of deer bladder instead of rubber, closely resembling Plains
Indian deer-bone enema syringes in the collections of the Museum of the American Indian in
New York. Huichols say shamans who take a peyote infusion rectally instead of by mouth
(whole or ground in a specially consecrated mortar) do so because their stomachs are weak
and cannot tolerate the very bitter and astringent plant, which often causes nausea and
even severe vomiting; however, I suspect that inasmuch as the sacred cactus is itself
equated with, and identified as, deer (see Chapters 10 and 11), the practice probably has
deeper symbolic meaning.


The tobacco enema is presumably a relatively recent refinement in the history of nicotine
ecstasies, while the drinking of tobacco in the form of a syrupy infusion may be among the
earliest. The juice, produced by steeping or boiling of the leaves, can either be taken by
mouth or imbibed through the nostrils, in which case the active principles are absorbed
more quickly into the system. Tobacco drinking to induce the desired trance state, often in
great amounts and after prolonged periods of fasting, was and is especially common in
shamanic initiation among Amazonian Indians, where it is often followed by the neophyte's
first introduction to the ritual Banisteriopsis caapi beverage, whose most important active
principles are harmala alkaloids. Tobacco infusions, imbibed through the nostrils, are also
well-integrated in the symbolic system and psychopharmacology of drug-assisted folk
therapy in urban Peru, where, for example the healer administers it both to his patients and
to himself in conjunction with the mescaline-containing San Pedro cactus (Sharon, 1972).

More or less rapid intoxication by eating raw or prepared tobacco, or by snuffing, or more
gradual intoxication by sucking, are probably also very old. Snuffing is common, especially
in South America, where pulverized tobacco, mixed with wood ashes or some other alkaline
preparation to facilitate release of the active principles, is inhaled either alone or in
combination with some other psychoactive species. What is often called chewing in the
literature should more properly be described as sucking, since the quids prepared of
powdered or crumbled tobacco and lime (or ashes) are not actually chewed but held in the
mouth, between the gums and the teeth, and sucked for hours, allowing the juice to trickle
down the throat. This technique of gradual nicotine intoxication was aboriginally so
widespread, from the Northwest Coast of North America through California deep into
Amazonia, that it must surely rank among the earliest methods. It is still the common
practice among the Yanomamo (Shiriana, Waika) of the Upper Orinoco as well as other
aboriginal populations of tropical South America. Significantly, the Yanomamo, who also
employ powerful intoxicating tryptamine snuffs in their shamanistic rituals, apparently can
and do go for long periods without snuffing but say they suffer physical discomfort if they
are deprived of their tobacco quids for even short periods of time (Chagnon et a\., 1971).
Powdered tobacco mixed with lime in the form of a quid or cud is also one of several ways in
which Nicotiana was and is used among both the highland and lowland Maya, as it was
throughout Middle America (Thompson, 1970). The early literature lists alleviation of
fatigue, hunger, and thirst, and also ritual intoxication among the principal reasons for the

The Sacred Pipe

Considering its enormous geographic spread in the Americas at the time of European
discovery, as well as the probable age of stone tobacco pipes in California, the inhaling
(often called "drinking" or "eating"Pleased of tobacco smoke by the shaman, as a corollary to
therapeutic fumigation and the feeding of the gods with smoke, must also be of
considerable antiquity. Tobacco was and still is smoked by shamans and other participants
in shamanic ritual in many different ways— as cigarettes and cigars with wrappings of corn
husk or other plant materials, of which some may well have been themselves psycho-active;
in cane tubes up to three feet in length; or in tubular or elbow pipes of varying design and
of different materials. Such pipes were often of simple construction, but others, especially in
North America, were frequently real works of art on which much care and ritual was
lavished, representing humans, animals, or supernatural beings and activities associated
with the "medicine" or spirit power of their owners. Simple or complex, however, the
manufacture of the pipe never was solely a matter of technology. It was a sacred art, often
an elaborate ceremonial lasting over many days, fully commensurate with the divine nature
of tobacco and the metaphysical purposes for which the pipe was intended. Perhaps the
following, summarized from a description of pipe manufacture among the Navaho (Tschopik,
1941) will help us appreciate this better:


While a pipe is made, no one may talk or laugh and great care is taken that nothing be
broken. Pipes may be made by either men or women, who are usually specialists in this art.
Both must observe strict rules about handling of their tools and other objects; for example,
tools may be passed only between thumb and index finger and in no other manner. A pipe
maker usually makes two pipes at a time, and if a man and a woman are both making
pipes, two pairs are produced (this relates to Navaho insistence on male-female balance and
balance in general). The pipe maker generally makes a black, crooked, conical male pipe
that is used in hunting rituals, and a white, straight, conical female pipe which is employed
in the Blessing Way ceremony. Pipes are made from clay which deer, antelope, elk,
jackrabbits, or prairie dogs have chewed in order to extract salt. The water used for mixing
the clay likewise has a mystical bond with deer, for plants that have been knocked down by
deer while feeding are soaked in it before it is added to the clay. The paste is rolled out
between the palms of the hands and modeling is done with the fingers. The pipe is
smoothed with a wooden scraping tool and saliva produced as the maker chews "deer
medicine." The pipe is bent into the desired shape and perforated longitudinally while the
clay is still soft.

