Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

The Goddess of 'Lord of the Rings'



No wonder pagans like Middle-earth so much.

Let's face it: one of the guilty pleasures of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is that Middle-earth is a world without organized religion.

No churches, no bibles, no street-corner preachers: really, it sounds kind of idyllic, doesn't it? No Judaism, no Christianity, no Islam. This is a world in which the two major holidays—Midwinter and Midsummer—are largely (if not exclusively) secular celebrations. In Middle-earth, we find a world of unmediated experience.

No wonder pagans like Middle-earth so much.

But wait, there's more. On a recent read-through, I noticed that there is in fact a deity in Middle-earth, one invoked with surprising frequency throughout the entire trilogy, especially in moments of direst danger. (Guess what: she always comes through, too.) And guess what: She's a goddess.

Forget the Silmarillion. Forget Tolkien's made-up pantheon of not-quite-gods, the usual poor monotheist's masturbatory fantasy of polytheism.

Judging from the trilogy alone, there's one god in Middle-earth, and her name is Elbereth.*

Elbereth the Star Goddess: She in the dust of Whose Feet are the hosts of heaven, Whose Body encircles the universe.

No wonder pagans like Middle-earth so much.


*No, I can't tell you exactly how many times she turns up in the trilogy; just how lost to Tolkien geekery do you think I am? If you really need to know, I'm sure that there's more than one Wiki out there that can tell you.


 For Meredith


Last modified on
Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


Additional information