Shamanic Perspectives on Veganism

Why is live food veganism so important? While it is obviously good for personal health, the environment, and animal welfare, I’m going to talk about it from a rarely discussed spiritual perspective. Since 1986, part of my contribution to planetary healing, has been to ask, “How do we become superconductors of the Divine?” I answer this question in my book, Spiritual Nutrition.

On an outer level, spiritual nutrition prepares the body, balances the chakras, opens the nadis, and refines the koshas (layers of the mind) so that we can take in the higher energies in our diet. An animal diet, in classic yoga, takes in animal aspects into the body, thereby blocking the spiritual energy. This is not my idea. It is a clear yogic teaching. We are affected by what we are taking in, and, in consuming animals, we are affected by the energy of death and suffering.

Plants produce oxygen, while we produce carbon dioxide. Excess carbon dioxide may not be so good for global warming, but without carbon dioxide, we’d die. Without carbon dioxide, the plant life would also die. One acre of organic plants takes in 3,700 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. Obviously, humans share a symbiotic cycle with plants. What about our relationship with the animals? When we go back to a Biblical understanding, we see that first there were plants, then animals, and then on the very last “day”, in the very last moment, came Adam and Cha’vah. Animals came before us. The teaching is that the breath of God was put into each animal. Each animal has a soul. The explicit teaching is that the breath came into the animals, and that it also came into humans. We are all in sync.

The shamanic understanding is that within us are all of the animal energies. We all have animal totems, such as the wolf energy, the buffalo energy, and so forth. In the Native American tradition, we are bringing up those totem energies to grow spiritually.  We not only celebrate the animals, but we really have their consciousness within us. If we eat the animals we go down into that level of consciousness, but if we don’t we can express higher elements of those levels of consciousness. When we’re eating the animals, we’re really desecrating ourselves. It creates a backwards activation. When we do an Inipi, we are activating the six directions and activating their animal totem energies in a positive way.  We activate those energies and their respective teachings within us.

For example, we talk about the eagle. Who is the eagle? The eagle is the witness with non-dual vision. The eagle rises high enough to see there is no sunrise nor sunset; no birth nor death. This is a tremendous teaching on the spiritual path. Through veganism we are able to access the highest octave of those animal energies. They are given to us in our genetic code. When we eat the animals, we disrupt that whole transmission and code.

The great, wise Sufi saint, Rābiʿa al-ʿAdawiyya al-Qaysiyya, was a vegan in the Muslim world. Once a slave, she was freed because her slave owners recognized her as a great being. One day she was meditating in the forest and the animals were surrounding her. Along came one of her disciples, and the animals ran away. He asked her why they all fled, and she answered him with the question, “What did you have for breakfast?” He told her he had eaten meat and eggs. If you are eating any form of animal products the animals know this and that you are in polarity with them. They see that you are unsafe, and they run away.

Our relationship with the animal world is seriously impaired on the high spiritual octave level if we eat animal products.  We don’t need to eat a lion’s heart to have that totem energy. It’s already within us. Our issue is how do we activate that? By being vegan we are creating the space to activate all of the animal totems and the spiritual energies of those totems within ourselves. We have the unique opportunity to be in right relationship with the animal world by being in harmony with the web of life on the planet. If we are eating animals we are completely out of harmony with the web of life. This is our human design. We have been given dominion, not domination. Dominion is how to work in relationship with the animal and plant worlds so that all are uplifted. That is the meaning of dominion. That is the highest octave of how to relate to the animal world.

Speaking about veganism from a spiritual perspective and not simply from the other common focuses of the vegan world, I think these points are worth considering as part of a bigger shamanic understanding. How do we activate the animal totems within our cells as well?

May everybody be blessed with these spiritual insights into veganism and live food.