Evolution Of The Ibiza Hippy

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Written by Dan Kirwan

As thousands of people, young and old, descend on Pacha on Monday nights, they do so with warm smileson their faces as they pay tribute to the very essence of Flower Power, a movement created by the Hippies in the 1960s. Love, Peace and Freedom was the Hippy mantra fueled by social and political upheaval in Europe and America during the Vietnam War. Iconic images from the Washington Monument and San Francisco Summer of Love rallies in 1967 flashed across worldwide Television screens, influencing a new generation of youth who began questioning conservative society and experimenting with alternative lifestyles.

Ibiza resident Ana Fields was a bright, well-educated student whose political career had been carefully mapped out by her wealthy American family. She vividly remembers those halcyon days: “I ran away to the Summer Of Love with the cream of the world youth, where nobody had any plans except for the present”. She was typical of the hundreds of thousands who joined her calling for peace, gender equality and free love. “When we buried the Hippy in October 1967, a symbolic protest against the rotten borough of American politics, the Flower Power generation I was part of left America in search of beauty. We followed the Hippy Trail to Tangier, Nepal and Goa, with Ibiza at the crossroads of that pilgrimage”. When Ana and many of her fellow spiritual travellers arrived in Ibiza in 1969, the island was suspended in time. “It was like the seventeenth century. It was a magical, sweet island with delicious yoghurts and where the Ibicencos welcomed us with warm hospitality”.
So what has happened to the Flower Power children who came to Ibiza in the ‘60s? Ana is a testament to the fact that some still live happily on the island. “Ibiza was different from India because it was a clean and safe island for raising children. Hippy children died in India as it was a third-world country, so Ibiza offered better prospects, and the more discerning hippy stayed here, especially after the establishment of the Morna Valley school where my kids were educated”. When Ana’s children returned to America, they received scholarships to University; such was the high standard and quality of their learning at the Blackstead school. Ana feels she is now a more complex person, a hippy with a bank account and a job, existing alongside the fast pace of modern society. “The hippy movement of the ‘70s in Ibiza was the happiest time of my life. I was barefoot and pregnant for most of it, but it was a special time full of wonderful memories. I am so grateful to the Ibicencos for their understanding and permitting us to live here in harmony”.
While Ana may possess an optimistic viewpoint on the health of the Hippy movement in Ibiza, others do not share that sentiment. For them, the Hippy dream is long dead and buried deep in the red soil of its stony earth. Claudia, an Italian who arrived in Ibiza in the early ‘80s and now works in a Hotel, feels the original Hippy movement died out in the early ‘90s. “There was a real feeling of freedom as the island was tranquil, especially in the winter when we had time to visit each other’s houses and party for 2-3 days. We shared a simple, communal life surrounded by nature, beauty and love. We would bring firewood, smoke marijuana and take LSD,”. I asked Claudia when it started to change. “Cocaine arrived in the mid-80s and with it the money. Spanish and German people started buying the Fincas, which we rented for less than 10,000 pesetas (€50) a month, so the Hippies had nowhere to live. The more transient crowd without families left Ibiza for Alpujarras in Granada. It ended when the Clubs were commercialised in the early 90s, and for me, the Hippy Movement died in 1994”.
Ibiza also has a school of thought connected to the growing influence of Biodiversity that would have parallels with fundamental Hippy values of love, peace and beauty. It is an earthier movement more connected to the planet and the natural rhythms of life. A value system connected to natural healing and well-being. That plant-based direction is evident today in the well-established Ayahuasca movement, where several shamans conduct ceremonies. Ayahuasca first arrived on the island in the 90’s, but in a pre-cooked format. It was not homebrewed in Ibiza as it is today. Many Ibiza shamans conduct Aya ceremonies, but very few know how to brew it from scratch, as it requires a certain skill level.  There are tourist Aya ceremonies and authentic ones, and it’s essential to understand the difference between the two offerings. This rule also applies to several hippy-related disciples in Ibiza, ranging from massage treatments to sound and energy healing sessions held under full moons. The local website www.ibizamedicine is an excellent place to start when separating the wheat from the chaff. 
Food is another area in which the hippies have helped evolve on the island. The traditional local Catalan-influenced food culture was based primarily around meat, fish, rabbit, poultry and rice cooked a la parrilla or a la plancha. The Hippies were enthusiastic believers in the organic vegetable, vegan and plant-based movement, which was established to protect the environment and became trendy during the 1990s. That diet has been fashionable on the island in recent years, and restaurants like Wild Beets in Santa Gertrudis, Passion in Marina Botafoch and La Paloma in San Lorenzo, just to mention a few, are championing plant-based, healthy and vegan food thanks to the high quality of organic vegetables grown in Ibiza. Private villa catering for vegan-based menus is now a big business, and food trucks sell homemade hummus and falafel instead of chips and burgers.  Kombucha is also brewed on the island, with Tea Of Life among the best of them; in time, it may even start replacing Heirbas as the drink of choice for a new generation. 
However, the one area where the evolution of the hippy spirit is most evident is in the healing and well-being sector. Hundreds of people offer yoga, energy, sound and alternative medicine services. Many are on the breadline due to the rising cost of accommodation and a need for more marketing experience in the digital world. Retreats and events in private villas, agriturismos and yurts in nature are on the rise and well attended; all are fee-based services as living in Ibiza all year round is costly. This is the main factor driving many old hippies out of Ibiza, as it has become so commercial. Word of mouth remains their most effective marketing tool, the traditional method of attracting clients in Ibiza. But they live in a world different from the mainstream party scene, and you need to venture out to Las Dalias for events like Namaste to locate them. Spiritual gurus are ten a penny, and the island attracts droves yearly, all practising things like numerology, tarot and astrology readings. 
the mindset of those seeking it may not be the same


