About the Valar

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Mildir
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About the Valar

Post by Mildir »

This is - in theory if not in practice - a Valar-centered meditation board, so to make up for having written mainly about Elves so far I’m going to create a post about the Valar.
The only Valar I can properly talk about are those appearing in some of the countless “visions” that I identify as memories, being that I have no control over them and can’t even decide when the next one will “burst” into my mind.

These memories tell about a more complete version of myself, a “truer” me, who grew up in a land called Valinor (the same one mentioned by Tolkien? Who knows!) and, like any other Valinorean, knew that sooner or later he would see a Vala (i.e. one of the Valar).
But I also knew, like every child, that certain things of my land were best seen when one had acquired a certain degree of wisdom.
Most of the Valar’s public activities were conducted in a fortified citadel called Valmar, a place nestling among the peaks of the Pelori, the mountains separating eastern Valinor from western Valinor.
The citadel abutted Taniquetil, the highest of those mountains, and the only way to get to the top of Taniquetil was in fact an endless flight of stairs which was accessed from inside Valmar.
It led to a gigantic terrace, located in front of the palace of Hyelurondas: the residence of Manwë and Varda.
Every child knew that… but no child, in no circumstance, crossed the gate of Valmar: a gigantic door carved in dolomitic stone which everyone simply referred to as “Halla Fento”, “The Tall Door”.
It was always open, and yet this felt normal.
I myself would not enter Valmar until I had become 60 years old (which was like saying 16 here).
But I think that the first time I did it was also the first time I saw a Vala (though I might have seen Tulcas before, since he ran about all the time): the first Vala I saw might have been Aulë. Aule’s forge was indeed one of the buildings closest to Halla Fento (near Fëanor’s laboratories, a complex of buildings including the famous Chamber of the Thousand Mirrors, the place where Fëanor finished creating the Silmarils).

So… seeing a Vala…
Haec est quaestio: how can I explain to you what it was like?
You didn’t actually “see” a Vala, nor did you hear them the way you heard normal beings.
In a sense, you “more-than-saw” them, you “more-than-heard” them: it was as if you stood in front of something dazzling, which you could describe as an old man, or as an athletic old warrior, but… you would have never been able to catch and to describe all the details of what your eyes saw.
Many details, yes, but never all of them.
It was like seeing someone in a dream (dreamt during sleep), while they were standing in the middle of reality.
The eyes were generally the most difficult detail to “catch”, I don’t know why, I only know that by the time I could distinguish Manwë’s eyes I was a 900 years old man approximately.
They were blue, a kind of blue I’ve never seen in anyone else… and well, Manwë himself appeared as a venerable old man, with snow-white hair and a snow-white short beard.
Sometimes he towered above everyone, like a white living throne (how tall? Who knows, but nevertheless a giant), sometimes he was as tall as an Elf.
Because, you know, one of the most shocking features of the Valar was their ability to choose their size, depending on the occasion in which they met you.
One night, I always love to recall it, Varda came to talk to me among the trees of the wood where a friend of mine lived: I couldn’t normally see her, I immediately understood she was a Valië, but she was as tall as a normal lady.
Her hair was wavy, long and a color between gold and silver.
I remember she sat in the grass, laughed and joked just like a normal woman, happy to live and to share her life with every other being.
On the other hand, when I and my family ascended Taniquetil, during the festivities, to hear Manwë and Varda tell long tales of past and of knowledge… Varda was gigantic, clad in pearl-white and her gaze was unbearable.

Two more things before I stop: their voices.
When they spoke with you they often did it via ósanwë (interchange of thought) and their voice was normal.
But when Tulcas or Manwë or Oromë spoke aloud, especially in Valarin among themselves, it was like rolling thunders (did you ever hear the sound of lightning not hitting the ground, but rather “bouncing from cloud to cloud”? Well, if you go hiking in high mountain areas, you might happen to hear it. That’s the sound).
Lastly: their true form.
I saw a Vala in their true form only… well… thousands of years after my first meeting with one.
I was sitting against the wall of one of the great marble corridors of Hyelurondas, Manwë and Varda’s residence… and a Vala crossed it, without bothering to take on a form understandable to the carnal.
Astounding!
He (or she?) resembled a bolide made of liquid bright glass, it also moved like a bolide: it flew through the corridor the way a ball of fire does, with noise of thunder.
From then on I always thought: when they first came down on earth (and according to books I read it was to save it from extinction), they must have been like nine meteors falling from the sky…

