by Varda-(Valar)
Oct. 16, 2003

Events page
Eru and the Ainur

Eru and the Ainur:

    Eru, the One, existed. Space, time, and other beings did not. In Arda, he would also be called Iluvatar.

    Eru created the Ainur, beings of spirit, offsprings of his thought. Material form came much later, with Ainur clothing themselves in bodies according to their nature and need at the time. Only Eru could create life with that part of him called the Flame Imperishable.
    Eru spoke to the Ainur, suggesting themes of music. They sang to him, pleasing him. But they sang alone or few together while the others listened, for they understood only that part of Eru's mind from which they came. Their understanding of their brethren came slowly, but increased as they listened so that unison and harmony both improved. Eru made fair regions for the Ainur called the Timeless Halls, outside of which were the places of the Void.

The Themes of Music:

    Then Eru declared a theme with a beginning and ending so glorious that the Ainur bowed and fell silent in amazement. Eru then told them to take the theme he had given and together make in harmony a Great Music, each adorning the the theme with his own thoughts and devices. And Eru listened, glad to hear that through them great beauty awakened into song. And the music was so great that it passed beyond hearing in its heights and depths, the music and its echo filled even the Void so that it was not void. No music like this ever came again, but:
"a greater (music) still shall be made before Iluvatar by the choirs of the Ainur and the Children of Iluvatar after the end of days. Then the themes of Iluvatar shall be played aright, and take Being in the moment of their utterance, for all shall then understand fully his intent in their part, and each shall know the comprehension of each, and Iluvatar shall give to their thoughts the secret fire, being well pleased."
-Silmarillion, "Ainulindale", "The Music of the Ainur"
    But that time is not yet. Eru must develop his instruments for the time of that great Song. The first Song would lead to the creation of the next set of instruments, the Children, and aid the comprehension of the first, the Ainur. Still does the beginning lead to the great result.

    As this First Theme progressed, Eru heard the discords creep in from Melkor straying from the theme of Iluvatar, many near him faltering in their thought, and others attuning to his rather than their first thought.
    These discords had crept into the mind of Melkor. He was the greatest of the Ainur, having the most power and knowledge, with a share of all the gifts of his brethren. But he did not comprehend the mind of Eru. Melkor wished to also bring into Being, give life, to creations of his own. So he searched for the missing tool, the Imperishable Flame, in the void places, but that he could not find for it was of Eru. Melkor was impatient of what he perceived as the emptiness of the Void and believed Eru took no thought for it. So he separated from the others in his secret quest, and his thoughts became ever more divergent.
    So the discord of the music came and multiplied until the sound was like endless raging waves warring upon each other all about Eru's throne.
    Then Eru rose and the Ainur saw him smile as he lifted up his left hand.  A Second Theme appeared amid the storm, gathering power and new beauty, and Manwe was the chief instrument of Eru.
    Melkor's discord uproared and fought it, bringing greater violence until many Ainur in their dismay sang no longer, leaving the mastery to Melkor.
    Then Eru rose again, his face stern, and lifted his right hand. Then began the Third Theme, and it grew amid the confusion. It was soft and sweet at first, unquenchable, and took to itself power and depth, deep, wide, filled with its chief beauty, immeasurable sorrow.
    The warring part finally achieved a unity on its side, loud, vain, endlessly repeated with little harmony, many trumpets in unison braying only a few notes. It tried to drown out the Third Theme in volume, yet the most triumphant moments were taken over and woven within it.
    Then Eru rose a third time, face terrible to behold, both hands raised. In one chord using the highest and lowest, the Music ceased.

    Then Eru told the Ainur he would show them what they had wrought, that they would know that though the Ainur and Melkor were mighty, Eru was mightier, and all their efforts worked together to devise things more wonderful than they could imagine as he intended in the end. Melkor felt shame, feeding a secret anger. Eru left the fair regions of the Ainur and went into the Void, and the Ainur followed him.
    And Eru said, "Behold your Music!"

