Negotiation of the Prehistoric Past for the Creation of the Global Future: “Back to Nature” Worldview and Golden Age Myth among Lithuanian Anastasians
Issue: Vol 9 No. 2 (2018) Special Issue: Indigenizing movements in Europe
Journal: International Journal for the Study of New Religions
Subject Areas: Religious Studies
The article presents a study into the implementation of environmental and spiritual ideas of alternative communitarian movements during the establishing of quickly spreading nature-based spirituality communities and their settlements in the East-Central European region. It focuses on the Anastasia “spiritual” movement, classifiable as New Age, which emerged in Russia in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, and since has spread to East-Central Europe and beyond. It considers the process of indigenization via assembled nature-based spiritualities and traditionalistic ideas in the movement. It will discuss how the Anastasian process of sacralization of natural space, together with the romantic mode of a narrativization of the archaic past, serve as a source for the formation of images of “indigenousness” in the movement. During the process of “indigenization,” a negotiation, interpretation and presentation of nationalistic and traditionalistic ideas serve as a basis for an imagination of (trans)local prehistoric and local national pasts— including a golden age myth, a “back to nature” worldview with attempts to reconstruct variously perceived traditions, as well as a development of utopian visions of a prospective heaven on earth—intended to widely spread future social projects. The findings are based on data obtained from fieldwork in 2005–2015, including participant observation and interviews with respondents in the Baltic countries and Russia.
Author: Rasa Pranskevičiūtė-Amoson
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Interviews with the Anastasians
1. Interview with Algis, male (b. 1978), the settlement of family homestead in Sukiniai (Ukmergė region, Lithuania), 12 October 2009 (joined the movement in 2002); stored in a private author’s archive.
2. Interview with Jūra, female (b. 1984), Kaunas, Lithuania, 28 October 2008 (joined the movement in 2003); stored in a private author’s archive.
3. Interview with Jurgis, male (b. 1982), Vilnius, Lithuania, 21 October 2008 (joined the movement in 2002); stored in a private author’s archive.
4. Interview with Jurgis, male (b. 1982), Vilnius, Lithuania, 22 February 2010; stored in a private author’s archive.
5. Interview with Romas, male (b. 1978), Vilnius and the settlement of family homestead near Vilnius (Lithuania), 2 December 2009 (joined the movement in 2002); stored in VMU SAL.
6. Interview with Martynas, male (b. 1981), Kaunas, Lithuania, 10 April 2012 (joined the movement in 2011); stored in a private author’s archive.
7. Interview with Raminta, Anastasian, female, born in 1976 (Lithuania), 29 October 2008 (joined the movement in 2005); stored in a private author’s archive.
VMU SAL—the electronic archive of the SAL project (Center for Cultural Studies (Vytautas Magnus University)); the address of the archive: http://salarchive.vdu.lt/filter/groups/anastasia.html.
Documents from the researched group, mass media and internet
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Rodovye pomestya, rodovye poseleniya, ekoposeleniya [Family homesteads, settlements of family homesteads, ecosettlements]. http://poselenia.ru/search-rp?field_geo_taxonomy_country_value=59. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
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Spisok deystvuyushchih poseleniy [List of working settlements], http://www.eco-krug.ru/spisok-poseleniy. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
Spisok poseleniy, sostoyashchih iz Rodovyh pomestiy [List of settlements, consisting of family homesteads], http://anastasia.ru/static/patrimony_list.php. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
Veda protėviai. Gyvųjų sodybų bendruomenė [Ancestors Lead Community of Living Homesteads]. 2009. (Published diary of the Anastasian).