Our Charter

Who we are, and membership info.
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Meneldur Olvarion
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Our Charter

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Sat Jan 05, 2008 10:46 pm

Note: this document will be merged with the FAQ in the coming time, since they both provide in-depth coverage of relevant subjects.
-- Luthien

===============================
Ilsaluntë Valion's Charter

Greetings, and welcome to Ilsaluntë Valion.  In this introductory document—which we call our Charter in keeping with our nautical theme—we state who we are (and are not), our purposes and customs, and provide membership information for those who may wish to join us.

_____________(Navigating this document) _____________

[iurl=#who]Who we are (a brief summary).[/iurl]
[iurl=#numenor]What do we mean by the “line of Númenór”?[/iurl]
[iurl=#whatwedo]What we do, and how we do it.[/iurl]
[iurl=#elves]A few words regarding 'elves'.[/iurl]
[iurl=#spiritual]Spiritual aspects of Ilsaluntë Valion[/iurl]
[iurl=#name]Why the name “Ilsaluntë Valion”?[/iurl]
[iurl=#membership]Membership information and requirements.[/iurl]
___________________________________________________


[anchor=who]WHO WE ARE[/anchor]

Ilsaluntë Valion is a group of individuals who find spiritual inspiration within the literary works of Professor J.R.R. Tolkien describing the histories, languages, and cultures of “Middle-Earth”, collectively known as the Legendarium.  We do not view these as fiction existing solely for amusement of the masses, but rather as aspects of imaginal Truth, which pervades and is intertwined with the objective reality of the present moment.

The primary objective of Ilsaluntë Valion is unveiling the living gnosis found within the Legendarium's Mythos.  The Mythos inspires us, and offers a framework for the reception, sorting, and consolidation of non-ordinary understanding (gnosis).  A good analogy might be to a devout Christian looking to Biblical works for inspiration and insight, or to a Brahman considering Hindu scriptures in the same manner—particularly as meditative trancework is one of our integral features.  [anchor=numenor]In addition[/anchor], though we are all individuals, and as such the specifics of our gnosis vary, we in general hold to the “threefold race” idea, as exemplified in the line of Númenór.

What do we mean by this?

To answer this question properly, we first have to define what we mean by 'Númenórean'.  When we say this, we recall the description of King Dior Eluchíl of Doriath, son of Beren and Luthien: “…now he appeared as the fairest of all the children of the world, of threefold race: of the Edain, and of the Eldar, and of the Maiar of the Blessed Realm.”  Dior’s daughter Elwing was the mate of Eärendil—the great ambassador to Valinor in the First Age, who petitioned the Valar to deliver the free peoples of Earth from the tyranny of Morgoth—and mother to Elrond (later Lord and Founder of Imladris) and Elros: from whom the line of Numenor sprang.  In Ilsaluntë Valion, we assert that the line of Numenor did not simply vanish with the death of Aragorn, but has continued through many long years.  Sometimes ‘sleeping’ as it were, and sometimes re-awakening in the peoples, Kings, Queens, and Heroes of later ages, such as Achilles, King Solomon, Oedipus, King Merovech, Charlemagne, Queen Boudicea and Sigurd Fafnirsbane to name a few.  And which is extant among people in our present day (though not to the same degree in everyone). [1]  Thus, we affirm our humanity (Edain), our predecessors and ancestors (Eldar), and the divinity within us (Maiar of the Blessed Realm).

It may help you to understand what we are if we also state what we are not.

We are not:

► A group of Tolkien 'fans'.

► An Otherkin group.

► A neopagan group. In fact, some of us avoid the designation 'Pagan' altogether because we find the Renaissance era,
    occult-centric worldview and observed behavior of many neopagans to be rather offensive. The term "demipagan" is
    perhaps a closer fit for Ilsaluntë Valion as a whole, if any appellation must be given.  However, it is important to
    understand that we are individuals—with diverse religious backgrounds, spiritual affinities, and experiences.

► A Tolkienian linguistics group.  Though some of us have interests in this field, it is not a defining characteristic.