But let’s go back to our world now: I hope my short report is meaningful to someone, I hope it makes sense.
Further details in further posts.
Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil. (J.R.R. Tolkien)
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Re: About the Valar

Post by Mildir »

A curiosity: someone who used to keep in touch with me via E-mail and who remembers living in the same land described above told me a funny thing about Tulcas.
In this someone’s memories, Tulcas was kind and listened to what you had to say, if you were inclined to talk to him (and there were people - in my memories - who talked to him just to get an opinion about their poetry), but it sometimes happened that, during long speeches, he dozed off!
I seemed to understand that he felt bored more easily than other Valar…
Oh and this someone sent me the names of the four seasons in Valarin: I was really surprised to learn that a people who lived before every other people (if all our memories have a factual source, that is, which is unverifiable for now) divided the year into exactly four seasons, like we do…
Here they are:
- Enuyastâzidel ( = Luxuriance of Life): Spring.
- Sahurutêlgubiz ( = Ascending Parable of Sultriness): Summer.
- Ezelîgwidhur ( = Withering of Greenery): Autumn.
- Agâyashir ( = Majesty of Cold): Winter.
Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil. (J.R.R. Tolkien)
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Re: About the Valar

Post by Lúthien »

Mildir wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:32 pm So… seeing a Vala…
Haec est quaestio: how can I explain to you what it was like?
You didn’t actually “see” a Vala, nor did you hear them the way you heard normal beings.
In a sense, you “more-than-saw” them, you “more-than-heard” them: it was as if you stood in front of something dazzling, which you could describe as an old man, or as an athletic old warrior, but… you would have never been able to catch and to describe all the details of what your eyes saw.
Many details, yes, but never all of them.
It was like seeing someone in a dream (dreamt during sleep), while they were standing in the middle of reality.
That is how I describe it as well. For me, the impression has varied between a completely abstract one (the first time I perceived what I hope were Manwë and Varda):

manwe-varda.jpg
manwe-varda.jpg (18.33 KiB) Viewed 1542 times
It felt definitely like a "presence", but it was beyond just an image.

On a different occasion, I addressed Varda / Elbereth in my mind and asked almost as in passing if she could show me what she looked like.
And then, completely unexpectedly, an incredible vision of beauty flowered up that literally took my breath away. I have tried to draw it a couple of different times, and I like the most recent one best:
elbereth-cover-smaller.jpeg
It's described in the Silmarillion like this:
Silmarillion wrote:Now the Valar took to themselves shape and hue; and because they were drawn into the World by love of the Children of Ilúvatar, for whom they hoped, they took shape after that manner which they had beheld in the Vision of Ilúvatar, save only in majesty and splendour. Moreover their shape comes of their knowledge of the visible World, rather than of the World itself; and they need it not, save only as we use raiment, and yet we may be naked and suffer no loss of our being. Therefore the Valar may walk, if they will, unclad, and then even the Eldar cannot clearly perceive them, though they be present. But when they desire to clothe themselves the Valar take upon them forms some as of male and some asof female; for that difference of temper they had even from their beginning, and it is but bodied forth in the choice of each, not made by the choice, even as with us male and female may be shown by the raiment but is not made thereby. But the shapes wherein the Great Ones array themselves are not at all times like to the shapes of the kings and queens of the Children of Ilúvatar; for at times they may clothe themselves in their own thought, made visible in forms of majesty and dread.
Their personality seems to transcend the shape they choose to appear in, though. I don't know why, but I have never perceived them as shocking or dreadful, not even Oromë or Tulkas in their characteristically imposing shapes. Come to think of it, nothing in Valinor has ever appeared frightful to me, even when I was being well aware - or being told - that there were things I should not do, or places where I should keep out because they would be dangerous to me. I've interpreted those warnings in the same way I would do with a red traffic light or a railway crossing: just take the warnings seriously, and if you do you should be safe.
If anything, that realm feels above all else so intensely home, even though it's full of mystery and things I have never seen or heard about yet.

