J.R.R. Tolkien’s Prophetic Voice and the Mythical Psyche: With Reference to C. G. Jung

In this paper, I discuss the meaning of J. R.R. Tolkien’s mythology, especially as portrayed in The Lord of the Rings.  I also make comparative references to the work of C. G. Jung, with which I find compelling compatibility.  I argue that the former brings the necessary compensatory vision to our contemporary culture and times in a way that is in harmony with the latter’s perspective and concerns.  As an artist, Tolkien was able to penetrate to the core of our Western cultural dynamics, and his sub-creation gives us images, words, language, values and a view that can serve as a light that illuminates our deeper needs for collective individuation and the way towards the future.  Like a shaman, Tolkien made extended journeys throughout the archetypal worlds of Faërie and reported back what he experienced to the community at large.  His message involves the requirement to assimilate both pagan sensibility and Christian values to consciousness, each of which have slipped into the unconscious in our one-sided scientific and technological, consumer-driven world.  Tolkien has also given us imagistic and feeling examples of the path of individuation as articulated by Jung and the forces with which one has to contend.  Giving up the Ring of Power and living more according to Eros and feeling values, both as individuals and as a culture, is essential.  My personal belief is that Tolkien was a genius and prophet for our times, and we would do well to pay heed to his message and its meaning.