Tobacco is a healing plant that’s been used for centuries as a teacher (maestro), healer (curandero), purgative (limpiar) and protector in sacred rituals and ceremonies across traditions and for centuries. It was never meant to be used as an emotional crutch, confidence creator or stress reliever (also known as cigarettes). Shamans work with pure tobacco, which contains no synthetic processes or additional toxins, in ceremonies and to help the healing process. To many, this plant is a sacred and powerful healing spirit, necessary for any helaing, ceremonial or ritual work.
Different traditions have different beliefs and uses for tobacco, while some aspects remain at the heart of its use across cultures and practices. I can only tell you how I connect with this medicine; you can decide what resonates, and what doesn’t. I am in NO WAY ENCORAGING the use of tobacco as a mindless or regular habit.
The tobacco that we work with for healing is pure and far removed from the commonly known cigarette; a filtered, white stick, full of additives, that comes in a packet or loosely in a pouch.
As a result of being misused and misunderstood, there is a lot of fear around tobacco with many illnesses being attributed to its use. But alas, anything that goes through a synthetic process, has toxins added to it, and then is consumed incorrectly and long term, is probably going to make a person sick.
Some shamans only work with tobacco (known as Tabaqueros) as their healing modality. This means that they are a channel for Tobacco Spirit energy alone, it works through them. In my experience, the energy is strong, protective, ancient, wise, pious, stoic, serious, heavy, slow, quiet, no nonsense and tough love. Rather like that of a grandfather who has seen it all, and endured. Your perception might be different.
MAIN WAYS TO USE TOBACCO – please do not try these without receiving proper guidance…
Smoking: Putting tobacco to your mouth (as a cigarette), lighting it and breathing it in – though not taking it into the lungs. This helps the shaman to connect with the plant and possibly receive teaching. Smoking is also a means for shaman to literally take the spirit of Tobacco inside themselves, which they then blow over themselves or a patient, assisted by prayers or ritual. This is a protective practice that can blow away negative energy, seal in positive energy and even bring on a purge if necessary.
Drinking: Adding tobacco to water with prayers and ritual, then drinking ceremonially. This can also offer teaching and deep cleaning. This is a very profound purge that can transform from cell to aura, not for the faint hearted.
Burning: As incense or in a fire. Cleaning out old, stuck energy and preparing a healing space that is welcoming to spirits (they love tobacco). It has a very protective nature, so using it will keep participants safe from external, negative influences during their vulnerable healing state. If a person is particularly toxic, the smell alone can bring on nausea.
Powder (known as rapé [pronounced ‘rapay’ or ‘hapeh’]): A snuff taken up the nose through a pipe, administered by you or another person. Can bring clarity and a purge if the person is struggling to release naturally.
Offering: Made to the spirits to give thanks for all their support and guidance. Without them we would not be able to do this work, after all they are the teachers sharing their wisdom through us. You can blow (sopla), spray, sprinkle, bury it – all with prayers and intentions of gratitude.
When working with tobacco it is important to keep your thoughts as positive, high and pure as possible because it is a POWERFUL spirit in and of itself. Whatever is in your heart and mind when using it will be amplified.
It’s a shame so many people turn to tobacco as cigarettes when they don’t feel good, thus ramping up their feeling of negative energy. By feeling love, gratitude or praying at time of use, you will raise your thoughts, energy and vibrational fields.
Many people don’t like the smell of tobacco. Perhaps this is just a spontaneous limbic response. If our senses are hardwired to unconsciously want purge what is toxic, initiating our fight or flight response, is it not possible that it is not the tobacco that some people feel averse to, but to their own inner toxicity? Perhaps tobacco, as a healer, is helping us to perceive what is negative, unhealthy and toxic already within us, thus triggering the feeling of wanting to purge. Perhaps our spirit and body naturally want to be clean and they know tobacco can assist this process, maybe this is why a person can have such an overpowering response to tobacco?
Our ancestors used tobacco for healing. No matter what your family history indicates, your ancestors will have known and used shamanic practices at some point along the line. These practices are largely similar and span the world over. It is in our DNA to know how to connect with the spirits of plants, especially teacher plants such as tobacco. They speak through the silent voice within you so remember to tap into it.
There are many other ways to use tobacco. I could talk forever in detail about this, but for the purposes of an introduction, Maestro Tobacco wants me to leave it here. I am wildly in love with this generous, protector and I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with it – please feel free to comment or email me.
Keep doing the work because you’re doing great!