Hello to all those of Middle Earth, my name is Joshua Griffith and I’m a Cherokee storyteller and supernatural horror author. My body of work can also be classified as multi genre that falls under paranormal romance, dark fantasy, urban fantasy, apocalyptic, post apocalyptic I’d like to take a moment and discuss a few parallels that I’ve come across within my own writing of the paranormal and the great works of J. R. R. Tolkien. With my works, I didn’t want to be like Tolkien, but I found that, like him, I drew most of my inspiration for my stories from the many supernatural beings that I’ve come across and stories that were relayed to me in my lifetime. This article is primarily about comparing the mythology of entities of our world to the ones that Tolkien used in his writing career as a way to think and have discussions about them. This is also to show how much of an influence Tolkien has had on numerous authors that came after him, such as myself.
Like many people, there’s not too many that doesn’t recognize the name Tolkien in the world of fantasy. The man crafted and weaved a grand tale of Middle Earth and the various races that resides within each realm. He was quite clever adding not only many mythological creatures to his fantasy, but also seamlessly slipped in a spiritual aspect to his narrative. I find both of these fascinating because many of those creatures in Tolkien’s world can be found in the spiritual realm.
As a Cherokee energy healer/worker, I myself have encountered plenty of these different entities and I plan on discussing not only their similarities from the Tolkien stories, but how they can interact with us here on Earth in contract, such as the Elves, The Nazgul, and the Oathbreakers.
Spiritually speaking, we are all surrounded by numerous supernatural beings, though we can’t see them with the naked eye. They can be sensed, energetically, and often dismissed as a shadows just out of our peripheral vision, like ghosts or demons for example. Elves, along with a plethora of other races that fall under the Fae, tend to be found in nature. They can be mischievous or benevolent, or malevolent, but one is certain: you can’t trust them, as Gimli vehemently made clear at Rivendell. This is because you can never be certain of their true intentions, whether for good or ill. They use their enchanting beauty and soft words to lull you into believing that they only wish to help you, creating a false sense of security to let your guard down.
There are plenty of good and evil Elves, the trick is to know, as Xander Bane and Yonuh discover in several of my novels. The Fae, in general, tend to nature but are also a warring group. This is why I believe Tolkien use the Elves, Dwarves, Ogres, Goblins, and Orcs for Middle Earth to either fight with the race of Men or against them. They tend to be mistrusting of one another, which inevitably leads many skirmishes.
One way a person can tell if an Elf is good or bad is with their skin pigmentation. In saying this, don’t assign what we humans view as racial colors because this is entirely different. This is due to the magic that they utilize and can change with their alignment. A word of caution: not all pure skin Elves are good and the same goes with the darker complexion ones. It’s a gray area that solely depends on their intent or how they respond to others. Some of the purest Elves’ beliefs can have them not to intervene in a conflict but in doing so, many lives get cut down because of their inaction.
As you read some of my novels, like The Xander Bane Chronicles, this is easier to show that not all are as they appear to be, much like the Nazgul. In the Tolkien stories, the Nazgul, for the most part, are people who were twisted and corrupted by the rings of power that Sauron gifted to them. Sauron ties them to his One ring and wills them to submit to his power. They are consumed by the dark lord’s magic and serve Sauron without question, trapped between corporeal and ethereal planes of existence. The Nazgul are also referred to as ring wraiths, which are another dark entity that I’ve had the displeasure of dealing with spiritually.
Wraiths exist on a different plane than here on Earth but in order for a wraith to traverse our world, it needs power. Much like how Sauron corrupted the Nine, a wraith can perform a similar act by killing people and taking their ghostly spirit after death and tether it to them, kind of like a battery. Wraiths can do this with other entities like ghosts by twisting them into shadow people and can use them as his own puppets of death. If one can severe a wraith’s connection to its power, it won’t die but it will be forced back to whatever realm it came from because its anchor to our world is gone. I reference this in the Yonuh Trilogy because wraiths are nasty creatures that only wants death and more power. They have an outward appearance of a tattered, black piece of cloth similar to what you would expect to see around Halloween as a decoration and no discernable face at all. This black cloth appearance contains a small sliver of its original spirit before it evolved into a wraith. Some negative entities, such as Elves or even humans that have done a lot of harm in life can morph into a wraith being at the time of their death. Their entire form can be used as a weapon, kind of like an octopus but with more tentacles at its disposal.
