Ponderings in Elfland

Artwork © by Jef MurrayArtwork © by Jef Murray

The Portal

The land surrounding Shaker Village in Kentucky might have been pulled fresh from the pages of one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s tales. It encompasses rolling hills, small farm buildings, pleasant forests and streams, and ’round about its many pastures are dry stone fences that have stood for centuries. In a few spots along these fences, those who built them creatively worked […]

Artwork © by Jef MurrayArtwork © by Jef Murray

On Dragons

[From a letter penned by Brother Azarias to his godson, Luke Lester. The letter is dated September 2, 2014, the Feast of the Guardian Angels]   My Dear Godson, You have asked me in the past how I came to be acquainted with your father and with his father before him. Now that you and your brother, Charles, are older […]

Artwork © by Jef MurrayArtwork © by Jef Murray

An Interview with Jef Murray by Tolkien Brazil

Nearly a year ago, I was contacted by Eduardo Stark of Tolkien Brazil, a large and active group of Tolkien and fantasy fans in South America. Eduardo has followed my work as a fantasy artist, and wanted to interview me for their website. The resulting text was, I fear, a bit daunting to translate into Portuguese, or, as is more likely, the Tolkien Brazil […]

“Lucy and the Spellbook” (detail) © by Jef Murray“Lucy and the Spellbook” (detail) © by Jef Murray


“No, that’s not the way it works.” The old man looked pointedly over his spectacles at Jill. “But why not?! I mean, if magic really exists, why doesn’t everyone know about it? How come it’s so ‘Hush hush!’?” Father Hildebrandt took off his spectacles and polished the lenses for a few moments. “I can offer you many reasons, but they […]

Treasure Bearer
Artwork © by Jef MurrayTreasure Bearer Artwork © by Jef Murray

On Longing for Home

It’s humid, and in the 90s (the mid-30s for folks who favour Celsius over Fahrenheit). There’s no breeze. It’s too early for cicadas, but otherwise I’d guess we were in August rather than June. Hills are hazy in the heat, and nothing twitches at high noon save flitting flies. These are summer days in Georgia; when air is thick and breathing burdensome. My old […]

Artwork © by Jef MurrayArtwork © by Jef Murray

May Eve

“Do you think she’ll come back?” The two girls sat huddled beneath the eaves of the forest. The unsettled breezes of the last day of April stirred the dogwood boughs, mottling the light of the newly-risen full moon. The gusts of damp air moved on, lifting branches and scattering oak catkins throughout the valley below them. “I don’t think she’ll […]

Artwork © by Jef MurrayArtwork © by Jef Murray

On Fairy Tales — A rhapsody on themes from G.K. Chesterton & J.R.R. Tolkien

As a Catholic artist and storyteller, what interests me most are those things that help us all to make sense of the world around us. And what most helps us to make sense of the world, and our lives in it, are the stories that have been handed down to us throughout the ages. What are those stories? They are […]

Artwork © by Jef MurrayArtwork © by Jef Murray

The Pact

“It protects you from all physical harm, my dear Sir, and even from death itself; but it cannot protect you from evil,” said the old woman, holding up the necklace to the light. It was fashioned of silver and jet, and the dingy shards of sunlight that struck the petrified stones cast a rainbow of hues against the opposite walls […]

Gandalf the Prophet (detail)
Artwork © by Jef MurrayGandalf the Prophet (detail) Artwork © by Jef Murray

Gandalf the Prophet — There is More to Life

“…there is something greater, much greater, and grander, and happier ‘beyond the veil’, and even perhaps beyond the next turn of the subway train, than anything we can conceive of. There is an enchantment that underlies all of creation, and that exists around the next corner, if only we seek for it.” ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ “Today, I want […]

"The Last Ring of Power" (detail)
Artwork © by Jef Murray"The Last Ring of Power" (detail) Artwork © by Jef Murray

The Finding Ring

“So, you see, my greatest desire is to continue on the path laid before me, and to discover what I can and to protect those I may. That is my own heart’s deepest desire, and it is only one’s deepest desires that the ring stirs. So, you see, it can have little effect on me.” ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ […]