[[ read online ePUB ]] The Real Middle EarthAuthor Brian Bates – Schematicwiringdiagram.co

The Real Middle Ages The Real Middle Ages The Real Middle Ages podcast webpage Menu Series Guide Bibliography Contact EpisodeCharles the Simple In this episode we take a look at the king of the West Franks, Charles the Simple Charles the Simple looking very regal Charles the Simple presenting his daughter, Gisla, to Rollo Author Therealmiddleages Posted on May ,Categories podcast Leave a comment on EpisodeThe Real Middle Earth Exploring the Magic andNotRetrouvez The Real Middle Earth Exploring the Magic and Mystery of the Middle Ages, JRR Tolkien, and the Lord of the Rings et des millions de livresThe Real Middle Earth Exploring the Magic andNotRetrouvez The Real Middle Earth Exploring the Magic and Mystery of the Middle Ages, JRR Tolkien, and The Lord of the Rings Reprint edition by Bates, BrianPaperback et des millions de livres en stock surAchetez neuf ou d occasionThe Real Middle Earth Magic and Mystery inNotRetrouvez The Real Middle Earth Magic and Mystery in the Dark Ages et des millions de livres en stock surAchetez neuf ou d occasion DNZ The Real Middle Earth TV MovieIMDb With Jim Hickey, Susan Wood, Peter Jackson, Ian Alexander Jim Hickey travels around New Zealand discovering the real people behind the making of the Lord of the Rings trilogy Watch The Real Middle Earth Prime Videoout ofstars Good way to present the real sources of the mythical Middle Earth Reviewed in the United States on February ,Verified Purchase The narrative is good, but the biography of Tolkien wasinformative than this documentary Finding the original places that inspired him to create the middle Earth was very interesting, but in my opinion many comments assume we know REAL MIDDLE EARTH The Real Middle Earth brings alive, for the first time, the very real civilization in which those who lived had a vision of life animated by beings beyond the material world Magic was real to these people and they believed their universe was held together by an interlaced web of golden threads visible only to wizards At its center was MiddleANALYSIS The real new Middle East reality Middle ANALYSIS The real new Middle East reality The Middle East has undergone a massive realignment, dividing the region up into two camps one allied with the West, the other led by Iran Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey The Middle Official Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey The Middle Official Music Video Watch the official music video for The Middle Subscribe to Zedd s channel to stay up to date o The Middle Wikipdia

10 thoughts on “The Real Middle Earth

  1. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    I was given this book as a present and was happy to get rid of it.

    The author makes some big assumptions that are never proven for example that the religious world of the Norse was the same as that of the pagan Anglo-Saxons despite six hundred years difference and God alone knows how much influence from surrounding cultures, or that the images on the Gundestrup cauldron can be used as evidence of the beliefs of ancient Britain, which if was actually made in ancient Thrace would be beyond remarkable. The implicit assumption was that there was some kind of continuous unity of thought and belief across pre-Christian Europe for centuries, which is both unprovable and highly unlikely.

    We live in the world in which a Buddhist dialogue about the life of Buddha became the story of two Christian saints Barlaam and Josaphat. People talk, they tell each other stories, ideas spread and change. All our written sources for Anglo-Saxon and Norse belief were composed in a Christian context. Or rather there was a tangled mish-mash of beliefs, ideas and preconceptions, for us looking in from the outside some elements appear to be Christian and some not. What is clear is that if certain herbs and incantations were believed to have magic power, so was the consecrated host and the relics of the saints.

    Yes significant trees can be found in Anglo-Saxon verse but that does not mean that everything that we can deduce from Norse mythology about trees was also true of the Anglo-Saxons and their world vision. Irminsul and Yggdrasil may spring from a common root but the fruits may not have been identical. By the time you reach the level of vagueness of noting that significant trees can be found in many shamanistic cultures worldwide you have reached an insight that has strictly limited value when discussing the local and the particular.

