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Ashen Shugar 06/Nov/2006 at 09:21 AM
Linguist of Lothlorien Points: 3348 Posts: 3027 Joined: 27/Aug/2004
Haven’t been here for a while but am slowly making my way back and am currently browsing through the books looking for things that are connected to healing – something I read in the HoME 3, Lay of Leithian caught my eye and got me thinking in regards to a mention in LotR as well.

Then Huan came and bore a leaf,              
of all the herbs of healing chief,             
that evergreen in woodland glade           
there grew with broad and hoary blade.       
The powers of all grasses Huan knew,           
who wide did forest-paths pursue.              
Therewith the smart he swift allayed,          
while Luthien murmuring in the shade       
the staunching song, that Elvish wives       
long years had sung in those sad lives        (1)
of war and weapons, wove o’er him.
Watchful bending o’er him wakes            
a maiden fair; his thirst she slakes,          
his brow caresses, and softly croons           
a song more potent than in runes              
or leeches’ lore hath since been writ.
Slowly the nightly watches flit.           
The misty morning crawleth grey               (2)
from dusk to the reluctant day.

And in TLOTR we have Aragorn:

He sat down on the ground, and taking the dagger-hilt laid it on his knees, and he sang over it a slow song in a strange tongue. Then setting it aside, he turned to Frodo and in a soft tone spoke words the others could not catch. From the pouch at his belt he drew out the long leaves of a plant. ~ JRR Tolkien, Flight to the Ford, FotR, my bold     (3)

Now the first instance (1) is different from what I can see from the other two:

the staunching song, that Elvish wives       
long years had sung in those sad lives

hence it seems something used by others as well not just her (perhaps suggestive of other such songs?).

but the other two are even more intriguing in my humble opinion because the first suggests a ‘song’ more potent than any other since used in healing (2) (perhaps compared to exactly the kind of song mentioned in the previous example) and second (3) – Aragorn is actually singing over the blade that caused injury.

Now when we add this to the whole issue:

‘Here I must put forth all such power and skill as is given to me,’ he said. ‘Would that Elrond were here, for he is the eldest of all our race, and has the greater power.JRR Tolkien, The Houses of Healing, RotK, my bold

Now without a doubt eldest of all our race connects them both to Luthien/Melian but alas the one healing that involved Elrond that right away came to my mind and that of Frodo gave me no new information for it is not described in detail. I am also hard pressed to remember any other instances.

My point being – song in healing seems to be used among Elves but it seems that there is a difference between that and what we see with Luthien and Aragorn (perhaps Elrond by extension?). Anyone up for a talk about this and perhaps even some in-depth talk of healing?
Boromir88 06/Nov/2006 at 09:44 AM
Merchant of Minas Tirith Points: 3627 Posts: 2473 Joined: 24/Mar/2005

I can’t speak really anything about healing in song, but if you wanted to talk about healing in general, perhaps I can slip in a little about the ’breath of life?’

’Then taking two leaves, he laid them on his hands and breathed on them, and he crushed them, and straightaway a living freshness filled the room, as if the air itself awoke and tingled sparkling with joy.’~The Houses of Healing

In the sense of healing (or at least countering the Nazgul’s Black Breath) Aragorn needed to breathe on the athelas, and heal those effected by the Black Breath.

The full discussion about the Black Breath, and the Breath of life can be found in this thread.

Endril 06/Nov/2006 at 10:01 AM
Healer of Imladris Points: 9193 Posts: 9362 Joined: 15/Jan/2006
Ashen: The motife of song in the process of healing is someting that we find in Tolkien’s writings. Luthien sings when healing Beren and also Aragorn seems to sing something when he helps the wounded ones. It seems that this is common to the elves mostly and probably the dunedain/numanoreans learned it from the eldar. The song is most like a "magic formula", sure not in the way we think about of a spell. The soong seems to help the healer, maybe healing the spirit while the herbs heal the body.
Ashen Shugar 06/Nov/2006 at 10:08 AM
Linguist of Lothlorien Points: 3348 Posts: 3027 Joined: 27/Aug/2004
Legolas F ~ yes, that is precisely what I am talking about but still there does seem to be a distinction and in a way you touch upon it.

