arrowpoint: (➹ losto vae)
arrowpoint ([personal profile] arrowpoint) wrote in [community profile] nolondili2014-03-21 08:34 pm
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Laws and Customs among the Eldar :: Part 4

Of Rebirth and Other Dooms of Those that go to Mandos.

Now the Eldar hold that to each elf-child a new fea is given, not akin to the fear of the parents (save in belonging to the same order and nature); and this fea either did not exist before birth, or is the fea of one that is re-born.

The new fea, and therefore in their beginning all fear, they believe to come direct from Eru and from beyond Ea. Therefore many of them hold that it cannot be asserted that the fate of the Elves is to be confined within Arda for ever and with it to cease. This last opinion they draw from their own thought, for the Valar, having had no part in the devising of the Children of Eru, do not know fully the purposes of Eru concerning them, nor the final ends that he prepares for them.

But they did not reach these opinions at once or without dissent. In their youth, while their knowledge and experience were small and they had not yet received the instruction of the Valar (or had not yet fully understood it), many still held that in the creation of their kind Eru had committed this power to them: to beget children in all ways like to themselves, body and indwelling spirit; and that therefore the fea of a child came from its parents as did its hrondo.

Yet always some dissented, saying: 'Indeed a living person may resemble the parents and be perceived as a blending, in various degrees, of these two; but this resemblance is most reasonably related to the hrondo. It is strongest and clearest in early youth, while the body is dominant and most like the bodies of its parents.' (This is true of all elf-children.) 'Where as in all children, though in some it may be more marked and sooner apparent, there is a part of character not to be under stood from parentage, to which it may indeed be quite contrary. This difference is most reasonably attributed to the fea, new and not akin to the parents; for it becomes clearer and stronger as life proceeds and the fea increases in mastery.'

Later when the Elves became aware of re-birth this argument was added: 'If the fear of children were normally derived from the parents and akin to them, then re-birth would be unnatural and unjust. For it would deprive the second parents, without consent, of one half of their parentage, intruding into their kin a child half alien.'

Nonetheless, the older opinion was not wholly void. For all the Eldar, being aware of it in themselves, spoke of the passing of much strength, both of mind and of body, into their children, in bearing and begetting. Therefore they hold that the fea, though unbegotten, draws nourishment from the parents before the birth of the child: directly from the fea of the mother while she bears and nourishes the hrondo, and mediately but equally from the father, whose fea is bound in union with the mother's and supports it.

It was for this reason that all parents desired to dwell together during the year of bearing, and regarded separation at that time as a grief and injury, depriving the child of some part of its fathering. 'For,' said they, 'though the union of the fear of the wedded is not broken by distance of place, yet in creatures that live as spirits embodied fea communes with fea in full only when the bodies dwell together.'

A houseless fea that chose or was permitted to return to life re-entered the incarnate world through child-birth. Only thus could it return.(*) For it is plain that the provision of a bodily house for a fea, and the union of fea with hrondo, was committed by Eru to the Children, to be achieved in the act of begetting.

(* Save in rare and strange cases: that is, where the body that the fea had forsaken was whole, and remained still coherent and incorrupt. But this could seldom happen; for death unwilling could occur only when great violence was done to the body; and in death by will, such as at times befell because of utter weariness or great grief, the fea would not desire to return, until the body, deserted by the spirit, was dissolved. This happened swiftly in Middle-earth. In Aman only was there no decay. Thus Miriel was there rehoused in her own body, as is hereafter told.)

As for this re-birth, it was not an opinion, but known and certain. For the fea re-born became a child indeed, enjoying once more all the wonder and newness of childhood; but slowly, and only after it had acquired a knowledge of the world and mastery of itself, its memory would awake; until, when the re-born elf was full-grown, it recalled all its former life, and then the old life, and the 'waiting', and the new life became one ordered history and identity. This memory would thus hold a double joy of childhood, and also an experience and knowledge greater than the years of its body.

In this way the violence or grief that the re-born had suffered was redressed and its being was enriched. For the Re-born are twice nourished, and twice parented,(**) and have two memories of the joy of awaking and discovering the world of living and the splendour of Arda. Their life is, therefore, as if a year had two springs and though an untimely frost followed after the first, the second spring and all the summer after were fairer and more blessed.

(** In some cases a fea re-born might have the same parents again. For instance, if its first body had died in early youth. But this did not often happen; neither did a fea necessarily re-enter its own former kin, for often a great length of time passed before it wished or was permitted to return.)

The Eldar say that more than one re-birth is seldom recorded. But the reasons for this they do not fully know. Maybe, it is so ordered by the will of Eru; while the Re-born (they say) are stronger, having greater mastery of their bodies and being more patient of griefs. But many, doubtless, that have twice died do not wish to return.

Re-birth is not the only fate of the houseless fear. The Shadow upon Arda caused not only misfortune and injury to the body. It could corrupt the mind; and those among the Eldar who were darkened in spirit did unnatural deeds, and were capable of hatred and malice. Not all who died suffered innocently. Moreover, some fear in grief or weariness gave up hope, and turning away from life relinquished their bodies, even though these might have been healed or were indeed unhurt.(+) Few of these latter desired to be re-born, not at least until they had been long in 'waiting'; some never returned. Of the others, the wrong-doers, many were held long in 'waiting', and some were not permitted to take up their lives again.

(+ Though the griefs might be great and wholly unmerited, and death (or rather the abandonment of life) might be, therefore, understand-able and innocent, it was held that the refusal to return to life, after repose in Mandos, was a fault, showing a weakness or lack of courage in the fea.)

