Little is known about Vladimir Megre's early life, apart from a few experiences he describes in his writings. One of these occurred in the 1960s when as a teenager he made periodic visits to a monk called Father Feodorit at the Trinity-Sergiev Monastery, in Sergiev Posad (then known as Zagorsk), just east of Moscow..
In the mid-1980s Megre was married with a daughter (Polina) and living in Novosibirsk, where, like many other new Russian capitalists, he took advantage of Perestroika and the subsequent collapse of the communist system to launch into an entrepreneurial career. He formed a number of commercial co-operatives and by the late 1980s had leased a fleet of river steamers which plied the waters of the Ob River north of Novosibirsk
Anastasia and the "Ringing Cedars" books
Megre claims to have met a mysterious young woman named Anastasia on the bank of the River Ob in 1994. She reportedly led him deep into the Siberian taiga, where she revealed her philosophy on Man's relationship to Nature, the Universe and God, as well as lifestyle, education, nutrition, spirituality, love, family, sexual relations and other plants. These teachings became the basis for a series of best-selling books, The Ringing Cedars of Russia, first published in 1996. In ten years they sold over 10 million copies and have been translated into twenty languages.
Back to the Land
The Ringing Cedars series offers material about living close to the Earth in a village of Kin's domains by creating a 'Space of Love'. The books have become the basis for a Russian and increasingly worldwide back to the land movement based on the Russian tradition of self-reliant living on the land, providing physical subsistence and spiritual fulfillment. It is one of a number of such projects in Russia . The books and communities combine deep ecology with traditional, even conservative family values, quite unlike the conventional hippie alternative lifestyle. This is based on the idea of "kin estates" or self-sufficient family homesteads. Before the publication of the first book in the series, there were virtually no eco-villages in Russia. By June 5, 2004, eight years later, a conference of the Ringing Cedars Movement in Vladimir, attracted delegates from over 150 eco-villages from across 48 of the 89 regions of Russia
Megré's ideas are similar to those of Russia's agricultural economist Alexander Chayanov eighty years earlier , referring to harmonious relationship with nature based on sustainable rural settlements consisting of individual family-owned homesteads. Also like Chayanov, Megré presents his ideas in a novel-like format. He admits using this strategy to minimize initial resistance to his writings.
In addition to Russia, Anastasia centers can be found in Australia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States.
One New Age writer relates the Ringing Cedar books to the "great change" Edgar Cayce prophesied for Russia.
I have two of Dr. Leonid Sharashkin's lectures on DVD. I think they would be great to show to the group. I picked them up at Wings in St. Pete. The one I have in my hands, "Creating Your Space of Love...The Road Home" is 1.5 hours. If you're unfamiliar with Sharashkin, he edited the Ringing Cedars series. In this particular lecture, he advises us on how to establish a family domain... to achieve in one lifetime what formerly took generations to manifest. He studied homesteading and organic agriculture and has real-life experience creating an eco-village. Much of his inspiring lecture brings to light the lifestyle of the Russian farm home communities, the abundance of food despite the short growing period, and the sense of community and sharing within interconnected extended families that is bequeathed from generation to generation.