Healing of the body and healing of the mind - song and ’song’ - I am interested in the distinction of the song which seems common among Elves and ’song’ that is used by the likes of Luthien and Aragorn. It does not seem the same, at least in degrees. Does the distinction come from the blood ie the line - it does seem plausable.

Boromir88 ~ thanks for the link and yes, that would be a part of it, but anything at all in regards to healing really, not just that - so from Athelas to song.
Endril 06/Nov/2006 at 10:24 AM
Healer of Imladris Points: 9193 Posts: 9362 Joined: 15/Jan/2006
Ashen: What is the difference that you see between the songs of the two races. I miss it at the moment.
halfir 06/Nov/2006 at 01:38 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ashen Shugar: Some sources that may be helpful:

Aragorn and Healing




The Hands of the Healer




Aragorn and Athelas



And while you have said that you are interested in  things that are connected to healing you have initially concentrated on song.

However, we have a significant variety of both healers and things that heal, and I hope that your excellent thread will extend to cover them too.

For example, dealing with things that heal and methods of healing we have:

The Three Rings- healing the ravages of Time {Multiple references in The Letters and Silmarillion/LOTR.

The Elessar - ’And before Idril set sail she said to Earendil her son: "The Elessar I leave with thee for there are many grievous hurts to Middle-earth which thou maybe shall heal’ {UT- History of Galdriel and Celeborn- I leave aside the variant histories of The Elessar for the purposes of this discussion} And of course Galadriel gives The Elessar to Aragon {FOTR-Farewell to Lorien} and although its healing powers are not mentioned per se in conjunction with him in LOTR perhaps it is something we should consider.

Nimrodel and thus healing/rejuvenating/ refereshing waters and streams:’I will bathe my feet , for it is said that the water is healing to the weary.’ { Legolas -FOTR- Lothlorien}

Tears- The Tears of Luthien

Now sank she weeping at the side
of Beren, and sought to stem the tide
of welling blood that flowed there fast.
The raiment from his breast she cast;
from shoulder plucked the arrow keen;
his wound with tears she washed it clean. {HOME 3 Lay of Leithian 3112-3117}

I would suggest that a common theme in Tolkien’s writing is the healing/cleanisng property of water (I leave scrying out of this discussion) and that the quote regarding Luthien’s tears is not simply a poetic description but a therapeutic one also- the tears actually cleanse the wound, as part of the healing process.

I think you have sparked a thread with magnificent potential, and would suggest that as a framework we should perhaps list all those connected with healing, and then all the different methods of healing- but this is your thread and I will not presume to impose any structure on it- that is for you to decide, but I think you are going to get some sensational results and I will both watch the thread with interest and contribute where I can.

And welcome back- you have been away far too long!X(

elendil elessar 07/Nov/2006 at 04:38 AM
Fletcher of Lothlorien Points: 1533 Posts: 4087 Joined: 13/Dec/2008
On that subject I think it is important to take what we can of Beleg as well, most of his healings came not with mentions of song. Maybe it is because the wounds and sickness he cured did not require the use of a powerful device? The only deadly wound he cures if I remember correctly is Androg.
So could we by that assume that healing with song is very powerful healing and only used in the most desperate cases?
Ashen Shugar 07/Nov/2006 at 04:45 AM
Linguist of Lothlorien Points: 3348 Posts: 3027 Joined: 27/Aug/2004
halfir ~ you have hit the nail on the head so to say, when it comes to my intention in regards to healing. I’ve toyed with this idea for over a year now and just started this discussion to see if anyone is interested.

I was thinking of perhaps even structuring it, the way your most excellent discussion on the Rings of Power was because I do believe there are quite a few things to cover (I’ve been looking through the texts since last night and I am starting to see some interesting differences in healing that we could talk about) so indeed from who heals/who is healed, methods and means used etc. Or it could be simply covering the ground and then I could sort it out. Thank you for the links, I will see if we can incorporate it all in the end, it would be good to have one comprehensive thread on healing I think.

