Centaur

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Glaurung

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Mystical Realms Newsletter for June, 2014

Greetings!

And welcome to my newsletter for June, 2014! Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be interested in keeping up with me! To receive these newsletters regularly, please drop me an email or subscribe online from my website (http://www.JefMurray.com ) orat: http://groups.google.com/group/Mystical_Realms .

Pitchers ===============

•      A new, revised, and expanded edition of Seer: A Wizard’s Journal has been announced and will be available for sale later this year.The 2nd edition of this collection of tales, poetry, images and reflections sports a new cover, many interior illustrations that are now reproduced in full colour, plus two “follow on” tales to the opening story, The Watchman, that more fully introduce characters that appear regularly throughout the remainder of the book. For more information, see: http://olorispublishing.mymiddleearth.com/2014/03/25/oloris-publishing-announces-expanded-version-of-seer-a-wizards-journal-by-jef-murray/

 

Prospects ===================

•      The game is on for Tolkien fans in Kentucky! A Long Expected Party 3 (acronym AL3P) is completely booked, but you can still be put on the waiting list for lodgings on-site. You can also stay off-site and still register and join us. I’m delighted to announce that I will be one of three guests at the event, along with Dr. Michael Drout and Dr. Amy Sturgis. For more information, see: http://www.alep-ky.us/

 

Ponderings ==============

It’s humid, and in the 90s (the mid-30s for folks who favour Celsius over Fahrenheit). There’s no breeze. It’s too early for cicadas, but otherwise I’d guess we were in August rather than June. Hills are hazy in the heat, and nothing twitches at high noon save flitting flies.
These are summer days in Georgia; when air is thick and breathing burdensome.

My old high school once had a summer work program that allowed poorer students (or those who just wanted extra pocket money) to earn some summer change. There were paint crews that refreshed dingy dormitory rooms, cleaning crews that stripped floors and washed windows. Pretty much anyone could get one of these jobs, even overweight bookworms such as myself.

I was in high school during the 70s, when the liberalism of the 1960s was coming home to roost. From age 13 to 18, many of us found ourselves in a culture that was retooling social, political, and sexual mores, and “do your own thing” was the guiding principle. We were cast adrift in a sea of hormones at a time when no one believed
in solid land.

J.R.R. Tolkien himself had just passed away, and on a hot, Georgia summer’s day, on a wooded high-school campus that evoked images of the Shire, I first opened the pages of The Fellowship of the Ring.

What I encountered there was startling. This was not a simple story of good guys versus bad guys, but a nuanced tale that stressed values that perplexed me: values like the deep truth of human dignity, the need for restraint, honour, and courage. Like the ghosts in C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, I read for the “fun stuff,” but tried to studiously ignore those things that went against all the rules of the Love Generation.

Nevertheless, the seeds were planted.

Over the ensuing years, I lived out the itinerary of casual sex, gluttony, deceit, envy, jealousy, and acquisitiveness that were all part and parcel of the “if it feels good, do it” protocol. And if the lessons of Middle-earth didn’t prevent this, they certainly provided a canvas against which the depravity of our generation could be more clearly discerned. Like so many teenagers in the 1970s USA, I was never given the grounding in goodness that might have guided me more gracefully through those tough years. Like so many teenagers then as now, I was taught _not_ to believe in the seven deadly sins, and as a result, I sampled them all.

But Middle-earth always beckoned. And the stories of the Shire, as the stories of Arthur and the Round Table, would whisper to me on muggy summer days from the depths of deep green forests. Here Elves, like all noble creatures, continued to walk the open glens, well beyond the reach of the house-of-cards zeitgeist of the scoffing seventies.

In The Return of the King, Eowyn says to Aragorn, “Too often have I heard of duty….may I not now spend my life as I will?”

To which Aragorn replies, “Few may do that with honour.”

Today, with so many of us, I see no belief in honour; I just see a continuation of the insanity of the seventies. True virtue is hardly ever modeled for young folk in our society, unless they are fortunate enough to be raised in a deeply religious home. And even these men and maidens are struck on all sides by a culture that seems to have collected the worst aspects of the 1960s and 1970s and made them into a commodity; corrosive “truths” that are pushed from every TV set, every radio speaker, and every movie screen.

Eventually, I can put it no more plainly that to say that Someone led me back to the Shire. And J.R.R. Tolkien became, for me, that human being whom I respected enough to listen to, even if my “listening” was to his letters, written decades before to folk I would never know. Those things that he treasured, I was eventually able to see as sound; those things that he found unworthy, I became willing to discard.

