An interesting idea occurred to me the other day. Really, it was perhaps more of an intuition than an idea, an idea being what one creates one’s self. The other is perhaps more of a perception than an imaginary construct. The observation I had was this: I notice in some metaphysical and fantasy writings the balances occurring between light and shadow, right and wrong, and good and evil.
There are two examples of this that I happened to come across the other day. The first is a series of books most of us are familiar with, The Lord of the Rings. You’ll notice that in the beginning of the book, there’s a haunting rhyme about the nature of the rings, some of which are good, some of which are bad. What I noticed was that the number of good rings in the poem equal ten. This is also true for the number of evil rings. The One Ring and the nine rings of mortal men doomed to die, the ones worn by the ringwraiths, amount to ten, while the seven dwarf rings and the three elven rings also amount to the same number. Is this pure chance? Did Tolkein intend this sort of equilibrium between light and dark semblances in his voluminous, enthralling series of books. We can only conjecture. I’ve read a little bit about Tolkein’s past but can remember reading nothing about this issue. So is this fact some sort of unconscious archetype that emerged within his mind, some sort of advanced algorithim that quietly found its way into his mind, the origins of which he was oblivious to himself? Maybe, but the fact that the number ten emerges so neatly, as if some numerological figure, suggests an interesting possibility about what he and other myth makers are saying about the nature of evil.
The second example is perhaps even more interesting, and this one is connected to the significations of the planets in astrology. We all probably know that there are, or were, seven major planets in astrology, each of which governs some field of life as conduit for the expression of the gods. Nearly all ancient cultures believed in this ancient lore, and it is a telling trait that the planets’ significations are also configured in a way that form a type of symmetry or balance between good and evil. As you might already know, Jupiter, Venus, and Moon are the benefic planets, which often give us blessings and favors in life, while the so-called malefics are Saturn, Mars, and Sun, which are believed to cause humanity greater hardship and struggle. Mercury is a considered a neutral, a sort of referee who takes on the guise and characteristics of the other planets it is associated with. So here the paradigm is found again: a symmetrical balance of forces that interplay and all have a complex functioning within the human existence. And again, like in Lord of the Rings, these forces are completely equal.
Does this mean that good and evil, the oldest plot formula in mythology and storytelling, are in fact a balanced force within creation? I suspect maybe it does.