In J.R.R. Tolkien’s Myth of Creation, we find reflections of the Edda, all ancient Irish and “hyperborean” law, the Vedas, Maori, Ainu, Hopi, Aztec, Maya, Egyptian, etc. traditions. This makes Tolkien a greater “man of assembly”, though only concerned with Creation itself, and less with the laws reigning Manifestation, than either Hermes Trismegistos (Thoth), Dionysius the Areopagite, Meister Ekkehard and others of high esteem.
Certainly, in disregarding all narrow doctrines that have proven to be mainly but mental cages for humanity for the last 5.000 years, he stands out as a major religious reformer. To escape death and persecution, he simply wrote down “ancient fairy tales” and “fantasy”, unworthy of serious consideration.
The above statements will be borne out by the following analysis of his writings.
What J.R.R. Tolkien recounts in his great trilogy The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, is a great mythical rendering of the Creation as such and with the sphere of planet Earth and the Solar System as its core. Neither he nor any “Immortals of the Blessed Realm” can tell of the Total Creation, i.e. the Galaxy and all the boundless realms encompassing so many galaxies as there may be atoms.
How many of the human race have endeavored to understand the world, all its dimensions, its surrounding realities of planets, suns, comets, and immeasurable space? Not so many as compared to all the billions incarnated in human form. So all knowledge we in truth possess comes in the form of revelation, mystic insight, and deep meditation.
All that is traceable is that which was either written in readable symbols and hieroglyphs or passed on by oral tradition. Yet truth does not change and the act is not altered, though none may be able to understand, though all types of dogma are erected to keep individuals from understanding, setting every type of lure, trap, and deception in the way of comprehension, thus rendering even the ablest and competent (intelligent) as fools and idol worshippers groping in the dark.
But just against this situation we find the Myth of Creation built up as a mighty tower of light shining through all ages, be they clear and bright, or misty, poisoned, dark or stinking.
All men and women of any learning have grasped the myths of creation as put forth by the main religions. As only the seemingly abstract “religions” of higher Buddhism and Taoism offer a theoretic approach to Creation, by introducing the primal factor of Polarity, the search for a more profound understanding leads to the perhaps more true and distinct myths of the “primitive” people of planet Earth – be they extinct or still alive, it matters not.
The Nordic and Vedic revelations of the past, present, and future times cannot claim any living religious systems to sustain their spoken (written) words, yet they still exist, and their followers go into many millions.
Tolkien leans upon all these ancient traditions, disregarding most, if not all, of the “late” prophets, saints, etc., for the wastes no word either on Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, and Mohammed. And all these “latter-day saints” are also, in fact, the most insignificant, teaching mankind simply a spiritual way, a lesson in inner development, and have nothing or very little to say where Man came from, why he/she is, and where he/she is bound to go. All fervent adherents of any particular faith would burn these pages with self-righteous scorn, and if possible even the author of these words.
This was surely also the case in J.R.R.’s time, maybe even worse. So he followed the Druids and created myth and fantasy. Still, what Tolkien created is complete and coherent, a history of Creation, equal only to the ancient Egyptian, Sumerian, Indian,d other very old traditions.
What does he say in summary of his writings?
Iluvatar, the One, the Creator, achieved Creation by imagination. He did this all alone and in the Void. First, using Music (Vibration), he created mirror-images of himself, undying, and also bequeathed with a power of imagination (which includes a greater or lesser measure of foresight). Iluvatar’s imagination and foresight none could match, He being whole only upon Himself. Nor did He desire to create any “doubles” of Himself which he could ultimately rule, create, and destroy.
He wished to form living Beings like unto Him but independent in their will, though – seeing the magnitude of all forces put in motion – in endless accord with His Harmony, His Beauty, His eternal Creativity. To these Beings, He bequeathed Music, a musical vibration that pervades the universe as a whole.
