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Anastasia- Ringing Cedars of Russia
Posted by: seriously? ()
Date: June 29, 2010 01:28AM

Hi everyone. I joined this forum to seek advice and information about this group and this is my first post here.

My husband has been reading this series of books for some time now and has encouraged me to read them as well. While there's some good information here and there... they're obviously fiction. Obviously. But, my husband believes every word of them. Every last word. He's now wanting to do what the books told him to do. Create a "paradise land," complete with a log cabin house and our personal farm, and raise our children there. No public schools, no formal education. Apparently, the universe is going to educate them and that they're born with all of the knowledge that they'll ever need. He doesn't believe in doctors or medicine and that, whenever someone gets sick/ injured etc, it's because they did something wrong and it's their fault.

You know, I'm okay with the back to nature concept. In fact, I agree with a lot of it. I agree that stress, unresolved feelings and things like that can leave people susceptible to disease and illness. But, this is going WAY too far. It seems like he's thrown away all of his common sense and latched onto this concept completely, without much critical thought. Yesterday, he picked up the 10th book in this series and... he's changed. My previously fun loving, goofy husband is mired in this pensive, agitated state, convinced that all of our problems in life are due to the fact that we're not following Anastasia well enough. If he takes a break from reading these books, he returns back to his normal self, but the minute he decides that he needs to read more, this alter ego comes out.

I've found some information where the author has stated that his books are fiction, but... my husband doesn't care. He believes it and therefore, it must be true. I read 6 of the 10 books and quit reading them, because it was so obviously nonsense. The basic principles are okay (natural food is better for you than processed crap, a person's mental state can influence their physical well being, and all of that.) But the notion that there's a woman, who lives without shelter or much clothing in the Siberian taiga, where it gets to -70 degrees during the winter and you can't even go outside without covering every millimeter of skin... this just defies logic. And the fact that she's allegedly raising naked little babies in this environment defies it even more.

I don't know what to do, at this point. If I come right out and tell him that these books are nonsense, he'll completely shut me out. I've danced around the topic a few times and he got massively aggressive about it. I figured that people who are more familiar with this kind of thing may have a better idea of what to do with all of this.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Anastasia- Ringing Cedars of Russia
Posted by: Sandman ()
Date: June 29, 2010 03:07AM

I read the first Ringing Cedars book to see what the fuss was about and it seems to be inane, clichéd fluff; a very silly ecology-oriented New Age fantasy story. The books promote the author Vladimir Megre's mail-order business which sells cedar products. It's turned into a craze a bit like "The Celestine Prophecy" or a lot of New Age literature that is pure fantasy but presented as fact. Except, this one's sky-rocketed and started a whole new back-to-nature movement.

Anastasia apparently "exists for those whom I exist", and not all Ringing Cedars fans believe she's for real, because it's supposed to be the message that counts. She is definitely fictional but commands a cult-like following.

I don't know if I have any new information to impart, seriously?, or any practical advice, but here are a couple of links to articles about the movement you may or may not have read before:

Russian "psychic" Olga Guz claims she is the real Anastacia: []

This is from "Centers for Apologetics Research (CFAR) - International Countercult Ministries -- [] -- :

"In 1998 Olga Stukova, founder and director of the Rerikh Theosophy Society and leader of an Anastasia club in St. Petersburg, was asked by a “major publisher” to write a book describing her own perspective on the Anastasia phenomenon. In December 1991 Vladimir Megre sued Stukova for plagiarism. In the course of this lawsuit (which lasted about 2 years) Megre was forced to admit that his stories about Anastasia are fictitious. Thus confession stirred much turmoil among Megre’s followers — some of them even summoned him to repent and retract his statement. In her defense, Stukova claimed that Megre himself had plagiarized most of his ideas from books by an obscure psychic healer named Olga Guz. She went on to support her statement from the actual publications. Stukova finally won the lawsuit, but Olga Guz also used this unexpected publicity to claim that she, in fact, is the real Anastasia."

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Re: Anastasia- Ringing Cedars of Russia
Posted by: dsm ()
Date: June 29, 2010 03:55AM

If it is really only the books and not some social group meeting, then maybe just getting to a psychiatrist might help? There is a mental process involved in delusional thinking that can be broken with anti-psychotic medication. Perhaps you can appeal in some way to get your husband to some family counseling about the obviously impractical side without running a frontal assault on the books themselves, and then maybe the counselor will be able to wedge some rational thought into the situation.

