Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tom Bombadil - Nature Spirit - Part 3
(His Legend)

(Note: In order to appreciate the conclusions drawn in this article,
please first read: "Nature Spirits and Elemental Beings" followed
by "Tom Bombadil - Part 1 (His Symbolism and Appearance)"
then "Tom Bombadil - Part 2 (His Powers)".)

Now that we have discussed the Symbolism, Appearance, and
Powers of Tom Bombadil, let us now examine his Legend.

The first legendary description we have of Tom Bombadil comes
from Goldberry, Tom's female companion, who tells the Hobbits
that she is the "Daughter of the River". This statement tells us
that she is also a Nature Spirit and, by her close association
with Tom, she is Tom's feminine counterpart.

When Frodo asks Goldberry "Who is Tom Bombadil?", she
simply answers, "He is". This tells us that Tom is an Eternal
Constant, an Eternal Truth. In other words, a Nature Spirit.

Goldberry then goes on to say, "He is the Master of wood, water,
and hill". Frodo then asks, "Then all this strange land belongs to

To which Goldberry replies, "No Indeed! That would indeed be a
burden. The trees and the grasses and all things growing or living
in the land belong each to themselves. Tom Bombadil is the

This tells us that Tom Bombadil is the Creative Spirit, or essence,
which brought his ancient forest into existence. And as the
Creative Essence, he also designated the laws by which all of his
creations must abide; not only in relation to themselves, but also
in relation to all the other creations which occupy his forest

He grants all things contained within his forest complete freedom,
and Sovereignty, to express themselves in any way they wish; so
long as it is within the bounds of their specific natures. He only
interferes with his creations when it is absolutely necessary;
as in the case of Old Man Willow. Tom's Mastery, therefore, is
similar, in many ways, to that of a good ruler or a good parent.

Later, Frodo again presses Tom with the question, "Who are you,
Master?" To which Tom replies, "Eldest, that's what I am. Mark
my words, my friends: Tom was here before the river and the trees;
Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn..."

This statement by Tom again informs us that he is an essence,
a Spirit, a Master, which is eternal.

Tom then goes on to express himself in the second person when
he tells Frodo, "He knew the dark under the stars when it was
fearless - before the Dark Lord came from the Outside."

"He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless" refers
to the realm of Unity, the Time before creation.

"Before the Dark Lord came from the Outside": Note the
capitalization of the word 'Outside'. The introduction of the 'Dark
Lord' from the 'Outside' tells us that another eternal essence
affected Tom's realm of Unity and thereby created Duality. This
creation of Duality is the moment of physical manifestation; the
moment of the Seed penetrating the Womb; the moment of
conception; the moment of material creation.

Later, at the Council of Elrond, Tom Bombadil is referred to as
"older than the old", "oldest and fatherless", and "Last as he was

The term "fatherless" is referred to often in mythology, legend,
and ancient texts. "Fatherless" means an Eternal Spirit.

In the phrase "Last as he was First", we again have capitalization
of the words "Last" and "First". This means that these Words
are not simply used as a part of a sentence, but to express
an Divine Essence which is both powerful, timeless, ageless,
and unchangeable.

As we can see, all of the terms used to describe Tom Bombadil
at the Council of Elrond, by Goldberry, and by Tom himself, define
Tom to be something eternal, everlasting, and beyond the follies,
rules, and restrictions of the physical realm. In other words, they
define Tom Bombadil to be a Nature Spirit!

In Tom Bombadil - Nature Spirit - Part 4 we will conclude with
some final thoughts and perceptions about Tom Bombadil -
Nature Spirit.

(Tom Bombadil appears in J.R.R. Tolkien's "Fellowship of the Ring")

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© copyright Joseph Panek 2011
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