It all began last summer when my husband, Ivan, and I decided to travel north to Karelia and explore the possibility of obtaining a plot land offered by a community engaged in ecological living and farming inspired by Vladimir Megre and Anastasia. These so-called ecovillages or ancestral homes are springing up all over Russia, designed for people looking for a socially, economically and ecologically sustainable way of life. The idea is laudable, but not for everyone. I decided to see whether it might be for me.
I first learned about Anastasia and the ideas offered by Vladimir Megre from a book my mother sent me, the first in the Anastasia series, translated into English, about The Ringing Cedars of Russia. And I was intrigued. But I did not pursue it when I realized that there was a whole movement attached, perhaps it could even be called a cult or pyramid scheme, that encouraged its followers to sell their homes in the city and take up residence in the country. All well and good, but it began to sound a bit fanatical, and then if you really were an Anastasia person, you followed all her advice about nutrition, gardening, growing your own vegetables, creating ponds decorated with stones, and many other recommendations. Yes, recommendations, but I was familiar with all that and knew how recommendations had a way of being taken too seriously. And I always felt something deep inside that made me wary and even very resistant to following other people’s recommendations, no matter how well they may resonate with my soul, no matter how well-intended they may be. There was always the danger of them turning into dogma and becoming limiting and restrictive rather than expansive and freeing. So I did not read any more. I did not even read to the end of the first Anastasia book.
The following year, Ivan and I were headed home from our fishing holiday in Valdai National Park. The road brought us to the north end of Lake Seliger, an area we had not been to before, although we had enjoyed a camping/fishing trip on the southern shores of the lake a couple of years earlier. We happened upon a campsite that seemed more perfect than we could have ever imagined. The water stretched broad and beautiful before us. The shore was wide and sandy, but with the necessary shade and solitude. There was grass and a perfect spot, just the right size for our tent and table close by. We could not have wished for anything more.
However, we were not alone for long. By the time we had our tent pitched and were settling in, a canoe sailed up bearing a young family—father, mother, and daughter. Her name was Nina, and I made her closer acquaintance the next day as I sat drinking coffee outside our tent and enjoying the peace and beauty of our surroundings after Ivan had left in the boat to do some fishing.
Nina was walking my way and as she drew near I invited her to come and join me. Before long she was talking about Anastasia and Megre, as though this were a subject any two people who had just met would naturally talk about, as though I was already familiar with this Megre and his Anastasia. She explained how she and her husband had recently bought some land in an ecocommunity and were building a house. The idea of living on an extensive plot of land in the countryside, where the next house was far enough away not to be intrusive, but close enough to render assistance, company, and simply peace of mind, was extremely attractive. And when Nina told me the price, I was taken hook, line, and sinker, it seemed like such a steal.
The idea sank in, a seed was sown, especially since the circumstances in which I was presented with this information seemed so serendipitous. However, in hindsight, was I not falling into the self-deception addressed in Steps to Knowledge: The Book of Inner Knowing, Step 5. I Believe What I Want to Believe?