Paganism: Part III - The One Ring

How can a fictional story by J.R.R. Tolkien about the One Ring influence so many people so much, and what has this got to do with Paganism? Tolkien was a professor in Anglo-Saxon linguistics, and although he was a Catholic, he was an ethnic European heavily influenced by Pagan ideas through his linguistic studies, but even though he used some Christian ideas in his books - like the concept of "good" versus "evil" - his books contain a lot of Pagan ideas.

The central issue in "The Lord Of The Rings" is the One Ring. On the ring itself Sauron, when crafting it, had written the last verse of a poem:

"One ring to rule them all,
one ring to find them,
one ring to bring them all,
and in the darkness bind them."

This is a riddle, and when we try to solve this riddle it becomes clear that one ring that rules, brings into darkness and binds all life is time. We are all ruled by time, found by time, brought into obvious darkness by time and bound by time - it is just a matter of time before we all die and forget, and none of us can escape it. Time has no beginning or end, like a ring. It goes on forever, and Sauron needs this corruption of time to cover the world in his darkness. The only person in the book that doesn't seem to be much affected by neither death nor time is Gandalf the Grey. He actually died when fighting the Balrog, but simply returned as Gandalf the White.

I say that, because Gandalf is a name we know well from the Scandinavian mythology, Gandálfr, and it translates as "animated elf", or "magic elf". Elf itself is a word that derives from Proto-Norse alpt ("swan", "eternal"). He is the personified "eternal magic of our souls". Balrog too is a name deriving from Proto-Norse. It is not a name from the Scandinavian mythology, but it translates as "fire-power" or "fire-god" (like Norse bálrok). The greed of the subhuman dwarves caused this fire-power to be unleashed from the depths of Earth.

According to the mythology mankind lost its immortality because we failed to live like we were supposed to or because we weren't yet perfect. Mankind was forced to live on Earth because we did not yet deserve to live amongst the gods. Therefore WōðanaR (Óðinn) sent HaimaþellaR (Heimdallr) from AnsgarðaR (Ásgarðr) to create a better man from the blood of the gods. He did, and the final and best result was Jarl's kin. Unlike the giants (known to us as Cyclops, Trolls, Titans et cetera), that made up the first proto-humans, the new human races were not undying creatures. Even Jarl's kin was not pure enough to live eternally, but when man dies the holy fire (the Sun) vaporizes the hugr ("mind") and brings it back to the divine realm of the Sun (AnsgarðaR). Then we are reborn again, when we have been purified by this fire-power (bálrok). For every life we live we learn something new and become better. We keep what is good and the fire removes the rest; we are purified by the Sun. Eventually Jarl's kin will become worthy of life amongst the gods in AnsgarðaR.

So Gandalf the Grey becomes Gandalf the White when he returns after being killed by the Balrog. He is better after being purified by the fire-power that came as a result of the subhuman mankind's greed. Although we die and are not immortal creatures (elves) yet, our minds (our "magic") are eternal - like Gandalf ("magic elf", "eternal magic"), and they will always return to life when we die, in a new body.

The One Ring is known to corrupt life, just like time corrupts us all. Nothing wrong we do in life can be undone. If I make a mistake I have to live with it for the rest of my life. Although the Sun (the Balrog) purifies our minds when we die it is harder to become purer and more innocent in life. If we have become filthy, most often we can only stop getting even filthier. Just like it becomes harder and harder to carry the burden of our mistakes the older we get, the harder it is for Frodo ("wise") to carry the One Ring the closer he gets to Mount Doom (old age).

Frodo and the other hobbits are innocent beings, but Frodo is wise too, as suggested by his name - and indeed wiser and more curious than the other hobbits. The only one who accompanies him on this quest is Sam, who is also known as "Sam the Wise". Only the innocent and wise can even dream of going to Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring. Less innocent creatures, like humans and dwarves, will not stand a chance and will instead be corrupted by the ring in no time. The elves (including Gandalf) on the other hand have already overcome death. They are already "white" so why should they want to even touch this ring of corruption, and by doing so become corrupted again? Instead they do as we will have to do one day, and in the end of the book they leave our world, to live in AnsgarðaR "beyond the sea (space)".

