“We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming ‘sub-creator’ and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic ‘progress’ leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.” 
J.R.R. Tolkien

To The Professor

Tonight, I joined other J.R.R. Tolkien fans from around the world in raising a glass to toast the birthday of this much loved author at precisely 21:00 (9:00pm) local time. The toast was simply “The Professor.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit, The Lord of The Rings, and The Silmarillion, created a collection of legends set in a fictional universe.  He once said that “War deepened and sobered my imagination and stimulated my love of fantasy.”  The months in the trenches of WWI made a lasting impression, which is reflected within his writings.  Even so, J.R.R. Tolkien did not yield to despondency.  His response was to embrace life as a grand adventure to be experienced abundantly and completely.

Over the past few months, I have considered the role of mythology in our world. We have an insatiable desire to give meaning to our existence and purpose for our involvement within family structures and within the wider community. What better time to start a series of posts on mythology than on J.R.R. Tolkien’s birthday.

Roads Go Ever On

By J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains in the moon.

Roads go ever ever on,
Under cloud and under star.
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen,
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green,
And trees and hills they long have known.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone.
Let others follow, if they can!
Let them a journey new begin.
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.”

 

A Toast to “The Professor”

28 thoughts on “A Toast to “The Professor”

  1. A series of posts on mythology- Fabulous! Out of all of the authors I’ve read, I feel that Tolkien really “got it”. The message is especially important given recent “advances” in technology. Looking forward to your posts!

    • I agree wholeheartedly. I remember reading that Tolkien disliked the combustion engine – thought it would lead the world to ruin. And now, here we are…

      I’m looking forward to this series as well. Not certain where my wanderings will take me, but as Tolkien once said…

      “How do you move on? You move on when your heart finally understands that there is no turning back.” J.R.R. Tolkien

  2. Whether or not one is a believer, who can deny the beauty of these words, and of the majesty of his great author and poet who’s writing produced the likes of “The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillian. What a wonderful way to connect with your world Rebecca, and what an enchanting way to lead us into this new year of 2014. Thank you for this most thoughtful gesture dear friend! Jean-Jacques

    • How well said! A few months back, I read a book by Karen Armstrong that opened my eyes to new possibilities with regard to myths. I am learning that art, poetry, literature, etc must have a significant place in our lives.

      “If professional religious leaders cannot instruct us in mythological lore, our artists and creative writers can perhaps step into this priestly role and bring fresh insight to our lost and damaged role.”
      ― Karen Armstrong, A Short History of Myth

      • There is no mistaking the arts being a significant road to open our minds, and a much more ready, and unburdened teacher, than is unfortunately most religions, that preach archaic blind belief theology rules of membership.

    • I agree – humanity has a profound longing to understand the mystery of life. We live in a finite existence, yet know instinctively there is more to our story …

    • I knew you would be there with us…

      “For we put the thought of all that we love into all that we make.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

  3. Rebecca – wonderful post, Tolkien was a gem… the Inklings – surely they’d have quaffed cider or mead !!!!
    though I suppose porter would have done as well !!!
    Looking forward to the next steps along the road with you and Tolkien..

    • You are right!! It would be quaffed cider or mead! I understand they met at 10 am! I’m still looking for coffee at that time. Thank you so much for your comments – this is going to be a learning experience for me!!!!

  4. A bit late but I raise my glass! Great post like always! Happy New Year may you have love, peace and happiness this year Clan mother!

    • It is never never never too late to raise a glass! I am so glad that we are going to celebrate 2014 together. It will be a year of new discoveries….

  5. That’s very true about myths, they are a way of us finding out more truth, more understanding of the spiritual way, and more about ourselves and how we think and feel. I grew up in a religion where myths and legends were frowned upon, so I’m not as familiar with most of as some people are. But like Jesus used parables to explain something, I’ve seen some very good examples recently in various books I’ve read that used some of the Roman god myths as a way of explanation – it helped a lot. At least I’m free to think my own thoughts – and myths these days! :)

    • How wonderful to have you back!!! You have been missed. I appreciate your comments and note that your thoughts are in line with C.S. Lewis, the brilliant mind behind Narnia. He said: “The value of myth is that it takes all the things you know and restores to them the rich significance which has been hidden by the veil of familiarity.” I am looking forward to this research project – not certain where it will take me, but that is the fun of going on an adventure. I always like the quote by C.S. Lewis’s best friend – J.R.R. Tolkien.

      “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Comments are closed.