Veganism and Psychedelic Experiences
A Visit at the Nomad Psybient Chai Bar in Berlin
The desire to experience mind and body again as a new and changing reality has had precedents of countless varieties, for example the back-to-the-land naturism and vegetarianism via American Indians (Harris 11). During the 1960s’ Summer of Love, the garden metaphor, a place to “water” and cultivate the mind (Harris 16), was revived. While hippies turned to vegetarianism within communities in rural areas, we nowadays experience a hype of veganism in urban places like Berlin.
Last Saturday, the Nomad Chai Bar celebrated its first anniversary in Berlin, Neukoelln, and since the opening in January 2014 it has gained tremendous popularity. The bar is not a random one where visitors go to party in the so-called “Berlin style.” Instead, it is a gathering place for psychedelic nomads of this century who are eager to experience transcendent psychedelic experiences, to explore spiritual consciousness under the influence of psybient music and visionary art.
Among meditation workshops or talks on “Buddhist Path to Happiness” and “Kickbong, Awakened Chakras, Ablution,” the Nomad Psybient Bar puts on events about psychedelic experiences in combination with veganism. For example, in November 2014 animal rights activist Gérald V Haegele gave a talk about “Veganism and Psychedelic Experiences,” in which he proposed that we all should live in a compassionate way and reject all violence against sentient beings. As the current research is relatively scarce concerning psychedelic experiences and vegan food, practices, I visited the owners of the Nomad Psybient Chai Bar in Berlin to get some first-hand information from Gérald V Haegele.
Referring to events such as “You’ll Never Look at Dinner the Same Way” or “Veganism and Psychedelic Experiences,” what exactly is the connection between vegan food and psychedelic experiences?
Being vegan means that you try your best to cause as little suffering as possible. A psychedelic experience has a huge impact on our life and behavior because of the real understanding of the inter-connectedness of all beings and things, the non-separation, the oneness.
As shamans say – it’s a deep insight into the spiritual world, the world of our ancestors, the world of the gods, the world of demons and ghosts, the world of the plants and their spirits and – the animal world.
That makes the connection between psychedelic experiences and veganism – after understanding the oneness with all sentient beings you feel strong compassion and do care even more about the wellbeing of others, no matter whether human or non-human animals.
The most important consequence of that life changing experience is the psychedelic consciousness leading to love and compassion!
Would you agree on the proposition that psychedelic experiences are induced or might be increased by veganism?
Sure, for me it’s having an effect both ways.
Not putting cruelty and suffering – negative energy, bad karma, hormones of fear and pain etc. in your body obviously will expand your consciousness, make you more compassionate, which will make psychedelic experiences even deeper and clearer. The other way round, Yogis become vegan as a “side effect” from their mental training.
Psychedelic experiences often go together with the intake of mind-expanding drugs. Isn’t there a contradiction between veganism as a supposedly healthy lifestyle and the damaging effects of drugs?
Psychedelics are neither “drugs,” nor damaging. They are plants of the gods, medicine, travel agents through manifold realms of consciousness – worlds of magic, love and wisdom, enabling you to do the most intense self-exploration possible. So, nothing unhealthy about that! I can’t see any contradiction. Furthermore, veganism is much more than just a diet or a lifestyle. It is higher consciousness, pure compassion, care and respect for all lifeforms/species. But it is definitely NOT a religion, dogma or ideology.
In the 21st century, there seems to be a renewed motivation for mind-altering activities comparable to the movement during the 1960s. Apart from food trends, do you see any resemblances between the audiences who come to a bar for psychedelic experiences and the members of last century’s hippie movement?
In this moment, we are in the postmodern era. The internet has changed a lot, especially with its opportunities of networking and exchanging alternatives to the established constructs of “reality,” opening up new dimensions. The centre of it – self/world exploration remains the same as in the 1960s though.
In analogy to the aims of the 1960s movement, would you say that changing one’s own private life with mind-expanding activities and vegan food habits could finally lead to transform our current “system”?
Definitely, yes! You are, what you eat!
As long as there are slaughterhouses there will be battlefields (Leo Tolstoy). Peace begins on your own plate. Instead of eating “cruelty food,” full of hormones, antibiotics, bacteria, growth stimulants, pesticides, salmonella etc., switching to a plant based diet for sure makes a big difference in the functioning of your brain and I’m sure that this leads to more sensitivity, compassion and care.
And the life-changing experiences of oneness and inter-connectedness, of course, contribute to a more integral perception of non-duality, of not being separated from the world surrounding ourselves. Both together, veganism and psychedelic experiences are the foundation for a peaceful and free world, knowing the greater power each of us has to choose and create the world he or she lives in, not just being thrown into a fixed reality, but merely constructing it.
Thank you very much for your enlightening thoughts, Gérald V Haegele.
The Nomad Psybient Chai Bar contributes a great deal to heal a troubled mind in our transcendent times. If you ever spend a visit to Berlin, put The Nomad Psybient Chai Bar on your list of hot spots and enjoy an unforgettable psychedelic experience, helping to release your mind from the strictures of “in-the-box” thinking.
This article was written by:
Harris, Jonathan. “Introduction. Abstraction and Empathy: Psychedelic Distortion and the Meanings of the 1960s.” In: Christoph Grunenberg and Jonathan Harrids. Eds. Summer of Love: Psychedelic Art, Social Crisis and Counterculture in the 1960s. Liverpool: Liverpool UP, 2005. 9-18.
Lindquist, Anna. “Beyond Hippies and Rabbit Food: The Social Effects of Vegetarianism and Veganism.” Sociology & Anthropology Theses. Paper 3 (2013). http: www.soundideas.pugetsound.edu/csoc_theses/3.
www.nomad-chai.org (February 2015).
 Psybient music generally works in downtempo and midtempo bpms, utilizing psychedelic musical sounds of psytrance.