It is hard to know where to begin with Anastasia. The book is a very fun read, but the central question throughout is: Is Anastasia real?
The Ringing Cedars series consists of nine books written by a Russian businessman. The series documents his encounters with a very unique and gifted girl in a remote forested area of Russia. What the businessman, Vladimir Megre, discovers is that the stunningly beautiful Anastasia was raised in the woods, and is able to communicate with and issue orders to animals, and this is only the beginning.
Anastasia is exceptionally intelligent, and despite having been raised in such an isolated Siberian location, has very informed and thoughtful opinions on our modern world. In addition to being a stone cold fox, Anastasia does not not wear clothes very much, and never sits down to eat proper meals, but snacks throughout the day on berries or nuts brought to her by her animal minions.
Strange? Yes. Unbelievable? Maybe, but I don’t really care. What I care about most is if there is any usable information in the book that can contribute to a more sustainable human species.
Now I have to admit something here. I have always been drawn to the strange and fantastical stories. I love how these stories stretch your horizons and ask you go against the grain of common wisdom. Frankly common wisdom is too common sometimes. As I have gotten older my attraction to stories like this for entertainment’s sake has not diminished, but I have seen weird before. I have been there and done that. What I want to know is what I can take away from it. The translator describes the series as a cross between Star Wars and the Bible, so what are the profound nuggets we can take away from The Word According To Yoda?
I believe there are many. More than anything else Anastasia shows us what we can become once we free ourselves from ourselves. I am fully convinced that this planet is the insane asylum of the galaxy, and the doctors have pretty much let the patients run wild to cure themselves, or not. As a species we are struggling with all of our might to do it, but we still think it is an acceptable plan to get dressed in funny green outfits and go and kill total strangers. We still allow our dreams to die inside of us while we work in boring jobs in boring corporations because everyone else is doing the same thing. If anything Anastasia’s story highlights these facts by sheer contrast.
It may be stretch to think that going to the nearest forest, shucking your clothes and engaging in a telepathic conversation with the first squirrel you see is a recipe of happiness for most of us, but I do not think that is the moral of this story.
We live on a living being, Earth, who has provided us with everything we have. Everything. This incredible planet has sublime and breathtaking life systems we are only beginning to comprehend. Our technological gizmos are toys by comparison. When our creativity and inventiveness work in line with these systems, we touch infinity, but when we ignore nature we tend to run into a few snags, like for instance being strapped to a dirty, messy, polluting, inefficient, antiquated energy delivery system, or cataclysmic wars to control aforementioned antiquated energy system. (i.e. World War I, World War II, The Gulf War, the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, ad nauseum…).
This book was written in Russian, and has inspired millions of Russians to to leave the city and establish eco-villages in the Motherland’s vast hinterland. Small, private gardens account for 54% of that nation’s agricultural output, and this is on 7% of the total land used for agricultural purposes. Food independence is extremely efficient and very possible, and as I stated in my square foot gardening review, I think it is the greenest thing you can do.
One of the more interesting passages relays that seeds can be charged to restore health and taste fantastic to a particular human if that human places the seeds in his mouth for at least nine minutes. I do not know if this has any validity, but I will in a few months. I planted my veggies yesterday, and darned if I didn’t give every one of those seeds a saliva soaking. Like I said before, I don’t care if it’s weird. I just care if it works.
The mystery of whether Anastasia is real or not enhances the allure of the book, but it is ultimately an aside. As fact or fiction, Anastasia is a valid and timely call for all of us to detach ourselves from the corporate teat, reconnect with the rhythms of nature and enjoy self sufficiency.