When it is finished the maker— whether man or woman— must sing four songs (four being
the sacred number), after which the pipes are decorated with bits of stone or shell, in
recognition of the materials with which the gods made the first tobacco pipes. Then, after
more songs have been sung, the pipes receive names. Navaho pipes are dried for four days,
either inside the hogan or in the crotch of a tree. If a dog should urinate on the drying pipes
they cannot be used in any ceremony. During the drying period the makers must take sweat
baths and wash their clothing.

The finished and dried pipe is fired in a small pit that is specially dug. A flat rock is placed at
the bottom and the pipe laid on it with the bowl end facing east. Only one pipe at a time is
fired. It is covered with tinder and the fire is allowed to bum down to ashes before the pipe
is removed. The ashes are cooled with water, a ritual act believed to bring rain. Four more
days of ceremonies must pass before the pipe can be painted. If four pipes have been
made, each is painted with a different color, representing one of the four sacred directions
and one of the sexes— i.e. a black male pipe stands for east, a white female pipe for north,
a yellow male pipe for west and a blue female pipe for south. (Tschopik, 1941:56-62)


Tobacco Shamanism among the Warao

As a fitting conclusion to our consideration of tobacco as a divine— but addictive— inebriant,
and by way of introduction to the psychedelic flora as a whole, let us look briefly at the
tobacco ideology of the Warao, a Venezuelan Indian society that at least until the most
recent times managed to escape the destructive effects of acculturation and maintain its
highly successful traditional lifeway as riverine fishermen in the delta of the Orinoco. As
Wilbert (1972:55-83) tells us, the Warao, of whom there are more than 10,000, use no
other hallucinogen but tobacco. More than that, their astonishingly complex metaphysical
universe is quite literally held together and sustained by tobacco smoke, through the agency
of their shamans, who smoke incessantly to fulfill the primordial promise to the gods that
there be abundant tobacco smoke as their proper and only food and as the shaman's means
of communication with the Otherworld. The shaman's cigar is a long and slender cane tube,
up to two feet in length, filled with powerful charges of tightly rolled leaves of black tobacco
that is perfumed with a fragrant resin to make it attractive to the gods. In the course of
shamanizing, shamans may smoke ten, twenty, thirty, and even more of these giant cigars,
never exhaling but "eating" the smoke until it suffuses their entire system. So "lightened"
by tobacco, the shamans ascend in their ecstatic trances to the zenith and travel to their
respective master spirits on celestial bridges constructed of tobacco smoke, as are the
houses to which they retire after death. A curing shaman's tobacco smoke is therapeutic,
but in their negative role these shamans can also speed projectiles of sickness and death to
their victims with the aid of powerful blasts from their reversed cigars.

For the novice shaman the most crucial undertaking of his life is his initiatory tobacco
trance, when, after a long fast and instruction by the master shaman, speeded upward by
the smoke of his sacred cigar, he at last embarks upon a journey that takes him to the ends
of the Warao universe. Along the way he must travel on slippery paths across a yawning
defile, evade the knives of demons, the snapping beaks and talons of raptorial birds, and
the jaws of alligators and other terrifying creatures, until at the moment of greatest rapture,
having successfully negotiated the final obstacle of clashing gates, he is wafted, "buoyant as
a puff of cotton," toward his celestial encounter with the supreme spirit in the House of
Tobacco Smoke.

Awakening from his tobacco trance, the novice shaman feels newborn, confident of the truth
of the ancient traditions because they have been validated by his own ecstatic experience.
The new shaman and the tobacco medicine powder that has lodged in his chest are still
feeble and tender, but after a month of eating little, avoiding certain odors, and smoking
incessantly, he grows strong, ready to take his place as one of the guardians of his
community's physical and metaphysical integrity.

But like all shamans, he will always need tobacco and will experience great physical and
psychological distress when tobacco is in short supply. Then his people will say, "Our
shaman is sick, he craves tobacco."