Of course, you should carefully check the credentials and experience of any counselor you see before making that first appointment.

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Re: Anastasia- Ringing Cedars of Russia
Posted by: seriously? ()
Date: June 29, 2010 10:29AM

He's not going to meetings or anything at the moment, only because there really are none. There are forums that he posts on devoted to this and he's surrounded himself with like minded people, but nothing formal. I've asked him to see a counselor on several occasions and he refused. Apparently, Anastasia is the best counselor there is and all he needs to do is to keep reading the books. The problem, in his mind, is that I'm not reading them.

I've read what little I can find on all of this, but there's really not much, which is surprising, seeing as this whole movement is so popular.

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Re: Anastasia- Ringing Cedars of Russia
Posted by: OutofTransition ()
Date: June 29, 2010 12:00PM

This sounds awfully familar--some of the members of the Transition Town group I was briefly in were big on these books and were passing them around. They were the same people that insisted on conducting "New Age" rituals as part of group meetings. This was just one of the things that led me to question who these people were, where they came from, and what was their agenda. By themselves, the books are probably harmless, inane fantasies, however, that is not the impression I got from listening to the Transition Town people speak. It was almost as these books were blueprints for the new ecological oil-free utopia that they are seeking to establish. It appears that the Transition movement has some very dubious connections as it is; and this sort of thing doesn't help its credibility.

It does sound like a cult is being built around these books, both with and independently of the Transition Town movement. I would be very, very wary if I were you.

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Re: Anastasia- Ringing Cedars of Russia
Posted by: dsm ()
Date: June 29, 2010 11:10PM

But is it a leaderless cult? This book phenomenon is interesting. It seems to me that one should look for the leaders who are exploiting it, because if you think about other book-based fads like this, they have tended to fizzle after just a while of dominating everyone's conversation.

To actually see people making life-decisions: that seems to me to be something unusual for just a book phenomenon.

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Re: Anastasia- Ringing Cedars of Russia
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 29, 2010 11:20PM


Apparently, the universe is going to educate them and that they're born with all of the knowledge that they'll ever need. He doesn't believe in doctors or medicine and that, whenever someone gets sick/ injured etc, it's because they did something wrong and it's their fault.

Stuff like this has been around before.

Carlos Castaneda took some badly researched anthropological material on the Huichol Indians, added it to his own rich imagination and wide reading, and created his Don Juan books.

People who never knew Castaneda turned into 'disciples' and to this very day, the books continue to sell like hotcakes and even though the guy is dead, people still believe the stuff.

So this is just a Russian version of what Carlos Castaneda cooked up, decades ago. Many people Want to Believe.

And due to the internet, one can get into this stuff and find a ready made group online who share the same obsession and this can give someone enough instant validation that their own marriage no longer matters.

Anyone interested in any back to the land project needs to first get and read Agnews' book Back from the Land: How Young Americans Went to Nature in the 1970s and Why They Came Back


The author participated in the 1970s back to the land movement. She wrote that what defeated many were the following:

Injuries. Persons on farms sustain a higher accident rate than persons at sedentary jobs. One of the most terrible situations was when Agnew's husband and a friend were operating a hand crank press to juice apples.

With no warning, quick as a wink, one of the little kids ran up and stuck his fingers into the press as the crank was being turned.

The adults were focusing on the task at hand and no one saw the little boy coming. It happened in seconds, and the result was a screaming, terrified child, a hurried trip by
car on a country road to a hospital miles away and a huge bill.

By that time they had some insurance.

And..this was the killer. To pay for health insurance, many back to landers found they had to earn cash by working in town jobs and that in turn compromised the original dreams of opting out of the cash economy.

Other terrifying incidents came when a snowfall nearly buried one family alive in their house.

Cars that died or malfunctioned and cash was needed for repairs. Agnew and many others learned that most garage mechanics and doctors and dentists needed cash to keep themselves going. You'd hear the occasional story, circulated as a legend, about someone who paid with a wagon load of corn but that usually did not happen. bills. Most of the back to landers assumed theyd be guaranteed healthy teeth by eating natural produce and healthy country living. Didnt happen. And even if ones teeth stay cavity free--a big if--one can still break a tooth if a fruit pit or pebble
lies undetected in ones bowl of food.

