Originally posted by Starrman
One of Tolkein's main aims in LOTR was to create a folklore. He was disappointed that England has no indigenous folklore, taking what it has from Celtic, Norse and other. I'd say that rather than mirror current spiritual traditions he was creating new ones (in as much as they existed in Middle Earth), if anything the origins were pagan and wiccan, rather than the dogmatic constructions of the RCC.
Or possibly to bring back the folklore that was. In a way LOTR seems to be somewhat of a lament about lost culture (i.e. the elves leaving middle earth) No question he drew heavily upon Norse/Teutonic mythology. Go read the Poetic Eddas , Snorri Sturlisson's Edda, Beowulf, etc. and you'll see the many similarities. Dwarves, Elves, Trolls, etc. I think one very old story that influenced Tolkien was The Saga of the Volsungs which is a thoroughly "heathen" tale.
Also in Norse Mythology the part of the universe that we mortals live in is referred to as Midgardr (translation meaning "Earth" in Old Icelandic) and was thought to sit in the middle of the 9 worlds. Similar to Middle Earth no? The world to the West of Midgardr was known as Vanaheim (home of the very elflike clan of deities know as the Vanir) and may have some correlation to the land that the Elves retired to at the end of LOTR.
Once slight correction to what you've said. Wicca had nothing to do with it. Wicca is a modern invention. A "new age" religion if you will that was invented by Gerald Gardner and become publicly know in 1954 when he published the book "Witchcraft Today" well after Tolkien's writings were underway. And Gardner was more influenced by the work of Aleister Crowley, the Golden Dawn, etc. than anything.
Also it appears that Tolkein did begin writing the Silmarillion before LOTR but it was not released until afterwards.