When the dark wood fell before me
And all the paths were overgrown
When the priests of pride say there is no other way
I tilled the sorrows of stone

I did not believe because I could not see
Though you came to me in the night
When the dawn seemed forever lost
You showed me your love in the light of the stars

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Then the mountain rose before me
By the deep well of desire
From the fountain of forgiveness
Beyond the ice and fire

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Though we share this humble path, alone
How fragile is the heart
Oh give these clay feet wings to fly
To touch the face of the stars

Breathe life into this feeble heart
Lift this mortal veil of fear
Take these crumbled hopes, etched with tears
We'll rise above these earthly cares

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me
Please remember me


Lyrics submitted by sunny22au

Dante's Prayer song meanings
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27 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentEveryone has their own interpretation and perception of a song, a day, a moment, a book, etc. The person who wrote about their spirit guide Lugh, I think it's courageous for anyone to write about what is in their hearts and souls. May we all find support and compassion, empathy and unity. All I know is that listening to this song brought so many emotions forth, it awakens the soul. Just close your eyes and feel the music course through your veins and her beautiful voice enter your world. We all have different experiences. It's nice if we all have someone to help us. I think it's important that what we believe in is of a positive and purity of essence, without negativity or toxic energies. I think that this song is about love, being loved, experiencing love, accepting love. Isn't that what makes the world go 'round? Peace'n love to all :)
    alicatplh777on September 15, 2011   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningThere are a lot of great ideas of the interpretation into the meaning of this song. I think, as will all music, the meaning for everyone is personal. It is the stirring of emotion in each of us that moves us when we hear music like this.
    I tried desperately for such a long time to find meaning for myself with regard to this song, and eventually I found it.

    However, I was fortunate enough to see Loreena in concert at Massey Hall in Toronto in the late 90's. Prior to her singing her songs, she would often relate to the listening audience what inspired her to write it. As best I can recall, this was her story for Dante's Prayer. As many of you know, Loreena travels the world extensively to find inspiration for her music and expose herself to different cultures. Wouldn't we all want to do this, given the chance? In any case, on the occasion of her inspiration for Dante's Prayer, she was riding on a trans - Siberian train and indeed reading The Divine Comedy. She recounted that since there was no dining car on the train, it would stop at various towns along the way and the riders were given exactly 20 minutes to leave the train and buy food from the locals who lived in the town and would come to the train to greet and sell to the passengers. This would have happened perhaps once or twice throughout the day.
    There was an attendant on the train, a woman, who would come around and seem very grumpy and rather miserable in general. At first, Loreena simply dismissed her demeanor as one of culture. One time, after Loreena had re-boarded the train after buying some food from locals, the woman came by. Loreena stopped her and gave her some of the food that she had bought, simply as an act of kindness. The woman remarked with a surprised smile and a countenance that reminded Loreena about the story that she was reading in the Divine Comedy. In that moment, she discovered her muse for the song and thought that she would never forget the look of gratitude on the attendants face, being sure that no one else had ever taken the time to consider the woman as she travelled back and forth, day after day, year after year through the dark harshness of Siberia. Loreena hoped that on some of those dark moments, the woman would remember her and perhaps return the smile to her face. And so the song was born.

    Now, go back and listen again to the song and think of this story and see what images it conjures for you.

    Enjoy!
    A BIG Loreena Fan
    roblelon March 11, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI personally don't find a "spirit guide" named Lugh to be any more ridiculous or outlandish than someone trying to tell me that the source of all life is an old bearded guy named Yahweh. A male? What's the point of interlocking parts when you have no one to interlock with? And what kinda wonky name's Yahweh anyway? How'd he know his name was Yahweh with no one to call him by it? Did he just make it up? Why would he need a name to begin with?

    Ahem. Yes. It's all just interpretation. Different interpretations of the same thing, varying in what each person's most comfortable with. If you're not able to view religious diversity then given all the pagan roots Loreena draws from, you puzzle me. And I reccommend listening to Full Circle as well.

    As for the song... to me, it speaks of the courage and strength to endure the trials and pain and mockery of following your own path in life. Whether it be career, lifestyle, religion? Walking the path less tread is never an easy choice. Dante walked a different path to his God, and his God was his passion in life. It speaks to me of someone talking about what they endured, and urging those who also follow a different path to be encouraged that others have done so before. They're not entirely alone and their task is doable.

