Accepted paper:

The spiritual search and 'places of power' in Russian New Age movement 'Anastasia'

Authors:

Julia Andreeva (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) RAS)

Paper short abstract:

My paper is concerned with Russian New Age spiritual movement, which is an example of a New Age culture, with different readers finding different meanings in the same books. Despite the tendency to gain life outside institutional structures, they have a wish of being part of the community.

Paper long abstract:

My paper is concerned with Russian New Age spiritual movement, which emerged in mid-1990-s after books about Anastasia ("The Ringing Cedars of Russia") had been published. The author of these books - Vladimir Megre - describes the story of acquaintance in the Siberian taiga with young woman, who told him her knowledge about different things and asked him to transmit them through the books. The Anastasia movement is an example of a New Age culture, with different readers finding different meanings in one and the same book. The individual ideas of Anastasia's philosophy have various forms depending on peculiarities of the particular social milieu. In its self-presentation and self-understanding, the Anastasia movement is based on the critique of the modern technocratic society, and an ambition to get autonomy establishing alternative lifestyles. The central idea of this movement is to construct a new ideal world in which all people would live in harmony with nature. The research strategies with these religious phenomena always encounter the tensions with demarcation of community limitations. The problem lies in the controversies between individuals' self-spirituality and their need of communication with like-minded people. Despite the tendency to gain religious (or spiritual) life outside institutional structures, they have a wish of being a part of the community. I would like to pay attention to specific practices of Anastasians - a new kind of spiritual trip to the native sacred objects - the Caucasian dolmens. These trips for getting esoteric knowledge uncover both elements - individual interpretations and organizational practices.

panel P061
Religious trends toward intimacy and revolution