I can't imagine feeling anything but safe in the presence of any Vala, even Námo and Tulkas and I trust them unconditionally. I suppose it's somewhat like how I feel towards your parents, though on a much larger scale. I suppose feeling this trust is easy for me because my parents have never given me any reason to feel otherwise.
A! Elin velui, dîn dolog, aduial lúthad!
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Re: About the Valar

Post by Mildir »

Lúthien wrote: Fri Jun 12, 2020 3:59 pm I have tried to draw it a couple of different times,
My instinct was always not to draw them at all, maybe because by doing so I could only diminish their appearance.
and I like the most recent one best:
It's certainly well done and also less predictable (I guess) than the image I have of her, which is more close to this picture by Alan Lee:
G Alan Lee.jpg
I have never perceived them as shocking or dreadful, not even Oromë or Tulkas in their characteristically imposing shapes. Come to think of it, nothing in Valinor has ever appeared frightful to me,
Well, one might say this is predictable, since it's about the Blessed Realm...
Yet, there was one thing in my memories which I wouldn't have defined as frightful, but at least slightly intimidating: the beautiful rainless nocturnal storms that Ossë created at more than 50,000 feet in the air.
I think they were for him what painting is for an artist.
They were rarely noisy: most of the times those who watched them (you could see them only from one of the tops of the Pelori) just saw clouds in every shape, lit up in violet, or red, or green, lit up from inside oftentimes...
And the clouds formed rings, towers and whirlpools, which was tremendously impressive...
Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil. (J.R.R. Tolkien)
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Re: About the Valar

Post by Lomelindo »

Hi Mildir,

Enuyastâzidel ( = Luxuriance of Life): Spring.
- Sahurutêlgubiz ( = Ascending Parable of Sultriness): Summer.
- Ezelîgwidhur ( = Withering of Greenery): Autumn.
- Agâyashir ( = Majesty of Cold): Winter.

Could you break this down further? Like which elements mean what? I know Ezel is green so Ezeli might be greenery
“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” - Haldir

“We’re not in decent places.” Gollum
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Re: About the Valar

Post by Mildir »

Lomelindo wrote: Fri Jun 12, 2020 9:34 pm Hi Mildir,

Enuyastâzidel ( = Luxuriance of Life): Spring.
- Sahurutêlgubiz ( = Ascending Parable of Sultriness): Summer.
- Ezelîgwidhur ( = Withering of Greenery): Autumn.
- Agâyashir ( = Majesty of Cold): Winter.

Could you break this down further? Like which elements mean what? I know Ezel is green so Ezeli might be greenery
Enuya/Enuyaz/Enuyas- (-t/-p/-k/-ph) = Life;
Tazidel = Something like "lushness" or "luxuriance" referred to vegetation.

Sahuru/Sahurun = Extreme heat, sultriness;
Telgubiz = Parable.

Ezel/Ezelai = Green, greenery;
Igwidhur = Withering (noun).

Agâyashir = Majestatic version of the word "Gishir", which means "Cold" or "Frost". If "Gishir" simply means "Cold", "Agâyashir" means "Majestic cold", "Great and powerful cold".

Also, you should know a couple of things about the grammar:
this Valarin works by means of so called vocalisms (added vowels or vowel clusters).
Each vocalism is added to a known stem.
The stem can have any form, it can be "Hawan-", it can be "Tulukh-", it can also be "Devadhar-".
In order to understand the word you have to know the stem first.
The vocalisms applicable to the stem are:
-a: which makes the noun genderless (not expressing any gender);
-u: which makes the noun common (that is expressing one gender, which is anyway not specified);
-i/-ai: which makes the noun "beyond gender" (describing a subject that contains in itself all possible genders);
-o: which makes the noun masculine;
-e: which makes the noun feminine.

The vocalisms -a, -u and -i/-ai can be omitted, if they are not followed by other morphemes (e.g.: "Igwidhurai" can become "Igwidhur").
Two endings are in turn applicable to the vocalism (whatever it be):
-z: which makes the noun animate (and which can become -s in some cases);
-n: which makes the noun inanimate.

So, for example, "Hawanuz" ( = Dog) is an animate common noun and "Delguman" ( = Dome) is an inanimate genderless noun.
These two endings can also be omitted, but they are usually omitted in a fixed cluster of nouns...
Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil. (J.R.R. Tolkien)
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Re: About the Valar

Post by Lomelindo »

Fascinating... Thanks for sharing that. :)
“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” - Haldir

“We’re not in decent places.” Gollum
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