Thursday, 19 October 2017

The Fall of Beleriand

Beleriand was the Land of the Grey-Elves during the Elder Days, most likely the most ancient Elven-Realm on Middle-Earth. This land was, like the later Numenor, destroyed at the end of the First Age when it was swallowed by the sea. Three kindreds of the Eldar (Elves) came from the Blue Mountains moving westwards following the ancient call of the Valar (Gods). Two of the kindreds completely their journey, leaving Beleriand for the Uttermost West, whilst the third Kindred, the Sindar (Grey-Elves) fell in love with the lands west of the Ered Luin (Blue Mountains) and stayed there on the coasts and in the forests. Their king was Thingol Greycloak, father of Luthien Tinouviel.

We have the same theme as with the Fall of Numenor, where the Elves and Men battle against Morgoth who is finally overthrown by the Gods, but at the same time Beleriand sinks beneath the waves in a great catastrophe. I will not go deeply into this since it is Archetypal Myth and has the same theme as the Fall of Numenor (At-al-land). 

The Silmarils are stolen by Morgoth and placed into his crown; the High-Elves seek to recover these jewels and this is the basis of the story around Beleriand. The lands become infected by evil beings from Angband and Thangorodrim. The cataclysm came about when the Gods intervened and destroyed the Dark Powers of Angband and the Evil Realms of the North. At the start of the Second Age all that remained of Beleriand was Lindon. These were made into havens where those of the Elvenkind who wished to hear the call of the Valar and sail West could depart from. These havens were ruled by Gil-galad, last High-Elven King in Middle-Earth, and the last heir of Thingol Greycloak.

At the end of the First Age Elanna ('The Land of the Star') was given to the Edain by the Valar as reward for their aid against Morgoth. This was the most westerly isle of all Mortal Lands, being just within sight of the Undying Lands. At the dawn of the New Age (Second Age) the Edain founded there the realm of Numenor, away from the turmoil of Middle-Earth. Thus Numenor was  land outside Middle-Earth at the start of the New Age. 

The importance of Beleriand is that the Edain - the Three Houses of Men - came west into this land before the Elder Days had passed and there learned the Elvish Lore. The knowledge was given to the Edain, to Men, because the Elves knew that Man would inherit the role of the Elves on Middle-Earth. At the end of the First Age most of the Elvenkind moved to the Undying Lands and Eressea in the Far West, away from the turmoils and wars of Middle-Earth. 

The Silmaril was set in the sky as a 'Symbol of Hope' to the oppressed people of Middle-Earth - it may be connected with Venus as the 'Star of Hope' but this is an idea that needs further study. The Silmaril was given to Earendil to pass the Shadow-Lands and get to the shores of Eldamar, and thence to seek the aid of the Valarimar. Earendil was half-elven and half-man and his offspring lived on in Middle-Earth - Elros and Elrond. Elros was the First King of Numenor, and Elrond Chief of Elves and Men. Earendil's Star is the 'Evening Star' - seen usually as Venus. This, of course, is the Star of the West.

The Elves started off as wise in lore and wisdom, through teaching their lore and aiding the development of Man. As time went on and the Evil Powers arose they became great Elven-Smiths, makers of great weapons used against Morgoth and then Sauron. As with men we find that some of the Elves betrayed their roots and succumbed to the wiles of Morgoth and Sauron. Wayland was an Elven-Smith as found in our own English Lore. The swords and weapons made by the Elven-Smiths had great power and were often seen as Magical Weapons. 

We can learn much from the mythology created by Tolkien, since it is based upon Archetypal Myth and complements our knowledge of the Norse Myths, the Eddas, the Vedas etc. To dismiss his works as 'children's tales' is a mistake, they are far more than that, far deeper in meaning, in knowledge and in the wisdom of the ancients. There is a common theme which runs thus -

The First Age - Age of the High Elves who pass on their knowledge and wisdom to Men. They also teach men the crafts of war and become Elven-Smiths in order to forge weapons to wage war against the Forces of Darkness. This is the Age of Beleriand, which ends with a catastrophic sinking of these lands with the fall of the Dark Forces.

The Second Age - Age of Elves and Men, when Men take over the role of the Elves and Numenor is created from the remnants of Beleriand. The High Race of Men (Numenoreans-Dunedain) become interbred with lower form of man and thus begin to lose their wisdom, power and their lives are shortened. Some of their rulers become corrupted by the Dark Forces and rebel against the Gods, causing the Gods to destroy the Land of Numenor in a catastrophic flood that also destroys the power of the Dark Forces.

The Third Age - This is better known since it forms the basis of the Lord of the Rings. Again it entails the arising once more of the Dark Forces that gradually take control of the free peoples of Middle-Earth and thus create the scenario for two great battles in which Saruman and then Sauron are defeated and the heir to Isildor (of the Dunedain) takes his rightful place as the King of Gondor. The Third Age ends in great wars and then a catastrophic scene of destruction in which the Dark Forces are destroyed. Significantly we see the 'Two Towers' ('Twin Towers') falling and thus symbolising the end of their Dark Rule. 

The Fourth Age we have gone through and this is now coming to an end; we have had two Great Wars, lesser wars ever since, disorder and chaos around the world, and the 'Two Towers' have again fallen, symbolising the end of a World-Age - the Fourth Age. 

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