Fifty Times-Plus Reads for The Lord of the Rings
I have a confession to make. I have read The Lord of the Rings by J. R. Tolkien more than 50 times over the past thirty-two years beginning with a course requirement while in my last year of undergraduate school, many lifetimes, it seems, ago.
I’ve just finished watching the extended version of the movie on DVD for probably the tenth time. Fortunately, because my son is home for the summer before starting graduate school, I was even happier to not watch it alone. He is quite an avid fan himself.
The Heroic Quest
I am a sucker for The Heroic Quest. When I was a child my mother used to take my brother and me to our local branch of the library every week, where I managed to read every book on fairy tales the library possessed.
I have an insatiable hunger for myths, and agree with some literary critics who say The Lord of the Rings was the finest example of a great myth written in the twentieth century.
I believe all the elements of the heroic quest are wonderfully exemplified by Tolkien in this great epic, which offers the essentials for spiritual survival and ultimate happiness in one’s lifetime.
My List for Spiritual Happiness and Completion
So here is my “list”, in no particular order:
1. We are meant to undertake a Great Quest to complete a well-lived life of personal transformation. It is our birthright and our greater destiny – how we are meant to offer ultimate service, including sacrifice, in the world – that creates and extends our authentic integrity.
2. Great Quests are not taken alone. Companions are meant to accompany us, and they pretty much present themselves in “right order” as needed.
3. These are archetypal journeys, meant to express great themes that inspire and extend us as human beings, far beyond what we might assume is our real capability.
4. They engage our whole beings, and require courageous choice-making – even demand from us our complete willingness to offer our lives, if necessary, to complete the heroic mission that presents itself.
5. In that sense, and perhaps in related others, heroic quests include an essential sacrifice that ends up being our key to greater transformation.
6. As a result of experiencing our heroic quest, our relationships, our greater purpose and our world view profoundly change for the greater good.
7. Heroic quests always involve understanding and practicing magic.
The Mystical Number of Spiritual Completion
Speaking of which, the number seven is considered to be a mystical number of spiritual completion. Consider your inner call to embark on a heroic quest that fulfills all of the above seven elements.
Might you already be fully engaged in a heroic quest that begs to transform your life, and bring you to greater creativity and service? Imagine this is true.
My Closing Recommendation for You
Here is my closing recommendation for you. Settle back comfortably, close your eyes, take a couple of deep, cleansing breaths – and imagine yourself experiencing a Great Heroic Quest.
Make sure all the above seven points are covered. When it’s all over, take a little more time and write it all down.
Enough to Shake the World
Now consider what would happen in your life if you brought your Heroic Quest into it as fully and creatively as possible. That is your exact blueprint for spiritual transformation and happiness.
We are all versions of Frodo Baggins – and that is enough to shake the world, which begs us to participate in all ways that touch and inspire us.