Temptation is everywhere. In a capitalist society fueled by excessive consumerism, we get relentlessly bombarded by advertisements at every turn, suckered by beautifully shot ad campaigns fronted by chiselled models. You covet that dress, that bag, and that pair of shoes the social media “influencers” on Instagram post photos of themselves wearing, all sponsored by big brands.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of materialism. The Second Noble Truth of Buddhism teaches that “craving or thirst is the cause of suffering”. How do you live a life unensnared by the material world? Former model Berthold Rothas has some insights.

Having appeared in a number of fashion spreads and walked down the runways of some of the biggest labels such as Yohji Yamamoto, Etro, Missoni, Ann Demeulemeester, he made a living off of consumerist culture for five years. Not content with being a clotheshorse, he dabbled in photography and videography on the side; outlets to showcase his creativity and keen sense of aesthetics.

Two years ago, he left New York  – where he had been living – for a three-month modelling stint in Singapore, where we met.

The Berthold I got to know is a free spirit who doesn’t take life too seriously. When his time in Singapore came to an end, he left his suitcase with me and embarked on a journey through Dubai and Iran with only a duffle bag containing a few articles of clothing. He lost his wallet along the way but managed to return home to Germany unscathed. “The way I see it is not the surviving on the physical plane alone. It’s more so an issue of the mind projecting fear of not knowing and insecurity that takes away energy and limits creativity in our being,” he tells me. “I survived and transcended beyond by simply experiencing my mind in unfamiliar situations and not wasting energy on wanting anything and really raise my awareness and sensibility towards life and existence itself.”

“Since I had only few possessions to share, there was nothing much weighing me down and I became free. I met beautiful people all over that invited me along to pass through time together and I had a blast.”

Last year, he spent six months travelling through Costa Rica and Nicaragua, ultimately ending up in Guatemala where he found a tribe of like-minded people who call themselves Cosmic Pirates.


Now back in Berlin, the 28-year-old is starting AGUACACAO, a drink company that produces a range of pure chocolate drinks with cacao beans sourced from Guatemala. He reveals more about his spiritual quest for inner peace, while his suitcase still sits in my room, waiting for the day it returns to its rightful owner.

How does it feel to detach yourself from fashion and modelling?
I feel very grateful to have attended the rollercoaster school of modeling. It has introduced me to the most exceptional people and deep friendships, inspired me to dream big and live up to and beyond new and unknown horizons.

Modeling has been an exciting teacher in my life and has inspired my personality towards excellence and greatness. However, stepping away from it really also means a shift in focus and a step towards inner freedom since our greatest teacher lies within.

Tell me more about your shift in focus.
The flower of our consciousness unfolds in time under aligned circumstances. It seems there are key moments in life that provide for the necessary push so we finally start living up to our own personal legend.

In my case, the initiation was the heartbreak from my first love a couple of years ago that pushed me to leave New York and start traveling the world.

Once you emerge from the chaos and start the process of healing yourself and grasp an understanding of your own potential and the magical unfolding of life, there is no distraction in this world anymore that satisfies the longing to do the real work towards inner freedom.

Then, eventually if your heart is brave enough you let go of everything that is not truly yours and as you become lighter and start to vibrate on higher frequencies, life begins to fall into place in miraculous ways and your soul starts to sing and shine and dance through your being.

Curiosity, effortlessness and a sense of play and elegance are key. And mucho sunlight, firemaking, water, yoga, and superfood provide the foundation for a heightened awareness of the transformational process.

What is a cosmic pirate?
A cosmic pirate has conquered many shores. He knows snow as well as the green. He has the heart of a dragon and carries within the luminous energy of the sun as well as the mystery of the moon, and also the power of the mountain. An endless adventurer, a silver wolf that carries the spark of eternity.

It has to do with a sensibility to the moon and the stars and the cosmos and all sentient beings. It is how you experience and discover and dream and create and manifest. And the heart is very important too.

A cosmic pirate essentially is infinite potential in form of a human being on its way to finding ultimate alignment. Anyone can be a cosmic pirate but not everyone is. The distinction and unfolding of the path is set in motion by you and only you, yourself in how deep is your love.

How did you find your tribe?
Last New Year’s for Cosmic Convergence Festival by Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, I started a Festival Kitchen named Cosmic Canela. We were the initial Cosmic 7, all German friends bringing this manifestation to reality cooking superfood for thousands of people. Out of this event grew a unity so strong that we felt we should stay together and manifest dreams.

The crew upon arrival at El Castilo

A photo posted by cosmicpirates (@cosmicpiratesinc) on

Capt. Aljoscha & Capt. Berthold cooking the #cosmicconvergence festival #cosmiccanela #giveittomebabyahauha

A photo posted by cosmicpirates (@cosmicpiratesinc) on

What is this superfood you speak of?
Mostly avocados, mangos, and garlic. Also soup. And beetroot called remulacha over there. And yeah we started a little garden of horse radish.

Mostly veggies, yup !

A photo posted by cosmicpirates (@cosmicpiratesinc) on

Where are the people in your tribe from and why are they there?
For some reason, we have a strong German tendency in the tribe, but also people from France, Israel, Russia, Switzerland, Mexico. It’s a multicultural mix of highly sensitive beings longing for their fullest creative expression. We are all together because our souls resonate and together we started a collective process of creating an environment that enables us to be instead to hide, to flourish instead to procrastinate and evolve towards love, truth, and purity.

Describe the place you and your tribe live in.
We live in a dragon’s castle by Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. It’s really magical place and since I’m in Europe I really do miss the laughter and nature. You should come visit. Everyone is free to move and so it happens that we gather on occasions like Christmas and New Years.

El Castillo del dragon

A photo posted by cosmicpirates (@cosmicpiratesinc) on

What’s a typical day like for you guys?
We wake ideally together and do some yoga early mornings with the sunrise. Then we eat lots of avocados and vegetables and drink ginger tea along with cacao and smoke weed. Then we do what we feel makes sense to do and then we eat dinner and make fire for the evening and sing together.

Cosmic pilot Ran and a explosive natural volcanic phenomenon ! 💣💥

A photo posted by cosmicpirates (@cosmicpiratesinc) on

Is there a hierarchy in the tribe?
There is a very natural and organic hierarchy. It has to do with the length of your nose and how far you are able to pee while standing. You fall into place where your talents and skills are and by simply what you do.

What are the values and goals of the tribe?
The mission is to manifest magic. We are here to restore balance on planet earth by finding the equilibrium within ourselves and realign with nature and Pacha Mama whilst blooming into our full creative potential.

Would you say that you’ve found your calling?
Yeah, it looks like. At least I have become more sensitive towards it.

What is your approach to life?
Live with all your heart for it holds the key to your destiny.

Photos credits: Cosmic Canela, Cosmic Pirates Inc, Ninja x Yoga

Cindy Tan

about Cindy

Cindy heads Departure’s Curator section. She is an avid traveller and night owl, known for her contrarian stance on a number of issues. She has criticised such public and generally popular figures as Mother Teresa, Taylor Swift and Pope Benedict XVI.

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