Love and Harmony
Love and Harmony were the basic chords from which sprang the galaxies, stars, and planets. With more complex musical variations He created the Valar, the “Undying”, inhabitants of the “Realm of Bliss”, ever dedicated to His service – for beauty, abundance, power of love and pity, magnificence, and compassion, variety of creation, etc. etc. The Valar, as concerns planet Earth, were the first inhabitants.
Concerned with the creation of yet unimagined “things to be”, creating beauty in all realms: the mineral, the biological, the animals, and the psychic-mental. No other creations – maybe not even the world of animals – was their domain. They merely furthered the musical theme of Creation as had been revealed by their common father: Iluvatar. In this, they were joined by other Beings of primal Creation, the Maiar.
These Beings may be seen as possibly having been created by a “common wish”, common to Iluvatar and the Valar, to second and help the Valar in their furthering of the primal musical theme. They also are undying, and they also inhabit the “blessed realm”, yet they are to the Valar as servants, willing and cooperative, just as the Valar to Iluvatar.
By foresight, in accord with this theme of almost eternal length, the Valar knew of the coming and arrival of other, “lesser Beings”: the “Firstborn”, first, which are the Elves (or Devas or Angels), and second, the “Second-born” which is Man. The task of the Valar was to prepare the ground: planet, solar system, galaxy, or whatever other dimensions may be taken into account.
This, for the arrival of the Beings “after themselves”. For the Valar were (and are) blessed and living in eternal bliss as living images of the One, called Iluvatar.
But, within the myth recounted by Tolkien, not all of the Valar descended upon the plane of Manifestation, some opted to remain with Iluvatar, some moved into far and remote regions of the universe, where they remain, and from where they may perhaps also “re-arise” to manifest within the tangible galaxy or even solar system.
The Maiar, as in all things, remained within the realm of the Valar, aiding them in tasks which could be called “high-archangelic”, thus below the Valars’ capabilities, yet still far removed from the later “First-” and “Second-Born”.
The later arrivals, the First-born and Second-born, were individuals in their proper fashion, ignorant of the main musical theme that had included their creation from the outset, and only partially aware of the reflections of the One living within. The Valar were most eager to welcome them within Creation – for before the sounding of a certain chord these Beings existed not, and only then “arrived” on the “steed” of Iluvatar’s imagination and due to the long preparations for their well-being undertaken in countless ages by the Valar.
There is one Zoroastrian/Christian trait within the general theme of Tolkien’s myth. It is the presence of Evil, practically from the beginning onward, as if implied within the Harmony of Creation. There is the case of Melkor (later called Morgoth).
He was a Valar of high gifts, a direct creation of Iluvatar, who rebels right at the onset to try to impose his musical theme, thus disrupting the Harmony of Iluvatar and the Valar – who all sang with one voice. This is Dualism, as first (in written, known history) encountered in the creed of Zoroaster. Still, the Edda, far older, and all the myths propounding “Atlantis” and “Mu”, already account for discord and catastrophe, Polarity as light and dark, “Fenrir’s Wolf”, etc.
But Creation, though hindered, obstructed and attacked, is nonetheless high, sublime. Bright and loving themes dominate, and all forces against its slowly evolving light are sooner or later subdued, mostly by themselves, sometimes by disappearing as a mist when the sun moves upwards in its course.
Tolkien makes the Elves, which Men have named Angels, Devils, Good Sprits, Followers of Horus, Kachinas, Divine Kings, Fairies, Taras, Devas, Dakinis, and more names now forgotten, the “Firstborn”. They did not, though they may be killed and lose their visible bodies.
They may disappear for those who cannot see into their undying dimension, yet they are bound closer to manifest Creation than the Valar. They are mostly Beings of love, filled with admiration for the beauty of the Valars’ and Iluvatar’s Creation, which they perceive as such, knowing full well that Iluvatar gave them life, even without limit on the earthly plane, and that the Valar were created to prepare the environment of their existence. Never can they claim to match the Valar, much less Iluvatar, for when need and danger drive them they venture to plead their cause to the Valar.
