The Princess of Dan is anything but your average novel. Author Nechama Burgeman has created a unique narrative by setting the stage for two women living in different time periods to connect as they embark on a journey of personal and collective growth. The Princess of Dan tells the story of many women who came of age in the 60’s and 70’s while introducing readers to a Jewish woman living during a future time in history, when the Third Temple has been built. Beautiful reproductions of paintings by the author accompany readers throughout the journey.
We share with you here the fascinating discussion we had with Nechama Burgeman about the ideas behind The Princess of Dan and the author’s personal experience writing it.
How biographical is this book?
There is a lot of autobiographical material in The Princess of Dan, but it is combined with the lives of many other women I know or have known. This includes friends as well as clients who have shared their lives through the inner work of the spiritual therapy that was developed as a result of my books. The point is to learn and teach through real life experiences rather than to have accurate facts about any one person’s life. As we see in The Princess of Dan, the details of our stories become irrelevant as we together shift our identity to essence, the common point of our collective soul. My life is quite parallel to Sarah’s which is obvious to anyone who knows me personally. I was brought up in a loving home in America and from my quite idyllic and privileged background I received the strength to follow the passionate searching of my soul. Sarah is quite likeable and I recognize the emergence of her character as a reflection of a healing process, a gift I received as I wrote the book.
Sarah and her friends grew up in the ’60’s and ‘70’s. After many personal travails, especially concerning relationships with men, they meet in Israel and are guided by teachers of Kabbalah and Chassidut. Many of these teachers truly live their wisdom. However, The Princess of Dan also addresses the human struggle within our striving to reach our deepest potential. For this reason I believe the reader can relate and identify with the story and at the same time be encouraged to share a collective vision of redemption.
How were you able to create the life of the people who were living during the times of Third Temple? How did you project how things would be?
Danya and her generation who live during the time of the Third Temple, were birthed from a shared vision and passion for realizing our beliefs which are based on the teachings. The characters sprung out from my personal imagination, fantasies and a life I longed for while striving to embrace and be grateful for life as it exists now in this time dimension. The lives in Danya’s generation are based on many teachings which I felt needed to be translated from belief to actuality. I want the Redemption to become more and more believable. This is my humble contribution to humanity’s long awaited dream, gleaned from our source teachings.
How does this book connect to your earlier books? Is there a theme that unites your work?
This book definitely evolves from my first two books. The Kabbalistic teachings of my first books merge with real life and guide Sarah and her friends to realize their deeper identities as women of the twelve tribes of Israel. While writing the Twelve Dimensions of Israel, my soul was deeply aroused by the research and writing of the tribe of Dan. I once again followed my calling and trusted it. Especially since, at the time, I thought it would be “better” to be from the tribe of Yehudah, the tribe of kings and queens. The humbling effect of this process of a deeper teshuva, accepting myself on a deeper level has been rewarding and inspiring, resulting in The Princess of Dan.
Do you think women authors write differently than men? Do you speak differently to your readers?
I think a feminine way of writing is to expose oneself more on a feeling and experiential level. In that vein, The Princess of Dan is perhaps the most feminine of my books. There are some male authors who are very in tune with their feminine side and some female authors who emphasize their intellectual, or masculine side. As a writer matures, both sides become more and more integrated and balanced.
To learn more about The Princess of Dan, click here.