The Vision:

    Within the Void where there had been only hearing, Eru gave to them sight, and they beheld their Music.There they saw a new World as a globe within and yet not of the Void. Before them, the world moved and unfolded its history. Within were included the ideas which each of the Ainur devised or added. Even the secret thoughts of Melkor were but a part of its glory. And they saw the Music had far more purpose than its beauty, for they had created a habitation for the Children of Iluvatar, Elves and Men, who were conceived by Eru alone within the Third Theme.
    Much more did Eru speak. And thus the Ainur, from the memory of his words, and the part each played in the creation, and counsel they took together, did they know much of what was, is, and is to come, and little is left unseen by them. But to none but himself did Eru reveal all, and in every age are new things that did not precede from the past, so cannot be foretold.
    When the Ainur saw the Children, they loved them. They were other than themselves, strange and free, teaching them more of the mind of Iluvatar. Many of the mightiest of the Ainur bent all their thought and desire towards the place, Melkor chief among them. Even to himself, Melkor claimed to wish to aid the children, controlling the turmoils of heat and cold that had passed through him. But he really envied the Children for the gifts Eru promised them and wished to dominate them and hear them call him Lord, rather than Eru.
    But the other Ainur rejoiced in the marvels of the World. Chiefly they praised the water, for it held more of the echo of the Theme of the Music than any other part. This theme is heard by many of the Children unsated, who know not to what they listen.
    But the world was not physical. And Eru saw that the Ainur wished the world to be real even as they were. So he said, "Ea! Let these things Be!" And he place the Flame Imperishable at the heart of the vision, that it might exist. Thus came about Ea, the World that Is.
  Of the Ainur, some yet stayed with Eru beyond the confines of the World. Others, including the greatest and most fair, went to the World. As a necessity of their love, their power was then contained within the world until it is complete. They are its life, and it is theirs. For this reason, these Ainur were called the Valar, the Powers of the World. But when the Valar entered the world, they discovered it had not yet begun, only ready to begin, dark and unshaped. The vision had been only that and they must now achieve it, starting at the beginning of Time..

The Shaping of Arda:

    The Valar labored mightily for uncounted ages until they had created the habitation for the Children of Iluvatar, Arda, the Earth. The chief part was taken by Manwe, Aule, and Ulmo. Melkor meddled in all that was done, trying to turn it to his purposes, and kindled great fires. He told the other Valar that he would make Arda, this flaming world, his kingdom.
    This was the point at which the Second Theme came into the world. Manwe stepped in. He was, in the mind of Iluvatar, the brother to Melkor, noblest of the Ainur. Manwe called many spirits, greater and lesser, into the fields of Arda to aid him, lest Melkor wither the earth before its first flower.
    And Manwe told Melkor he could not have Arda as his own, for others labored there no less than he. Strife came between Melkor and the other Valar, until Melkor withdrew to other regions, doing what he wished, but still desiring lordship of Arda.
    The Valar took physical shape, wearing bodies as if they were clothing, choosing those from their knowledge of the vision of the World, rather than from the World. But they did not always wear bodies and could walk unseen, not even clearly perceived by the Eldar. But when they desired to clothe themselves in bodies, they chose male or female from their difference of temper they had from the beginning. Yet sometimes they also chose shapes of their thought, visible in forms of majesty or dread.
    At this time, the Valar drew many companions from outside Arda, even as Manwe had, some lesser, some well-nigh as great. The Maiar are the helpers of the Valar, of the same order although lesser degree. Together they brought order to the Earth, stilling its tumults, and the earth became as a garden.
    Melkor saw what they had done and his envy grew greater. In the days of his greatness, he drew Maiar in with his splendor and they remained in allegience down into his darkness. Afterwards, he corrupted others to his service with lies and gifts. Among these were the Valaraukar, called also the Balrogs. The greatest of those corrupted was once a Maia of Aule, known later to the Eldar as Sauron, or Gorthaur the Cruel.
    Melkor too, made a physical form, but his mood and malice caused that form to be dark and terrible. He descended on Arda showing greater power and majesty than the other Valar:
    "as a mountain that wades in the sea and has its head above the clouds and is clad in ice and crowned with smoke and fire; and the light of the eyes of Melkor was like a flame that withers with heat and pierces with a deadly cold."
-Silmarillion: "Ainulindale"
    And Melkor did battle with the Valar. The Valar continued to ready the world for the Firstborn, despite Melkor. They built lands; Melkor destroyed them with reversals. The Valar would make a valley and Melkor would raise it. They made mountains and he threw them down. Nothing had peace or lasting growth.
    Yet, although nothing was completely as the Valar originally intended, Arda, the Earth, was fashioned and the habitation of the Children was at last established "in the Deeps of Time amidst the innumerable stars."

References:  Silmarillion: "Ainulindale", "Valaquenta"
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