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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in J. R. R. Tolkien

I must begin this article with a disclaimer. There have been entire books written on each of these ancient symbols, and I cannot presume to include all of the information, or all of the esoteric theories, in these few paragraphs. I propose here to discuss the one theme which they all share in common: each of these figures is a three-tiered representation of the levels of Creation.

1)  The first figure is sometimes called the Star of David, but it is not exclusively Jewish; you will see it carved in Hindu temples and used by Rosicrucian alchemists. In actual fact it is not a "star" at all, but two interlacing triangles, one pointing up (symbolizing human aspirations toward the Divine) and the other pointing down (symbolizing the Divine's willingness to meet humankind half way). The space where they intersect indicates the creation of a third state: the moment when Divine Consciousness manifests in human flesh. This is the state of Grace. It is Enlightenment. It is Samadhi.

 The sacred triangles represent the union of heaven and earth, spirit and matter. They embody the metaphysical principle, As Above, So Below.

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For this installment of Well at World’s End, we’ll take a look at the pagan themes in J. R. R. Tolkien’s fiction. I could easily dedicate the entire blog to Tolkien, but have chosen one rather obscure piece to focus on, “Smith of Wootton Major.” If you would like to read the story first, and then read along, you can find the selection here.

 “Smith of Wootton Major” is a short story written by Tolkien in 1967. It was originally known as “The Great Cake,” since the story starts off with the festival, Feast of the Good Children, which is celebrated every twenty-four years, and attended by only twenty-four village children. Baked inside the cake are a variety of trinkets, and hoped to be won by the children. (Cake with trinkets, can you see where this is going?)

One special trinket, by accident, makes it in the cake and is later swallowed by the blacksmith’s son. The star allows the boy to enter into the land of the Faery. Most of the story recounts various adventures the boy takes into the realm of Faery; the reader eager to tag along.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Hunter Liguore
    Hunter Liguore says #
    Yes, it's truly one of my favorites, and shows the dimension of his work--and also the pagan elements...
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    Thanks for much for reminding me of this--it's one of my favorites.

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