Warmest welcome to all Hobbits, Men, Dwarves and kindred Elves. And for those of the evil races I bid you a welcome too but don't expect me to curtsey or shake your hand!
J.R.R. Tolkien spent a life-time creating and evolving Eä, the world and everything found within, for all times been and those yet to come. His fascinating creation, though fantasy, has the incredible ability to draw you into the world and feel the emotion and picture the sights. It causes reality to drift away and you find yourself Awakening in Middle Earth.
You take on the form of a fun-loving, little Hobbit, a gruff and proud Dwarf, a valiant and noble Man or a graceful and wise Elf. You look about and see the lush green Tower Hills, smell the fragrance of the colourful blooms and feel the warmth of the sunshine on your face.
Then suddenly, you are plunged into the terrifying darkness of Moria or Khazad-Dûm, your senses are numbed by the thickness of the air and you feel your breath completely taken away by the fear of the evil that broods within.
Alternatively, you take on the bulk of a brutish, daft ol' Troll, or a hideous and viscious Orc and instantly the sun no longer warms your face but burns it, it numbs or destroys your body and you find safety and comfort only in the deepest darkness. Or you may take on the form of a man, with a soul corrupted by Melkor himself, a Black Numenorean with a cunning, lithe frame that thrives on the destruction of all the seems fair and wonderful.
January 19, 2001 - The IstariGreetings all,
Continuing on from the theme of our last discussion I shall this day unfold to you my knowledge of the Istar as they are called in the Quenyan tongue or Ithron in Sindarin. In our tongue they are called Wizards !
The Heren Istarion (Order of Wizards) belonged solely to the Third Age and departed with the last of the Eldar who left the lands of Middle Earth when their kingdom's began to diminish after the destruction of the One Ring (as is told in the Return of the King). No-one, save maybe Cirdan, Elrond and Galadriel learned who they truly were or from where they came.
The Istar first revealed themselves in the form of men, aged and well travelled, yet hale in body. After 1000 years of the third age had passed Men began to notice them and considered them men of Kindred race. The Istar never showed their powers or purpose but proved to be learned in many secret arts in magic and lore. They meddled in all things and sought ever to confront the shadow of Sauron. After a time men became aware that they never passed away but through many lives of men they lived on, maybe only growing older in appearance. Therefore as the age grew on Men began to fear them and think of them as Elves.
Yet neither thought of their descent was true, for they had come out of the Uttermost West. Emissaries they were, from the Lords of the West (the Valar) sent over the Sea to hinder the growth of Sauron's shadow. This was known only by Cirdan, Guardian of the Third Ring, master of the Grey Havens. As it is written in the Unfinished Tales concerning the Istari:
"For with the consent of Eru they (the Valar) sent members of their own high order, but clad in the bodies of men, real and not feigned, but subject to the fears and pains and weariness of the Earth, able to hunger, and thirst and be slain; though because of their noble spirits they did not die, and aged only by the cares and labours of many long years. ..... now their emessaries were forbidden to reveal themselves in forms of majesty, or to seek to rule the wills of Men or Elves by open display of power, but coming in shapes weak and humble, were bidden to advise and persuade Men and Elves to good, and to seek to unite in love and understanding all those whom, Sauron would endeavour to dominate and corrupt."
Five Chiefs of this Order where known in the North of Middle Earth (where still dwelt hope with the Dunedain and the Eldarin remnant). The first to come was arrayed in White, with raven hair. His fair voice and great skill of hand caused all to regard him as the Head of the Order. This White Messenger became known as Curunir, the Man of Craft, by the elven-race and by the Men of the North as Saruman. He was deemed the wisest and of higher rank in the Blessed Realm then the other Istari. But he became proud and sought ever for greater power, particularly with that of the One Ring. He was corrupted and was cast down. Being utterly humbled, he was slain by the hand of a subject and his spirit left Middle Earth forever.
It has been written that at a counsel summoned by Manwe the Istari were chosen, each at the bidding of one of the Aratar. Curunir was chosen by Aule for the task assigned him. At a later time was sent to Curunir, Aiwendil, called in Middle Earth Radagast the Brown, at the will of Aule's wife, Yavanna. Radagast was to look out for all Yavanna's creation, but having become enamoured of this creation he forsook his Task. He was of much less power and wisdom then the other of his Order and his presence in Middle-Earth was dispised by Curunir.
Sent also were the two 'Blue Wizards', Alatar and Pallando. Alatar was sent at Orome's bidding. Alatar took Pallando as a friend. Little is known of there role in Middle Earth. They disappeared into the East and not seen in the West again.
Last to arrive was Olorin. He was chosen to be the third and sent at Manwe's command, though Olorin himself did not deem himself worthy of the task. Third he was in calling but Varda believed him to be not third in the Task. He came in the guise of an old man cloaked in Grey, a staff he carried with him. Cirdan saw his arrival and perceived who he was. He gave him the Red Ring one of the Three Elven Rings of Power. Gandalf (Elven wight with a Staff) he was named among the Men of the North, Tharkun (Staff man) to the Dwarves, Incanus (northern spy) to the men of the south and Mithrandir (Grey Pilgrim) by the Elves. Most of what else is known of Olorin is recorded in the Lord of the Rings.
These are the Istari, spirits of the 'angelic' order of the Maiar, sent to Middle Earth to defy the rising Shadow of Sauron. Only one remained true to the Task, Olorin. And thus it is that he is not Third among those sent but the highest of the Order in his purposes.
We should take thought of these traits when we see Istari or become an Istari. When one goes to hear the Ainulindale in the Blessed Realm they take the form of having heard such music in the beginning when all was first made into a vision. The Istari were there in the beginning. Sent at the bidding of one of the Aratar to help to unite the Free People's, they should aim to help any who need and teach all to fight together against the Rising Shadow. Istari should not use their power or form to force obligation upon anyone, nor should they become enamoured of any thing bound to Middle Earth. Power corrupts.. be careful. And remember once you have completed your Task you will be able to sail back to the Blessed Realm and hear again the sweetest music of the Ainulindale and take your place once again among the Maiar serving always the Valar of your house.
Look forward next time to
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Read Some Older Columns:
Kuive in Endamar - January 7