    That is the problem of this book. No mechanism, beyond the faith of the reader, is proposed to explain why, uniquely, a Celtic-Anglo-Saxon-Norse thought world could be a unified, consistent and coherent whole unaffected by outside influences. But having assumed that the author feels free to cherry pick what ever bits he likes to arrange a still life of what he believes about the thought world of early medieval England and Scandinavia.

  2. Tim Pendry Tim Pendry says:

    Brian Bates is not a historian but a fairly senior academic psychologist who has specialised in 'deep imagination' and 'shamanic consciousness'.

    This makes this an oddity of a book because his undoubted knowledge of the limited amount of material that survives about Middle Earth cultures and consciousness (largely Anglo-Saxon for Bates but also Viking and Celtic) is reviewed through the lens of a broader interest in the instinctive and (he believes) natural modes of consciousness for indigenous peoples.

    The McGuffin in the book is Tolkien but, though the references back to the great exponent of English 'radical nostalgia' are fairly sensible and relevant, this is just to get the average reader hooked on the unarguable thesis - that Tolkien was referring back to a real Middle Earth of magic and 'mystery' that existed around the North Sea and in the British Isles for a thousand years.

    Bates has a deeper cultural purpose here. English cultural politics is still a war between a benign form of 'blood and soil' and the legions of Rome (represented by Christianity).

    Bates has a consciously neo-pagan sensibility and his attitude to Christianity is, like that of most neo-pagans today, broadly hostile, representing it as the imposition of unwarranted authority (both that of the burgeoning state and that of an educated priestly caste) on an indigenous folk culture that he characterises (with justification) as having a shamanic base.

    English 'blood and soil' thinking is definitely not of the Radical Right as it is in the bulk of Europe and in North America. English exceptionalism is a cultural and political reality and it underpins the deep instinctive suspicion of many English people about the European project as well as the imperial pretensions of the 'British' Crown.

    It is certainly no accident that Bates is based in the most neo-pagan and green city in Britain (Brighton) and it may equally be no accident that Thomas Paine's original English base, if briefly, was only a little to the north in South Saxon Lewes which still has a definite pagan feel around its famous bonfire festival. It burns 'Rome' with an enthusiasm that is more than Protestant. English libertarian thought fluctuates between a radical rationalism and a wistful neo-pagan nostalgia but both have their enemy in excessive executive authority and foreign tyranny. Neither, for example, is very happy about the visit of Pope Benedict after the UK General Election!

    English 'blood and soil' thinking has long since lost the blood component (impossible to maintain in one of the most urbanised and cosmopolitan countries in the world) and replaced it with re-envisioning of the soil element to encompass both a green approach to the environment and a highly anarcho-libertarian approach to society and the 'soul'.

    The neo-pagan revival itself which underpins this book and which has its radical nostalgic components is a phenomenon of only the last fifty or sixty years (although there are literary and artistic antecedents going back to the end of the eighteenth century in the 'country' cultural elite). What started out as a definitely eccentric English response to modernisation that looked backwards and was mocked by the mainstream culture has transformed into an increasingly mass populist movement that has now claimed 'religious' status.

    Mockery has been replaced by a studious attempt by the London metrpolitan elite to ignore neo-paganism as an embarrassment but the movement, which emphasises individual freedom and responsibility, communities of choice based on ritual rather than dogma and a strong resistance to imposed authority, has spread through the lower middle parts of society and internationally as a form of cultural resistance movement to elite failures and the callousness of the market.

    This process may be expected to continue, partly because the internet and the new social networks are rapidly spreading ideas and partly because, whether it be widespread disillusion with official democracy or the child abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, many 'ordinary' people feel increasingly vindicated in their criticism of established order.

    Professor Bates does not enter into the politics of all this. Indeed, the neo-pagan community tends to wear its a-politics on its sleeve with perhaps an instinctive orientation towards liberalism, environmentalism and anarchism. Only a very few hardened types adopt darker hued commitments to European and North American extremisms of the Right.

