Tobacco cleanse (soplo icarado)

Tobacco (Nicotiniana rustica) is another very important plant for South American shamanism and curanderismo (body of healing techniques and knowledge). Tobacco is also called mapacho and is usually smoked (but often not inhaled) in form of small, big and even very big cigars.

Tobacco is food for spirits and mothers of the plants, so it is often used as ritual offering for spirits of healing medicine and spirits of jungle. Tobacco is used as way to transfer energy of intent, medicine, prayer, incantations and icaros. When shaman smokes tobacco and whistles melody of icaro with tobacco smoke he “icaray de la planta” which means he is charging the plant potion with medicine of icaros. Shamans also blow tobacco smoke with icaros on patient´s body. This act of blowing of tobacco smoke with icaro is called “soplo icarado”.

The shamans breath is endowed with curative and magical properties. It is due to the long diets he used to absorb curative and medicinal powers from plants and plant mothers. It dwells in his body and can be released and transferred through a use of tobacco smoke.

Soplo icarado is used for curing, cleansing, protection, extracting of bad spirits and illness out of body and soul of patient, for defense, for deposing of spiritual knowledge. It is used in ceremonies and also outside of them for personal healing.

Shamans also use their pipes (cashimbo) made from very hard wood like palo sangre, tahuari or cumaceba. After ritual preparations they use cashimbo for precise healing with soplo during ceremonies. Pipes gives another power to tobacco smoke for healing through the spirit of tree they are made of.

Mapacho, jungle tobacco has very high content of nicotine, about 25-50 times more than common cigarettes. It is also visionary plant and shamanic plant which has its own proper tradition in Vegetalismo and native shamanism. Healers who use tobacco are called tobacceros, and they learn through tobacco diets for about 8-10 years until their body and soul is prepared to heal others. Tobacco can bring visions as strong, vivid and colorful as ayahuasca.

Tobacco diets means drinking potion with tobacco which is immediately followed by strong purging and drinking large amount of water. Physical effect are very hard: purging, diarrhea, shaking of body, tremors and even convulsions. This effect can last 24 hours or more and is followed by exhaustion, dizziness, fever, flu-like symptoms, inability to walk. Visionary trance is usually very deep accompanied by vivid visions which dietero (person who diet) must navigate and pass. Tobacco can give a lot of power and wisdom, but squeezes a person out of most impurities of body and soul and to such a new cleansed spaces bring its power and illumination.

Nicotine contained in tobacco is nerve poison, so there is strong warning before trying to drink tobacco alone. It always needs shaman to protect and guide diet with his icaros and soplos. It also need rigorous preparations and diets even before diet of tobacco itself.

Ayahuasca and tobacco fit each other, what ayahuasca depose as teaching, tobacco make it clear, grounded, solid and compact.