In short, if you want a précis of what Ilsaluntë Valion is “all about”, it is about recognizing the continuity of the three bloodlines within us, and using logic and intuition to bring forth things of beauty and value in the present day.


[anchor=whatwedo]WHAT WE DO, AND HOW WE DO IT[/anchor]

The work of Ilsaluntë Valion has a two-fold aspect: First, it involves a thorough study of the Legendarium material. This ensures that one has seeded one's imagination with the essential ingredients of the Mythos so that all members of IV will have a common frame of reference.  After that has been accomplished, members can participate in our meditative explorations, or in one of our areas of basic research (e.g., on “Doggerland”).

We shall here explain a bit more about our form of meditation, as we have had questions about that: in IV, the emphasis is on the mytho-historical nature of the Legendarium, not upon its existence as “a book of fantasy produced solely for entertainment”, as popular culture would have it.  Because of this mytho-historical worldview, we are more easily able to able to enter what Stephan Hoeller refers to as the imaginal realm.  As an article in the journal MYTHOLOG describes it: “[...] This would be a place where you had experiences, met people, did things in which you could participate but which you could not control. These places would feel real, and the experiences would affect you in real ways, even though you might maintain awareness that the reality was of a different order than eating a slice of cheese pizza. Like deep meditation. Like archetypal psychology. Like shamanic journeying.” [link]

It is through our interaction with the imaginal realm that the reality of the spiritual plane is accessed.  To do this we utilize certain techniques, which may be called “shamanic” (trance, and spirit journeying), in order to commune with the archetypal energies in the imaginal realm. As we are a Tolkien-mythology based group, these archetypal energies are personified as the Valar, Maiar, and Ainur. Through meditations and seasonal observances, we establish a rapport with these beings. Thus, lines of connection between the imaginal realm and the material (objective) realm are created.

We usually report our meditations in a private section of this board, but we write up our meditative reports without looking at any that may have been posted previously on the same observance, so as not to be psychologically influenced by the content. If elements are found to be in common (this is known as “Shared Personal Gnosis”) they can, if corroborated by the existing Lore,  add to our body of knowledge.

Since we are a group whose focus is on the inspiration found within the Mythos, though, we do not participate in the “cult of personality” that many 'Tolkienists' seem to be involved in.  In particular, we do not put Tolkien on a pedestal as “The Professor”, whose words on a given subject have the authority of Holy Writ and are to be accepted by whomever cites them as the final word on a topic.  In particular, we have found that often the earliest drafts of the mythology (as exemplified in the Lost Tales) have the most vibrant imagery and a great subtlety of understanding; and indeed a ‘layering’ simultaneously encompassing many levels (temporal, geographical and metaphysical).  For this reason we are not obsessed with canon as so many Tolkienists are: for we are not story-tellers, but rather explorers in the imaginal realm. 

What this means is that we look at the Mythos much as a cultural anthropologist would investigate the records of a culture.  The only real difference being that these are the writings of one person rather than the collected folklore of a tribe.  However, they do have that quality, so this approach works rather well.  Our method is to research and internalize all of this data (using techniques both logical and imaginal) and to discover how it relates to us as individuals and as a group—not to tell a story.  Thus for us, all available data is valid, and we do not seek finalized versions of the narratives, holding them of worth in themselves—and yet greater for the insights that they can bring to us in meditation and upon reflection.  Nor, on the other hand, do we simply use Tolkien's Mythos as a backcloth and freely improvise, as do certain denizens of Otherkinia.

Rather, we choose the “bonny road” as described in the poem True Thomas and the Queen of Elfland:

' O see ye not yon narrow road,
So thick beset wi’ thorns and briers?
That is the path of righteousness,
Though after it but few enquires.

'And see ye not that braid braid road,
That lies across yon lillie leven?
That is the path of wickedness,
Though some call it the road to heaven.

