Realm of the Ring Lords
The Ancient Legacy of the Ring and the Grail
by Laurence Gardner
From the earliest of Sumerian and Scythian times, over 5,000 years ago, the abiding symbol of wholeness, unity and eternity was the Ring. In those days, the kings-of-kings were also styled Ring Lords by virtue of their Rings of office which symbolised divinely inspired justice. They were golden circlets which, as time progressed, were often worn as head-bands – ultimately to become crowns.
As depicted in numerous reliefs, the Ring was a primary device of the Anunnaki gods, who were recorded as having descended into ancient Sumer and were responsible for the establishment of municipal government and kingly practice. In view of this, it is of particular relevance that, when the author J.R.R. Tolkien was asked, in the 1960s, about the Middle-earth environment of his book trilogy The Lord of the Rings, he said that he perceived its setting to relate to about 4000 BC.
Tolkien was an Oxford professor of Anglo-Saxon language and, in this regard, the root of his popular tale was extracted directly from Saxon folklore. Indeed, the early Saxon god Wotan (Odin) was said to have ruled the Nine Worlds of the Rings – having the ninth (the One Ring) to govern eight others.
As the generations passed from those ancient times, the ideal of dynastic kingship spread through the Mediterranean lands into the Balkans, the Black Sea regions and Europe. But, in the course of this, the crucial essence of the old wisdom was diluted and this gave rise to dynasties that were not of the original kingly race. Instead, many were unrelated warrior chiefs who gained their thrones by might of the sword.
The oldest complete version of the Ring Cycle comes from the Norse mythology of the Volsunga Saga. Compiled from more than forty separate legends, this Icelandic tale relates to the god Odin, to the kingdom of the Nine Worlds and to a dark forest called Mirkwood – a name later repeated by Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings. It tells of how Prince Sigmund of the Volsung dynasty is the only warrior able to pull the great sword of Odin from a tree in which the god had driven it to its hilt – as replicated in the Arthurian story of the sword and the stone. Additionally, we learn of the water-dwarf Andarvi, whose magical One Ring of red-gold could weave great wealth and power for its master – precisely as depicted in all related Ring legends.
Contemporary with the Volsunga Saga was a similar tale which appeared in and around Burgundy in the 1200s: a German epic called The Nibelungenlied. In this account, which follows a similar path, the hero is called Siegfried and the tale is given a knightly gloss of the Gothic era, while unfortunately losing some of the pagan enchantment of the Northern legend.
In ancient Sumer, the Anunnaki were said to have governed by way of a Grand Assembly of nine Councillors who sat at Nippur. The nine consisted of eight members (seven males and a female), who held the Rings of divine justice, along with their president, Anu, who held the One Ring to bind them all. This conforms precisely with the nine kingdoms of the Volsunga Saga, which cites Odin as the ultimate presidential Ring Lord.
In recent times there have been some astonishing archaeological discoveries which now prove that Sumerian was not the first written language as is commonly portrayed. Also that the Sumerian culture (generally held to be the earliest cradle of civilization) had an older origin in the Balkans, specifically in Transylvania and the Carpathian regions.
The earliest type of Mesopotamian writing, which preceded the strictly wedge-shaped Sumerian cuneiform, is known to be a little over 5,500 years old. It was found at Uruk in Sumer and at Jemdat Nasr, between Baghdad and Babylon, where the Oxford Assyriologist, Stephen Langdon, made numerous important discoveries in 1925. But, around thirty years ago a more significant find was subsequently made beneath the ancient village of Tartaria in Romania. Here were found clay tablets inscribed with a form of script which Carbon-14 dating and strata positioning have revealed to be more than 1,000 years older than the earliest Sumerian writings.
That was not the only surprise, however, for the Tartarian symbols were practically identical to those which emerged later in Mesopotamia. – and it was discovered that the very name of Ur (the capital of Sumer) came from the Scythian word Ur, meaning Lord. Not only that, but the name of Enki is clearly defined on one tablet in an identical form to that subsequently used in Sumer. Hence, it became very apparent that the Anunnaki culture was far more widespread than had previously been thought.
