Sunday, April 24, 2011
(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)"
then "Tom Bombadil - Part 3 (His Legend)".)
If a Nature Spirit Chose to reveal itself to us, would it do so in an
awesome and frightening manner? Or, would it instead reveal
itself to us as something pleasant, comforting, and disarming?
The answer to this question would probably depend upon the
situation, the type of Nature Spirit, and the character of the
individuals to which the Nature Spirit Chose to reveal itself to.
Nature possesses awesome powers. In its peaceful, undisturbed,
and unchallenged state, nature is beautiful, enchanting, and full
of frolic and wonder. However, behind its silent beauty, nature has
also the ability to be menacing, perilous, and threatening.
This is the combination we, and the Hobbits, are made fully Aware
of in the character of Tom Bombadil. For although Tom appears to
be a jolly, harmless, and comical fellow, with pleasant and
disarming characteristics, he also possesses awesome and
unimaginable powers; powers he expresses with crystal clarity
to the Hobbits.
Tom Bombadil, as a Nature Spirit, reminds us that there are always
Higher Powers which rule the many different aspects of nature.
And these Higher Powers cannot help but be amused at the follies
of mankind, in ALL of its forms, as they watch the "play of life"
continue to unfold with all of its ever-repeating acts, scenes, Cycles,
conclusions, and Consequences which are important only to those
who are currently standing upon the Stage of Life.
We find this charming amusement contained within the character,
or Nature Spirit, of Tom Bombadil. For although Tom possesses
awesome powers, he simply remains an unattached observer of
the follies which manifest themselves in the physical realm.
Tom simply looks on, with mirth and unattachment, as both
extremes of Duality continue their endless and futile struggle for
power and supremacy; which no one person, nation, or kingdom
has the right to possess.
At best these powers and supremacies can be only grappled over
and maintained for short periods of history.
Then, because of the never-ending Cycles of Eternity, and the
over-ruling power of Duality, those in possession of these fleeting
powers and supremacies fade into the Mists of history and
these fleeting powers and supremacies find their way, for another
short period of history, into the hands someone new. And so it
goes, on and on, throughout the long march of Time...Individuals
and nations, drunk with the illusion of material power, imagining
they can possess the un-possessable, and control the
Tom Bombadil understands, and is immune to, this eternal Truth
which rules the material realm; for he is a Nature Spirit. This is
why Tom frolics, sings, dances, and laughs at the frivolities and
foolishness of the material realm of which he is The Master.
Now that Tom Bombadil's Symbolism, Appearance, Powers, and
Legend have been analyzed, one question remains unanswered.
Why has Tom Bombadil, as a forest Nature Spirit, Chosen to limit
his domain to only his ancient forest?
It would appear that there are three answers to this question:
1. There are other Elemental Beings which govern different types
2. Tom has Chosen to govern only that which is most ancient,
leaving other forests to other Elemental Beings.
3. The final answer may never be known. For this answer may lie
with the Mythological Master himself; the creator of Middle Earth
and all which lies within it; the Nature Spirit of the novel itself;
J.R.R. Tolkien, the true "Lord of the Rings".
(Tom Bombadil appears in J.R.R. Tolkien's "Fellowship of the Ring")
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© copyright Joseph Panek 2011