The Wisdom of Tolkien … Again

Yes, it’s that time again! If you frequent this blog you know I drop quotes from Tolkien often. He is IMHO the master of fantasy prose with deep roots into mythology and the psychology of the human spirit. As a veteran of WWI to say his perspective on life was unique would be an understatement. We look at our world today and commiserate about how hard things are, divisive, negative. Imagine a moment living when Tolkien did….

Your late teens early 20’s you fight in a horrific world war; you then have a pandemic (the Spanish flu). Things are quiet for a while, the 20’s then you get to experience the Great depression, oh and to cap it off ANOTHER world war, twice as deadly as the first. Our lives are a cake walk in comparison in my view… So the wisdom?

“Maybe the paths that you each shall tread are already laid before your feet, though you do not see them. Good”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Tolkien is telling you here that wherever you are, whatever path you are on its been preselected for you. This is his subtle tip of the hat to fate and how as humans many of us fight it (“though you do not see them.) in vein. Our religious friends call this a “Divine Plan” pagans like me, its fate. Tolkien survived perhaps the most calamitous period of human history (as illustrated above). When you go through events like that, I suppose at some point you have to give yourself over to fate. Horrors like that, no one would actively seek.

You are doing awesome dear reader, one day at a time.

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Which do you prescribe too? “Well what does Wyrd mean?” Wyrd is roughly translated to old English as fate. The word in of itself is specific but the concept behind the word is a bit more vast. The theory of fate, in relation to time is that all things that happen in the course of your life is fate. Fate is an interesting concept. It is the belief that occurrences happen via the will of a super natural being.

Therefore, many pagan’s have odd relationships with time. Its not easy to explain but if you are someone who has given over to fate, you realize that events that occur today are intertwined with things that have happened in the past and WILL happen in the future. This leads to a lot of anxiety because you truly are cognizant of the moment. You know that what is happening now is part of a larger predetermined series of events.

You begin to extrapolate out what each event means and what it could mean going forward, or, even worse, you look back to see if you did something prior to lead to this outcome. It is a maddening cycle because as time goes on, the more you subscribe to this belief system it becomes a black hole of anxiety. I envy people of faith, whatever the discipline, because it requires a portion of yourself and mind to “give yourself over” to outcomes beyond your control.

So, is time even real? Is it all a predetermined series of events that you are just a participant in? Your will is irrelevant, you’re desire an aside, I don’t know…. Here is a link for you to look at If you are interested in more

From the link: “The procession of events in the world, and in any person’s life, could only be understood with reference to fate, but fate itself could not be understood. Those who practiced the magical art of seidr could sometimes see what fate had in store, but there was no particular rhyme or reason in why some particular outcome was fated when an alternative outcome was not. Fate had no moral significance, and there were no caring or cruel motives behind it.”

Is this all folly? Have I wasted all my time worrying about things I can’t control? Or is my fate to worry about it?