'And see ye not that bonny road,
Which winds about the fernie brae?
That is the road to fair Elfland,
Where you and I this night maun gae. [2]


[anchor=elves]A FEW WORDS[/anchor] REGARDING 'ELVES'

In connection with this we would like to say a few words about the beings known as Elves.  To those of us who grew up with the Mythos, there is no confusion, as for us Elves = Quendi.  However, it has been our experience that most people today (particularly those involved in neopaganism) confuse elves with the kami sometimes called fairies or 'the fae'.  However, this is certainly not the case, and is explicitly contraindicated in the Lore:
[...] With Aule was that great lady Palurien whose delights were richness and fruits of the earth, for which reason has she long been called Yavanna among the Eldar.  About them fared a great host who are the sprites of trees and woods, of dale and forest and mountain-side, or those that sing amid the grass at morning and chant among the standing corn at eve. These are the Nermir and the Tavari, Nandini and Orossi, brownies, fays, pixies, leprawns, and what else are they not called, for their number is very great: yet must they not be confused with the Eldar, for they were born before the world and are older than its oldest, and are not of it, but laugh at it much, for had they had not somewhat to do with its making, so that it is for the most part a play for them; but the Eldar are of the world and love it with a great and burning love, and are wistful in all their happiness for that reason.”
--- Lost Tales, book I, “The Coming Of The Valar And The Building Of Valinor”

This confusion is sometimes taken to extremes, as for example in the 'Otherkin' phenomenon.  Aside from the fact that this seems delusional, the real issue is that if one identifies as a fae, then one has only a tangential relation to the Lore (e.g., “Tinfang Gelion”) and thus Ilsaluntë Valion would likely be of small use to such a person.  This is not to be confused with those who have relationships with the fae—that is a separate issue and is not in contradiction.

On the other hand, a sincere, even profound, identification with the Quendi as a people is compatible with our idea as descendants of threefold race, since the Quendi/Eldar are certainly a vital component of this mixture.  We would like to stress, however, that the organization of Ilsaluntë Valion is not “elf-exclusive” and considers all components of the threefold race equally.  Moreover, our members may develop other lines of research that have nothing to do with these ideas.  So long as such investigations are compatible with the Lore an do not contradict observable evidence, this is fine.


[anchor=spiritual]SPIRITUAL[/anchor] ASPECTS OF ILSALUNTË VALION

Here in Ilsaluntë Valion, we know that anyone who is devoted to a personal path that they have a good foundation in will find their own comfort level when experiencing the Imaginal Realm.  While some members of IV have recognized that unique spiritual paths exist within the Legendarium, and have adopted one of these as the whole of their own practice, this is certainly not a requirement for membership. 

The meditations mentioned above that have been created for the the purpose of interacting with the beings/archetypes within the Legendarium are designed to be non-denominational.  As such, while spiritual insight can be found within, the key intentions behind their creation are exploration and personal insight. 

While we encourage all members of IV to try the 'General Meditation Format,' the decision  of whether or not to try the more in-depth meditation sequences and/or other trance induction techniques is up to the individual.  While the opportunity to participate in ritual observances does exist within IV, this too is at the discretion of each individual member.


[anchor=name]WHY[/anchor] THE NAME “ILSALUNTË VALION”?

lsaluntë Valion means, “Silver Ship of the Valar” in Tolkien’s Qenyan Elvish.  We use the metaphor of a ship because on a ship the crew has to work together or the ship will founder.  Each crewmember has a unique constellation of talents and interests, which are needed on the voyage.  Also, as our primary focus is unveiling the gnosis to be found within the Tolkienian Mythos, we use the symbology of traveling the “Straight Road” to the Ancient West and using the knowledge thus obtained to enrich our lives and add to our collective body of knowledge.  This name also reflects our expression as Voyagers upon this spiritual path, as well as our goals for uniting with the imaginal realm and its inhabitants.


[anchor=membership]MEMBERSHIP[/anchor] INFORMATION AND REQUIREMENTS

To become a member of IV, one must join the board using the 'Register' tab.  Once you have done so, your registration must be approved by an Admin, but this should not take more than 24 hours.  Once you have been approved, you will enter the board at the 'Newcomer' user level.  This allows you to see and post in all sections of the board visible to casual internet viewers, but all of your posts will be moderated and must be approved by an Admin.  This is to prevent our board—which is the primary repository for our original research—from becoming infested with spammers and internet trolls.  Once we see that you are serious, then we will move you into the beginning 'Seafarer' level (unmoderated).  Where you go from there is up to you...