Get and read Back From the Land and especially do so before you buy any land and uproot your kids--and before you take out any loans.

Final note: Agnew reported there was a high rate of relationship and marriage break ups among back to landers.

If your husband wont see reality on this one, you will have to decide whether its better to face this while still in town, rather than face it when you're miles away on a mud road
with a pile of bills and an unkind universe that has sent a tree falling on top of your shed or house--another situation mentioned in Back From the Land.

Agnew wrote that some key people who were the ideological heroes of the 1970s back to the land movement actually had financial back up that was not in public view. And had lots of eager disciples who were volunteering help to them. One guy had glib answer for everything including the question of health care costs.

Good luck. Read that book before you take out loans or buy anything.

Quote Back from the Land: How Young Americans Went to Nature in the 1970s and Why They Came Back Back from the Land: How Young Americans Went to Nature in the 1970s and Why They Came Back (9781566636643): Eleanor Agnew: Books.

(you can go to and comparison price copies if you want to purchase one. Otherwise your local library may have it or be able to get it for you by loan.)

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 06/29/2010 11:37PM by corboy.

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Re: Anastasia- Ringing Cedars of Russia
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 29, 2010 11:50PM

Other precedents:

In the 1960s and 1970s, other books inspired commune building--

Henry David Thoreau--Walden

Hermann Hesse's novel, The Glass Bead Game. Hesse intended this to be fiction. But some, including Timothy Leary were inspired by that novel to create communes based on its story line.

BF Skinner's utopian novel, Walden Two

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Re: Anastasia- Ringing Cedars of Russia
Posted by: yasmin ()
Date: June 30, 2010 12:28AM

Hi, just wondering how much real life camping experience your husband has had? Has he slept out for a week or so under a tent in fall or winter weather? Has he ever camped somewhere that there isn't piped water? (No toilets or showers..?)
Camping on the ground can be fun in the summer, but a week or so in rain or bitter cold, with wind knocking down the tent while you struggle to make a fire with damp wood can be a whole different experience.(best done for several days to get the real effect.)
And a tough back to nature guy does not need the nice warm sub zero sleeping bags that kids might need, right?There are cheap not so warm sleeping bags designed to better give the whole "back to nature" sleep experience. Believe me one or two nights spent shivering can add a whole different dimension to the outdoor experience..
if he is not very practical, then you may need to make sure he knows not to eat wild berries he can't identify, how to not attract bears, put out fires etc; if it turns out that despite it all he loves being outdoors and handles things well, then maybe depending on kid age and safety concerns,you could just plan family camping trips to help him get his "outdoor fix"?
Some people need to experience a taste of things before they get the full picture...And most people who have never camped out in cold weather take certain things like showers, and warmth for granted..
If he truly believes it is possible to be running around in siberian weather with naked babies in the snow, it sounds like a bit of real life experience might be in order.

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Re: Anastasia- Ringing Cedars of Russia
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 30, 2010 12:38AM

Women tend to get stuck doing one hell of a lot of work in these back to the land

A detail your husband may not be aware of: The cost of tampax and tampons.

And..the used ones have to be buried or burned so as not to attract critters. Am sorry to sound gross, but as someone has said, Mother Nature has bad taste.

There is a book entitled How to Shit in the Woods. Doing that is not straightforward.

And...since the 1970s guardia parasite has become widespread. It can make you sick and run down for months and its hard to get rid of, as its a protozoan parasite and requires very strong medicine.

A guy who owns ranch territory once told me that he had a wound, incurred from cutting back brush or wood that would not heal. Turned out to be a fungal infection and he was on an antifungal medication for a very long time. My aunt had a horse farm decades ago and she picked up a fungal infection.

And in a blizzard with almost zero visiblity, she still had to get out there to the barn and feed the animals. The only way to avoid getting lost in that blizzard was to tie a rope from her farmhouse to the barn. Shed follow that rope, hand over hand, from the house to the barn, get inside, and feed the animals and then follow that rope, hand over hand through the blizzard, back into the house.

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