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The Hobbit and the Higher Self - An Unexpected Journey

Updated on June 12, 2013
Bag End, the Hobbit's Home, New Zealand. Used by permission.
Bag End, the Hobbit's Home, New Zealand. Used by permission. | Source

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."

So begins the fantasy novel which J.R.R. Tolkien started "suddenly, without premeditation, in the midst of rating student exams."

The adventure story set in time "Between the Dawn of Færie and the Dominion of Men" enamored me in the seventies when I listened to a dramatized audio version produced by The Mind's Eye.

Indeed, the story played resplendently in my mind's eye as Bilbo Baggins encountered hungry trolls, orcs with issues and other shadowy dangers, and discovered his own strength and courage on the way to recovering the gold treasure of the dwarfs stolen by the dragon Smaug.

At first a home-body who had no use for adventure, Bilbo was set upon the journey by the wizard Gandalf and aided by the elves.

In the goblins' cave, Bilbo and the wretched creature Gollum have their first date of destiny and Bilbo becomes the bearer of the ring of power.

Gollum sculpture in the film studio in Wellington, New Zealand. Used by permission.
Gollum sculpture in the film studio in Wellington, New Zealand. Used by permission. | Source

In a later story Bilbo passes the ring to his nephew Frodo who accepts his given task. After many tests of courage against impossible odds, he and a band called 'the fellowship' (plus Gollum) each play their role to destroy in the fires of Mount Doom the ring which was forged to dominate all beings.

In a culmination of the epic quest, Aragorn, the strong-hearted human heir to the throne who prevailed against the temptation of the ring of power and the onslaught of the dark lord Sauron, is crowned King of Gondor.

The Hobbiton Movie Set, North Island of New Zealand. Used by permission.
The Hobbiton Movie Set, North Island of New Zealand. Used by permission. | Source

As Kati and I traveled by bus across the New Zealand countryside where Lord of the Rings was filmed, we saw the Hobbit's hole used on the movie set. See the hubs of our New Zealand adventures. And when we moved to Germany, I felt a connection between the people and landscape of Deutschland and the myth-like world of Middle Earth.

The author's knowledge of Germanic philology is often cited as an influence in his writings of Middle Earth. Tolkien derived his surname from the German word tollkühn, meaning 'foolhardy.'

A national poll revealed "An insight into the current German psyche ... as the public placed The Lord of the Rings at the top of their most loved literature." - from the article 'Troubled Germans turn to Lord of the Rings,' linked below.

Tolkien's tales are beloved by millions worldwide, and naturally many commentaries have spun off from varying perspectives. Some say the novels were written simply for entertainment, to make a good story. The author of a Lord of the Rings tarot deck believes that whether Tolkien was conscious of it or not, the trilogy is rich in archetypal images and was channeled from a higher source. The interpretation of a moral significance and message is elucidated in a Wikipedia article on the Hobbit, linked below.

Regarding Tolkien's intentions, he is quoted as saying, "I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations...." so we should be clear that any reference to metaphor is our application of his writings and not his.

Remains of movie set 'Lord of The Rings' close to Mata Mata on New Zealand North Island. Used by permission.
Remains of movie set 'Lord of The Rings' close to Mata Mata on New Zealand North Island. Used by permission. | Source

For many, the story contains acts of unselfish courage and a message of personal growth as the hobbits find their inner strength and resolute will and make choices for compassion and understanding.

On the other hand, the theme of battles between good and evil is just more of the dualistic mindset that has plagued humanity from the earliest times.

The movie of The Hobbit released in 2012 is grand in imagery but seems focused on aggression, violence and a polarized world view. So long as audiences still hunger for fierce fighting on the big screen and in video games, there will be those who make products to meet the demand. For the imagery and emotion, a trailer video follows.

I see life as a continuum, and evolution does not stand still. Tolkien's version of another world was fun for a time, but I am ready to move on.

Now and then I will give a backward glance to remember Tolkien's saying, “Not all those who wander are lost.”

I have in me a hobbit,
a troll, an orc, an elf.

And there is a wizard
and a High and lower self.

It's not that I'm a gathering,
a fellowship or zoo

but distinctions are a part of me
in light and shadows too.

My body has distinctions, say,
a face and a behind.

And I have intelligence,
emotions and a mind.

What am I to do with this
menagerie of us?

At times 'we' seem to war inside
or make a fight and fuss.

The 'us of me' has had its day,
we let go of the ring.

And this day we will receive
the returning of the King.

The King who is strong-hearted
nobility and pure

is a part of me as well
of that I'm clear and sure.

The 'we of me' before him stands,
together bows the knee.

The Higher Self wears well the crown,
united I am free.

Poem by Emanate Presence

What do you feel is the message, if any, of 'The Hobbit' and 'Lord of the Rings'?

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    • Violet Flame profile image

      Violet Flame 4 years ago from Auckland, NZ

      Happy New Year Emanate Presence! This is absolutely fantastic! As you probably know, I am a kiwi, and we really embrace The Lord of The Ring series and The Hobbit almost like they are our own ( of course they are not, we are just lucky that our Peter Jackson brought the series back to our backyard and we are quick to embrace the grandeur and all the star dust by association, lol)...but I have not explored it beyond the screens like you did (and I did not grow up with the books since my English caught on only after my 20s) and needless to say, I am extremely ignorant when it comes to Tolkien's fascination with Germainic language and philosophy. (The way they are selling Tolkien's books here, you'd swear he is a kiwi, at least somewhere in one of his lives. I guess the self imposed adoption really worked, human mind is so molable and manipulable it's quite incredible really. All these years of embracing him as our very own, my mind could not tell the difference any more). Maybe that's why I appreciate the new information you presented here so very interesting and refreshing. I am envious of the fact that you grew up with an audio version of the books! (I must find it! I love listening to a good audio book while I am painting!) Yes what I cherish most is that poem you quoted right at the end. It's a gem! It's so brilliant I wish I could give Tolkien al big real hug! He understands! The constant battle within the mind between all aspects of the selves and the possible freedom that comes when one surrenders to the higher mind as a guiding force. Yet, even the king bows to innocence. The king is still an aspect of the mind. Innocence is no mind.

      Thank you for the best New Year Day read, ever!

    • JRScarbrough profile image

      JR Scarbrough MFA 4 years ago from United States

      It is all true and very much ingrained into the entire series. J.R.R. Tolkien seemed to have a lot of ideas and placed them all into one series. Pretty much anything someone can say about about The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings would be true of it. It is a very diverse playing ground Mr. Tolkien invented. He even invented new languages. Voted up! Well written!

    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 4 years ago

      I saw the movie "The Hobbit". One message that seem to me may be to don't underestimate the courage of the humble looks of the tiny hobbit.

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