Ilúvatar (Eru) – He That is Alone
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
“There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made.”
Ilúvatur lived in the Timeless Halls, beyond the confines of the World, but held apart from the Void. His first creations were the Ainur, his Holy Ones, the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made.
When Ilúvatar created the Ainur, he showed them how to create music, and they sang before him – each on their own. Eventually, as they sang, their understanding of music and all the other Ainur increased, and when that happened, Ilúvatar called them all together. He told them to create a Great Music together, using each of their own talents and powers to add to the theme.
The voices of the Ainur were like harps and lutes, pipes and trumpets, viols and organs, as well as the voices of countless choirs, and together they created a melody of endless interchanging melodies woven in harmony. The Music flowed out from the dwelling of Ilúvatar into the Void, and the Void was filled for the first time.
As the theme progressed, Melkor decided that he would weave matters of his own imagination into the harmony – matters that were not in line with the theme of Ilúvatar. These thoughts were designed only to give Melkor more power and glory within the Music. Melkor’s thoughts caused discord in the Music, and those Ainur nearest to him faltered in their tunes. Some adjusted their own melodies to that of Melkor until the whole melody unravelled and was in discord.
Ilúvatar then rose, lifted his left hand, and began a new theme amidst the storm. But again the discord of Melkor rose up against it until the sound was more brash and violent than before. Many of the Ainur were dismayed and sang no longer, giving Melkor mastery over the Music.
Ilúvatar rose again, lifted his right hand, and brought forth yet another theme. This one was soft, a small rippling of gentle music, but it could not be subdued by Melkor, and it grew in power until it was as strong as the music of Melkor. The two musics were utterly different – Melkor’s was loud, brash and endlessly repeated; while that of Ilúvatar was deep, beautiful, slow and composed of sorrow.
The two Musics competed against each other until Ilúvatar rose again, raised up both hands, and in one chord – infinitely deep, high and piercing – the Music ceased.
“Then Ilúvatar spoke, and he said: ‘Mighty are the Ainur, and mightiest among them is Melkor; but that he may know, and all the Ainur, that I am Ilúvatar, those things that ye have sung, I will show them forth, that ye may see what ye have done. And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.'”
The Third Theme
While the Ainur had participated fully in the first two themes of the Music, in the Third, there were some things which Ilúvatar did not reveal to any but himself. One thing in particular he showed to the Ainur that they marvelled at, for only Ilúvatar had brought them into being, with the Ainur having had no part in the making of this strain of Ilúvatar’s song. For in the third theme was sung the making of the Children of Ilúvatar, who were known as Elves and Men.
Ilúvatar chose a place for their dwelling amid the stars in the Deeps of Time, and when the Ainur saw this world, in a vision as it were, many of the thoughts and desires of the great among them were bent towards that place.
The vision of Arda was only a foreshadowing of what was to come now that Time had begun. When Ilúvatar actually created the world, saying,”Eä! Let these things Be!”, the Ainur then realised that they had to achieve the results of what they had sung, and many of them went down to Arda to shape the world, under the restriction of Iluvatar that from that point, they would be contained in the World forever.
“And suddenly the Ainur saw afar off a light, as it were a cloud with a living heart of flame; and they knew that this was no vision only, but that Ilúvatar had made a new thing: Eä, the World that Is.”
So there some of the Ainur went, and ruled there under Ilúvatar.
The Flame Imperishable
While the Ainur and the Quendi were created to dwell within the confines of Arda, Ilúvatar gave the Atani – mankind – a different fate. And also death, the gift that came to be known as a curse through many time of the history of Middle-earth:
“‘But the Quendi shall be the fairest of all living creatures, and they shall conceive and bring forth more beauty than all my Children; and they shall have the greater bliss in this world. But to the Atani I will give a new gift.’ Therefore he willed that the hearts of Men should seek beyond the world and find no rest therein; but they should have a virtue to shape their life, amid the powers and chances of the world, beyond the Music of the Ainur, which is as fate to all things else. And of their operation everything should be, in form and deed, completed, and the world fulfilled unto the last and smallest.”
“Death is their fate, the gift of Ilúvatar, which as Time wears even the Powers shall envy.”
Ilúvatar and the Ainur in Valinor
– Manwë and Ilúvatar
Manwë alone of the Valar seemed to have the ability to continue to seek out Ilúvatar for counsel, as he did when considering the fate of the Quendi.
“Manwë sat long in thought upon Taniquetil, and he sought the counsel of Ilúvatar.”
– Festivals of first fruits
Yavanna, the Valie who is the Giver of Fruits, set times for the flowering and ripening of all the growing things of Valinor; and at each gathering of first fruits, Manwë made a high feast in praise of Ilúvatar. Thence came the people of Valinor to pour out their joy in music and song upon Taniquetil. The greatest of these feasts ever to be recorded, took place in the Elder Days, before the fashion of the World was changed, and just before Melkor and Ungoliant despoiled the light of Valinor.
Worship of Ilúvatar in Númenor
The most obvious worship of Ilúvatar in Middle-earth was in Númenor, on Meneltarma, the Pillar of Heaven. Upon it was a high, unroofed place, sacred to his worship. Thrice a year the King would speak there; to offer
“prayer for the coming year at the Erukyerme in the first days of spring, praise of Eru Ilúvatar at the Erulaitale in midsummer, and thanksgiving to him at the Eruhantale at the end of autumn.”
At other times the Númenoreans were free to ascend the mountain, but no one spoke there save the King, so hallowed was it. Whenever anyone climbed to the summit, three eagles would fly in and alight on the rocks toward the western edge of the mountaintop.
“They were called the Witnesses of Manwe, and they were believed to to be sent by him from Aman to keep watch upon the Holy Mountain and upon all the land.”
After the days of Tar-Ancalimon the offerings to Ilúvatar were neglected, and not many generations later, worship of Ilúvatar was banned by Ar-Pharazôn. However, there still remained some few of the Faithful who dwelt at Rómenna, who, although not permitted to ascend the Meneltarma on pain of death, kept Ilúvatar in their hearts. From these Faithful came the lines of the Kings of Arnor and Gondor.
After that time
Little more is said of the doings of Ilúvatar, save that it is said that after the end of days, he will direct the choirs of the Ainur and the Children of Ilúvatar in the making of another music, greater even than that made before the beginning of
Written by LuthienEruanniel