Tobacco is one of the most misused and misunderstood plant medicines in western society today. Tobacco originally was and still is used in shamanic rituals and this is where you will find its origin. The Native American shaman and the Shamans of South America have used tobacco in ceremony for thousands of years, even as early as 5000BC.
Originally tobacco came over to Europe in the 1500’s and in the late 1800’s is when tobacco and cigarettes in particular became widespread and commercially produced for Western society.
But lets go back, lets go back to where tobacco came from and its uses then… Tribes in the Americas have historically carried tobacco in pouches. Within tribal use, it has always been revered, revered for its healing and protection qualities and to ward of evil spirits or negative energy. It has and still is greatly respected, respected for its strength in conveying intentions, messages and prayers to spirits or to the creator in its smoke. We must remember that within tribes, agreements and contracts were signed not by signing a piece of paper, but by joining in a ceremony and passing a tobacco pipe and smoking from it, for this would be an agreement or contract that was bound by the smoke of tobacco and in the eyes of the creator.
It is important to remember this in todays society, where we smoke not with reverence, not as a ceremony, but when we are stressed and unaware of our thoughts and intentions. What is it that we are invoking? we must become aware again, not only of our thoughts and intentions as we smoke, but also to remember that we must take time to celebrate, take time to make it a ceremony with clear thought and intention.
But also what is it that we are smoking? The tobacco of today is a far cry from the true, unmodified, natural tobacco that is still grown in South America today. What we receive now is shiny, appealing, ego boosting, cellophane wrapped, light brown tobacco that has not just been genetically modified, but then also treated with carcinogenic chemicals to make the tobacco, last longer, taste better, burn evenly, smoke evenly. It is sacrilegious to the actual plant and what it really stands for. No respect has been given to its past, its ceremony or its voice.
However, there is currently an awakening, an awakening to source natural, organic, back to basics tobacco and this surge is driving the availability of natural tobacco into western society. Mapachos are natural tobacco rolled into cigarettes that many shaman now use in ceremony, as times change, pipes are becoming less popular and mapacho cigarettes more popular.
We use mapachos within our ceremonies to help to clear, protect and set intentions before, during and after the ceremony.