    Indeed, Bates makes it fairly clear that Odin (Odinism being the basis of a right-wing Heathen cult though most Heathens are not of the Radical Right by any means) is probably a late construction - a new supreme God designed to counter Roman and Christian ideology with a strong figure that could protect an older shamanic and Wyrd culture based on many tribal gods and nature spirits from direct assault by what would have been a techologically more developed and economically advanced rival.

    The rise of Odin is probably not unconnected with the rise of the Vikings as opportunist and more advanced 'Middle Earth' bandits just as Christian Europe came under pressure in the Dark Ages. The sneaky approach of the Church was always to link its 'auctoritas' with that moment when warlords sought legitimacy to cement their power over not only the population but their own rivals within their elites. On analogy with the later Medieval period's 'bastard feudalism', we might call this 'bastard tribalism'. And that is why Sweden is Lutheran today!

    But, in general, British neo-paganism (there are strong Celtic strands as well) is of the libertarian-left and is likely to remain so.

    What Bates attempts is a re-construction ('reconstructionism' is standard and acceptable practice within the movement) of the spiritual basis of Anglo-Saxon life, attempting, with some success, to re-establish this reconstructed 'religion' as a viable project, an analogue to other indigenous and even East Asian religions linked to the 'deep' psychology of Jung as a more 'natural' approach to the world and the environment than the imposed dogmatic approaches of the religions of the book.

    He does not go too far in attacking the 'other side'. He restricts himself to showing how organised religion systematically appropriated and then neutered folk and tribal practice through a series of well chosen examples scattered throughout the text. In his view (and he is persuasive), this was a conscious and aggressive attempt to shift the population from a direct engagement with the spirit of the wider environment to dependency on the priest as interpreter of that environment. We might say that the Dark Ages did not end with the arrival of the missionaries but began with them and that we are only now coming out into the light again!

    Of course, a word of caution is required. 'Reconstructionism' is flawed, certainly if you think that modern man can reproduce the actual thinking of the past through analogy. The amount of material available through texts and archaeology is limited and analogical thinking is generally a doubtful guide to the truth.

    Local conditions are local conditions and Australian shamanic ceremonies may be like Anglo-Saxon ceremonies and the Way of Wyrd (a central concept for Bates) may be like the Chinese concept of 'chi' but 'like' is not the same as 'same'.

    There is a big 'may have been' about this book and it should be read as a suggestive basis for further reading rather than as a precise account of the truth of the matter - a useful theory but not one to be accepted completely at face value. There is an excellent section of further Notes which show the degree to which Bates has researched his subject and which would be invaluable to anyone who really wanted to get into this subject in any depth and make up their own minds.

    But this caveat should not deter you from reading the book. On the contrary, if the history may be suspect, despite Bates' clear commitment to detailed research, and the attempted link to modern popular culture an edge forced, the psychological points being made are very well taken.

    The reconstruction of Anglo-Saxon indigenous thought really does stand up to scrutiny as an alternative of more value in terms of self development and 'spiritual growth' for many people under many conditions than the imposed authority of dogmatic ideology, whether of the Christ, Mohammed or Pure Reason.

    It cannot be said that all people would think like Anglo-Saxons are purported to have done because a lot of people like being told what to think by others. They need the illusion that something external with a will, like God, or some universal abstract like Reason is or should guide their lives. There is enough psychological research to show that the default position of humanity is to crave authority and I am sure that the real Anglo-Saxons were no different. But, equally, many do not think in these terms and the last thousand years have truly been a dark age for these people until relatively recently.

    Bates' reconstructed Anglo-Saxon spirituality (with nods to cognate Celtic and Nordic versions) is well argued through a succession of chapters that emphasise integration with the actual natural environment (where he is persuasive), the role of liminality (the boundaries between worlds and experiences), the imaginative construction of the world along shamanic lines, the techniques used to access the ecstatic and dream world sources of wisdom and the concept of Wyrd (which steers a fine and persuasive line between fatalism and claims of radical free will).

