by Steven Forrest
This article appeared originally in The Mountain Astrologer Aug. 2005. Reprinted with permission.
Tolkien’s masterpiece — and Peter Jackson’s brilliant three-part cinematic rendition of it — have clearly struck a powerful chord in the collective mind. That’s a sure indicator of a very direct link between the archetypal realm and the characters in the tale! And of course, the archetypal realm itself is in turn rooted in the actual structure of nature, as reflected in the planetary symbolism of astrology.
Trouble is, there are nine individuals in the Fellowship, but we have ten astrological planets. That confused me until I realized that, in fact, ten figures accompany the Ring on its way toward Mordor.
This is sure to be controversial (and that's half the fun!), but here’s how Frodo and his companions line up with the planets, from my own point of view. The majority of them locked into place quickly with only a little thought. In all honesty, Venus and Jupiter were my two “leftovers,” along with Merry and Pippin — but even there, I soon found a pattern that made sense to me.
The Sun: Aragorn. He's the charismatic King. The story revolves around his leadership. His presence has an impact on everyone, and he invokes admiration and respect.
The Moon: Sam Gamgee. His loyalty and commitment to Frodo, along with his tendency to shine by reflected light, suggest the Moon. He also displays a profound love of home and hearth, trumped only by his protective, nurturing devotion to Frodo, whom he tacitly defines as “family.” He is a gardener — a grower of living things. And he's a cook, too.
Mercury: Legolas. His hyper-speed quickness, his eternal youthfulness, and his sharp senses all point to Mercury.
Venus: Merry. This one, I admit, came to me mainly by process of elimination. But Merry is sweet-natured and defined fundamentally by his relationship with the more-colorful Pippin. And he does love his pleasures: food and pipeweed.
Mars: Gimli. There are several obvious “warriors” in the Fellowship, but Gimli stands out for his fierceness, his rough love of battle, his constant competitiveness with Legolas, and his willingness to die for those he loves.
Jupiter: Pippin. Although not really a “royal” or imposing figure, Pippin reflects the classic Fool archetype, which is related to Jupiter through Sagittarius. And he does rise dramatically (if foolishly) in life, from obscurity to the right hand of Denethor, Steward of Gondor.
Saturn: Gandalf. The long gray beard turning white, the burden of his responsibilities, the self-imposed solitude, and most obviously, his qualities of age and wisdom — all are classic indicators of the Saturn archetype.
Uranus: Frodo. He is the unpredictable wild card in the story. Against impossibly long odds, he upsets everything. He changes the order of the world. And, other than Bilbo, he is simply the strangest Hobbit who ever lived.
Neptune: Boromir. It was tempting to assign him to Mars, but then I realized that, out of everyone in the "official" Fellowship, he is the one who is most vulnerable to the addictive temptations of the Ring. And he is the only one of the original nine to die, thus manifesting the “sacrificial” element of Neptune. Further, there is an obscure element of deceit and misrepresentation in him: Does he actually serve the Fellowship, or will he keep his vow to his father to bring the Ring back to Gondor? It is never ultimately clear, perhaps even to him.
Pluto: Gollum. Ten planets — and here is the shadowy tenth character accompanying the Ring. Gollum is utterly Plutonian. He literally lives in the Underworld and is clearly a creature of the dark. He has committed murder. He is obsessed with power, psychologically damaged — and he dies so that the world can be reborn.
© 2004 Steven Forrest – all rights reserved