For there was, for all the fear of the Dead, a time of Waiting, in which, howsoever they had died, they were corrected, instructed, strengthened, or comforted, according to their needs or deserts. If they would consent to this. But the fea in its nakedness is obdurate, and remains long in the bondage of its memory and old purposes (especially if these were evil). Those who were healed could be re-born, if they desired it: none are re-born or sent back into life unwilling. The others remained, by desire or command, fear unbodied, and they could only observe the unfolding of the Tale of Arda from afar, having no effect therein. For it was a doom of Mandos that only those who took up life again might operate in Arda, or commune with the fear of the Living, even with those that had once been dear to them.

Concerning the fate of other elves, especially of the Dark elves who refused the summons to Aman, the Eldar know little. The Re-born report that in Mandos there are many elves, and among them many of the Alamanyar, but that there is in the Halls of Waiting little mingling or communing of kind with kind, or indeed of any one fea with another. For the houseless fea is solitary by nature, and turns only towards those with whom, maybe, it formed strong bonds of love in life.

The fea is single, and in the last impregnable. It cannot be brought to Mandos. It is summoned; and the summons proceeds from just authority, and is imperative; yet it may be refused. Among those who refused the summons (or rather invitation) of the Valar to Aman in the first years of the Elves, refusal of the summons to Mandos and the Halls of Waiting is, the Eldar say, frequent. It was less frequent, however, in ancient days, while Morgoth was in Arda, or his servant Sauron after him; for then the fea unbodied would flee in terror of the Shadow to any refuge - unless it were already committed to the Darkness and passed then into its dominion. In like manner even of the Eldar some who had become corrupted refused the summons, and then had little power to resist the counter summons of Morgoth.

But it would seem that in these after-days more and more of the Elves, be they of the Eldalie in origin or be they of other kinds, who linger in Middle-earth now refuse the summons of Mandos, and wander houseless in the world,* unwilling to leave it and unable to inhabit it, haunting trees or springs or hidden places that once they knew. Not all of these are kindly or evil of their intent. For the hearts of true Men uprise in joy to behold the true likenesses of the First-born, their elder kindred; and this joy nothing evil can counterfeit. So spoke AElfwine.??????

(* For only those who willingly go to Mandos may be re-born. Re-birth is a grace, and comes of the power that Eru committed to the Valar for the ruling of Arda and the redress of its marring. It does not lie in the power of any fea in itself. Only those return whom, after Mandos has spoken the doom of release, Manwe and Varda bless.) unstained by the Shadow. Indeed the refusal of the summons is in itself a sign of taint.

It is therefore a foolish and perilous thing, besides being a wrong deed forbidden justly by the appointed Rulers of Arda, if the Living seek to commune with the Unbodied, though the houseless may desire it, especially the most unworthy among them. For the Unbodied, wandering in the world, are those who at the least have refused the door of life and remain in regret and self-pity. Some are filled with bitterness, grievance, and envy. Some were enslaved by the Dark Lord and do his work still, though he himself is gone. They will not speak truth or wisdom. To call on them is folly. To attempt to master hem and to make them servants of one own's will is wickedness. Such practices are of Morgoth; and the necromancers are of the host of Sauron his servant.

Some say that the Houseless desire bodies, though they are not willing to seek them lawfully by submission to the judge ment of Mandos. The wicked among them will take bodies, if they can, unlawfully. The peril of communing with them is, therefore, not only the peril of being deluded by fantasies or lies: there is peril also of destruction. For one of the hungry Houseless, if it is admitted to the friendship of the Living, may seek to eject the fea from its body; and in the contest for mastery the body may be gravely injured, even if it he not wrested from its rightful habitant. Or the Houseless may plead for shelter, and if it is admitted, then it will seek to enslave its host and use both his will and his body for its own purposes. It is said that Sauron did these things, and taught his followers how to achieve them.

Thus it may be seen that those who in latter days hold that the Elves are dangerous to Men and that it is folly or wickedness to seek converse with them do not speak without reason. For how, it may be asked, shall a mortal distinguish the kinds? On the one hand, the Houseless, rebels at least against the Rulers, and maybe even deeper under the Shadow; on the other, the Lingerers, whose bodily forms may no longer be seen by us mortals, or seen only dimly and fitfully. Yet the answer is not in truth difficult.

Evil is not one thing among Elves and another among Men. Those who give evil counsel, or speak against the Rulers (or if they dare, against the One), are evil, and should be shunned whether bodied or unbodied. Moreover, the Lingerers are not houseless, though they may seem to be. They do not desire bodies, neither do they seek shelter, nor strive for mastery over body or mind. Indeed they do not seek converse with Men at all, save maybe rarely, either for the doing of some good, or because they perceive in a Man's spirit some love of things ancient and fair. Then they may reveal to him their forms (through his mind working outwardly, maybe), and he will behold them in their beauty. Of such he may have no fear, though he may feel awe of them.

For the Houseless have no forms to reveal, and even if it were within their power (as some Men say) to counterfeit elvish forms, deluding the minds of Men with fantasies, such visions would be marred by the evil of their intent. For the hearts of true Men uprise in joy to behold the true likenesses of the First-born, their elder kindred; and this joy nothing evil can counterfeit. So spoke AElfwine.?????

Laws and Customs among the Eldar :: Part 1 :: Pertaining to Marriage.
Laws and Customs among the Eldar :: Part 2 :: On Naming
Laws and Customs among the Eldar :: Part 3 :: Of Death
Laws and Customs among the Eldar :: Part 4 :: Of Rebirth
Laws and Customs among the Eldar :: Part 5 :: Of The Severance of Marriage