“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.”
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.