A Vast Old Religion
by D. H. Lawrence
A vast old religion which once swayed the earth lingers in unbroken practice there in New Mexico, older, perhaps than anything in the world save Australian aboriginal taboo and totem, and that is not yet religion. You can feel it, the atmosphere of it, around the pueblos . . .
But never shall I forget watching the dancers, the men with the fox-skin swaying down from their buttocks, file out at San Geronimo, and the women with seed rattles following. But never shall I forget the utter absorption of the dance, so quiet, so steadily, timelessly rhythmic, and silent, with the ceaseless down-tread, always to the earth´s
It was a vast old religion, greater than anything we know: more starkly and nakedly religious. There is no God, no conception of a god. All is
It was a vast and pure religion, without idols or images, even mental ones. It is the oldest religion, a cosmic religion the same for all peoples, not broken up into specific gods or
D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930) is regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. He published many novels and poetry volumes during his lifetime, including Sons and Lovers and Women in Love, but is best known for his infamous Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
His collected works represent, among other things, an extended reflection upon the dehumanizing effects of modernity and industrialization. Some of the issues Lawrence explores are sexuality, emotional health, vitality, spontaneity, and instinct.
In 1922 Lawrence and his wife made for the bohemian town of Taos, New Mexico. Here they eventually acquired the 160-acre Kiowa Ranch, now called the D. H. Lawrence Ranch.
Turtle Dance by Dorothy Brett, 1947 | Pueblo Indian Dancers by D. H. Lawrence | DH Lawrence by Paul Fillingham (independent.ie)
Story reprinted from The Serpent’s Tongue, edited by Nancy Wood