Saturday, October 2, 2010

Estë and Lórien

Like Aulë [meaning "invention" in Quenya] is pronounced rather like "Owl Lay", Estë [meaning Repose, Rest"] sounds a bit like "Ess Stay"

Estë, the gentle, healer of hurts and of weariness, is Irmo's spouse. Grey is her raiment; and rest is her gift. She walks not by day, but sleeps upon an island in the tree-shadowed lake of Lórellin [Dream-lake].

J.R.R Tolkien uses the lovely word "Fëanturi" to mean "masters of spirits" to describe two Valar brothers named Námo [Judge] and Irmo [Desire]. They are usually called Mandos and Lórien, after their domains, the Halls of Mandos [safe-keep] where dead spirits go, and the Gardens of Lórien [Dream-land].

Irmo the younger is the master of visions and dreams. In Lórien are his gardens in the land of the Valar, and they are the fairest of all places in the world, filled with many spirits. From the fountains of Irmo and Estë, all those who dwell in Valinor draw refreshment; and often the Valar come themselves to Lórien and there find repose and easing of the burden of Arda.

This is almost every quote describing to these two characters, the Lord and Lady of Dreams, masters of desire, illusion and healing. While there is minimal description of Estë and no description at all of Irmo (what does a dream look like?), the Gardens of Lórien gets a few more examples:

When [Tillion of the Ainu] would rest he forsook the woods of Oromë, and going into Lórien he lay in dream by the pools of Esté, in Telperion's [the Silver Tree's] flickering beams

Varda, Queen of Skies, later appointed Tillion as the driver of the Moon, ordered to continually circle the sky beside the sun. By driving erratically, he irked the Sun-maid into burning him and the earth some. Estë and Irmo have a part of making peace.

Because of the waywardness of Tilion, therefore, and yet more because of the prayers of Lórien and Esté, who said that sleep and rest had been banished from the Earth, and the stars were hidden, Varda changed her counsel, and allowed a time wherein the world should still have shadow and half-light.

While I think of it, Lothlorien, where dwelt Galadriel in Middle-Earth in Lord of the Rings, is a wholly different place than Lorien. I'll end with a story that ties Noldor Elves to Lórien, when Míriel [Jewel-woman], Fëanor's mother and the first wife of the Noldor King Finwë, made the Gardens her final resting place.

In the bearing of her son, Míriel was consumed in spirit and body; and after his birth she yearned for release from the labours of living. ... when Míriel languished still, Finwë sought the counsel of Manwë, and Manwë delivered her to the care of Irmo in Lórien.
There is some grief at Míriel's departure and exhaustion, then,

She went then to the gardens of Lórien and lay down to sleep; but though she seemed to sleep, her spirit indeed departed from her body, and passed in silence to the halls of Mandos. The maidens of Estë tended the body of Míriel, and it remained unwithered; but she did not return. Then Finwë lived in sorrow; and he went often to the gardens of Lórien, and sitting beneath the silver willows beside the body of his wife he called her by her names. But it was unavailing; and alone in all the Blessed Realm he was deprived of joy. After a while he went to Lórien no more.

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