When it comes to alternative healing, Ibiza is home to several respected practitioners. The island is like an onion with layers of healing disciplines, some quite deep, tapping into levels of human consciousness with varying levels of success.  However, modern science frowns on their activities, and Ibiza is a natural refuge for them as the island tolerates different perspectives and techniques, a throwback to the hippy era. 


The one thing the Hippies were very good at was adapting to the environment around them. They were a resourceful bunch who could always find a way to make ends meet or get around an obstacle. They were talented individuals, and while society labelled Hippies as “dropouts”, they believed the mainstream community rejected them. That viewpoint has not changed regarding alternative healing and plant-based medicine. Modern science and pharmaceutical companies have done an excellent job of scaring people away from alternative healing techniques. They are not organised and without a well-oiled and funded PR machine, so their message will always be trumped by scientific facts and studies.  


While many will say the hippy spirit in Ibiza is dead, I would somewhat disagree. Indeed, it is less evident than before due to all the wall-to-wall coverage of the entertainment industry and the corporate commercialisation of the island, which is kryptonite to the hippy spirit.  It has evolved within a group of people who believe in something different. A way of life that is non-conformist and rooted in universal beliefs. They now understand that to exist and live in the modern world, business and earning an income to survive are vital requirements. Like life, it is all about balance; what you gain on one hand, you lose on another. In recent years, I have had the opportunity to mix and meet with many of them. While some are a little weird and out there, just like their hippy predecessors, others are sharp business operators.


Melchior Arnold, who owns Nagai Restaurant on the Sant Joan road, is a son born of hippy parents on the island. I once asked him if the Hippy movement in Ibiza still exists and, if so, where it can be found. He answered, “Today, it requires organisation and financial support to live a hippy lifestyle, but it can still be found if a person wants to; however, the mindset of those seeking it may not be the same as in the ‘60s.


I admire those people for standing up for their beliefs and showing us that there are alternatives to mainstream science and thinking. They fight to survive, walking a lonely path, believing that travelling alone in the right direction is much better than following the herd in the wrong direction.

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