Another significant discovery was made high in the Altai Mountains between Siberia and Mongolia. There, preserved by the severe cold since the distant BC years, was found a Scythian burial mound, where the bodies of ancient chieftains, together with their horses, clothing and possessions had all been remarkably preserved from decay.
These were the people who, in the Black Sea steppe lands, first domesticated the horse in about 4000 BC. Consequently, the extent of their travels through the centuries and their influence on the various indigenous cultures is most impressive. It ranges geographically from Hungary and Romania, north into the Russian steppes and Siberia, eastwards across the Ukraine and Anatolia (modern Turkey), south into Syria and Mesopotamia, and still further east into Mongolia, Tibet and the Chinese border country.
Digging first commenced at the Altai site in 1927, but it was not until 1947 that the richest mound containing six separate tombs was discovered and the various bodies found. They were preserved not only by the extreme cold of the region, but also by skilled embalming. There was hair on their heads, but their brains had been removed, along with other internal organs (just as in Egyptian mummification).
Some way south of the Altai site, in the northern foothills of the Himalayas, are the centres of Hami, Loulan and Churchen. It was close to these places, nestling in the Tarim Basin below Mongolia, to the north of Tibet, that a number of similar discoveries were made as recently as 1994. Unlike the intensely cold climate of the Altai Mountains, this lower region of the Central Asian desert is quite different, as a result of which the bodies were preserved in the perfectly dry air, coupled with moisture-absorbing salt beds and, again, expert mummification.
Dated at around 4,000 years old, these interred men, women and children have undermined all the established history teaching of the area, which previously stated that no one of their type arrived there until about 120 BC. But there they were from 2,000 years earlier at the time of Abraham, when Egyptian pharaohs such as Tutankhamun and Ramesses the Great were more than 500 years into the future. These mummies, although contemporary with the mummies of ancient Egypt, are actually far better preserved.
Like their Romanian counterparts, the Himalayan mummies are of impressive stock, with light skin, auburn hair and pale eyes. The leather and woollen clad men stood at least 6-feet, 6-inches and upwards, while even the women were over 6-feet tall. Undoubtedly, these forebears of the Gaelic High Kings were among the most formidable warriors of their time, and their use of finely woven tartan cloth serves as identifiable proof of the plaid designs which they eventually brought into Ireland and Scotland.
From the 1st century, the Ring Lord culture fell into decline when various Roman emperors decreed that the Messianic heirs (the descendants of Jesus and his family) should be hunted down and put to the sword. This fact was recorded by eminent chroniclers such as Hegesippus, Africanus and Eusebius. Then, once the Roman Church was operative from the 4th century, the sacred dynasty was forever damned by the bishops.
It was this formal damnation which led to such events as the Albigensian Crusade in 1209 and the subsequent Catholic Inquisitions – for these brutal assaults by the papal machine were specifically directed against the upholders and champions of the original concept of Grail kingship, as against the style of pseudo-monarchy which had been implemented by the Bishops of Rome.
In practical terms, Church kingship has prevailed from the 8th century and has continued, through the ages, to the present day. But the fact is that, under strict terms of sovereign practice, all such monarchies and their affiliated governments have been invalid.
Church kingship is precisely that with which we have become so familiar. It applies to all monarchs who achieve their regnal positions by way of Church coronation by the Pope or other Christian leader (in Britain, by the Archbishop of Canterbury). Previously, in terms of true kingship, there was no necessity for coronation because kingly and queenly inheritance were always regarded as being ‘in the blood’.
The change was made possible by way of a text called the Donation of Constantine – a document which led to just about every social injustice that has since been experienced in the Christian world. When the Donation made its first appearance in 751, it was alleged to have been written by Emperor Constantine some 400 years earlier, although strangely never produced in the interim. It was even dated and carried his supposed signature. What the document proclaimed was that the Emperor’s appointed Pope was Christ’s personally elected representative on Earth. He had the power to ‘create’ kings as his subordinates since his palace ranked above all the palaces in the world.