Someone who will comfortably fit in here at Ilsalunte Valion:

must have reached an adult level of maturity.  We find that often 'adolescent' people are neither
    psychologically developed enough nor sufficiently intellectually rigorous to contribute usefully to the IV
    Project.  Often they wish to "find themselves" & etc.  But IV is not the place to do that.

► has a clear mind not steeped in the prevalent “anything goes” mindset (“all points of view are equally valid”
    or “truth is a social construct”). 
          What do we mean by this?  Stated succinctly, “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything” [3], but to give a more explicit example:
          we have noticed that many who hold this mental paradigm are prone to mix in non-Legendarium elements that are incompatible with IV
          (“Ooh, wouldn't it be cool to add Cthulhu to the Valarin pantheon?!  I think he really is Melkor and Melkor is just his servant!  Yeah, that'd
          be cool!!”), have a distorted self-image (“I am the Goddess Violet-Flame; obey my commands!”), and are very syncretic.  This is the error of
          an “anything goes” policy, and we do not subscribe to it here.  IV's focus is on the Legendarium and the gnosis achieved by its
          incorporation into our inner selves. Therefore, it seems reasonable to expect that this is what we should have in common. If the
          Legendarium is just a passing fancy or an object of entertainment to you, that's fine: but then IV is not the place to be.


► is able to express oneself clearly in writing.

► is sincerely interested in Ilsaluntë Valion and willing to contribute to it.
          Socially, IV functions as a meritocracy: you will get out of it what you put into it.  In particular, this is not a group wherein we just
          coast along, content to post a few times a year (if that).  Although it is hard to exactly quantify this, we generally favor quality over
          quantity. But you can think of one substantive post (i.e., not a one-liner) per month as a minimum, below which your account will be
          deleted. The reason is that this ship can only sail if the members are involved, plus it is very labor-intensive to continually ask members if
          they are still interested when their behavior indicates that they obviously are not.


► is familiar with the Legendarium, or has a sincere desire to become so.
          At minimum, one should be—or become—familiar with The Silmarillion, The Book of Lost Tales (volumes I and II), and
          Morgoth's Ring. This may require the acquisition of the relevant texts. Please indicate in your Welcome post whether
          you have these texts or not.


We ask this of ourselves and of new members alike. If this description fits you, then you should fit in well at Ilsaluntë Valion.

After you have been accepted for membership, you can then begin posting in the topics that interest you.  Upon first registering, you will have access to all of the public topics and some that do not appear to general web vistors (such as the readings from the Legendarium and ensuing discussions).  As time goes on, and you establish greater levels of trust with us, you will be able to see more and more of the hidden topics until you are granted the status of  Crewmate, when all of the board will be visible to you.

There is no set time for this, because everyone progresses at different rates and has a different skill set to contribute to the IV Project.  However, as we further refine our 'curriculum,' a reasonable timeline for the teaching and sharing of our material will certainly emerge.


Endnotes:
1:  This statement is not elitist, but is cognate to scientific theories of genetic drift.  By way of example, current findings are that most of the modern population of Britain has genetic markers that are very similar to the Basque people, as do also people who are traditionally identified as 'Celtic'.  One of the findings of this genetic research is that the aboriginal 'Basque genotype' was shown to be only lightly affected by the Saxon invasion, and therefore that 1) the Celts were not "wiped out" on a large scale, and 2) this genotype goes a long way back, to the last glacial maximum.

Current thinking is that there were several "glacial refuges" for early humans in that distant time.  Two of the largest being on the Iberian peninsula and the other in what is now the Ukraine.

Thus, although these genetic markers will differ between individuals in England today, most have traces of this common origin.

2:  http://www.electricscotland.com/history ... yways5.htm

3:  http://www.cmgww.com/historic/malcolm/a ... tes_by.htm



(Composed jointly by IV Officer Staff; last revised 8-24-2009)

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Meneldur Olvarion
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Posts: 1356
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 5:23 am
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains, Georgia
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Re: Our Charter

Post by Meneldur Olvarion » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:59 pm

{Bump}

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