Mulateiro Ash powder | Calycophyllum spruceanum | #39
Mulateiro ash from the sacred Capirona tree (Calycophyllum spruceanum). This powder is made by a Katukina shaman who lives deep in the jungle in the state of Acre in the Brazilian Amazon. The tree bark is gathered, carefully roasted, and ground by the shaman and his family in the same way that the Katukinas have been practicing for millennia. This ash is locally used for various rapé mixes. It can be added to existing rapés or used for making your own favorite blend.
This pioneer amazonian canopy tree grows 30 meters high and produces an abundance of small, white aromatic flowers. Once or twice a year, the tree sheds off its bark entirely avoiding lichens, fungi, epiphytes, and lianas. The smooth green bark underneath is somewhat like a sunburnt human. It is no surprise that the bark has been used in folk medicine as antifungal and antibacterial. Shamans also use it as an admixture for the Ayahuasca brew. Modern science has found it is high in phenols and organic acids as well as antioxidants.
The Katukina people
The Katukina or Catuquinha are an indigenous group that inhabits the southwestern Brazilian state of Acre. They seem to be closely related to the Marúbo and the Kawanawas. They also belong to the same Pano linguistic family. In 1977 there were less than 200 Katukina people but the population is steadily recovering. Chanting rituals and profound forest survival skills keep this group united and in harmony with the rich amazonian environment they come from.
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 a sense of grounding. It clears mental fog and confusion eliminating negative thought patterns. These powerful snuffs bring about physical and spiritual wellness.