The Inner Dimension of Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings
Although millions of people have read The Lord of the Rings, which is well recognised for its enormous cultural and mythological impact, few understand why Tolkien's masterpiece has captured such a wide audience. Returning the Ring explores the meaning behind the myth - bringing to light its relevance for our modern world.
Returning the Ring traces the path of Frodo Baggins in his quest to return the One Ring back into the cracks of Mount Doom. His journey has something to teach us. Through a retelling of The Lord of the Rings, with a running psychological commentary, the reader is taken along Frodo's journey. Beginning with Frodo's initial realisation of the evil power at work within the One Ring, through to its final destruction and the return to the Shire, the reader is brought into relationship with Frodo, his trials and tribulations.
Returning the Ring follows on from issues raised by Jung's seminal work, Answer to Job. As Jung indicated, we are now living in the Kairos – the right moment for a metaporphosis of the gods. Returning the Ring is a book about this passage of transfromation which lies before all of us.
The Lord of the Rings was written by J.R.Tolkien, an Oxford professor of old languages. It began as a story for his children and friends and much of it was written during World War II. The Lord of the Rings was first published in 1954 but only became a best seller in the late sixties.
In the sixties The Lord of the Rings resonated with that generation we now call the 'Flower Children' and it has remained at the top of the best seller list ever since. Recently The Lord of Rings has been made into three full-length feature films and a whole new audience has been captured by the story.
The popularity of the tale alone would suggest that The Lord of the Rings holds a deeper significance than even Tolkein was aware of. Few stories have magnetized our attention to such an extent. Only Star Wars, which shares a principal common theme, has achieved the same degree of popularity.
The Lord of the Rings is a modern day myth. Its theme of the renunciation of power is particularly relevant for our present day, addressing such issues as the world crisis and the transition of the ages. Like a guiding dream The Lord of the Rings describes how we may work with the required transformation of our current era. It is the map which we so desperately need - a guiding light for our precarious times.
From the Preface
Craig Jarman has written a wonderful book about the mythological land of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Archaic language, mythological scenes, fairytale plots are the carriers of some of the most pertinent and telling commentaries on our modern world and the disaster-creativity which faces us. Modern ears are tired of the doom and gloom of so much of our current writing, and news headlines are no better. But in this tale of hobbits and little people and noble bearers of power we have spelled out the chaos which we face and a visionary solution to it.
The story is a new one - perhaps the latest outpouring of mythology in our western world - and it carries great power. To read a myth created by a man still within living memory is to be at the forefront of living mythology. Craig Jarman, a citizen of the new age, speaks its language eloquently and creates a new vision for us all.
Robert A. Johnson
Jungian Analyst, San Diego, California
- Hobbits and the Shire
- The Dark Lord & the One Ring
- Frodo and the Ring
- The Quest Begins
- Old Tom Bombadil
- Towards Rivendell
- In the House of Elrond
- The Ring Party sets out
- The Breaking of the Fellowship
- The Way to Mordor
- Shelob's Lair
- On the Edge of Mount Doom
- The War is Won
Download the Book
Returning the Ring may be dowloaded as a PDF file here. You will need Adobe Acrobat to open, read and print this file. Lord Of The Rings Commentary