Ancient Abkhazian Traditions: Can they make a difference today?

The non-profit community development and violence prevention organization I founded and now head, New Horizons Support Network, Inc. is presently contemplating the newly released book of our devoted community development mentor, Murat Yagan. And, we would very much like to hear your thoughts  and ideas on the challenge facing us, now, with the publication of this book and its potentialities for building enhanced community unity, locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

What lies between the covers of this just released book, Ahmsta Kebzeh: The Science of Universal Awe, by Murat Yagan is precious and power-packed.

A quote by Jean Dubuis sets the tone for the pages ahead,

“You will transmute nothing if you have not transmuted yourself first.”

For the devotee of the ancient, native Abkhazian traditions, Kebzeh, as interpreted by Murat, this offering, as well as the many other books he has published, is the equivalent of the vacation travel packet AAA specially prepared for my recent trip to Canada.

Within were maps, guide books and specified routes, pertinent to reaching a particular destination my traveling companion and I were after. However, to utilize the bounty this offering provided, first and foremost, a decision was required, backed by certain, definitive actions, that would turn these travelers’ aids into a vacation.

Similarly the comprehensive works Murat so lovingly provides, out of the giftedness he carries, as the last, known living Elder of his Abkhazian tribal people, requires specific activities in order to reach a particular destination; in this case “universal awe.” Yet, as one of New Horizons supporters pointed out, for the less ardent, Murat’s dedicated efforts are easily dismissed as relevant only for the “lofty” minded and idealistic.

In practical terms what can this book offer in a world such as the one we live in, turbulent with violence, economic depravity, social problems ad infinitum?

So, now that we’ve got it, New Horizons is seriously pondering our imperatives; what shall we do with the treasures of this beautiful book, within which our own contribution, depicting New Horizons’ challenges to bring the ideal into the real through education and practical application, is presented?

Please do read New Horizons's story behind this quest we have been pursuing for close to fifteen years. It is New Horizons story behind and integrated with Murat’s rich, ancient traditions made known for the modern world.


We are asking the following of you as well as ourselves.

  • How can New Horizons utilize Murat’s vast methodology, wisdom and inspiration to further our objectives?
  • How can we further the program presentation opportunities we have already accrued (i.e. model United Nation camp, interfaith and civic challenges in our local community?

New Horizons’ mission is to facilitate the development of community enhancement skills with which to guide and train businesses, organizations, neighborhoods and such to bridge the various societal and political polarizations flourishing throughout our country. Our methodology, in particular, is aimed at creating meaningful dialogue that traverses the separation diversity can generate.

In an account for NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday (July 6, 2002), Alex Van Oss, describing the trip he made to Abkhazia, accompanying Murat for a special purpose,*offered the following interpretive words as to how Murat views the importance of his offerings. (*Murat was awarded Abkhasia’s highest cultural honor, the medal of Honour and Glory, from Vice-President Sergei Arshba at the National Theatre on this visit.)


“Yagan, (according to Van Oss), says Kebzeh could be of immense value to the world. The tradition (among other things) stresses a rigorous program of character building.”

Van Oss continues with a further statement on the traditions of Kebzeh, by Abkhazian diplomat, Vyacheslav Chirikhba.

  • "It (Kebzeh) is based on... universal values."The respect for elders, respect for women. A person is regarded as someone who is a member of society, rather than as a completely isolated individual."
  • Is it enough for us, dealing with the social and political problems facing us, now, to expand our capacities, individually and collectively, to respect elders and women, as well as those of different races and faiths? In other words, does how we treat one another on the smallest levels; family, neighbors, community etc., make a difference all the way to the top; “thinking globally, acting locally” is, in and of itself, worthy?

  • Are native messages brought forth from ancient cultures of any value to us today, even if only as wisdom and words to uplift and inspire?
  • What difference can these make?
  • If they can, how might we use these in practical terms?
  • What’s your take?

Please let New Horizons hear from you at:

Also, listen to Alex Van Oss' report on Abkhazia and Murat Yagan, as well the music of Loreena McKennitt's 'Night Ride Across the Caucasus' inspired by Murat.


You can also share your views, on-air on New Horizons’ Possible Society In Motion Show where we will look forward to scheduling a lively discussion on topics Murat introduces in his books in the forthcoming future, especially on character development and respect in the U.S.A.

Murat Yagan’s new book: now that we’ve got it, what will we do with it?

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