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“In the summer of 1996 a tired-looking man was standing on a street corner in downtown Moscow, with a self-published 96-page volume in his hands, trying to sell it to passers-by. The book’s title was The Ringing Cedar. Anastasia, and the man called himself Vladimir Megré. A woman stopped by, looked at the inconspicuous cover, talked to the author and bought a copy. Next day she was back — smiling, her eyes shining — to pick up an entire pack, to give to everybody she knew” [1].

So what’s the story behind the book? In essence, the author Vladimir Megré was an entrepreneur in Siberia, organising trading expeditions up the River Ob, one of the great rivers of Asia. A series of events leads him to meet with a young woman called Anastasia, who appears to live alone deep with the Taiga (Siberian forests). Anastasia has all sorts of skills, abilities and insights that leave Megré astounded.

Ultimately Megré writes about his experiences – in a whole series of books called The Ringing Cedars of Russia. He also conveys his conversations with Anastasia, including her advice on living more naturally, on growing food, and on bringing up children.

The books have clearly tapped into something, because since they were first published over 30 million copies have sold, and they have been translated into over 20 languages [2]. Many readers are moved to write poetry or produce works of art [3], expressing their reverence for nature. And some have established their ‘kin’s domains’.

A kin’s domain is a house on a plot of land, usually around one hectare in size, in which the occupants grow their own food and commune with nature. Collectively they form family homesteads or settlements. In the third book in the series, a kin’s domain is referred to as a ‘space of love’, adding to the New Age overtones.

Perhaps understandably, the reaction to the books hasn’t been entirely positive. There has been some hostility from the Russian Orthodox Church. And many people conclude that Anastasia is a fictional character – a kind of literary device – rather than a real person. Moreover, there has been a suggestion (or conspiracy theory) that the movement is supported by leading figures in the Russian establishment, and that it is little more than a modern version of ‘cosmism’ – an alternative approach to science and philosophy with deep roots in Russian culture [4][5].

Whatever the case, the Ringing Cedars or ‘Anastasianism’ is now being called a “new religious movement” [6]. There are reports of hundreds of ecovillages (or kin’s domain settlements) being set up in Russia in response to the books [7]. And the movement has spread to other Slavic countries, Eastern Europe and into the West [8]. Whether it will continue to grow, and whether it gains traction in the West, remains to be seen.

A short audio-visual film made by Pere Puigbert…

Kin’s Domain Kovcheg (inspired by Anastasia and the Ringing Cedars Series):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RiodF_3FRc

Endnotes:

[1] Sharashkin 2008

[2] Ringing Cedars USA + Canada — Anastasia USA, 2020

[3] Sharashkin 2008

[4] Richards, 2015

[5] More about ‘cosmism’ from Cosmism.com: “Modern Cosmism would describe our Cosmos as a single emanation of Being and a home of certain type of essence where the super-intelligent life are important part of cosmic evolution”

[6] Balagushkin; Shokhin (2006) via Wikipedia Contributors, 2020

[7] Ringing Cedars USA + Canada — Anastasia USA, 2020

[8] Pranskevičiūtė (2015) via Wikipedia Contributors, 2020

References:

Richards, S. (2015). The fairy tale that gripped Russia. [online] Financial Times. Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/28d7c656-87a3-11de-9280-00144feabdc0 [Accessed 4 Jan. 2020].

Ringing Cedars USA + Canada — Anastasia USA. (2020). Ringing Cedars USA + Canada — Anastasia USA. [online] Available at: https://anastasiausa.land/ [Accessed 4 Jan. 2020].

Sharashkin, L. (2008) Anastasia by Vladimir Megré – Editor’s Afterword. [online] Ringing Cedars Press. Available at: http://www.ringingcedars.com/materials/anastasia-afterword.pdf [Accessed 31 Dec. 2019]

Wikipedia Contributors (2020). Back-to-the-land movement. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back-to-the-land_movement [Accessed 4 Jan. 2020].

Wikipedia Contributors (2020). Ringing Cedars’ Anastasianism. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ringing_Cedars [Accessed 4 Jan. 2020].

Written by

Mark Andrew studied environmental sciences and policy at university, before working for many years as a town planner. He also has a longstanding interest in most things ancient and mysterious, from Atlantis to the Zoroastrians. He likes to travel to interesting places home and abroad. Currently, he lives and works in South West England.

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