Valacirca noun "Sickle of the Gods", a name of the Great Bear (Big Dipper) constellation (SA:val-, MR:388, KIRIK, OT/OTOS/OTOK)
sickle of the gods
proper name. Sickle of the Valar
A constellation of seven stars (S/48), the Elvish version of the constellation of the Great Bear (SI/Valacirca), known as the Big Dipper by Americans or the Plough in Britain. It is a compound of Vala and the noun circa “sickle”.
Conceptual Development: A constellation of Seven Stars is mentioned in the earliest Lost Tales (LT1/114). In the Qenya Lexicon, the name ᴱQ. Telpea Kalka “✱Silvern Sickle” is given to the Great Bear (QL/47). The name “Sickle of the Gods" for this constellation emerged in Silmarillion drafts from the 1930s (LR/212), and its Quenya name ᴹQ. Valakirka appears in The Etymologies from the same period (Ety/KIRIK). The Quenya name Valacirca did not appear in the tales themselves until Silmarillion revisions from the 1950s-60s (MR/71).
Word Gloss Vala “(Angelic) Power, ‘God’, Authority, (Angelic) Power, Authority, God” circa “sickle”
- Valakirka ✧ MR/071; MRI/Valakirka
power, god, angelic power
Vala (1) noun "Power, God, angelic power", pl. Valar or Vali (BAL, Appendix E, LT2:348), described as "angelic governors" or "angelic guardians" (Letters:354, 407). The Valar are a group of immensely powerful spirits guarding the world on behalf of its Creator; they are sometimes called Gods (as when Valacirca, q.v., is translated "Sickle of the Gods"), but this is strictly wrong according to Christian terminology: the Valar were created beings. The noun vala is also the name of tengwa #22 (Appendix E). Genitive plural Valion "of the Valar" (FS, MR:18); this form shows the pl. Vali, (irregular) alternative to Valar (the straightforward gen. pl. Valaron is also attested, PE17:175). Pl. allative valannar *"to/on the Valar" (LR:47, 56; SD:246). Feminine form Valië (Silm), in Tolkiens earlier material also Valdë; his early writings also list Valon or Valmo (q.v.) as specifically masc. forms. The gender-specific forms are not obligatory; thus in PE17:22 Varda is called a Vala (not a Valië), likewise Yavanna in PE17:93. Vala is properly or originally a verb "has power" (sc. over the matter of Eä, the universe), also used as a noun "a Power" _(WJ:403). The verb vala- "rule, order", exclusively used with reference to the Valar, is only attested in the sentences á vala Manwë! "may Manwë order it!" and Valar valuvar "the will of the Valar will be done" (WJ:404). However, Tolkien did not originally intend the word Valar to signify "powers"; in his early conception it apparently meant "the happy ones", cf. valto, vald- (LT2:348)_. For various compounds including the word Vala(r), see below.