Old Mystics Never Die... Reflections on Gandalf the Wizard
As we move toward the beginning of a new year, many of us are courageously taking stock of what is going on in our world. And as we do, our attention is drawn inexorably, and with discernment, to the storytelling fare that is being presented to us by the major information sharing sources, such as the national and international news media, special interest groups including religion, commerce driven campaigns, and the social media outlets. Adding to that is the entertainment industry that plays a major role in engaging and influencing us, and this includes the second film release of The Hobbit trilogy.
Apart from being one story amongst many, this is a great mythos that was released into our world in 1937 by the late J. R. R. Tolkien. The Lord of the Rings trilogy emerged in the early 1940s and has had many a reading in our household. Now having also seen Peter Jackson’s visionary films based upon Tolkien’s work more than a dozen times, we see that these stories are playing out in our own slice of time with great mythic purpose.
Recently, a Facebook friend, an artist named Edward Foster, posted an image of Gandalf the Grey, a contemporary painting with flyaway eyebrows and long shaggy beard, a fierce gaze (of course) and hair as long as it wants to be, complete with the hat and the long magical staff.
In accessing this decidedly medieval image, it was clear to us that in our present slice of Time, Gandalf, in that guise would be at first glance taken for a homeless, wandering person, unkempt, unwashed, and tuned into presences and forces that may not be obvious those who are walking the everyday, ordinary life.
Yet as an archetype, Gandalf is more than appealing. He’s compelling. Perhaps as the last of the Druids and a manifestation of Merlin, in Tolkien’s mythos, Gandalf is one of the Maiar—one of those highly-evolved Bodhisattva-like beings who are sent into the Middle World (our ordinary reality) from time to time by the Valar—the wise beings who are Tolkien’s version of the Higher Organizing Intelligences and who live as immortals in the undying lands of non-ordinary reality (the Upper Worlds).
The Valar send the Maiar into our world in order to manifest change when they see the need to do so from their heightened spiritual perspective. This reveals (again, of course) that the Maiar serve the Valar and, according to Tolkien, the Maiar most often manifest themselves into our world as old wise men in the guise of wizards.
Part of the great message of The Lord of the Rings trilogy is that Gandalf the Good and Sauron the Evil are both Maiar, but on opposite sides of the badge so to speak…a paradox. And by the rules of the game (set by the Valar), Gandalf was prohibited from going up against Sauron directly. The word is that Gandalf was so powerful that he could have eliminated Sauron and his orcs with a passing gesture, yet this was not Gandalf’s job.
Gandalf’s great responsibility was to encourage the hobbits and the humans to rise to a new level of personal power and personal integrity, becoming more than they were, in the process becoming who and what they are destined to become.
Gandalf’s great outer gamble was to get all the free people of Middle Earth, including the reluctant dwarves and the elusive elves, to come together, to defeat Sauron, and to effectively neutralize him in the process restoring balance and harmony to their world. And this they did.
His inner gamble was to fulfill the practical directive of a great myth in which the objective is always and forever to restore and successfully maintain balance and harmony within our world.
In Tolkien’s epic myth, there is an underlying impulse that is very clear right from the beginning. Although Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee get all the glory in the end, the strategy was Gandalf’s right from the beginning. He was always there operating behind the scenes.
Now for all of us living in our own slice of time in Middle Earth, the big questions that confront us are: How do we deal with the “demons, dark forces, and the orcs” who are loose within our own society? Who are they and who is the ring-bearer of our time? And how might Gandalf choose to manifest to be of service in our world?
If he manifested as male, his Tolkienesque Middle Earth visage and clothing would land him in jail as a tramp and a troublemaker sooner or later. So he would probably choose a manifestation that would not attract undue attention to be most effective—ordinary clothes, cropped hair, and if bearded, perhaps a goatee. And his long staff and sword? Hmmm…a walking stick would do. Might he be a ceremonialist or a shaman…or perhaps a medicine person attuned to the cycles and rhythms of Nature? Maybe.
If Gandalf manifested as a woman, and at least 80% of the members of the transformational community are women, perhaps he might take the embodiment of a wise elder lady: a mover and a shaker with salt and pepper hair, cropped or worn wild and long, and yet again, perhaps ordinary clothing designed to not attract undue attention.
Or perhaps Gandalf might embody as a powerful, younger woman wise beyond her years and steady in her efforts to transcend the life game objectives identified by the author Robert de Ropp - power, status, sex and money.
Gandalf as female might appear as a ceremonialist and a medicine woman, as a shaman, a politician or a writer, as someone in service to children or to those still individuating and becoming self-aware as to who and what they really are. This would always be someone anchored in the positive polarity, someone in service to Life and to the thriving of all.
