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Old 04-11-2007, 01:23 AM   #272
piosenniel
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Silmaril

Here are some interesting thoughts on Elven Healing based on Tolkien's wrtings:


Quote:

What Elven Healing Really Is

From their beginnings the chief difference between Elves and Men lay in the fate and nature of their spirits. The far of the Elves were destined to dwell in Arda for all the life of Arda, and the death of the flesh did not abrogate that destiny. Their far were tenacious therefore of life 'in the raiment of Arda', and far excelled the spirits of Men in power over that 'raiment', even from the first days protecting their bodies from many ills and assaults (such as disease), and healing them swiftly of injuries, so that they recovered from wounds that would have proved fatal to Men. ~ (Of the Laws and Customs Among the Eldar, Morgoth's Ring)

Note how spirit and healing are profoundly intertwined.

Possible origin of Elves' healing powers

For which reason it is said that whereas there is now great evil in Arda and many things therein are at discord, so that the good of one seemeth to be the hurt of another, nonetheless the foundations of this world are good, and it turns by nature to good, healing itself from within by the power that was set there in its making; and evil in Arda would fail and pass away if it were not renewed from without: that is: that comes from wills and being [sic] that are other than Arda itself. ~ (Myths Transformed III, Morgoth's Ring)

But beside all this Aman is called also the Blessed Realm, and in this was found its blessedness: in health and joy. For in Aman no creatures suffered any sickness or disorder of their natures; nor was there any decay or ageing more swift than the slow ageing of Arda itself. So that all things coming at last to fullness of form and virtue remained in that state, blissfully, ageing and wearying of their life and being no swifter than the Valar themselves. And this blessing also was granted to the Eldar.

On earth the Quendi suffered no sickness, and the health of their bodies was supported by the might of the longeval far. But their bodies, being of the stuff of Arda, were nonetheless not so enduring as their spirits; for the longevity of the Quendi was derived primarily from their far, whose nature or 'doom' was to abide in Arda until its end. Therefore, after the vitality of the hroa was expended in achieving full growth, it began to weaken or grow weary. Very slowly indeed, but to all the Quendi perceptibly. For a while it would be fortified and maintained by its indwelling fea, and then its vitality would begin to ebb, and its desire for physical life and joy in it would pass ever more swiftly away. Then an Elf would begin (as they say now, for these things did not fully appear in the Elder Days) to 'fade', until the fea as it were consumed the hroa until it remained only in the love and memory of the spirit that had inhabited it. (Myths Transformed XI, Morgoth's Ring)

The Elves' healing powers led them to desire to preserve perishable things. Sometimes they went too far with this... the Elfstone and Rings of Power were examples.

In the first we see a sort of second fall or at least 'error' of the Elves. There was nothing wrong essentially in their lingering against counsel, still sadly with the mortal lands of their old heroic deeds. But they wanted to have their cake without eating it. They wanted the peace and bliss and perfect memory of 'The West', and yet to remain on the ordinary earth where their prestige as the highest people, above wild Elves, dwarves, and Men, was greater than at the bottom of the hierarchy of Valinor. They thus became obsessed with 'fading', the mode in which the changes of time (the law of the world under the sun) was perceived by them. They became sad, and their art (shall we say) antiquarian, and their efforts all really a kind of embalming even though they also retained the old motive of their kind, the adornment of earth, and the healing of its hurts. ~ (Letters 131)
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Here's an in-character *treatise* on The Healing of the Eldar
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