The creative energy that would in time produce A Cycle of the West and Black Elk Speaks is apparent in his first book, The Divine Enchantment, published in 1900 when he was nineteen years old. It can be viewed as an early version of the philosophy of spiritual awareness that Neihardt articulated twenty-five years later in Poetic Values.
A narrative poem bursting with youthful enthusiasm, The Divine Enchantment reveals Neihardt not as an ordinary poet but as a visionary bard. Inspired by his reading of Eastern philosophy, it is a Hindu myth with Christian parallels. The virgin heroine, Devanaguy, fulfills prophecy in bearing Krishna, the incarnation of Vishnu, in spite of imprisonment by a jealous and fearful king. Neihardt’s vision of the union of spirit and matter, of reason and higher consciousness, introduces themes he was to expand on in his later writings.