Naysha: Uses of tobacco in shamanism

The image of tobacco nowadays had been severely damaged thanks to the industry of commercial cigarettes and the ego of the business man.

I remember a beautiful experience that was shared with me after an Ayahuasca ceremony. A guy from England told me that the tobacco spirit had talked with him:
– I saw a beautiful black woman crying. She introduced herself as the female energy of the tobacco spirit. She told him that she was so sad for what people are doing with her. “They are putting poison in my leaves and then people believe that I am making them sick. You must tell them this. The traditional way of using my power must be known and people should know the difference between a cigarette and the tobacco itself.”

Why is tobacco used in Ayahuasca ceremonies?

Tobacco is known to be a very powerful spirit which is used for protection, cleaning and also as a vehicle to give energy.

1. For protection it is used to open and create a safe ceremonial area before ceremonies. The shaman uses it to bless the four directions – north, south, west and east – and to call the spirits that will guard the ceremony. Spirits love tobacco; it’s like chocolate to women. When closing the ceremony some shamans like to go to each participant and give them protection against other energies that can disturb the person after the ceremony is closed. When the shaman closes the ceremony again he or she thanks the spirits for the journey by using tobacco.

2. For cleaning. If the space where the ceremony is being held has a kind of heavy or stuck energy the shaman will detect it and blow tobacco smoke to clean it, and it is the same with people. If a person feels that the energies that s/he is seeing during the ceremony are not of a good vibration the shaman can blow tobacco smoke around the aura of the person.

Tobacco also helps with vomiting. If you are struggling to vomit during Ayahuasca, smoking a mapacho will fix the problem. A mapacho is a natural cigarette made from dry tobacco leafs without any additives. It is what the shamans in the Amazon always use.

3. As a vehicle to give energy. When a person feels weakened during the ceremony or is struggling too much with the purge process, then the shaman can transfer a part of his or her energy in the mapacho smoke. This action is known like “ikarar”.

Some shamans like to give tobacco purges before the Ayahuasca ceremony because it helps with cleansing and purifying the energy. It is also good for activating the third eye.

What is a tobacco purge?

The night before one leaves a couple mapachos without the paper in glass of water. Next morning you will drink the water and after a couple of minutes you will vomit. Don’t try to do this if you don’t know how many mapachos you need, because if your tobacco purge preparation isn’t strong enough you won’t be able to vomit and you will just end up intoxicating yourself. Never cook tobacco from mapachos because it’s already a hot plant and if you boil it you are just making a poison. Some shamans likes to cook the Ayahuasca with mapachos and in my experience it just creates distractions for the body. My liver hurts most of the time and it’s an ugly experience. I don’t know why these shamans do it? In my opinion it is pure stupidity. If you want to meet the tobacco spirit it would be better to cook the Ayahuasca with a fresh leaf of tobacco.

The tobacco diet is an important diet for the shamans that need protection for the work they are doing. It’s a hard diet and its follow the same diets rules but you only drink the tobacco/mapacho juice for 3 days.

Can mapachos create addiction?

No, in my experience it does the absolute opposite. Before my training and diets I used to smoke a lot of store bought cigarettes, like 2 or 3 boxes per day. Then somebody invited me to smoke a mapacho and as soon I smoked it I just couldn’t smoke ordinary cigarettes anymore because I immediately react to the poison in the cigarette. I can feel all the chemicals inside the cigarette and it is disgusting. When I moved to Sweden I didn’t even notice that I was not smoking because it’s not possible to find mapachos in regulars stores in Sweden. After having smoked mapachos I didn’t have any problems even not smoking mapachos. After almost two years away of Peru the cigarette smells still make me feel sick.

Naysha Silva Romero

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