Yep, Ringing Cedars as in the “Anastasia“ book series!!
A little while ago my Higher Self told me I will go to Russia this summer (I inquired about it after a dream) – I laughed and thought I must have misunderstood, I try to avoid going to Russia as much as I can. But of course my Higher Self was right, the universe had planned for me to go, and for once I was really excited about it!
It turned out to be the best weekend of my life!
What was the Anastasia festival all about?
There was a lot going on, the main purpose was really to find like-minded people, spread awareness of eco-living and the creation of your own “love-space” – i.e. have a piece of land to yourself where you can grow your own food and live life from your heart. I wont go into much detail, much of it is written in the Anastasia books, which if you haven’t read them, I would really recommend them! They are truly life-changing!
Day One – St. John’s Eve (Иван Купала)
On the first day, I flew into Moscow and headed straight for one of the oldest towns in Russia – Vladimir. The festival ground was about an hours drive from there. I got offered to stay with someone who lived in the eco-community itself (it wasn’t anyone I knew, people there are just nice!). You can read about what it was like to live in an eco house in my post here.
During the first evening, we had St. John’s Eve, which coincides with the solstice and it is a celebration to welcome summer. Aah it was beautiful!! There were lots of traditional Russian dances (such as those where you take hands and move in circles and a wide variety of couple dances) and they had dressed up characters from children’s story books “leading” the celebrations.
We also had games, like 2 groups had to act out popular stories using themselves as props. There were also many couple games – actually they made the best environment for single people to find partners and for couples to enjoy being together!). For example they put all the guys in a row and women had to walk on the guys feet without falling off, as you can see from the photos below – I lost. We also had kissing games….I think I wont reveal all the secrets, so you’ll just have to find out for yourself what those are (by that time I, being single at the time, had already found someone during a dance)!!
Food wise, everyone brought something for the big blanket we put in the middle of the field. It was about 90% raw, with lots of fresh vegetables and berries (lots grown on the people’s plots). They had some amazing raw crackers, I wish I had asked how they made them, but there was too much excitement for that.
After things quietened down a bit (that was a lot of dancing!!), we made little rafts to send out on the lake. Originally it was done (this is a tradition from a loong time ago, back in the days without Facebook!) by single women: they put flowers, candles etc on it and sent it down a river, then her soul mate was supposed to find it at some other town down-stream and come and find the one it belongs to. At our celebration it was sent by anyone and everyone, it was just fun making them and seeing them float off, it was very pretty.
And for the big finale – the huge bonfire!! Cant have St. John’s night without a bonfire!
Some people went swimming, some just chilled out. When the fire started dying out, then came the fun! Everyone, including children, were jumping over the fire! Then came something I never thought I would do – we got a chance to walk on burning hot coal!!! Its too bad the video is so dark you cant recognise who it is, but thats still proof that I did it.
Day Two – The actual Ringing Cedars Festival
On the second day, it was the first official day of the festival. We were given little pieces of wood to put around our necks (to imitate cedar – like in the books) with different coloured strings. Red strings meant you’re single and looking, green for couples and black for indifferent. Once again, this was the perfect place to find like minded people, they set up a wonderful scene, all you had to then do is find the right person to begin creating a loving space with!
There was a separate area for camping – a lot of people came with tents.
They had lots of stalls, full of wonderful natural products and of course – CEDAR products. Things like cedar nuts, wonderfully healing cedar oil, cedar nut flour, cedar plates and spoons – basically cedar heaven! Cedar has incredible properties for health, beauty and general well being, click here for some interesting information on it..
Just a few reasons why cedar oil is good for you:
✽ Anti septic – can be applied externally to treat wounds or to make creams.
✽ Has a whole load of vitamins! E.g. has more vitamin F than fish oil and 5 times more vitamin E than in olive oil (thats the “youth vitamin” – it takes care of your arteries, prevents thrombosis and keeps you looking young and healthy).
✽ Can be used to treat seborrhoeic eczema, diarrhoea, tooth aches and gum problems due to its astringent properties
✽ It brings about more regular menstruation.
✽ Fungicide – can cure fungal infections, internally and externally
There’s a LOT more, have a little search for yourself if you’re interested.
They also had food stalls (yes – they had raw food too!!) and a kitchen where they served food 3 times a day.
So what did we do all day? Well there was quite a lot to do. They had workshops at various times throughout the day, from pottery to special meditation techniques.
There was a lake where you could go swimming and build sand castles, or in this case: sand-animals :). The banks were made of clay so we has a mini pottery class of our own there.
There was a volleyball court in the sandy area, it was wonderful because everyone was there to have fun and not to count points, so people of all ages were allowed and everyone was totally fine with the 5 year old’s catching and throwing the ball – what an amazing atmosphere! People there are super friendly and everyone was sharing everything and laughing lots.
There was a LOT of dancing! Who knew there were soo many varieties of dances, and they are all so much fun too!
They had a stage for talks and music. Talks were mostly of eco-nature, I couldn’t actually tell you the other topics – I was too busy playing to sit in one place for too long. The music was wonderful though, the bards came from all over Russia and had a similar outlook on life – everything was about love.
Day Three – Vladimir Megre, author of the Anastasia books
Sunday was pretty similar in activities, apart from the morning when the author of the Ringing Cedar books gave a speech and took everyone to his house to show us how he build his own little “love-space”. I cant comment too much on that because I left halfway through – it was too hot to sit in the sun for more than 15 mins (it was over 30 degrees!! who ever said Russia is always cold!?).
The rest of the day was spent in the beautiful nature, taking it all in, relaxing, sunbathing, listening to music and just BEING! My grandma went to some meditation workshop which she said was amazing, but I spent most of the day just enjoying every moment with the wonderful guy I met the first day. This was a pretty life-changing weekend for me in many ways.
In the evening we sat round the fire and they passed round a guitar. Wonderful songs were played that night, a lot of them written by the people themselves. Beautiful poems were also told. This was a very magical moment, its something I have always wanted to experience and now that I have – I want my life to be like this more! In every way actually, this weekend has made me realise how much I want to live in touch with nature, surrounded by friendly people who think the same, to grow my own food and enjoy life to the fullest!
If you ever get a chance to go – I wouldn’t think twice about it. Out of all the workshops and events I’ve been to, this was the most incredible of all; it has changed my views on life and has given me a huge positivity boost that I will hopefully retain forever.
Where can you get the books?
If you feel inspired to read about Anastasia and her incredible story, I would highly recommend it, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read! Sadly, they created fake translations of the books, so PLEASE don’t get the black books sold on Amazon, here are links to the OFFICIAL translations by the author:
Ringing Cedars – book 1 I started reading this when my date went to talk to someone else for a few minutes, when he came back I jucouldn’tdnt put it down so I spent 2 hours completely glued to the book!!
Ringing Cedars – book 2 this one I didn’t enjoy as much, dont judge the rest by this one
Ringing Cedars – book 4 one of my favourites