Am a guy, planning to get this tattooed and coming from a Latin-illiterate background (never studied Latin in my life). Context: to remind me of God's guidance throughout my life and to continue to trust in Him. More context from the bible can be found in John 8:12, where it says "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

I did a Google translate from English to Latin and it shows, "Lux aeterna rector mihi". However, digging further I also found that "lucis" can also mean light and "aeternus" is basically the masculine version of "aeterna". (Need verification on this)

Also, just out of curiosity, the modern Italian translation (again from google) reads "la luce eterna mi guidi", and I can't help but to wonder how did this evolve from traditional Latin. It's pretty interesting.

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    Welcome to the site! Is your guide s a subjunctive? I.e., does it mean "may eternal light guide me", as in a wish or adhortation?
    – Cerberus
    Jan 3, 2020 at 15:57
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    I modified the Italian translation assuming it's a subjunctive. The previous form guida was indicative (corresponding to "guides"). Jan 3, 2020 at 18:54
  • @Cerberus Thank you! Yes, you're right, I meant 'guide' as a subjunctive, like a request or wish.
    – Elson Tan
    Jan 3, 2020 at 19:18

1 Answer 1


As a basis, I'm going to be taking a line from the Requiem mass:

Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine
May eternal light shine upon them, o Lord

The "eternal light" here is very literally lux aeterna, and the verb is in the subjunctive, representing a wish or a desire. (Alternatively, you could make it lux perpetua, or use an imperative verb: both of those options also show up in the Requiem, but I don't like them as much aesthetically.)

For the verb, I'm looking at the Vulgate of Luke 1:77-8:

Per viscera misericordiae Dei nostri, in quibus visitavit nos, oriens ex alto: illuminare his qui in tenebris et in umbra mortis sedent, ad dirigendos pedes nostros in viam pacis.
Through the heart of the mercy of our God, who has visited us for these reasons, the morning sun coming down from on high: to give light to these who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet onto the way of peace.

The verb for "guide" here is dirigo, "to give a particular direction to".

All together, I would say lux aeterna me dirigat: "may [the] eternal light give me direction" or "may [the] eternal light put me on the right path".

You can also swap out aeterna for perpetua, which means the same thing, or replace dirigat with dirige, which makes it a command ("eternal light, guide me!"), or spell aeterna with a ligature æ, or spell dirig- as derig-. The meaning is basically the same, so that just comes down to which aesthetic you like best.

  • Yesterday, I was about to write "lux aeterna me duc/ duce!"; then, thought, it can't be that prosaic. How would it sound, in Latin, a bit too blunt?
    – tony
    Jan 4, 2020 at 11:20
  • @tony I would say duc, not duce, but that sounds fine to me too! Imperatives aren't uncommon in Christian Latin prayers (from the Requiem again, pie Jesu domine, dona eis requiem), and ducere is a fine word for "lead".
    – Draconis
    Jan 4, 2020 at 17:53

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