Friday, November 25, 2011

Awakening in Taos - The Medicine Path of Mabel Dodge Luhan

Medicine, i.e. the spiritual power underpinning our world, is all around us. I'm using Medicine in the Native American way as a power that does more than heal but also reveals and conquers.  But it seems that we must be prepped to recognize and receive it. This goes as much for societies as for individuals.

My husband Blue Spruce Standing Deer grew up dancing a game of hopscotch among several cultures and time periods. There was the ancient traditional world of his Tiwa people, the everyday world shared with the Taos Spanish culture and the more recent Anglo world. And for he and his father there was also the cosmopolitan world of Mabel Dodge Luhan through Mabel's husband Tony Luhan, his adopted Grandfather.

Spirit Song by Marti White Deer Song
Timing is magic. Mabel Dodge Luhan came to Taos at the right time for she and for Taos, and ultimately for the larger world as well. Does that seem like an exaggeration? After all the big and the little are often matters of uninformed human judgment. While talking to Producer, Director Mark Gordon recently we discussed how the “Awakening in Taos” project seems to be growing beyond being just the history of Mabel, husband Tony and their associates.

There is an archetypal undercurrant to the story of Mabel and Tony and this is what we who are involved in the project have been trying to not only understand but reawaken. It’s about much more than this one individual and her accomplishments. There is something very powerful about the story itself that so far no one has adequately revealed. This is what Mark and his associates are attempting to uncover. Of course the gossipy aspects of a socialite and her famous friends has been used to tell a story many times. Its as if by telling her tale the storyteller can participate in her world. But no one has attempted to help Mabel with her mission or even better take her mission to another level. Ever since I first encountered the spirit of Mabel this has been a mystifying concern.

This little town in Northern New Mexico holds a powerful secret much like a stone geode. On the surface it seems plain, even a bit scruffy. Inside is something surprising that sparkles with magic. It reveals as much depth and magic as you wish for or have the ability to take in. So far a few people have chipped away at the surface of the story just enough to know that the stone is hiding something seductively intrigueing. What is it?

I suggest that the problem is that this story is actually bigger than the characters of Mabel, Tony, D. H. Lawrence, Dorothy Brett, Georgia O’Keefe and all the other players in the drama. In reality it is still too big for those of us who are trying to understand. Mabel had the priviledge of opening a dimensional door. Or perhaps she held the distinct honor of taking notice that it was there. This aspect of her life has frequently been overlooked. Whatever her personality flaws may have been she started something big that points far beyond her own lifetime. She realized that it wasn’t merely she who would accomplish this task of exploring the territory that this shapeshifting door revealed. Whatever her personal weaknesses may have been we should not forget that it was Mabel who volunteered to open that door. Often she is judged as a rich bored and pretentious romantic mystic because of her choice to approach that door. But why isn’t she more recognized for her courage. After all at the time that she chose to move to Taos it wasn’t outwardly a very promising location for someone who wished to become a “mover and shaker” in Western Culture.

Here in Taos the year 2012 is to be the year of the “Remarkable Women of Taos” (and Northern New Mexico).I believe this is a timely recognition that the energy of this place is counter and complimentary to what is going on in the dominant world. Here in Taos we live in an alternative energy field. We are a shadow image of the greater culture and as such hold resources that will be needed as that so-called greater world grows tired and needy for a fresh infusion of energy. As the patriarchal world falters in the mud of smug rationality, exploitation and cultural arrogance, the qualities it has long overlooked begin to emerge from the shadows.

Places like Taos and People like Mabel tend to find each other. They have a common energy link. It's been a long time since Mabel's lifetime though. I notice that many visitors are not even aware of her story. Often they are surprised to learn that D.H. Lawrence and Georgia O'Keefe were part of her circle and although I always take visitors to her house many people haven't heard of her. There is still a story here and although it sometimes goes underground like a geyser it is about time for it to shoot up again.


  1. Marti, it was a pleasure spending time with you and Blue Spruce Standing Deer today (hope he forgives me for calling him Tony 5 times!). Your above blog post is so beautifully written. I hope you don't mind that I posted a link to it on the Awakening in Taos Facebook Page!

  2. Marti, very well stated. I have always admired Mabel and her courage and know we, along with others in the "original" Adobe Inn group, are kindred spirits with her as well as to each other. I love reading your stories. Love to PQ. I don't have have the same affliction as PQ...they still don't know what it is, but have put me on high dose steroids for the chronic inflammation of the lungs, along with oxygen. Please pray for me as I pray for you and PQ. Kathy