In this last article of the series about religion in Arda, analyze some outstanding points concerning Tolkien creation which you may have never considered that closely.
Interesting to notice that through the races and ages we have checked so far, none has built specific places of worship, be it to Valar or to Ilúvatar himself. But now, you’re for a treat! Black Númenóreans have! They were seduced by Sauron (yea, that’s him again!) to worship the dark in order to cheat death, as the fear of death grew high among the Númenóreans. Then they erected a temple dedicated to Melkor in Meneltarma (the hallowed place of Eru) and carried out hideous practices there like human sacrifices to the Darkness. That really recalls some pre-Colombian civilizations rituals (human sacrifices offered in a temple) and the Darkness worship may be “equivalent” to Satanism or the like. But before all that, before Númenóreans even exist, there are stories about the beginning of Men and their relation to the Darkness. There’s the tale of when Men first awoke and how they were whelmed by the Darkness. Possibly Melkor came to Men, and told them that he would teach them, and give them gifts to make them rich, and he made them repudiate the One. At his bidding they built a temple to him. “’Now build Me a house on a high place, and call it the House of the Lord…Then bow before Me and acknowledge Me!’ he said. And all bowed to the ground before him, saying: ‘Thou art the One Great, and we are Thine.” Again the similarities between Melkor and Satan are huge. Both came to Men, tempted them and asked for acts of worship.
“Because He is infinite and beyond comprehension it is not fitting for ordinary mortals to worship Eru with words and rituals, at times and places set by human wisdom, but only through silent contemplation of His greatness. Instead, Eru commands that Men honor Him through offering cult to the Kôlir; for being the children of Eru, the Kôlir reveal aspects of the One to His creation.” – Inzidubêth, The Prophet.
“Batan an-Izindi (Ad. “Path of Righteousness”) was founded in Bellakar (region south of Harad and Umbar) by former bazaar merchant Imrathôr (812-884), who was animated by Adûnai fatalism and mysticial philosophy. In III 842 he retreated into a cave in Urud an-Khibil for forty days, after which he reported having witnessed visitation from the One. Imrathôr received further revelations, which were memorized and recorded by his companions. He changed his name to Izindubêth, the Prophet, and started preaching to his people. He wanted to purify the worship of Êru from haradan idolatry and implored his countrymen to abandon polytheism, while supporting the veneration of the Kôlir as a substitute. After three decades of vicious struggle, followers of the Batan an-Izindi conquered Hazaj Tollin. In 884 Izindubêth ruled over the whole Dune Sea. Even the death of the prophet in the hands ofTedjin invaders and the destruction of the monastery of Urud an-Khibil did nothing to counter the growth of this new movement. After the Adûnai realm of Bellakar collapsed along with its haphazard dualism, the Path of Righteousness started to spread via caravan routes to Raj and eastern Harad.”
Have you ever read anything like that from Tolkien about the South Regions of Middle-Earth? Isn’t it great? It opens the religious topic so much,… wildly wide! Take a look at this religious map with all the details:
But…wait….that’s NOT Tolkien at all! That’s something apocryphal devised by this Finnish site where I got the maps, references, stories and quotes. Even it’s not being from the Professor, it’s a very good material, richly adorned and surely will please Tolkien fans for its fidelity to Arda culture as a whole and the expansion proportionated by it. The link will be given here to the most interesting aspects of this fan project! Stay tuned!