Dance of the Moon: Celebrating the Sacred Cycles of the Earth
By Dan Furst
If we think that we don’t have time, then we accept the stress of not having time. If we think we have time for what we love, we will have the freedom to use time like an artist’s medium. I’m happier as an artist of time than as a prisoner of time (Dan Furst).
In just one simple phrase on the back cover of Dance of the Moon, the reader encounters a statement which sums up Dan Furst’s goal, “[This book is a]…cross-cultural tour of traditions, rituals, and practices throughout history that honor life’s cycles.”
The key words here are ‘cross-cultural’ and ‘history.’ They alert the reader to the embrace of Mother Moon, in all Her phases and different names over a vast period of time. As always, I believe in the adage: One Goddess, Many Faces. So let’s sit back and enjoy the wonderful journey that Dan has created. But first let’s get his own story.
Hi Dan. My name is Domenic. I’m the manager/buyer for Creative Medicine New Age Emporium. Before I begin this interview let me first say what a pleasure it is to welcome you. I am going to ask a series of questions that will highlight your personal spiritual investment in this book and the obvious complexities of writing it.
Thanks, Domenic. It’s a pleasure to talk with you, and also to let you and Lawren, and the Creative Medicine community, know how much I’m looking forward to coming to Aliquippa and meeting you on Dec. 1 and 2 right at the Full Moon in Gemini – the perfect time for new meetings and connections, and lively communications.
When did you come up with the idea for your book?
The idea came in two stages. In June of 1998 I started writing my Universal Festival Calendar. The point of the UFC was to put monthly information from astronomy, astrology and the sacred days of our religious traditions into a single frame in order to help us identify the monthly ‘power spots.’
How long did it take you to write it?
Over the year and a half from July 2007 to early 2009. It was like a 9-month birth cycle.
Where did you travel to find all this information?
Some of it was physical travel during my 11 years in Japan, 9 years in Hawaii and 5 years in Egypt. From there I traveled to China, Indonesia, Jordan, Greece and Italy. I met a lot of people and have participated in extensive ceremonial work, especially with the Hawaii Fire Tribe and gatherings of the Sacred Sounds groups. Now, as I’m living in the Sacred Valley in Peru, I’m getting to explore the rituals and lunar sacred sites of the Southern hemisphere. Live in and go to enough places, and you learn a great deal about festivals and sacred practices!
Do you hold a particular religious/spiritual system closer to your heart than others?
I’d say two. The closest thing I’ve had to a religious awakening was when I was 33, and I met up with a spiritual community in New York that was practicing Buddhist meditation. I’ve also been inspired by the Sufi heart beings I’ve known. One of their beliefs, as found in the poem Only Breath by Jalaluddin Rumi, is “My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless.” In essence, I’m an ordained minister who does interfaith work. I practice as best I can the core principles of kindness, compassion, forgiveness and mercy that all true, love-based faiths have in common.
Do you have a particular author, deity (or angel!) that influences your writing?
When I was writing When It Rained in Egypt, I often prayed to Isis, Horus and Thoth. When I was writing Dance of the Moon in 2007 in Sharm El Sheikh, I actually lived in the Villa of Isis. I spoke with Her every day, as I still do, since a lot of my writing is connected with the sacred feminine and the element of water. When I participate in ceremonies, whether solo or with a group, I often use the invocation to Shamael, the angel of sacred sound. I also use an ancient Egyptian chant to Ma’at, which translates as “The only thing more powerful than the Sun is Truth.”
Did you have to edit out any parts that you might like to share with us? Or are they for your next book!
Yes. I cut out two pages from the introduction describing an ancient Mediterranean dance circle of a woman who was about to give birth, and the community’s other women who mirrored her with drum rhythms, chants and undulating belly moves to induce a smooth, happy birth.
Is this a book I would have to read from cover to cover to appreciate and learn from it?
No, though as the author I’ll be happy if you read the whole thing!
Can you suggest a strategy for those who love and respect this subject but have little time – jobs, children, etc. – to devote to reading it?
I believe that we find time for what we love doing, just as we always find a way to attract the means to buy or strike some workable deal to get what we really want. You’ll get the gist of the book in the introduction, the first two chapters, Chapter 8 about the ‘Sacred Time of the Maya,’ and the last chapter about 2012 and ‘Spiral Time.’ Chapter 11, the ‘Year According to Those Who Know,’ is about myths and rituals for every lunation in the year cycle.
What ‘secrets’ have you uncovered in this spiritual ‘detective’ book?
I discovered the ‘detective’ elements while writing was underway. It wasn’t until the book was about half done that I was able to see how many of the great spiritual calendars are not just cycles of sacred events, but the growth process of the soul in all its phases; not just in the cycles of nature and the festival year, but in the life of the individual soul. I realized that living by the Moon really works. I find lunar powers to be very intuitive and imaginative, and so this process is closely linked with the skills of intention, attraction and manifestation.
In the series of Dark Moons, from April 2009 through June 2010, the Moon Herself will seem to be inviting us to dream. The energy of the Moon for this event is strongest at the three ‘Super’ Full Moons of December 2009 through February 2010. So Dec. 1, on the eve of that Gemini Full Moon on Dec. 2, couldn’t possibly be a better time for seeing the ‘secrets’ that are inside us, just waiting to be discovered.
In closing, I would like to draw the reader’s attention to the superlative bibliography and chapter endnotes that Dan has generously shared with us (Most authors tend to keep much of this information secret). They will be very helpful for those who wish to further their understanding of the subject matter. This information also reveals Dan’s in-depth research and undisputed command of this topic.
Domenic Leo, PhD