When Frodo split from the ring party and turned toward Mordor, Aragorn continued and gathered great armies which now held back the forces of the Dark Lords. A great war was being fought and although their position looked weak, Aragorn readied his army for one last attempt to beat down the might of Mordor.
Gandalf was with him. He had not perished in the Mines of Moria but had risen again as Gandalf the White. At the precise moment when Frodo drew the ring out at the lip of Mount Doom, Gandalf called out in a loud clear voice:
"Stand, men of the West! Stand and wait! This is the hour of doom."
Within a moment there was a great rumbling in the earth. The towers of Mordor could be seen falling in the distance and the great black gates before them were rent from their hinges.
"The realm of Sauron is ended!" declared Gandalf, "The ring bearer has fulfilled his quest."
Once the Ring had been destroyed the power of Mordor was sapped at its roots. As Aragorn looked up, he saw Mordor scattered like dust in the wind. The war was won!
Gandalf did not remain to dwell upon the glory of victory. He called the great eagle, Gwaihir, and rode off to rescue Frodo and Sam from their certain exhaustion.
While Frodo’s journey represents the inner battle to return the Ring, Aragorn’s war against Mordor relates to the outer struggle. This is the war between the green and the black. It is the war being fought by ecologists, naturalists, green political parties, and non-government organisations.
According to the story Aragorn’s army had little chance of victory over Mordor unless the One Ring was destroyed. Once the Ring was destroyed this war was already won. This suggests that there is no outer solution to the global crisis without the required inner transformation. So long as we seek to maintain our diabolical power over nature we shall remain in conflict with the natural world. The championing of green causes is of little use if we ourselves remain unchanged.
With the returning of the Ring, Mordor is doomed. That which has failed to evolve will die out with the change of time. Ours is a civilisation built around the power of the Ring. Like the Roman Empire it is destined to collapse in upon itself.
With a raised consciousness and morality, we allow a new social structure to develop. As we opt for organically grown produce, we support a new breed of farmers who respect the land and environment. At the same time, we weaken the market for pesticides. By using recycled paper products, we curb the deforestation of the planet. In our request for renewable energy sources, we encourage research and innovation in this area and, ultimately, challenge the profitability of the oil companies and force them to amend their business strategies. When we place our vote, we elect an individual who cares for the whole and not our own self interests. Through our everyday choices we may support the alternative culture as it seeks to establish itself as mainstream. It was not that long ago that a health food store was difficult to find. Now there is one to be found in every town. In living the new, the old shall fall into the past.
Aragorn's army cannot beat down the forces of Mordor so long as the Ring remains in existence. No number of rallies, political restrictions, recycling policies or economic sanctions will prevent the destruction of this planet so long as there remains a demand for the unholy products and practices of our western world. Cut the demand, relinquish the Ring and the war is soon won. Again, we return to the moral capacity of the individual. Jung writes:
So much is at stake and so much depends on the psychological constitution of modern man. Is he capable of resisting the temptation to use his power for the purpose of staging a world conflagration? Is he conscious of the path he is treading, and what the conclusions are that must be drawn from the present world situation and his own psychic situation? Does he know that he is on the point of losing the life-preserving myth of the inner man which Christianity has treasured upon him? Does he realise what lies in store should this catastrophe ever befall him? Is he even capable of realising that this would be a catastrophe? And finally, does the individual know that he is the makeweight that tips the scales?31
The fate of the world rests with the individual. All we can ask of ourselves is to seek and maintain a global awareness. Live true to your conscience. Live it and let it resonate out into the world. The answer is simple, the execution, arduous. It comes down to the ethical decisions made by each of us. “Think globally, act locally”, has become the presiding catchcry.
Frodo's time had now come to an end. He had completed his task and passed over the sea with Gandalf, Galadriel, Elrond, and Bilbo. For their time had also finished.
Aragorn's era, however, had just begun. He was crowned as King and took his throne as one of the true rulers of Middle Earth. In a great celebration Aragorn was married to the elven princess Arwen. King Aragorn’s next task would be to rebuild a new world.
As for Sam, he returned home only to find the land scorched and barren. The black tide had spread far and wide and the Shire had been overrun. Yet Sam was a gardener, forever devoted to the earth. With the help of Galadriel’s magical soil Hobbiton was back in full bloom the very next spring. And this simple hobbit was made the Mayor of the Shire.
31 Jung, “The Undiscovered Self,” Civilization in Transition, CW 10, par 586.