    Once outlined, much later magical practice can be seen as little more than a degeneration of shamanic practice but that is another book by another person at another time. What emerges from Bates' work is that there is something psychologically natural about indigenous concepts that have been pushed aside by externally imposed authoritarian models of human nature and destiny to the serious detriment of our mental health (if not our physical health).

    One theme is the separation of the soul from the body - the basis of the English culture of 'fetches' and ghosts. Indigenous Anglo-Saxon culture in this sense is closer to Shinto with its idea of spirits being able to access other worlds through liminal gateways, able to be called back from the dead or unable to leave the earth and of spirits of place being propitiated or questioned. In both cultures, trees can have souls and animistic shamanism seems to be the ur-thought of humanity. The Japanese were lucky not to have Rome on their doorstep.

    The shamanic journey is central to Bates' thesis. Using Icelandic examples, he also rehabilitates the women shamans, the ancestors of the much degenerated village witches and folk magicians, some of whom were to pay the price for their plant magic and 'difference' with death in the early modern period.

    Anglo-Saxon culture appeared to have spheres of magic that were appropriate for men and women and another deep sadness about the advent of Christianity is how, in taking magic away from the general population, it particularly dispossessed women even as it strengthened the position of some women in other ways through an imposed authoritarian sexual morality in place of a customary and community one.

    Both would have been conservative cultures but the former was based on how women as groups like to order their own affairs (perhaps in the usual creative struggle with men) whereas the latter was an imposition of standards drafted by some men at the expense of both free male and female choice, allegedly to protect women. The free negotiation was taken out of culture and law imposed not by custom but by Rome - another quietly seething resentment of today's indigenous English against the European project.

    Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the story is political after all - the integration of tribe with the landscape (something felt by many indigenous, especially rural, English today) which represents the blood and soil aspects of the case so much disliked by urban rationalists of the Left.

    The explanation of the dragon as symbol of the decline and fall of cultures that have had their time - a nice example of instinctive English dystopian pessimism - and the avoidance of the places and houses of the fallen ones, much as Anglo-Saxons avoided using abandoned Roman urban stock, may or may not be true but the Roman way (with the reintroduction of Christianity) does seem to be a conscious attempt to declare war on Anglo-Saxon sensibilities. We see the deliberate despoiling and then occupation of pagan centres with their springs and their yew trees in order to turn them into Holy Wells and Church sites.

    We are all aware of genocide but the story of Christianity's assault on paganism appears increasingly like deliberate soul-murder or animicide to be placed alongside other imperial and totalitarian attempts by other ideologies to crush the resistance of the population to new masters. At least pagan Rome merely gave priority to its gods and let others flourish.

    Using Tolkien as his trigger, Bates also explores the role of the elven people as forces of nature, shapeshifting, dwarf magic and animal totems - raven, bear and wolf - and their relationship to society and community. The spider has a whole chapter to itself.

    The wolf, my own totem if you like, is a pack animal on the margins of society and symbol of chaos. The wolf is an enemy to traditional culture (there is undoubtedly something very conservative about Bates' spiritual perspective or, rather, an attempt to re-balance existence into some form of normality). Perhaps the wolf is needed today precisely because our traditional culture is that of an imposed desert mentality in a country once of forests and now an urban jungle.

    It also has to be said that Bates' 'reconstructionism' is married with some very evocative writing which helps to understand better than most academic texts can tell us what it must have been like to live in small, fairly sufficient settlements surrounded by forest and with only hard physical labour, folk remedies and magic available to deal with mental and physical health and ensure adequate nutrition.

    Much of Anglo-Saxon pagan thought is highly practical given the state of knowledge at the time and, given the placebo effect as well, probably of use in half the cases of ill health as well as providing salves against anxiety and depression.

