In The Lord of the Rings, the Lady Galadriel gives Frodo a gift upon his departure from Lothlórien: a phial, somehow filled with the light of Eärendil, the star that serves as a sort of Polaris or Morning Star to guide the Eldar (elves) to the Undying Lands. When Galadriel gives Frodo the phial, she expresses her purpose for the gift: “May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.” Frodo first uses the phial as a light in Shelob’s lair, a cave which bore a “sense of malice so intense that Frodo reeled” (Lord of the Rings, IV.9). As he raises the phial aloft, he exclaims “Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima!” which translates to “Hail Eärendil, brightest of stars!” At his words, the light shines forth brighter. Later, when Sam uses the phial, he cries out:Share
For those who aren’t Tolkien geeks, Elbereth (or Varda) is the Queen of the Stars in Tolkien’s mythology. At Sam’s words, the light “flamed like a star that leaping from the firmament sears the dark air with intolerable light.”O Elbereth Gilthonielo menel palan-diriel,le nallon sí di’nguruthos!A tiro nin, Fanuilos!
Oh Elbereth Starkindler,from the high firmament gazing afar,to thee do I cry amid this horror!Look kindly upon me, Ever-pure Lady!”
Given by Lady Galadriel and a source of light through prayer, the phial is for us an image of the Rosary. The Blessed Virgin Mary, fairest of all women, gave us the Rosary as a light in dark places. In praying the Rosary, we cry out to Mary the Morning Star that she may guide us to Heaven in her Son. In whispering our Aves, we ask the Queen of Heaven, the Woman robed in stars, for Her aid in the darkest times of life. Even Sam’s prayer to Elbereth is suspiciously similar to the Hail Holy Queen, which we pray to end the Rosary: “Hail Holy Queen…to thee do we cry…in this valley of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us.” (Read more.)