And now, on sultry summer days, I can intensely sense the presence of something greater, something more stable, something richer…just past those oak trees, and deep within the pooling shadows of the woods of summer. I can sense that True Middle-earth trying to tease all of us away from the porn sites and the shopping malls and back into an adventure that can only be unlocked through virtue, patience,
sacrifice…and prayer.

Take a walk in these summer woods. Breathe the ripeness of earth growing and mysteries milling. Model nobility, honour, courage, and restraint for those around you; and I promise you that, some day, you’ll find that you, too, will have found your way home to Middle- earth.

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Mermaid

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…Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die…

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…Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone….

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Three Rings for the Elven Kings Under the Sky….

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Echoes on the Road, Study (Sam, Frodo, and Pippin)

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Mystical Realms Newsletter for May, 2014

Greetings!

And welcome to my newsletter for May, 2014! Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be interested in keeping up with me! To receive these newsletters regularly, please drop me an email or subscribe online from my website (http://www.JefMurray.com ) or at: http://groups.google.com/group/Mystical_Realms .

 

Pitchers ===============

•      I’ve added 2 new painting images to my website at www.JefMurray.com . These include La Belle et la Bête and The Knighting of Gimli. The first of these can be found in my Fairy Tales gallery, and the second can be found in my Middle-earth -> The Third Age -> Lord of the Rings gallery. You can also find them all by going to http://www.JefMurray.com and clicking on the “Newest Works->Paintings” link at the top, left.

•       In addition to the three paintings, I have added four new graphite sketch images to the Middle-earth, Fairy Tale, and Soul & Spirit sketch galleries. You can see all of the latest together by clicking on the “Newest Works -> Sketches” link at the top, left my home page, www.JefMurray.com .

•      A new, revised, and expanded edition of Seer: A Wizard’s Journal has been announced and will be available for sale very soon! The 2nd edition of this collection of tales, poetry, images and reflections sports a new cover, many interior illustrations that are now reproduced in full colour, plus two “follow on” tales to the opening story, The Watchman, that more fully introduce characters that appear regularly throughout the remainder of the book. For more information, see: http://olorispublishing.mymiddleearth.com/2014/03/25/oloris-publishing-announces-expanded-version-of-seer-a-wizards-journal-by-jef-murray/

 

Prospects ===================

•      The game is on for Tolkien fans in Kentucky! A Long Expected Party 3 (acronym AL3P) is completely booked, but you can still be put on the waiting list for lodgings on-site. You can also stay off-site and still register and join us. I’m delighted to announce that I will be one of three guests at the event, along with Dr. Michael Drout and Dr. Amy Sturgis. For more information, see: http://www.alep-ky.us/

 

Ponderings ==============

“Do you think she’ll come back?”

The two girls sat huddled beneath the eaves of the forest. The unsettled breezes of the last day of April stirred the dogwood boughs, mottling the light of the newly-risen full moon. The gusts of damp air moved on, lifting branches and scattering oak catkins throughout the valley below them.

“I don’t think she’ll have much of a choice,” said the older girl. Her name was Megan.

“What do you mean?” Polly looked up at her sister. She scratched at the first mosquito bite of the season.

“Well, Elves are magical, aren’t they?”

“Sure,” said Polly.

“Well, when we saw her, she was dancing in the moonlight, right?”

“Right.”

“And it’s May Eve, right?”

“So?”

“So…whoever sees one of the Fair Folk on Beltane always gets a wish.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course!” said Megan. “You’re so stupid…you don’t know anything! Everybody knows you get a wish if you see a Fairy on May Eve!!!”

Polly rolled her eyes. “Well, then, what are you going to wish for?”

“I don’t know yet. More wishes, maybe…”

“I don’t think that’s allowed….”

“What do you know?! I’m going to ask for enough wishes that I can become Queen!”

“There is no Queen!”

“Well, there will be, once I’ve got my wishes! And then I’ll have the finest husband, and all the jewels and clothes I could ever want!”

“What if the Elf doesn’t want you to have all those things? What if they’re not good for you?”

“She’ll have no choice. They’re my wishes, after all! And what do you mean, not good for me?! What could be better than my being able to decide what’s right and what’s wrong? Why, I shall be the wisest woman in all the world! I’ll be wiser than King Solomon! I will decide the fate of all!!!”

“What if someone doesn’t want you to decide their fate?”

“Well, they’ll have no choice! Once I have my wishes, my will shall prevail!” Megan’s eyes gleamed as she looked eagerly toward the glade where they had seen the Elf maiden dancing.

Polly sighed and shifted away from her sister. “You were right,” she said, whispering so that her sister couldn’t hear.

A chiming, silvery voice answered her from the shadows of the oak tree beside her. “Yes, but there is no helping it; she is right. A wish must be granted; it is May Eve.”

