Accepted paper:

Lilleoru - a successful social utopia, religious community or ecocommune

Author:

Mare Kõiva (Estonian Literary Museum)

Paper short abstract:

I am going to discuss the Lilleoru commune, aspects related to the emergence and maintenance of a successful social and spiritual utopia, including the establishment of an original religious landscape.

Paper long abstract:

In 1992, just as Estonia became independent from the Soviet Union, the Lilleoru commune was established near Tallinn. Work began on erecting commune buildings, and a commune began to take shape. The commune included notable artists and other cultural workers. The commune has taken different names at times, most recently the trendy "Lilleoru ecocommune", but at earlier times cloister, sect, ecovillage, lifestyle centre. Their latest self-definition describes "a study and living center that supports conscious and holistic human development." The spiritual leader of Lilleoru is Ingvar Villido (53 years old, consecrated as Iscwarananda). When he first delved into martial arts in 1982, he became interested in hidden human potentials. He went to study raja and buddhi yoga at the Vladimir Antonov school (in St Petersburg), and after graduation received the permission and blessing to start teaching in Estonia. Lilleoru is a peculiar social utopia and a distinct blend of religious and ritual practices. Ingvar Villido started instructing raja and buddhi yoga classes. In time, his teachings have been influenced by Native American traditions and assimilated practices, as well as Kriya yoga and Tibetian rituals, not to mention Estonian traditions. In my presentation I am going to discuss the commune, aspects related to the emergence and maintenance of a successful social and spiritual utopia, including the establishment of an original religious landscape.

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