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Bizarre spiritual movement: ‘Ringing Cedars Anastasianism’ is a religion based on a fairy tale

Siberian religion based on a Russian book...
door Tsenne Kikke - donderdag 15 april 2021 2:49

In 1997 in central Russia a group of people started a new spiritual and religious movement. To make the story even spicier, it was inspired by the series of books by Vladimir Megre, a Siberian entrepreneur, and writer. His childhood took place in a village where he lived with his grandmother Efrosinia Verkhusha, a healer. The world of nature has always been very important to him.

Megre wrote series of books titled 'The Ringing Cedars of Russia'. He published them from 1996 to 2010. The first volume titled 'Anastasia' became the beginning of the great literacy adventure of Merge, but also the basis to the religious movement. The book describes the necessity of planning, conceiving and raising children in a natural habitat, a homestead created by parents with a water source, dwelling, woods, a meadow, vegetable gardens, berries, herbs, mushrooms, a greenhouse, sauna, and beehives. It became an inspiration to dozens of people who followed this idea creating a homonymous socio-religious movement.

Although the message placed in the plot sounds peaceful and positive, the book is quite surprising. As Goodreads.com summarized: ”It tells the story of entrepreneur Vladimir Megre’s trade trip to the Siberian taiga in 1995, where he witnessed incredible spiritual phenomena connected with sacred ‘ringing cedar’ trees. He spent three days with a woman named Anastasia who shared with him her unique outlook on subjects as diverse as gardening, child-rearing, healing, Nature, sexuality, religion and more. This wilderness experience transformed Vladimir so deeply that he abandoned his commercial plans and, penniless, went to Moscow to fulfill Anastasia’s request and write a book about the spiritual insights she so generously shared with him. True to her promise this life-changing book, once written, has become an international best-seller and has touched hearts of millions of people world-wide.”

Susan Richards: "It is a fable about a man who, while trading along the rivers of northern Siberia, encounters Anastasia, a young beauty living in the forest. The survivor of an ancient culture, Anastasia is endowed with extraordinary powers, ranging from bionic vision to teleportation. She bears his child. For, of course, it turns out that Anastasia is engaged in an epic battle to rescue mankind from the domination of 'the priests' who have been working covertly for centuries to sever the link between man and the divine intelligence governing the universe… Well, to cut a long fairy tale short, the man becomes Anastasia’s knight, and carries her message out to the world: the key to liberation lies through each person, each family, rebuilding their lost connection to the natural world."

Religion based on a fairy tale

The movement, started in 1997, is based on that archetypal wise woman from Siberia named Anastasia. The name 'Ringing Cedars' comes from the book and refers to the Anastasians’ beliefs related to the spiritual qualities of the Siberian cedar. The specialists in religions classified 'The Ringing Cedars' as a nature religion. They pinpoint its similarity to the other modern pagan movements. At the same time, it is nothing like Rodnovery,  a modern Pagan religion. In Rodnover theology Rod is a God similar to the cosmos of ancient Greek philosophy in that it is not the master of the universe, but it itself the universe. Although the members of the Anastasia movement claim that their God is the same as Rod, the other aspects of their traditions are different than in case of Rodnovery.

What the followers of this brand new religion believe in? All the religions based on nature have similar priorities. They are interested in protecting the natural balance of planet Earth. Their god is Nature, they see the presence of deity in the wind, rain, singing birds, trees. Whatever is natural, it consists the presence of God. Nature brings the answers to their fundamental life questions and makes their life complete. Anastasians claim that nature is actually the manifestation of thoughts of God. Its perfection is based on a vision of deity that is pure good energy. Moreover, they can communicate with God by protecting the nature. Their churches are the beautiful landscapes and monumental forests.

The number of 'eco-communes', as they are called in Russia, has grown dramatically in the last decade, and the movement back to the land is drawing professionals weary of the country’s corruption, pollution and new consumerism. But, not all of Russia’s eco-villages are connected to the Ringing Cedars movement; some, like the 'Land of Plenty commune', are home to over 50 middle-class families. Many of them were working professionals who wanted to leave behind the corruption and consumerism they experienced in big cities.

New faith conquers the USA

The country that adopts 'The Ringing Cedars' with the speed of light is the USA. The followers create the groups around the world, but the American community seems to be the strongest. The criticism of the 'Ringing Cedars' comes from the modern societies that disagree with the cultivation of traditional living and belief that protection of nature should be a dominating concern of the humanity. However, the followers of this movement in Siberia, as their brothers and sisters around the world, seem not to care about the opinions of others. They often hear that it is not a serious religion, but a fantasy based on a book. However, although some of you will smile, every religion of this world is based on a book.

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