Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New Mexico

Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Taos, New MexicoLast week, while giving a talk and leading a discussion at SOMOS – Society of the Muse of the Southwest – in Taos, Mexico, Elizabeth and I stayed for two nights at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos.

The House is a National Historic Landmark.

In 1917, Mabel, a rich heiress, and former famous patron of the arts in New York City, moved to Taos, where she began a literary colony.

The House became a magnet for visiting influential artists, poets, writers and other famous people, including such personages as Willa Cather, Robinson Jeffers, Georgia O’Keefe, Aldous Huxley, Carl Jung, Thornton Wilder, Martha Graham, Ansel Adams and others.

Perhaps the most famous of her visitors was the English writer D. H. Lawrence and his wife Frieda.  They became close; and eventually Mabel gifted a 160 acre ranch north of Taos to Lawrence, which he loved, and where he lived, off and on, for a total of about a year between his other travels.  In return, Frieda gifted the original manuscript of one of Lawrence’s most famous novels, “Sons and Lovers”, to Mabel.

Mabel fell in love with the American Indian culture (later marrying an Indian chief, Tony Luhan), feeling it was an antidote to the fractured life of modern humanity.  She hoped that her home, with influential people coming from all over the world, would become the center of a new rebirth of Western civilization.

D. H. Lawrence Taos New Mexico

D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence also dreamed of founding a utopian community, to be called Rananim, where humanity’s spiritual life and needs would begin to find a new rebirth.  He hoped that it might be in Taos, but that was not to be.

Lawrence dreamed of finding a new home, with other people, a place of renewal, apart from the materialistic civilization, founded upon money, that he sensed crashing everywhere he went.  His whole life was a search for this opening into a new mode of living, a new life for humanity.  He knew it was there.  He knew it would come, but he was ahead of his time.

We are now moving through that time.

A new spiritual civilization, beyond even age-old dreams, beyond anything we have yet imagined, is struggling to be born.  It is here and now.  It grows from the wreckage of despair, of lost hope, of pollution, greed, injustice, hatred and war.  It is the compassionate heart of the universe itself coming to fruition and bloom.


Traveling to a New AmericaJames Hilgendorf is a filmmaker, speaker, poet, and the author of ten non-fiction books that are opening the way to a new vision of ourselves, a new dream of America, a new religion for the world.  This year and next, he is traveling to towns and cities all across America, meeting people and holding talks and discussions, under the banner of “Traveling to a New America“.

Follow the journey on Facebook.

To set up talks, contact the author.

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