In his book, Maya History and Religion (1970), the great English Maya scholar J. Eric S.
Thompson devotes an entire chapter to the meaning and uses of the divine tobacco among
the May a and their neighbors, from which I wish only to quote the summation (pp. 122-
123) as peculiarly pertinent to all that was said above:


This review makes clear the extent to which the taking of tobacco in every
form permeated Indian life in ancient Middle America. The attitude of noble,
priest, and commoner was imbued at times with something approaching
mysticism, as when tobacco was personified or even deified or when it was
accepted as an ally fighting beside man to overcome fatigue or pain or to
ward off so many ills of the human flesh. There is deep beauty there which
we, in our materialistic world, bombarded with advertising on television and in
print of some young man lighting a girl's cigarette as a prelude to conquest,
are unable to share or even to perceive. The relationship is that of compline
to a blast of the Beatles and their sad imitators.

Aside from the fact that in the meantime cigarette advertising has been banned from
television and that one can think of lots worse than the Beatles to set against the Night
Song, no one could have said it better.
#7 Posted : 8/19/2017 2:14:08 AM
Great post Jees!

The part about the Warao is especially crazy! Smoking so much tobacco! And not even exhaling! Those guys must have an otherworldly tolerance!Laughing

JustAnotherHuman is a fictional character. Everything said by this character should be regarded as completely fabricated.

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."-Benjamin Franklin.
#8 Posted : 8/19/2017 6:42:55 AM
Thank you.
I really advocate snuffing the tea.
Or the use of Ambil: Ambil is a type of paste, syrup, jelly or jam made from tobacco and mineral salts. It’s is a very strong, intense, and powerful sacred medicine.
Google on "ambil tobacco"
You only need a veeeeery tiny bit ambil on your tongue and it will drag trough your throat and ground you immediately, an alternative to get out of a hard period.
#9 Posted : 8/19/2017 5:41:30 PM
This is a certainly a topic that has fascinated me. The western vs amazonian views of tobacco in regards to health couldn't be any more incompatible. A medicine for every illness or a carcinogenic poison? Hmmm... That said I was doing Rape' pretty regularly for about a month after being gifted some by my ayahuasca guide. By the end of the month I got a tumor at the site of administration. It turned out to be benign but it scared the living crap out of me and I never touched it again since.
#10 Posted : 8/28/2017 7:07:26 AM
Psilociraptor wrote:
... I was doing Rape' pretty regularly for about a month...By the end of the month I got a tumor at the site of administration. It turned out to be benign but it scared the living crap out of me...
That is scary! The people who introduced me to snuff tobacco tea aim at once a week if done on a regular scheme.
#11 Posted : 1/18/2018 7:21:29 PM
I have done two 7 day mapacho master plant diets. I am leaving to go back to the Amazon of Peru to do two more in a few days. Ive experienced ayahuasca many times but the tobacco dieta is something much more deep. I also have dieted on Renaco and Chuchu wasi. I am interested in possibly becoming a tabaquero after my experience. Here is what i wrote after my first 7 day dieta.

"The 7 day tobacco master plant cleanse.

Jheferson is a tabaquero, he one of few in Peru who does there diets. To be an tabaquero one must do many many tobacco diets and work up to taking 650 ml a day. I couldn't imagine after the effects of one cup full. The benefits of the diet are clearing of negative energies which are the cause of depression, impatience, nervousness, anxiety and addiction.

First of all you must eat a very strict diet, there are two ways I could choose. One was only rice, fruit, and veggies to create a transformative experience or I could choose the shamanic training diet with consisted of fruit only for the week. The more isolation the better for the process. Jheferson offers a more relaxed detox to cater to those who need to work or leave the house during the process. I choose the fruit only diet with isolation as much isolation to the outside world as possible (I still contacted my daughters and parents.) I wanted the experience to be strong as possible.

The experience has been transformative to say the least. I will give you a little background about me and how this experience could possibly help you. I've had many many physical injuries from skateboarding and snowboarding. I used to think I would live in pain for the rest of my life from all the bones I had broken. I had a debilitating injury in my ankle that never has fully healed. I also had a divorce where my friend had stole my wife when we were having troubles. This caused me much mental pain that for a few years transformed in drug addiction. This was all too many moons ago but the emotions still lingered below the surface. I thought I was over it and had forgiven but it had caused turmoil in my relationship because of lack of trust. What I'm trying to explain is that I suffered from physical injuries and trust issues. For much of my life I didn't have the ability to forgive.

