Arara Canela de Velho Rapé | Canela de Velho (Miconia albicans) | #69
Arara Canela de Velho Rapé is made with the much-appreciated ash made from the bark of the Canela de Velho (Miconia albicans) plant. This shrub is a species of the Melastomataceae family, which is native to the American continent. Canela de Velho has been a proven remedy for a wide variety of chronic pains in the knees, spine, and joints for centuries. It is a wonderful medicinal plant.
Arara Canela de Velho Rapé is an effective grounding rapé that is commonly used by the tiny Arara tribe.
The Arara Tribe
The Arara call themselves Ukarangma, or “red macaw people”. The community is so small that all descendants can trace their ancestry to one woman. They number about 200 and are avid hunters and fishers. When hunters return from a successful hunt, meat is exchanged for fermented drinks and the whole community celebrates together for several days, singing and playing flutes. For feasts and rituals, the Arara paint themselves in stunning, bold designs using a black dye called “genipapo”. They live in large communal thatched houses built from wood and palm leaves collected in the forest. Many grow cassava, sweet potato, corn, bananas, and pineapple also in communal gardens.
The Arara were known as great warriors and were largely nomadic roaming across the Brazilian state of Pará. Their language is from the Karib linguistic family. Sadly, the Apiacá of the Tocantins (extinct), the Yaruma (extinct), and the Ikpeng are all part of the same linguistic family. The Arara were traditionally polygamous and spouses were chosen based on traditional socio-cultural norms. They do not bury their dead and instead build funeral platform homes in the forest.
Since the 1970s the Arara have been driven off their land and forced to live in three villages where the National Indian Foundation has allowed fundamentalist missionaries to come in, bringing rapid and profound changes to the Arara way of life. The community was also severely impacted by the development of the Trans-Amazonian highway.
What is Rapé?
Rapé, pronounced ‘ha-pey’ in Portuguese, is a traditional snuff used by various indigenous tribes of South America. Predominantly tribal people from Brazil and Peru. Rapé blends contain a ground mixture of plants, tree bark, seeds, and ash. The fine powder is blown into each nostril through a bone or bamboo pipe called a ‘Tepi’ or ‘ Kuripe’. The Tepi applicator is a long blow pipe that connects the nostril of the receiver to the mouth of the person that administers the snuff. The Kuripe is for self-application. The V-shaped applicator connects the nostril to the mouth allowing the snuff to be self-blown into the nose.
Each tribe has its own rapé formula and usually, it is women who gather the ingredients. The selection, mixture, and grinding process are regarded as a ritual only to be performed by a reputable healer. The snuff is typically made in small batches according to the specific needs of the person being treated or the ceremony’s occasion.
The use of Rapé aims to restore our connection to nature and sense of grounding. It clears mental fog and confusion eliminating negative thought patterns. These powerful snuffs bring about physical and spiritual wellness.
For more information
Would you like to know more about the Amazon indigenous people? Check this interesting website.
Step by step guide to using Rapé.