Gandalf, in whatever embodiment chosen, is always a mystic, a wizard/wise man or a witch/wise woman. Can you imagine Gandalf operating in the Halls of Power—in the Senate or in the Congress, or as a writer, or an actor, or even a quiet, observing (but also sharing!) participant or leader in workshops devoted to self-realization, to connection with the transpersonal worlds, and toward being of service?
The archetypal Gandalf always operated behind the scenes, yet he was not shy in demonstrating his power when needed, usually for course corrections and to shift others from the negative mode to the positive. During treacherous times requiring behind the scenes support, it is very unlikely we would find him on the world stage today as a primary figure in a chiefly roll, yet it does happen from time to time and it is happening in our time too.
See if you can identify some of the primary figures, and here’s a clue: one of them just passed back into the care and the embrace of his ancestors.
Being of Service
As a manifested presence in the present-time telling, Gandalf is always about being of service. Despite his powers and deep insights as a shaman and a wizard, he is always devoted to bringing out the best in his fellow traveling companions. His wise council guides both fools and kings into connection with their inner sources of wisdom and power. Gandalf always cares about the necessary growth required to overcome the forces of separation and to inspire us all to do the same. The possibilities then unfold from our individual points of readiness to participate from the heart.
Our feeling is that in response to his great triumph in becoming the White Wizard, Gandalf was ‘bumped up,’ as Hale Makua might say. And just perhaps, in response to our own time of things unraveling and coming apart, Gandalf the White, in service now as a Valar, has chosen to divide himself, to manifest in many embodiments, in many guises, both male and female.
The Givens… In Our Time
As we come to the end of 2013, Anno Domini, we cast an informed glance across our world, and we see disharmony, suffering, and imbalance at all levels, politically, socially, economically, personally, and even in our mainstream religious sects and in our belief systems. We see violence and darkening preoccupations presented to us as entertainment in our films, video games, and television shows.
We have witnessed appalling acts of barbarism and inhumanity to our fellow humans at all ends of the spectrum. And we have seen how the war on poverty has become a war against the poor due to our extremist and distorted major players at all levels of the political and corporate hierarchy. This is simply not acceptable.
These players have revealed themselves as individuals and groups who simply do not care. Their self-aggrandizing agendas, personally and collectively, are out of alignment with sustaining connection with the Life Force and creating harmony in our world.
We do not need to assign labels or names to the good guys and the bad guys in this dynamic. We all know who they are. We all know how they are behaving and what they are doing, and we all know what is motivating them and why. Because they do not care, they are operating in the realm of the sociopath in which it is always and forever about them and their own personal agendas, despite their proclamations to the contrary. They, and their allies, are distorting the all-important heart-centered alignment within and between us.
In a historical perspective, we can clearly see how the formation of the guilds during the Renaissance created the infrastructure of the current world corporate state system in which Big Money rules. The question emerges: where are the true Leaders who always sit upon the throne of responsibility…where are the fully-initiated leaders who are servants to well-being of their realm and their constituents?
It could be observed that we in the US of A now have the best Senate, Congress, and Supreme Court that Big Money can buy. And this is simply not in alignment with the Ancestral Grand Plan as revealed in our conversations with a great kahuna mystic in The Bowl of Light.
The Ring Bearer
So what are we to do? This is a transitional time between the last cycle of ages and the next, and we are the seed people, the ones serving as the bridges between what came before and what is coming into being with the support of the members of transformational community.
Like Gandalf and our dear friend, Hale Makua, we are the ones who care and because we do, we accept the responsibility to act on that. The decisions and choices that we make during the next several years will affect the life-ways and the spiritual practices of the world for the next several thousand years… and this is not a small thing.
Rest assured that Gandalf is still with us, and in fact, within us. It is in those quiet meditative moments, the ones that just happen, that we might sense his wise guidance, assisting us to be of service… assisting us in our soul’s growth and achieving our personal and collective destiny.
And who is the ring-bearer this time around do you suppose?
We all are.
There are no instructions that come with this responsibility. What is required is that we care, that we take courage, that we bring our minds and hearts into alignment with the great universal vibration that is life-creating, life-affirming and life-sustaining.
This is our destiny as evolving souls traveling across eternity, and by firmly stepping onto our path, we can all continue to be of service to each other and to the World Soul in ways that were determined so very long ago.
The sweet, warm path of Aloha brings many opportunities to be inwardly rewarded for courageous action – rewards in which we experience Love and Acceptance, Forgiveness and Freedom, to mention just a few.
And ultimately, as Makua so often observed, we all get to experience our personal Aloha as part of the most powerful force in the Universe!
Respectfully and dually authored by Jill Kuykendall and Hank Wesselman, December 2013.
Web link: http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Maiar