The brew in this detox is made of tobacco, garlic and Florida water. The cleanse is more than just a detox of the body, it is a detox of the mind. Jheferson said that the first three days are to detox the body, the last three days are to detox the mind and will bring your heart to full capacity for love and understanding. Also the last three days are to align the mind to be taught through my dreams. The very first day, the medicine was strong and I purged within just a few minutes of drinking the brew. After an hour or so the dizziness subsided. He had me drink 500 mg of water before drinking a full coffee cup of the brew. The second day was about the same, drinking 500 ml of water before drinking the coffee cup of the brew. The effects again subsided within one hour. I didn't feel much different. He asked me if I had remembered my dreams? I had not been able to recall any dreams yet. He also said my soul from past lives had not been able to forgive and I was being tested in this life. If I didn't get to where I could forgive, I would be tested repeatedly in this life. I truly believe him, especially with retrospect on past events. I have felt deceived on many levels and sometimes my reactions haven't been kind. I thought how my reactions and personality have participated in manifesting this perception of deception.

So on the third day after I drank the brew, he had me snort the liquid up each nostril. It was over an ounce in each. (This is not normal, most who participate in the tobacco cleanse will not have to do this. This was to clean the mind of negativity so I would be connected to my dreams.) He said my chakras were not aligned and subsequently was causing the inability to dream. This experience was intense to say the least. Drinking tobacco wasn't pleasant but snorting brew was at another level. My body was twitching as I could feel my energy being realigned. Dizziness ensued for about an hour. I felt almost as if I was not connected by gravity to the ground. I felt like a Floating spirit. I made a fire outside even though it was very cold and spent many hours outside contemplating my life. I felt the turmoil of emotions boiling inside me. I actually didn't care for this part because I thought my anger over some past situations was getting in the way of my healing. That night I had my first dream and it was about my friends whom I'm not getting along with right now. We were fighting in the dream. It made me very sad. I had cried many times over how our relationships had become distant. I woke up and told Jheferson about the dream. He said it was good.

So on the fourth day, he has me do the same regiment. I would drink the water and then a full coffee cup of the tobacco brew. Then again he had me snort the unpleasant liquid again up my nose. The same scenario happened again, I was shaking inside, i could feel the medicine working at my very core of my physical being, and at the core of my soul. It was very intense again. I went and sat by the fire for many hours again. I was thinking of all the people I need to forgive and ask forgiveness from. I was also thinking how to react to future problems also. The medicine was working really strongly on me. Everything seemed very clear. I was releasing emotions. On this night I had a dream that all my childhood friends were skating a halfpipe together. We were adults but yet we were on a ramp that was torn down when we were 20. We were all really happy. This lucid dream was exceptionally clear. We were all skating at very exceptional level. I could do any of the tricks I could do when I was younger. I woke up super happy but yet feeling very euphoric. I still had a floating feeling. On this day I was able to get into some of the deepest meditations in my life. I played some soft tranquil music. I was able to see every pain and injury in my body. I started visualizing each individual pain, and could illuminate the area with my mind. With my breath and visualization, I started dissolving away the pain inflicted area by sending my breath. I could see the pain inflicted areas in my mind also. I could very clearly visualize my breath clearing the negative energy, one by one. I dissolved all the pains in my body.

On the fifth and 6th day, he cut the water and snorting part of the regiment. The medicine then wasn't diluted in my stomach. This made the nausea last much longer. I wasn't comfortable for many hours. I bared through this and felt really clean and clear affect the effects softened.

Day 7

Grandfather tobacco I want to thank you for your transformative healing experience. I now regard you as one of the strongest healers on the planet. I now know why the indigenous on the planet held you in such high regard's. I feel a total cleanse cleanse of body and mind. My respects will be with you always."

#12 Posted : 1/20/2018 5:35:17 AM
Do you know how the brew was prepared? Is it simply tobacco steeped in boiling water? Do you know the ratio?

I am currently studying this plant and have done several tobacco washes in which I make a tobacco brew made with N. Rustica and pour it all over my body, let it dry, and then fall asleep while leaving the residue on my skin. My dreams are very vivid on these nights and sleep can be difficult. But the next day, I always feel like a million bucks.

I have yet to try snorting or drinking any liquid but I'm sure that will be my next adventure with this plant.
#13 Posted : 1/20/2018 10:47:14 AM
Rolling eyes nice idea about the skin treatment!

Jees wrote:
...Drinking tea is no joke, people actually died...

It is a poison, please don't just start drinking tobacco tea without proper guidance of an experienced person. There are variations that skew any online advise, strength of tea for example. What to do when the purge does not happen in time, etc. Ronindiana should have disclaimed copy-catting imho.
Nice story though Thumbs up .

Get real mapacho (don't even think about chemo soaked smoking tobacco), boil in water, cool, sniff 1 ml in each nostril (one can use a needless syringe), if you do not get the feeling of being hit by a base ball bat, your tea is weak.
Once a week, no faster.

Just my 2 cents fwiw.

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