The provisions of the Donation were enacted by the Vatican, whereupon the Merovingian Kings of the Grail bloodline in Gaul were deposed and a whole new puppet-dynasty was supplemented by way of a family of hitherto mayors. They were dubbed Carolingians and their only king of any significance was the legendary Charlemagne. By way of this strategy, the whole nature of monarchy changed from being an office of community guardianship to one of absolute rule and, by virtue of this monumental change, the long-standing code of princely service was forsaken as European kings became servants of the Church instead of being servants of the people.
The fact is, however, that over 500 years ago in the Renaissance era, proof emerged that the Donation was an outright forgery. Its New Testament references relate to the Latin Vulgate Bible – an edition translated and compiled by St. Jerome, who was not born until AD 340, some 26 years after Constantine supposedly signed the document! Apart from that, the language of the Donation, with its numerous anachronisms in form and content, is that of the 8th century and bears no relation to the writing style of Constantine’s day. But the truly ridiculous aspect is that the Donation’s overwhelming dictate, which cemented the Pope as the supreme spiritual and temporal head of Christendom, has prevailed regardless.
Victimized prior to the formal Church Inquisition in the Middle Ages were the Cathars of the Languedoc region in the South of France. The Cathars were fully conversant with the Ring Lord culture and, in accordance with tradition, referred to the Messianic bloodline as the Elven Race, venerating them as the Shining Ones.
In the language of old Provence, a female elf was an ‘albi’, and Albi was the name given to the main Cathar centre in Languedoc. This was in deference to the matrilinear heritage of the Grail dynasty, for the Cathars were supporters of the Albi-gens – the elven bloodline which had descended through the Grail queens such as Lilith, Miriam, Bathsheba and Mary Magdalene. It was for this reason that, when Simon de Montfort and the armies of Pope Innocent III decimated the region from 1209, it was called the Albigensian Crusade.
The concept of calling the original princely race the Shining Ones, while also defining them as ‘elves’, dates well back into ancient Bible times and can be traced into Mesopotamia and Palestine. The ancient word El, which was used to identify a god or lofty-one (as in El Elyon and El Shaddai) actually meant Shining in old Mesopotamian Sumer. To the north in Babylonia, the derivative Ellu meant Shining One, while in Saxony and Britain it became Elf.
The concept of fairies was born directly from the Ring Lord culture and, deriving from the Greek word ‘phare’, the term related to a Great House, from which also stemmed the designation ‘pharaoh’. In the Gaelic world, certain royal families were said to carry the fairy blood – that is to say, the fate or destiny of the Grail bloodline and of humankind at large. Meanwhile, the elf-maidens of the Albi-gens were the designated guardians of the earth, starlight and forest. It is for these reasons that fairies and elves have so often been portrayed as shoemakers and lamplighters, for the fairy cobblers made the shoes which measured the steps of life, while the Shining Ones of the elven race were there to light the way.
In national terms (although fairies present a widespread image), they are particularly associated with Ireland, where they are epitomized by the ancient people of the Tuatha Dé Danann. This formidable king tribe was, nevertheless, mythologized by the Christian monks, who rewrote the majority of Irish history to suit their own Church’s vested interest in Ireland.
From a base of the monastic texts, which arose onwards from medieval times, it is generally stated that the Tuatha Dé Danann were the supernatural tribe of the agricultural goddess Danaë of Argos, but their true name (rendered in its older form) was Tuadhe d’Anu – the people (or tribe) of Anu, the great sky god of the Anunnaki.
Onwards from the year 751, the Church sought all possible measures to diminish the status of any royal strain emanating from the original Ring Lords so that the fraudulent Donation of Constantine could be brought into play. Henceforth, only the subjugative Church could determine who was a king, while the elves and fairies of the Albi-gens were manoeuvred from the forefront of history into a realm of apparent fantasy and legend.
Settling in Ireland from about 800 BC, the noble Tuadhe d’Anu hailed from the Central European lands of Scythia, which stretched from the Carpathian mountains and Transylvanian Alps, across to the Russian River Don. They were strictly known as the Royal Scyths and they were said to be the masters of a transcendent intellect called the Sidhé, which was known to the druids as the Web of the Wise.