“Must it be my sister’s wish?”

“You each get a wish, because you both saw me in the glade.”

Polly thought for a moment. “Could my wish be that we had never seen you in the glade?”

There was a pause, and all Polly could hear was crickets tuning up for their evening serenade. But then came a peal of merry laughter from the shadows.

“Yes, of course!” came the answer. “But, your sister would still be granted a wish, regardless.”

Polly thought for a moment. “OK, then that’s what I’d like to wish for…that we had never seen you tonight.”

o o o

“I hate these things!” said Megan, slapping at her neck.

“What things?!” asked Polly. She felt disoriented…dizzy, even.

“The mosquitoes of course!” Megan slapped again at her neck. “And I’m tired of waiting for Fairies! I’m going in!” She stood up and brushed herself off.

“So you don’t think they’re going to come at all?” asked Polly.

“I don’t care if they do! I’m going home!”

“OK,” said Polly, standing up as well. “I’ll come too….”

“Ouch!” said Megan. “These mosquitoes are awful! I wish we’d have just one summer without them!”

Polly didn’t remember anything significant about her sister’s comment until summer ended that year. It was in autumn that it occurred to her that the only mosquito bites she and her sister had gotten all year long had been on May Eve.

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May Eve

May Eve                                                                                    by Jef Murray

“Do you think she’ll come back?”

The two girls sat huddled beneath the eaves of the forest. The unsettled breezes of the last day of April stirred the dogwood boughs, mottling the light of the newly-risen full moon. The gusts of damp air moved on, lifting branches and scattering oak catkins throughout the valley below them.

“I don’t think she’ll have much of a choice,” said the older girl. Her name was Megan.

“What do you mean?” Polly looked up at her sister. She scratched at the first mosquito bite of the season.

“Well, Elves are magical, aren’t they?”

“Sure,” said Polly.

“Well, when we saw her, she was dancing in the moonlight, right?”

“Right.”

“And it’s May Eve, right?”

“So?”

“So…whoever sees one of the Fair Folk on Beltane always gets a wish.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course!” said Megan. “You’re so stupid…you don’t know anything! Everybody knows you get a wish if you see a Fairy on May Eve!!!”

Polly rolled her eyes. “Well, then, what are you going to wish for?”

“I don’t know yet. More wishes, maybe…”

“I don’t think that’s allowed….”

“What do you know?! I’m going to ask for enough wishes that I can become Queen!”

“There is no Queen!”

“Well, there will be, once I’ve got my wishes! And then I’ll have the finest husband, and all the jewels and clothes I could ever want!”

“What if the Elf doesn’t want you to have all those things? What if they’re not good for you?”

“She’ll have no choice. They’re my wishes, after all! And what do you mean, not good for me?! What could be better than my being able to decide what’s right and what’s wrong? Why, I shall be the wisest woman in all the world! I’ll be wiser than King Solomon! I will decide the fate of all!!!”

“What if someone doesn’t want you to decide their fate?”

“Well, they’ll have no choice! Once I have my wishes, my will shall prevail!” Megan’s eyes gleamed as she looked eagerly toward the glade where they had seen the Elf maiden dancing.

Polly sighed and shifted away from her sister. “You were right,” she said, whispering so that her sister couldn’t hear.

A chiming, silvery voice answered her from the shadows of the oak tree beside her. “Yes, but there is no helping it; she is right. A wish must be granted; it is May Eve.”

“Must it be my sister’s wish?”

“You each get a wish, because you both saw me in the glade.”

Polly thought for a moment. “Could my wish be that we had never seen you in the glade?”

There was a pause, and all Polly could hear was crickets tuning up for their evening serenade. But then came a peal of merry laughter from the shadows.

“Yes, of course!” came the answer. “But, your sister would still be granted a wish, regardless.”

Polly thought for a moment. “OK, then that’s what I’d like to wish for…that we had never seen you tonight.”

o o o

“I hate these things!” said Megan, slapping at her neck.

“What things?!” asked Polly. She felt disoriented…dizzy, even.

“The mosquitoes of course!” Megan slapped again at her neck. “And I’m tired of waiting for Fairies! I’m going in!” She stood up and brushed herself off.

“So you don’t think they’re going to come at all?” asked Polly.

“I don’t care if they do! I’m going home!”

“OK,” said Polly, standing up as well. “I’ll come too….”

“Ouch!” said Megan. “These mosquitoes are awful! I wish we’d have just one summer without them!”

Polly didn’t remember anything significant about her sister’s comment until summer ended that year. It was in autumn that it occurred to her that the only mosquito bites she and her sister had gotten all year long had been on May Eve.

 

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