The Litany Against Fear

I spent February and most of March battling panic attacks. This time, there was a trigger. I expanded my author blog into three websites. I was freaking out over whether my audience would like what I was going to do and whether I would find enough support to make the two new sites worthwhile.

At other times in my life, though, panic attacks have come for no reason. Or they’ve come because I was triggered by a traumatic association. I seem to be in the minority among most of my friends in that I can be having a full-blown panic attack and no one will notice. I didn’t know what they were for most of my life, and I learned to compartmentalize well enough that I can still function while three quarters of my brain was frozen with panic.


This winter’s attacks were different. For the first time, I experienced what it was like to be fully paralyzed and unable to function or hide what was happening in public. It forced me to develop new coping strategies and figure out how I could get back to a level of functionality.


The first thing I tried was the Litany against Fear.


The litany is an integral part of the culture and storyline and Frank Herbert’s Dune novels. It’s a short, poetic invocation used by several characters throughout the novels to help them cope with fear and maintain the focus they needed to survive under tremendous stress.


I’ve memorized most of it through sheer repetition from reading the Dune Chronicles, and I know several Dune fans who use the litany as a part of their real life meditative practices. Although I love its imagery, I’ve never quite been able to use in real life because it’s too passive for me.  I prefer to deal with my emotions actively, by channeling the energy into something constructive like an art project.


I have some limited success with using it, and I ended up modifying it for my own purposes.  Today I’ll share the original  Litany in a couple of graphics.  Next time share my modified version and how I’ve been using it to channel my fears.


The Original Litany Against Fear:


“I must not fear.

Fear is the mind-killer.

Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear.

I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.

Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”


Version in the made for television miniseries’ Dune and Children of Dune:

“I will not fear.

Fear is the mind-killer.

I will face my fear.

I will let it pass through me.

Where the fear has gone,

there shall be nothing.

Only I will remain.”


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