Spiritually speaking, it’s best not to confront a wraith by oneself. It’s better to have allies in the spiritual realm. The wraith that I came across had well over 300 shadow people. That kind of negative power can be overwhelming, much like Sauron and his vast army and supporters, like Saruman. Sauron, to me, is almost a mixture of a wraith and a lich but far worse. He controls many creatures with the One ring, tying them to it like a lich’s phylactery. Do I think that is what he was intended to be by Tolkien? No, but when Isildur chopped off the One ring, Sauron lost his vast amount of power but it didn’t kill him because the ring didn’t get destroyed. The similarities are there, but this tracks more with how certain demons work, namely like what occurs in the Yonuh Trilogy.
The main antagonist, Zordic, would steal the life essence of his victims, whether they are human or supernatural, and store it away in magical energy balls in case he needed them to trade or use them to get stronger. Many negative being do similar acts for greater power, like in The Reset series. Meg is snatched by a Pakalchi, a creature that thrives on strife and chaos as it sows seeds of doubt in its victims by trying to tear apart any forms of relationships as it slowly poisons the victim from a different plane of existence . In this series, there are many different types of entities like vampires, were-beasts, shifters, and ghosts.
Ghosts and ghost stories have been around for many centuries as a way to explain things that we don’t understand. Ghosts can be either good or negative. Some may not realize that they are dead while others become trapped and need help moving on to their next plane of existence, much like the Oathbreakers. In Tolkien’s narrative, the Oathbreakers were supposed to aide Isildur in the war against Sauron, but chose to flee than fight. Enraged, Isildur cursed the cowards to never know rest until their oaths were fulfilled. Ghosts can be like this in our world, mostly because they can’t move one without help, tethered to a certain location for whatever reason, or simply don’t want to move on due to fear of what awaits for them on the other side, like judgement, or because they want to either others or cause more harm.
For the Oathbreakers, they need Aragon to break the curse but are commanded to fulfill their oaths and help as they were meant to do for Isildur. Imagine having an unstoppable, killing army of the dead at your disposal. What would you do with them? Release them after saving Gondor or force them to continue on to fight within the black gates of Mordor? To me, I believe that Aragon made the right decision to release the Oathbreakers from their obligation, despite having a clear advantage with them against the forces of Sauron because he needed the denizens of Mordor focused solely on the threat at their front door and away from Frodo and Sam as they sneak in the backdoor of Mount Doom to destroy the One ring.
Ghosts are just like you and me. They feel pain and suffering, either mentally or spiritually along that spectrum, and do deserve to be treated like people. This is why I had no issue with Aragon letting his best and lethal warriors go. The Oathbreakers deserve to be at rest once they atoned for their desertion in life. Most ghosts want to be heard and or acknowledged, which can have a similar effect but not always. I’ve moved ghosts on, either by listening to them and opening a doorway of white light or, on other occasions, the more negative ones I’ve tossed in the white light because they were harming others and causing too many problems.
As an energy healer/worker, it’s my duty to heal and protect others whether from people or otherworldly entities. This is why I created many dark fantasy stories that deals with trauma and malevolent creatures and humans to show that even in our darkest hours, there’s always a glimmer of hope if you know where to for it. I feel like Tolkien laid a great foundation for future authors to build upon and let our creative narrative take root.
Always remember what Gandalf once said, “I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love.” These are words to live by and know that no matter how dire and dark our world gets, you have the power to make it better. Be a beacon of light for those that need it in these dark times, ready your swords and spears because, together, we can weather any storm of darkness that comes!