Thanks, it is good to be back and indeed it has been too long but I am back at my alma mater as a researcher and RL well destroyed all my free time last year. It is much more settled now so it should be fine. I missed you all

@elendil ~ it is certainly something to talk about, just give me a few moments to think about the structure of this thread then we can go on. Just to clarify - I see a distinct difference between the instances labled (1) in my first post and those labled (2) and (3) - one being a common and the other two not so (whether related to the bloof of a Maia or not, is what interests me).
elendil elessar 07/Nov/2006 at 04:54 AM
Fletcher of Lothlorien Points: 1533 Posts: 4087 Joined: 13/Dec/2008
As regard to the blood of Maia you can certainly add the Lembas, for they are part of the healing process, both in body and mind, in both the Narn I Hin Hurin and The Lord of the Ring. They are very potent in Beleg healing in Amon Rudh, and I believe he mention them being made by Melian as something very important.
halfir 07/Nov/2006 at 06:06 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

AS: so indeed from who heals/who is healed, methods and means used

I would recommend structure first. I think if you don’t have that you will create a maze that you and others will never escape from. Why don’t you give a pro forma structure- once you’ve time to work one out- and let us comment on that - before actually jumping off into the topic itself. It does not inhibit you carrying out research into actual healers, events, types of healing et.al. at the same time.

I was intersted in ee’s comment about ’blood’ albeit in a very diffeernt context as i’ve just posted this in my Tolkien and Norse myths therad in AL, but it has relevance here too:

Another link possible  between Tolkien’s ME and Norse myths comes in the form of an Icelandic saga which gives us a glimpse of the healing power of elves as seen in Norse mythology- albeit somewhat ‘darker’ than in ME:

The Life and Death of Cormac the Skald ("Kormak’s Saga"), originally written in Icelandic sometime between 1250 - 1300 A.D., although parts may be based on a now lost 12th century saga,  has this to say about the healing powers of elves :

"A hill there is," answered she, "not far away from here, where elves have their haunt. Now get you the bull that Cormac killed, and redden the outer side of the hill with its blood, and make a feast for the elves with its flesh. Then thou wilt be healed." {My bold emphasis}




Bearamir 07/Nov/2006 at 11:33 AM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008
Ladies & Gentlemen:  This thread has been nominated for transfer to Ad Lore.  Given the strength of the thread, and the impeccible Lore credentials of the nominator, I certainly agree with this request.  So, without further ado:  Prepare for move to Ad Lore.
Ashen Shugar 07/Nov/2006 at 02:32 PM
Linguist of Lothlorien Points: 3348 Posts: 3027 Joined: 27/Aug/2004
Bael and halfir - thank you very much, I hope this does turn out to be worthy of AL

Apologies for waiting but I was trying to think of a way of structuring the discussion which would allow for as much clarity and as little repetition as possible. I would go about it this way, with one major division into two categories and we go from there:

I stucture

A – Healing of the body

What is important to mention:

a)     who heals (race, lineage, etc)
b)     who is being healed (event(s) that led to injury, etc)
c)     methods/means used (for example – song and herbs)
d)     eventual result

B – Healing of the mind

a)     who heals
b)     who is being healed
c)     methods/means used
d)     eventual result

C - Healing in general (origins, importance of race, bloodlines etc, based on A&B plus other sources)

Or we could use the reverse, and make the subcategories, main ones so

II structure:

1.     healers
2.     those being healed
3.     methods
4.     means
5.     consequences
6.     general conclusions

but this second structure would lead to a terrible overlap of quotes i.e. for athelas we would have let’s say five but from those at least two would go to another category etc. I have already started looking into texts, but I would like some input into what you think of the structure (any new suggestion, please say so).

I also believe that once we have covered most of it, if not all it would be good to produce an essey of a sorts, with different structures perhaps, but if possible presenting some conclusions, etc.
halfir 07/Nov/2006 at 02:49 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

AS: I would go with your first structure.X(

I would also like to draw your attention to two other threads, one of mine and one of Heron’s which I think would provide a fertile information and ideas-sparking  ground for those interested in this thread:

Lembas:Ceres or Cereals?





The Power of Song and Chant






N.B.My references for the Heron Song and Chant threads might be a double reference for the same thread!



Bearamir 07/Nov/2006 at 05:34 PM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008
A.S.:  I agree with Halfir.  I would go with your first outline.  Please let me know if there is anything I might do to help keep your discussion track.  Best of luck, I very much look foward to the pleasure of seeing how your discussion develops!