As the Church rose to power, so the underground stream, which supported the Ring Lord culture, found strategic methods of preserving the traditions of the royal bloodline. In the course of this, the fairy tale concept was born – stories which were not unlike many of the parables inherent in the New Testament Gospels. They were likewise contrived ‘for those with ears to hear’, while others among the uninitiated would perceive them as no more than fanciful entertainment.
A focal message built into these fairy tales was an understanding of the importance of perpetuating the family line, regardless of the power of the bishops and the Church’s puppet kings. The whole scenario was presented, time after time, as if it were a struggling nightmare, wherein the female (the elf-maiden who carried the essence of the strain) was out of reach of the prince, so that his torturous quest to find her was akin to the quest for the Holy Grail itself.
Consequently, many of the tales which emanated from this base were stories of lost brides and usurped kingship, based upon the Church’s subjugation of the Grail bloodline. The fairy tale ideal was essentially geared to relate the truth of these persecutions. They were allegorical accounts of the predicament of the Messianic family, whose fairies and elves (having been manoeuvred from the mortal plane of orthodoxy and status quo) were confined to a contrived otherworldly existence.
They emerged as tales of valiant princes who were turned into frogs; of swan knights who roamed the wasteland, and of Grail princesses locked in towers, or put to sleep for hundreds of years. In the course of their persecution, the elf-maidens were pricked with bodkins, fed with poisoned apples, subjected to spells or condemned to servitude, while their champions swam great lakes, battled through thickets and scaled mighty towers to secure and protect the matrilinear heritage of the Albi-gens.
These romantic legends include such well-known stories as the Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White and Rapunzel. In all cases, the underlying theme is the same, with the princess kept (through drugging, imprisonment or some form of restraint) out of reach of the prince, who has to find her and release her in order to preserve the dynasty and perpetuate the line.
It was during the period of France’s Carolingian dynasty that the seeds of most of these popular stories were planted, and it is because of the inherent truths which lie behind the stories that we find them so naturally appealing. Some academics argue that fairy tales survive because they are often based upon a rags-to-riches doctrine, but this is not the case. They survive because deep within our psyche is an inherent, inbred awareness that the Grail (symbolised by the Lost Bride) has to be found if the wasteland is to return to fertility.
A primary feature of the traditional folklore related to the Ring and Grail quests is that it embodies a nominal terminology that was historically applicable to the Messianic dynasts. As cited, the terms fairy and elf each related to certain castes within the succession of the Shining Ones. But there were others – notably the pixies – who were of the utmost importance within the overall structure of the princely bloodline. Having the same Sidhé heritage as the historical elves and fairies, their familiar name derived from the description Pict-sidhé. In time, following their migration into Anjou, Ireland and the far North of Britain, they became better known, the Picts. They called their northern domain ‘Caledonia’ – the land of the Caille Daouine forest people.
The social structures of the Scythian Ring Lord were firmly centred upon designated seats of assembly which became known as Fairy Rings. These royal seats (from Scythia to Ireland) were known as Raths, which denoted round or circular constructions. On that account, the Round Table of Arthurian romance was designed to symbolize this concept. What is generally not recognized, however, is that (just like the Volsunga Saga and the Nibelungenlied) the Arthurian mythos is itself a very powerful Ring Cycle. The true legacy of the Round table lies not in the Table itself, but in the knights who sat at the table – for these noble emissaries represented the most important aspect of ancient lore by presenting themselves as a living, iron-clad Ring. In accordance with traditional Ring lore, the land fell into waste and chaos when the power of the Ring was usurped by virtue of Queen Guinevere being unfaithful to Arthur with Lancelot.
From around 1800 BC, the Kassites of Babylonia were predominant in the Rath culture. They gained their name from the word ‘kassi’, which meant ‘place of wood’ – the place in question being a sacred mound dwelling, variantly called a ‘caddi’. By virtue of this, the Kassites were designated Wood Lords.