    It is not (and Bates is not fool enough to claim this) a substitute for improved scientific understanding of disease and mental health but the successor Christian culture was no better, merely Christianising pagan spells and incantations by, for example, sticking a saint or two on the front and placing a host where vervain might be. Indeed, it is probable that the genuine benefits of folk medecine and the commitment to the concerns of persons in their environment would have made Anglo-Saxon mental and physical healthcare more rather than less efficacious than much of the text-based nonsense coming from the monasteries.

    Libertarian ignorance based on a community's shared knowledge of the resources of the environment around them strike this reader as superior to an authoritarian ignorance based on texts pulled out of time and place to maintain the economy of church and state.

    Better than either, of course, is a libertarian culture based on science and respect for the environment both. This book is a useful addition to the debate on where England goes next and it should be read by anyone who thinks wisdom comes out of a close reading of texts instead of the actual experience of life.

  3. Cwn_annwn_13 Cwn_annwn_13 says:

    First of all this book talks relativly little about Tolkien or any of his books. What it does is try to capture the "magic" of the places and time periods that Tolkien drew inspiration from for his work, namely post Roman to pre Norman Great Britain, and to a slightly lesser extent Scandinavian and Icelandic society and culture from the same time periods using historical sources, so called "myth", namely the pagan beliefs of the Celts, Norse and Anglo-Saxons and other assorted folk beliefs and tales.

    From what I can gather from reading this book the author seems like he has a similar belief that I have always had that Tolkien on one level was conciously trying to help to write a missing part of our (assuming you are of anglo-celtic-norse ancestry) heritage due to our own ancestors poor job of writng down and recording their own history, and in part to the fact that much of what is known of our pre christian history was written by outsiders to the culture, or people with a biased political agenda, and above all Christian church hierarchy who were more or less under orders to discredit our whole culture as of being of the Jewish satan and to force this demonic alien Jew Yahweh/Jesus god upon our people. Even though Tolkien himself was a devout Catholic, I believe he was conciously trying to "fill in the blanks" in a sense, even though the inspiration and the imagination of the Hobbit/LOTR came from his subconcious ancestral memory as well as the written sources of the time that we have.

    So enough of my psychoanalyzing, on to the book itself. Bates goes into most everything that was "magic" about those times and is very entertaining in doing so talking about the warrior culture, the concept of wyrd and destiny, shapeshifting, the pre christian gods and how the people related to them, how people related to nature, animals, the forest, the land, the use of spells and magic, dwarves and elves, whether you take these things as real or imaginary superstitions they were 100% real to the people of those times.

    This is a great book for anybody who wants to look into the "magic" of those times or for anybody who wants to get a better understanding of where Tolkien got his ideas, both on the concious and subconcious levels.

  4. Sienna Sienna says:

    Ugh. With each section I grew increasingly annoyed: by the hand-holding, the repetition, the sloppy writing and editing, and most of all by Bates's insistence on establishing a dichotomy in which the Christian baddies (those haters!) sucked all of the magic from the 'real Middle Earth'. A surprising reaction from a non-Christian, perhaps, but I'd like to think even — especially? — those sympathetic to popular magic through the ages can observe the march of history without vilifying those who disagree with us. The complicated relationship between Christianity and pagan religions has been pretty well established, and this book's target audience, I suspect, hardly needs convincing. Anyway, there's some fascinating material in here and it's an engaging if light introduction to the hodgepodge of cultures that helped shape Britain.

  5. Rebecca Rebecca says:

    An incredibly detailed, inspiring, imaginative and eye opening insight not only into the every day lives of people growing and living through the so called Dark Ages but also why they believed what they did, how they practiced it, how it related them to the wider world or their local surroundings. Full of facts and snippets from ancient manuscripts covering ancient Germanic Tribes, Anglo-Saxon, Norse, Celtic and many other cultural beliefs.
    I enjoyed it so much, it really was a pleasure to read and I was saddened when it ended.

  6. Michael Michael says:

    Despite the book's flaws as historical and folkloric analysis and, tragically, as a review of Tolkien's sources for his legendarium, I really enjoyed this book, hence it gets four stars.

