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The Deer’s Cry: A Song and Prayer for Protection in a Time of Ambush

Many of us may feel a valid fear of recurring ambush in both public and private sectors. I offer this song, a Deer’s Cry, for solace and comforting connection to deep soul. It is a ancient invoking of Christ as protector that I just discovered at a retreat at Campfire in the Heart in Alice Springs, Australia. Most youtube versions of a Deer’s Cry use a woman’s voice, perhaps because the doe spirit is key to the prayer. The Deer’s Cry song was composed by Saint Patrick in 433 AD when, aware of an ambush to kill him and his group, this song so transformed them that the attackers did not see Patrick or his people, only a gentle doe followed by twenty fawns.


The Deer’s Cry

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun, Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning, Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea, Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me, Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.

Christ shield me today
Against wounding,
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.



  1. Claire-Elizabeth DeSophia says:

    Beautiful, Cynthia…thank you for sharing this. Especially meaningful today, as I deal with the grief and anger I feel about my country and its sickness, depravity, and lack of morality and compassion.
    Much gratitude.

  2. Santana Pereira FMA says:

    Thanks so much Cynthia for this unearthed song. I especially like the line
    Christ shield me today
    Against wounding.
    This comes to me in the wake of me becoming more aware of my wounding and healing happening in me. Also more especially happening with Nature ruthlessly wounded in the name of development wounding ‘Trees, Animals, the poor and displacing them’.

  3. Coletta Eichenberger says:

    I just read and listened to this today; the Monday after the brutal killings at Tree of Life synagogue; the killing of two African-Americans by someone who couldn’t get into the African church to kill more; and the bombs/packages sent to legislators, former Presidents, and people who denounce the soul-killing words and actions of someone who is supposed to be a leader, and those who fall in line behind him. In searching for words to share with my congregation that are words that will bring healing and somehow plumb the depths of our woundedness. Seeking words that will unite us as we grieve, and remind us that the power of light, the power of remembering our humanity is beyond important in this bizarre time that we cannot even name adequately. The beauty of these words and the stillness of the singer and the singing do bring strength. Thank you!

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