Part of the Original Myth
This is also part of the original myth the Valar are fully capable and even accountable for the judgment of all things concerning the behavior or misdemeanor of Elves and Men. Iluvatar made the musical hymn of Creation, and each successive chord takes upon itself the responsibility and care for the next chord being struck in the Hymn of Creation. This echoes strongly the force of the Vedic Hymns, and the sacred songs and dances of civilizations long forgotten.
Tolkien points out that it is not from the Valar that any memories of the most ancient “first times” of Creation have reached into the present time. It is only through the songs and written records left by the Elves, the Firstborn, that these events were safeguarded and kept from getting lost into oblivion.
According to Tolkien, many ages passed during the Valars’ construction of the world, and then again many ages during the cohabitation of Valars and Elves. Then, owing to the negative “anti-creation”, a “sundering” of the Elves occurred, during which only a part remained with the Valar in the Blessed Realm. Other Elves had never entered this realm and enjoyed the young Earth from afar, entirely on their own. Others had joined the Valar but became ensnared by evil a which made their bliss appear as a prison, and so returned to “Middle Earth”, where they had originated.
These last returning Elves then waged war on a 3-dimensional plane, and the loss and woe of those who had known the Blessed Realm and returned to the planets’ polarity lasted many an age. Lastly, these Elves mostly departed, disillusioned by the creation in which Man, as the Second-born had appeared, and who was given both to Good and to Evil.
Hardly any Elf had “gone over” to the forces of destruction, but Man was much more fragile, mainly because he was mortal. Elves were created to sustain Iluvatar’s Creation as immortal Beings, loving every part, each aspect and the minute details of the Cosmic Creation, as integral parts of it and with its self-same longevity (though they may lose their bodies). Man’s short life had within its own gift: being able to pass beyond just this Creation at death, though few knew where this would lead them.
Yet Man’s liberty was in this sense greater than the immortality of the Elves, for he may leave all constraints, and even pass beyond the sphere of which the Valar had any knowledge. Iluvatar may have passed a heavyweight on Man – short life and death – but this forces Man to ride swiftly to where his conscience leads him, to take swift action – for good or evil, leaving little choice as death loomed forever close, but – having taken right action and right thought – rewarding him with access to another dimension wholly different from polarity, duality, immortality, etc. Thus Man’s creation as a mortal being is told to be a “gift of Iluvatar” – maybe even surpassing his previous gifts…
Elves and Men spent long ages living together. Later, as the height of the Elves’ third-dimensional domination on Earth had passed its prime, and Man was ascending, special places were still reserved for Elves, which we know today as the “holy precincts” of the Gods, as reported from Tiahuanaco, Baalbek, the Gobi region (before the desert), certain islands, etc. Their presence on Earth is linked to the ages of Lemuria and also Mu and Atlantis, slowly departing from the planet from about 20.000 B.C. onward. Yet their myths remain. In Tolkien’s account, the “Second Age”, when Men and Elves already lived well apart, ended in a cataclysm.
At this point, the Blessed Realm of the Valar was taken from a three-dimensional view altogether. With it, slowly but steadily, also the Elves left “Middle earth”, though a tiny remnant remained until the dawning of the Fourth Age, whose beginning is described by Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. But there, the original evil spirit Melkor or Morgoth had already been subdued by the Valar, and he was confined forever in the “Outer Darkness”.
This term is to be found in Gnostic teachings, especially in the Pistis Sophia. Yet Tolkien says, that his physical and psychic presence may be removed forever, but the evil thoughts and devices spun in his time, will perforce remain forever, as an evil seed that will continue sprouting at certain intervals – at least till another great chord of Creation is struck, and maybe a new wave of Divine Inspiration may clean and purify terrestrial manifestation, eliminating even the last evil seeds.