    I've shelved it as non-fiction, which I think is the author's intention, but it could perhaps be considered more of a Batesian legendarium of a more historically grounded, though fantastical and mythological, imaginary world. Perhaps an attempt to produce a coherent neo-pagan mythology (though I'm not really knowledgeable enough in the area to convincingly speculate)?

  7. James Hockey James Hockey says:

    I started to read this book with high hopes that it would fill in many gaps for me in relation to an area of the Dark Ages about which I know little.

    I was disappointed. There are some references to ancient sites but little hard fact from their archeology. There is much speculation drawn from far eastern Shamanism. Some of the 'evidence' for beliefs and practices is drawn from the books of Lord of the Rings which as far as I'm aware, having read them more times than I care to remember, are novels not works of scholarship although of course written by a leading scholar in matters Anglo-Saxon.

    I am sorry that I was not convinced I certainly wanted to be. I feel I finished with no better an appreciation of Dark Age beliefs and practices than when I started. I was interested in what ordinary people believed less so in speculative spirit journeys of apprentice shamans.

  8. Apocryphal Apocryphal says:

    This is a beginner level book written by psychologist and shamanic studies professor Brian Bates (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_B...) and it is just loaded with interesting little bits of mythical Saxon lore. Here's a look at some of what it covers:

    Saxon cosmology
    The people of the dark ages (the author sees the Celts, Germanic tribes, and Norse as part of a pan-European culture)
    How they lived
    Their perception of forests
    Their reaction to what the Romans left behind
    Dragon and their lairs
    Treasure hoards
    Elf shot
    Wells and waterways
    Shape changers
    Voyaging to the spirit world
    Wyrd, and those who weave it and can read it.
    Dwarven craftsmanship
    Magical bonds
    Shamanic initiation (and spiders)
    The journey of the dead.

    That's a lot of ground, as you can see, but it's given to us in lively and pleasant prose and is quite accessible. It also appears to be well researched - there's an extensive bibliography at the end (though to be fair, several Amazon reviewers have criticized the book for being inaccurate in places), though in spite of this the author makes a few gaffs.

    The book takes the approach of trying to define Anglo-Saxon culture from all sides, looking at the writings of Romans (especially Tacitus), Christian monks, and later Scandinavian and Icelandic texts, and of course Anglo-Saxon texts, too. From this, we get a rather broad but impressionistic feel for the zeitgeist of the time.

    My criticisms of the book are minor. I've already mentioned that there are historical inaccuracies, but considering we're talking about the dark ages, one shouldn't expect much precision from the data, I don't think. In terms of the title, it's a bit gimmicky in trying to tap in on the popularity of the movies, which were being released when this book was published. The author does mention Tolkien and how he was inspired by Saxon lore, but maybe only once every 2 chapters - just enough to make sense of the title. Tolkien is obviously not the thrust of the book, but Tolkien fans might still find it interesting, I think. Lastly, it strays from time to time into self-indulgence, enough to make me wince, but not enough to mar the book as a whole.

    I'd recommend it as a starting point for anyone interested in reading up on the spiritual thinking of past people.

  9. The Antiquary The Antiquary says:

    An excellent idea - and the frequently conversational style is as clear as a bell. Unfortunately what spoils it for me is that when this style dominates the author too often is just belabouring the obvious. For example, I can do without being told in a whole paragraph simply that today we take clean water for granted. And the author's presentation of the Dark Age world-view feels very alien, with comments that betray little instinctual understanding. Still, fairly informative once you get past the padding.

    A much better book, while it concentrates more on Tolkien's work, philology and mythological sources rather than straight history, is Tom Shippey's The Road To Middle Earth.

  10. James M. Madsen, M.D. James M. Madsen, M.D. says:

    An excellent and highly readable of Norse and Anglo-Saxon mythology and practices in the Dark Ages. The focus is not on Tolkien's Middle-earth (which Bates misspells in the title) but rather on the rich background of the cultures from which Tolkien drew his inspiration.