The hobbits are pictures of the innocent, they not yet corrupted men and women of our race. The dwarves are the people corrupted by greed and the humans are the ones corrupted by power. The elves represent the superhuman that is not corrupted by the One Ring. They are offered the ring several times, by Frodo, but they want nothing to do with it. They won't even touch it out of fear they might lose their immortality. Arwen, an elfish maiden, has to give up her immortality if she decides to marry Aragon, because she "contaminates" herself, by uniting with an impure creature like Aragon, a mere human. When she does, she will no longer be eternal (an elf). The whole Middle-Earth is becoming an increasingly corrupt place, so the elves have decided to leave it, cross the great sea in the west (the sunset) and move to another continent. However, only the elves can make this journey - only the elves and Frodo that is, because when he destroys the One Ring in Mount Doom he overcomes the corruption of life too and becomes immortal. In effect he has become an elf himself!

To be able to enter the hall of WōðanaR, the realm of the Sun, we need to be innocent. Everything impure we bring into death will be burned to ashes and not be let into AnsgarðaR. Only the good part will remain of us, only the part that is "white". A completely corrupted individual will in other words cease to exist, as there is nothing left of him or her after the Sun has removed all that was impure, while an almost completely "white" individual will start his or her next life with a lot of luggage and experience, so to speak, because he or she was able to bring this to AnsgarðaR when he or she died in his or her previous life. When we die we keep only the pure parts, and lose the rest, and when we are reborn we still have the pure parts from previous lives with us, stored in the unconsciousness - and we will be greater human beings.

The dead travel across the sea in ships (that is: they travel across the space between the Earth and the Sun), and we see pictures of such ships in rock carvings from the Stone and Bronze Age all over Scandinavia. Even the graves of our forefathers were often shaped like ships. These were the ships that should bring the eternal magic of our minds - the elves - to the realm of the Sun when our forefathers died.

This is the Pagan goal; to become better, whiter and brighter, to become more and more like the perfect gods. To conserve what is pure and remove the rest. This also explains why our forefathers could place their "deficient" children in the woods to be eaten by the wolves, and it didn't really matter: their souls were not corrupted and would be reborn anyhow. In effect nothing was lost.

"Saruman the White" is an example of how it ends of we fail to follow these biological laws. In the book he crosses hill men with orcs and creates an army of half-orcs, that can travel during the Day as well as the Night. Because of this grave mistake he becomes "Saruman of Many Colours" - and is no longer "white" (pure and honourable).

The order of the Vala, that Saruman was the head of, is the same as the Pagan cult of the initiates. In fact, Vala is a Norse name that was used on the Pagan initiates. We know the name from a son of WōðanaR, called (in Norse) Váli or Völi ("chosen"), living in Valaskjálf ("ritual site of the chosen"). In the plural form his name is actually Vala. Saruman was "the White", but became the "of Many Colours", and Gandalf was "the Grey" and became "the White". They were a part of a cult, that had the aim to become "white", like their leader Saruman originally was, before he made his mistake. Saruman mixed races and because of that fell from grace, while Gandalf was purified by the Balrog and because of that became whiter. The grey was removed, and all that was left was the white.

Another example of Pagan ideology in "The Lord Of The Rings" is the fact that Aragon was living in exile for so long, because his forefather - Isildur - made such a terrible mistake and not destroy the ring when he had the chance. Aragon is troubled by the fact that this weakness is in his blood. Like our forefathers sometime forced criminals to go into exile, Aragon has done this voluntary, because he didn't want to influence the world with his weakness.

These are just examples of just how Pagan "The Lord Of The Rings" is, but there is a lot more Pagan symbolism and Pagan ideology in this book. Tolkien was possibly more influenced by European Paganism and his European blood than he appreciated himself, as a Catholic, but in any case I think this book is an interesting example of how Pagan ideas, names and symbols can stimulate the Pagan instincts of so many people today, and attract them to something that is so deeply rooted in our genes. We also know that Tolkien wanted this book to become the mythology of Britain, and from my point of view that is not such a bad idea. It is no less Pagan and valuable than for instance the myths about King Arthur and the Ring of the Nibelungen.

Even a fictional story using partly hidden Pagan symbolism can give more "salvation" to the "Christian Europeans" than the "holy bible" ever could, and create more longing for beauty, light and eternity than the Asian "Paradise" has ever done. Imagine how the Pagan mysteries ("secretive religious rites") would have influenced the individuals of our race, when a mere novel like this can create such strong emotions?

The darkness we still live in must be replaced by light, or else we will soon be permanently blinded. Let us open our eyes to the true light and embrace BalðraR (Baldr) and Īþund (Íðunn), like we did in the past. The only reason we don't see the light today is that we have closed our eyes and refuse to open them, just because some Asian idolaters and their loathsome lackeys in Europe tell us not to. Wake up Europe!

Varg "the Grey" Vikernes

Ignem amoris
(The fire of love)

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