Negotiating the Prehistoric Past for the Creation of the Global Future: “Back to Nature” Worldview and Golden Age Myth among Lithuanian Anastasians
Rasa Pranskevičiūtė-Amoson [+]
The chapter presents research into the implementation of environmental and spiritual ideas of alternative communitarian movements through the establishment of quickly spreading nature-based spirituality communities and their settlements in the post-Soviet region. It also studies current socioreligious processes, discussing diverse manifestations and changes of religious phenomena concerning individual religiosities in (trans)national and (trans)regional levels. The chapter 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 concerns particularities and expressions of nationalistic and traditionalistic ideas in the movement. I will discuss how a process of Anastasian negotiation, interpretation and presentation of nationalistic and traditionalistic ideas serve as a basis for a visualization of (trans)local prehistoric and local national pasts, nationalistic moods and attempts to reconstruct variously perceived tradition, as well as a development of utopian visions of prospective heaven on Earth – intended to spread widely in future social projects. One part of the research has been focused on the relative importance of social and ideological contexts in the construction of the alternative religious identities of Anastasians. The chapter also explores the meaning of religious identity and how it influences – and is influenced by – local and global cultures ultimately producing a religious subculture. Particular attention is given to the role of these dynamics in the development of post-Soviet cultural heritage in Eastern Europe and in the communication of Western cultural influences on the religiosity in the region. Findings are based on data obtained from the fieldwork in 2005–2017, including participant observation research and interviews with respondents in the Baltic countries, Russia, and Ukraine.