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The Web of the World
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The Weaver

"Vairë the Weaver is [Námo's] spouse, who weaves all things that have ever been in Time into her storied webs, and the halls of Mandos that ever widen as the ages pass are clothed with them." - "Valaquenta," The Silmarillion


She is one with the Music – from the first, Vairë's ears were full of Song, which she chorused, consumed, bound to be in her world-knot. Through all her hands the Music passes, becomes what It has been – forever.

One arm, two, then another, and those next take Singing in, tie Song down as Being. For the Future breathes soulful Sounds that, game-like, waver senselessly, naughtifying. Vairë spins as she hears, feels deeds grow weighty in her threads – kind and cruel alike.

She must love them more than her own vision, for having been makes creatures be: substance is all hist'ry...

So she does not look. Her lover's halls thicken with threads, and he, who must not hear, tells them to her, who must not see: whispers of golden light, of knotted swaths of scarlet satin weave she has made, yet never seen, nor ever will. If she looks, she may see them looking back, the Singers bound to be their Sungs – she may falter, she may wish...

But who makes the All be, must be clear as Breath, that others' hands authorize. Thus Vairë casts the threads of Song, and her self-blind helpers catch and spin the world's own weight.

Yet Time, exceeding history, works its wonders – and its woundings. To love what is in its having been more than feathery may bes is hard. Vairë knows it. For once, lust woke in hatred of such heavy-weighted being, and opened eyes that would devour all the Weave – returning all to the unformèd No of timeless Dark.

She had looked then – the one free act of Lady Fate within Time, to look once upon her once-loving handmaid and weep! Thus Vairë passed once and always – forever – into the world-web, in her tears and transgression for the evil of her poor Gloomweaver.

And she bound herself, wove her own devoted darkness into being over every of her eyes – there is no enlightenment, only Truth, for the Weaver's dark night of souls.

For she so loves the world that she shall put her I out with her eyes for its wild wonders – forever.


Author's Notes: Four words about this tribble and a half's content, both thematic and in a couple of key instances metaphoric: Thank you, Emmanuel Levinas.

A note on Vairë: Among much else, Tolkien says, in Laws and Customs of the Eldar as well as The Silmarillion, that the Valar do not have bodies. They can take on forms on analogy to embodied beings choosing to put on a particular set of clothes (“LACE,” MR 218; “Ainulindalë,” Silm 11). Given the extreme difference between a set of clothes and embodiment, this is a fairly clear admission that even when visible, the Valar are never bodily beings.

He also wrote, though, that Valar will, when they adopt a form, adopt a sexed form, since sex is a temperament (“Ainulindalë,” Silm 11). Although that is, I think, a whole other destabilizing can of worms, the point that interested me was the intersection of the clothing analogy and the way that form is supposed to “body forth” the will or invisible nature of the Vala or Valië, rather than be an imposition of the world upon the Vala or Valië, which I ended up formulating this way:

“If form isn't necessary to the Valar, yet their souls have certain immaterial but innate 'temperaments' or qualities that tend naturally to manifest in whatever forms the Valar take on, is there any reason that a Vala or Valië has to take on the form of a speaking being? Why not something else that better suited his or her cosmic function, which, for beings like the Valar, is at least as innate and independent of bodiliness as sex?”

That, combined with the mystery of Ungoliant's origins, spurred me to make Vairë and her Maiar-helpers “body forth” as “naturally” spider-form beings.


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