Like your typical male Neanderthal, it ordinarily takes something earth shattering to make me cry. It would be something akin to getting a finger lopped off or losing everything and becoming homeless.
That's why I find it strange that I often find myself fighting back tears when listening to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack through headphones. I think there's more going on than just the fact that Howard Shore's compositions are unusually noble, majestic and powerful. There's more going on than just the fact that Peter Jackson's movie adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's novels was the greatest movie trilogy in history.
It's more like a deep level resonance that awakens something in your soul that has been in hibernation. It's a deep remembrance of a long forgotten part of you. It's a distant siren from the depths of your psyche calling you home across the white shores.
It was the same reaction I had almost 20 years ago the very first time I heard Enya's "Watermark." Here was this dark Irish goddess singing to me in a forgotten language, Gaelic.
It was in that moment of emotional epiphany, from the "something" that Enya awakened within me, that I began to be drawn to the Celtic revival movement. It was a revelation to me that, not only was there a forgotten language that I knew nothing about, but there was an entire vast culture, complete with its own religion, Druidism, that had largely been overlooked in lieu of our own McCulture. And there seemed to be an upwelling of this Celtic renaissance from the depths of the western psyche.
I now realize that this partly explains my reaction to the Lord of the Rings phenomenon. Tolkien had deeply absorbed the forgotten lore of the Norse peoples and distilled the essence of that lore into one fantastic tale. And we see in Jackson's movies and Shore's orchestrations a brief but majestic glimpse into a forgotten culture that was, for those of us of Northern European descent, uniquely our own.
Long ago, our people made the mistake of abandoning our ancestral culture. Today, we're paying for it unknowingly through the gnawing search for meaning beyond the post-modern malaise brought on by materialism. Christianity has been slathered like concrete over the Celtic and Nordic soul. But here and there, little tufts of grass poke out of the concrete from time to time, reminding us that beneath the concrete there once grew something natural, something earthy - something living.
Today, we Nordic/Celtic peoples tend to pay homage to every culture but our own indigenous culture. We sanctimoniously defend Native American ancestral religion - yet there remains a taboo about exploring the ancestral religion of the Germanic, Scandinavian and Celtic peoples. We seek out Indian yogis, Tibetan lamas, Chinese acupuncturists or Gypsy Tarot readers, but never a master of the runes.
Christianity, like Islam, you see, tried to impose a monoculture upon the world. One man's "go-ye-therefore-into-all-the-world-and-preach-the-gospel" is another man's global cultural genocide. The world supposedly would be improved if all these indigenous cultures were absorbed into the universal monoculture of Christianity. Or so we were told - and sold.
Nature, however, is diverse. Monocultures are unhealthy in nature and lead to sickness and disease, such as when only a single species of tree is planted in what used to be a diverse forest. Just as monocultures can lead to diseases amongst plant species, monocultures in society leads to diseases of the psyche.
We may think that we're more advanced spiritually than our ancestors when in many ways we're not. The Icelandic language had at least nine different words for the psychophysical complex, whereas today we have basically a vague notion of "soul" and "spirit." When we lost our Nordic languages, we lost many nuances of our spiritual understanding and thereby were left with a dumbed-down shell of our former knowledge.
Today, we wonder why the entire planet has been thrown out of balance. We never stop to think that we're living out the results of the rejection of our indigenous European culture.
The Druids and Asatru never built temples because they saw nature, especially sacred forest groves, as the clearest expression of the divine. If it had been the Druids who had settled this country, you would not have seen photographs of them standing next to fallen 500-year-old trees, smiling as if they'd shot their first buck, as we see in so many photos from our grandparents' generation.
Like the lament of "Treebeard" in The Two Towers, we as a society have become like the evil Saruman, whose mind turned to metal and lost the love of growing things. It is my argument that our environmental crisis is an indirect result of the Christianization of Western Civilization, which diminished the role of nature in the way people related to the divine within and without.
The smashing away of concrete may be a shocking and disruptive prospect. But it is a necessary act in order to allow what has long been dormant underneath the surface of our psyches to come alive, once again, and to grow in the sunlight of a new day.
Only then will Middle Earth become a reflection of the nobility we lost when we abandoned our ancestral lore. Only when the numbing effect of concrete has been removed will our souls awaken from sleep and grow into a Celtic knot-work worthy of our greatest artistic creations.