Stratford Caldecott writes:
...There is a second way in which the Virgin Mary is present, and that is through her reflections in certain feminine characters, specifically Galadriel and Elbereth.19 Galadriel is one of the pivotal elvish characters: Bearer of one of the three Rings and preserver of the land of Lothlorien, Tolkien himself calls her “unstained” (a word that Catholics normally only use of the Virgin Mary), adding that “she had committed no evil deeds.”20 In another letter he wrote: “I think it is true that I owe much of this character to Christian and Catholic teaching and imagination about Mary.”21Gandalf--well, perhaps a comparison will make it clear. This is Gandalf striking the Balrog as it falls in the opening of the Two Towers.
Yet the workings and reworkings of his manuscript reveal an ambiguity, or an evolution, for in earlier drafts Galadriel was a leader in the rebellion of the Elves against the Valar, the world’s angelic guardians. From this rebellion Tolkien obviously later felt the need to absolve her. In the Unfinished Tales, we find a chapter containing the “History of Galadriel and Celeborn,” in which Christopher Tolkien records the “late and partly illegible note” that is “the last writing of my father’s on the subject . . . set down in the last month of his life.” In this revised history, which he intended to incorporate in the next version of The Silmarillion, Galadriel is not at all involved in the rebellion of the Elves but indeed opposed it, and was caught up in the departure from Aman to Middle-earth through no fault of her own. Thus she was morally as well as “physically” equipped to be the elvish leader in Middle-earth of resistance to Sauron. We see here, I think, the pressure of the Marian archetype in Tolkien’s imagination on the development of the character of Galadriel.
Not quite “immaculate” (without sin), then, in the official version, but to the Hobbits in The Lord of the Rings, and even to the Dwarf Gimli (who asks for the parting gift of a hair from her head, which he intends to enshrine within imperishable crystal), Galadriel is nevertheless a vision of wisdom, beauty, and grace, of light untarnished.
Galadriel, however, remains an earthly figure. In Roman Catholic devotion and dogma, Mary, having been assumed into heaven at the end of her earthly life, has long been venerated as Queen of Heaven and “Star of the Sea.” We find this cosmic aspect of the Marian archetype expressed in the person of Galadriel’s own heavenly patroness, Elbereth, Queen of the Stars, who plays the role in Tolkien’s legendarium of transmitting light from the heavenly places. It is to Elbereth that the Elves sing the following invocation:
Snow-white! Snow-white! O Lady clear!Tolkien would have been familiar with one of the most popular Catholic hymns from his childhood, the tone and mood of which are markedly close to those of Tolkien’s song to Elbereth:22
O Queen beyond the Western seas!
O light to us that wander here
Amid the world of woven trees!
O Elbereth! Gilthoniel!
We still remember, we who dwell
In this far land beneath the trees,
Thy Starlight on the Western seas.
Hail, Queen of Heaven, the ocean star,
Guide of the wand’rer here below:
Thrown on life’s surge, we claim thy care—
Save us from peril and from woe.
Mother of Christ, star of the sea,
Pray for the wanderer, pray for me...
Thia is a traditional Catholic icon of Saint Michael.
“Do not fear, Daniel,” he continued; “from the first day you made up your mind to acquire understanding and humble yourself before God, your prayer was heard. Because of it I started out, but the prince of the kingdom of Persia stood in my way for twenty-one days, until finally Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me. I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia, and came to make you understand what shall happen to your people in the last days; for there is yet a vision concerning those days.” Daniel 10:12-14From St. Louis de Montfort's True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Excerpts:
So he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince." Daniel 10:20-21
“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered." Daniel 12:12
"But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Jude 1:9
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth. Then another sign appeared in the sky; it was a huge red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems. Its tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and hurled them down to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth. She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was caught up to God and his throne. The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God, that there she might be taken care of for twelve hundred and sixty days.
Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, 8but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed. For the accuser of our brothers is cast out, who accuses them before our God day and night. They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; love for life did not deter them from death. Therefore, rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them. But woe to you, earth and sea, for the Devil has come down to you in great fury, for he knows he has but a short time.” Revelation 12:1-12
...Every day, from one end of the earth to the other, in the highest heaven and in the lowest abyss, all things preach, all things proclaim the wondrous Virgin Mary. The nine choirs of angels, men and women of every age, rank and religion, both good and evil, even the very devils themselves are compelled by the force of truth, willingly or unwillingly, to call her blessed.
According to St. Bonaventure, all the angels in heaven unceasingly call out to her: "Holy, holy, holy Mary, Virgin Mother of God." They greet her countless times each day with the angelic greeting, "Hail, Mary", while prostrating themselves before her, begging her as a favour to honour them with one of her requests. According to St. Augustine, even St. Michael, though prince of all the heavenly court, is the most eager of all the angels to honour her and lead others to honour her. At all times he awaits the privilege of going at her word to the aid of one of her servants...