The Professor

“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

Tonight, I will join 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 is simply “The Professor.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the classical mythological world 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 remarkable 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 to our involvement within family structures and within the wider community. Mythology is embedded in our DNA.  This past spring, my family followed the ancient paths in Shetland.  The profound truth that came to me was that we are participants in a grander story.

The Professor…

Mousa Broch from Rebecca Budd aka Clanmother on Vimeo.

 

14 Comments

  1. Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    I’ve read/enjoyed this twice, and quite late I intend to join you in that toast – even if I’m weeks late! First I’ll have to buy some wine or something, but it’s a good occasion! (Alcohol here is very expensive – import taxes- esp on luxury items 😦 and I don’t usually drink ‘alone’ – not a good habit! instead I drink guayusa – ha- and sometimes stay up all night!!!! )

    Recently I re-read ‘The Rising Tide’ by John Barry. Since I grew up about 5 miles from where the Mississippi River ‘crevasse’ broke the levee in 1927, the book remains an ‘important read’ for me. There are so many other stories that layer this book, and I thought of you – and your own multi-layered interests in history and trivia. So, when you run out of reading material, you have one new book to ponder!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother

      I am so glad you joined the toast – you are never ever late to this party. I found “The Rising Tide” by John M Barry on “Audible” and have added it to my 2019 reading list. My reading theme this year centers on the idea of resilience. “The Rising Tide” is a wonderful addition. Thank you so much for the suggestion – very much appreciated.

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  2. Ms Frances

    I fell in love with the writings of J. R. Tolkien many years ago. His stories are not only entertaining, but inspirational, uplifting and also deeply moving and encouraging. He speaks to us in a special way giving unique direction in human life. (I was unaware that he was in W.W. I). We have shared thoughts, you and I, during the years. Thank you for this another of your unique insights–I appreciate them very much. (To The Professor)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother

      Thank you for joining in the toast. Tolkien was not afraid to confront difficult issues and find ways in which to bring them to us in the form of stories. I am grateful for the storytellers for they invite us to the conversation. As Gandalf reminds us: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

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    1. Clanmother

      I agree wholeheartedly! His greatest gift – he inspired others to follow his lead. I think that you would like the “The Letters of J. R.R. Tolkien” which were assembled by Humphrey Carpenter and Christopher Tolkien. It gives an amazing insight into how the stories came into being. Happy New Year. Thank you for sharing this toast.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. cindy knoke

    “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.”
    He was so freaking amazing!
    People reject God because they don’t believe in various religious doctrines.
    But God did not create religions. People did.
    God is better than all of this.
    Love to you Rebecca.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Clanmother

      How very very well said. – God is better than all of this. A couple of days ago, I was reading about the “infinity game” – the game that we all become an active participant, whether we know it or not. We live in a time period that belongs to a larger narrative. When we move on, others will take our place. I like what Joseph Campbell said: “Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.” What we do has meaning to us, to those we love – we weave our personal mythologies. Thank you for sharing your profound insights., Cindy.

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    1. Clanmother

      I agree – wouldn’t it have been amazing to sit next to the “Inklings” during their literary discussions at the Eagle and Child. I am also fascinated by the earlier friendships of the T.C.B.S. – Tea Club, Barrovian Society. I am certain that the letter that Geoffrey Bachelor Smith wrote Tolkien during WWI was a strong, ever present influence: “My chief consolation is that if I am scuppered tonight there will still be left a member (of our School group) to voice what I dreamed and what we all agreed upon. For the death of one of its members cannot, I am determined, dissolve (the group). Death can make us loathsome and helpless as individuals, but it cannot put an end to the immortal four. May god bless you my dear John Ronald and may you say things I have tried to say long after I am not there to say them, if such be my lot.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Liz

        How I love swapping book recommendations with you! I adore books of letters – they give such a fascinating perspective on the writer. Have ordered the Tolkien version and look forward to comparing notes about it with you!! xxx

        Liked by 1 person

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