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Note from Joe: The following is from the book A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle. It is the third book in her Time Quintet. Although she wrote this powerful prayer, she based it on several ancient Celtic prayers of mixed Christian and pagan origin. Unfortunately, almost nobody credits her when quoting it. My eternal thanks go to her for her delightful and thought-provoking novels which gave me no end of pleasure as a child. I still hear the Old Music in my heart today, and hope to sing it forever.

Tara, also known as Hill of Tara, is a village in northern Ireland, northwest of Dublin. It was the traditional residence of the ancient Irish kings. It is said that Saint Patrick spoke a similar prayer there. If you’d like to use it as a prayer in time of great distress, replace “At Tara” with either your location (“In Moria in this fateful hour...”) or with the name of the person who needs help (“With Frodo in this fateful hour...”). If you say it with conviction and faith, the Echthroi will flee, and the Balrog shall not pass.


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