The Tobacco Inhalation – Nënë
Since ancient times, the Amazonian tribes have performed rituals for different reasons such as healing, increasing their courage, gaining wisdom, building strength and entering into harmony with nature to increase their hunting skills. All of this knowledge has been transmitted from parents to children for generations, and we can learn some of it with the help from our experts.
Although it is possible to perform these rituals in one day, it is recommended to take at least seven days to obtain their true benefit.
The native experts of the Matsés tribe process a refined green powder that they call Nënë in their own language or sometimes referred as Nënë in Spanish, using tobacco leaves (Nicotiana tabacum) and the bark of a tree called cacahuillo (Theobroma subincanum).
This practice is usually performed by two people. An adult expert Matsés pours a dose of the preparation inside the end of a hollow cane. The other end is placed in the nostril of the person who is going to receive and inhale the tobacco. The expert powerfully blows the powder into the nostril of the person on the other end receiving the “Nënë”. The amount of inhalations in each nostril will depend on the tolerance of each consumer.
One of the keys to the success of the Nënë ceremony lies in that the person blowing must be an expert adult, who, besides the tobacco, also sends his spirit and power to the person inhaling.
This practice is only used by men who want to gain courage, power and energy. However, they can also decide to do it as a celebration, to have visions or just to have a good night’s rest after a bad day. Since this tribe has an obvious relationship between hunting and shamanism they also use Nënë to get a good shot with bow and improve their hunting proficiency.
Amazon Explorer performs this practice with a Matsés expert.