    When the dark night seems endless...
    Please, remember me.

    Alternately, flip the perspective and it can be Dante's God speaking to him.
    Morrigan619on April 06, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song, like every other song in existence, can and will be interpreted in a million different ways. What it means to Loreena McKennitt may not be the same as what it means to me, and the next person who posts a comment may think it means something else entirely. It doesn't matter. Music is meant to be a personal experience. No one has the right to tell anyone else that their view is wrong, because music belongs to everyone.

    Now, as for me, I interpret the song as being inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy, as a few have already stated. Dante was in a terrible dark forest all alone, depressed and horrified that he could have allowed himself to wander so far from God, and engage in all sorts of depravity and sin. He looked up to see the sun shining on the crest of a mountain, which he took to represent the glory of the Lord, and he knew he had to set himself right by reaching that light. But before he can ascend to Heaven and return to grace, he must journey through Hell and Purgatory, guided first by Virgil, then by Beatrice.

    The Divine Comedy tells a story that can be translated to fit all kinds of situations. Whether you're trying to reconnect with your God, trying to find your true self, or simply get through a dark time in your life, the story is easy to relate to, and so is this song. For Dante, Virgil and Beatrice guided him through his pain and despair, bringing him safely back to his faith. For someone else, this song could be about a friend who never left them to suffer a rough situation alone. It speaks, first and foremost, of love and hope.

    Taking that message of love and hope into consideration, how dare anyone criticize Rinyave for their connection to "Dante's Prayer!" Please, before you go around ridiculing others for things you know nothing about, take some time to educate yourself. Otherwise, you just let everyone know how ignorant you truly are. Lugh [pronounced Loo] is the name of an ancient Pagan sun God, not something stupid someone made up, so check your facts before you make a fool of yourself. I think it's beautiful that Rinyave is reminded of their spirit guide by this song.
    devilslittlesisteron December 09, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLoreena has actually stated that she wrote this song about Dante's Inferno. I think it is a beautiful interpretation of the song.
    faerie2007on June 30, 2011   Link
  • +1
    MemoryI bought this album for the Mummer's Dance and fell in love with this song instead. I remember my dad hearing it when I'd play it too loud as a teenager and he'd yell through the door to "play that song again." And I would, because I wanted to hear it again too, and a third time, too. He died in October of 2011, five days after my 34th birthday. We talked the day before. Chest pains, but the doctors assured him after all the tests that it's not his heart. He died early the next morning. I listen to this song to remember him. I miss him.
    Edbrookson September 30, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis, to me, is a song about suicide, by the person committing it. Almost as though it's a suicide note made into a song.

    More appropriately it suits someone who had their wife/husband/partner/significant other, leave them, and they cannot go on living without them.
    holdouton February 09, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song has a lot of personal meaning to me, for a lot of different reasons. The biggest reason is in the first two verses:
    "When the dark wood fell before me
    And all the paths were overgrown
    When the priests of pride say there is no other way
    I tilled the sorrows of stone

    I did not believe because I could not see
    Though you came to me in the night
    When the dawn seemed forever lost
    You showed me your love in the light of the stars"

    This is EXACTLY how things were with my spirit-guide, Lugh. The priests said that my beliefs were wrong. But then I met Lugh in my dreams, and I can't believe that I'm wrong anymore.
    To me, this song IS Lugh. It seems like it was written almost from my soul to him...though I can't take credit for writing it. If my soul wrote a song, then it would be this one. It reminds me that my Lugh is here for me, and that he can help me.
    Rinyavieon August 26, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBoth of you made me smile and laugh out loud! Rinyavie, you have to admit, "Lugh" is a ummmm lame name for a spirit guide. But, hey if it works....
    As for you, de luce decessi, you are very funny and I'm happy to share one of my favorite artists with you anytime.
    pardeson March 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm surprised to find other people who like listening to her! No one where I live has ever heard of her. This is one of my favorites from her, but that's not saying much because all the songs I've heard of hers I've really liked. This song has such a sad, beautiful sound. I don't know about spirit guides, and personally I don't think they exist unless they're demons, but this song is awesome.
    MrReallyBigBadManon April 06, 2005   Link

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