Following their time in Babylonia, they moved across Syria and Phoenicia into Europe and, eventually, to Britain where they established many great kingdoms within which the remnant of their name survived – the Welsh King Cadwallan, for example, and the earlier British King Casswallan, who reigned at about the time of Herod the Great. In each of these names the ‘wallan’ aspect is important since it was also the distinction of a Wood Lord – again with Mesopotamian roots. The original Wallans were called Yulannu, and it was from their ancient tradition that the winter solstice Yuletide festival derived before moving into Scandinavia.
Apart from the fairies, pixies and elves of history, there are others of the Shining Ones who are also said to inhabit the magical Land of Elphame; they are the sprites, goblins, gnomes and leprechauns.
The definition ‘sprite’ means no more nor less than a spirit person – one of the transcendental realm of the Sidhé. The original sprites were the ancient Scythian ghost warriors, who painted their bodies grey-blue to look like corpses when they entered the battlefield.
The ‘goblin’ description stems from the Germanic word kobelin, which denoted a mine-worker or one who worked underground. In the context of the Ring culture, goblins and gnomes were attendants of the Raths, wherein they were custodians of the wealth and wisdom of the ages, being essentially treasurers and archivists. It was their role as guardians of the treasures which led to their nominal distinction being used in association with banking, as in the Gnomes of Zurich. The word root is in the Greek equivalent of ‘g-n-o’, from which we derive gnosis (knowledge).
As for the ‘leprechauns’, they were the armoured horse troops of the Pict-sidhé. Their body armour was made from small overlapped plates of bronze, which tarnished to a greenish colour so they looked like lizards or dragons. In this regard, they were called ‘lepra-corpan’ (scaly body), a word corrupted in Ireland to leprechaun.
The Catholic Inquisition, although ostensibly set against heretics, managed to include all manner of groups and factions within this overall classification. Witchcraft was a common accusation, and into this particular net fell the gypsies. Any person with no fixed place of residence was regarded with suspicion because an itinerant lifestyle was perceived as a means by which to evade Church authority.
The main premise of Christianity was the promise of salvation as achieved through subservience to the bishops, aligned with the perpetuation of a serene afterlife in a heavenly environment. But how could the alternative notion of Hell be portrayed on Earth in a manner which would scare the life out of tentative believers or reluctant worshipers? Somehow Hell had to be given an earthly form, and what better than the notion of dead people who could not complete their dying because they were so hideously unclean – people who were, in fact, ‘undead’. Such people, said the churchmen, had to roam the mortal world like lost souls with no dimension of life or death to call their own.
The concept was good enough in part, but it was really no more scary than the idea of ghosts with a physical form. Something else was needed; these beings had to become predators in order to make people fearful enough to lean wholly upon the Church for deliverance. So, what would all people, rich and poor alike, fear to lose the most if they were seeking salvation for their souls?
The answer to this question was found in the Bible – to be precise, in the Old Testament book of Leviticus, which states: “It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul”. It was therefore decided that the undead creatures would be said to prey upon people’s blood, thereby divesting them of the route to atonement.
A problem to overcome in this regard was the fact that this Leviticus statement was part of a very ancient Hebrew law and had little or nothing to do with Christianity. But a way was soon found to cope with the anomaly when the Church ruled that every good Christian who partook of the Communion wine was figuratively drinking the blood of Christ. This divine blood then became a part of his or her own body and any creature which then extracted blood from such a person was reckoned to be stealing the blood of Christ!
These bloodthirsty revenants could only be repelled, it was decreed, by such devices as holy water and the crucifix. And so the Church introduced a truly fearsome creature into its subjugative mythology. They were classified as vampires – a word which derived from the old Scythian title for a kingly overlord of the Rath – a Lord of the Rings.
In summary it can be said that the ancient progenitors of our culture and spiritual heritage have never been positively featured in our academic teachings. Instead, their reality was quashed from the earliest days of Roman suppression as the literal diminution of their figures caused a parallel demolition of their history – to be portrayed as the fairies, elves, pixies and vampires of legend.
Notwithstanding this, the sovereign culture, from which derived all the so-called mythology that sits so comfortably within our collective memory comes from one place alone. It comes from a place and time which, to use J.R.R. Tolkien’s definition, might just as well be called Middle-earth as by any other name. It comes from the long distant Realm of the Ring Lords.