This song has come to me lately while working nights. It’s a sweet, beautiful song. Or is it?
Disclaimer: I am examining the lyrics and video here and am in no way supporting racism or racist views. This is an exploration of what the artists
behind the lyrics and video were expressing.
I watched this video this evening and it gave me an uncomfortable vibe throughout, although it
seemed to be telling a story (through clear symbols) about racism: after a woman is attacked (raped, we would assume,) a black man is wrongly
convicted. The victim, or some part of her, represented by Madonna, expresses heartfelt sympathy and love for the man behind bars...as well as a
burning sexual desire for him. Burning crosses are disturbing, but hey, it just represents the KKK. It would seem that the black man and the female
character had a relationship. End of story.
Let’s forget the video for a moment and examine the lyrics...
Life is a mystery,
Everyone must stand alone
No one has the answers. Everyone is forced to figure it out for themselves.
I hear you call my name
And it feels like home
Someone communicates with her. It grounds her. Also, home = union.
When you call my name it's like a little prayer
I'm down on my knees, I wanna take you there
The one communicating to her is begging for her. She is down on her knees, begging for the other. Where does she want to take him/her? Is this
indicative of sex, or something else? They are both begging for each other. She is lost without him/her. Only him/her grounds her. So there is a place
or state of mind where they desire to be, together.
In the midnight hour I can feel your power
Just like a prayer you know I'll take you there
The midnight hour (or mid-dark) is an important time for practitioners of black magic, not to be confused with ‘the witching hour,’ however. The
midnight hour is a sacred time in necromancy for raising the dead. (Therefore, ‘traditional midnight’/midnight mass is associated with chaos,
death, the underworld and mystery.)
I hear your voice, it's like an angel sighing
Sighing? Before begging, now sighing. So it’s weak, or faint to hear. And what are they doing? Before, they were begging/yearning for each other,
and now sighing?
I have no choice, I hear your voice
She cannot escape the voice, for some reason. She cannot ignore it.
Feels like flying
Like flying? So it’s a high feeling.
I close my eyes, Oh God I think I'm falling
She closes her eyes = goes into an inner state. Cries to God that she’s scared that she is “falling.” Of course, this could mean falling in
love. Or, it could mean losing her way, falling into darkness. Has she been possessed? Is she yearning to make love to an entity? Or is this a flesh
and blood human being? Is she falling spiritually, or falling in love?
Out of the sky, I close my eyes
Falling from the sky. She is scared, closes her eyes (retreating into a safe inner state.) So now we know she is falling from grace. Why would she
fall from God’s love over the affection for a flesh and blood human being?
Heaven help me
Scared now, regretting her choice to fall
Like a child you whisper softly to me
You're in control, just like a child
Does a child have control? No, a child is vulnerable. Why would a child whisper softly? On the surface this doesn’t make sense, until you realize
that Madonna IS the child: like she is a child, he speaks to her softly. Like she is a child, she feels in the control of a superior being.
Now I'm dancing
Letting go has freed her. Now she feels blissful, full of new energy.
It's like a dream, no end and no beginning
What precisely is like a dream? Her dance? Their coupling? Maybe just her state of mind? We all wake up from dreams, so they do end (unless
reoccurring.) The man has summoned her spiritually (like a prayer,) brought her to a state of ecstasy, and now she says “it’s like a dream.” She
was running before, remember. Life was like hell. She falls from the sky. She then feels drawn to someone and thanks to him she no longer fears death
or change (chaos.) Everything feels gentle, stable, CONTROLLED. Her state is like a dream because the chaos stops, while mind-controlled by this
You're here with me, it's like a dream
Let the choir sing
As long as they are together, life no longer feels real to her (and thus painful.) She announces “let the choir sing,” perhaps to allow herself to
embrace the lies and deception of evil. This also illustrates that she is engaged by several other voices, which praise their bond and her
Just like a prayer, your voice can take me there
Just like a muse to me, you are a mystery
So he’s a voice in her head, felt but never known personally to her. Therefore, he remains hidden. Therefore, he’s deceptive. Therefore, he’s
using her. Does she care? She feels safe, and so it was this fear-driven desire for a space of safety (represented by this chapel-like setting) that
she really wants. As long as she stays with him, he will make her feel safe, yet she doesn’t know him. He’s a whisper, a muse, a mystery, an
Just like a dream, you are not what you seem
Just like a prayer, no choice your voice can take me there
She KNOWS he’s deceiving her, but like magic, he can make her feel safe (controlled,) so she feels she has no choice (if she’s going to feel safe)
than to stay attached to her deceiver...sad.
Does the choir represent fallen angels? ....
edit on 18-12-2015 by LoneCloudHopper2 because: (no reason given)
18-12-2015 by LoneCloudHopper2 because: (no reason given)
edit on 18-12-2015 by LoneCloudHopper2 because: (no reason given)
Madonna is dressed in black, hair black, running through a country area. So, she’s obviously a witch. What little we see of society looks decrepit,
or burning, as if things have gone to hell in her world. Sirens are going while she is running, so she is in danger. She falls to the ground, staying
low as if to stay hidden from pursuers. Her outfit is revealing, and besides this being Madonna and sex sells, psychologically this represents
Focus on a cross burning, right in your face. Madonna smiles and pulls herself up. Glimpses of what is to come, including a gang of men beating up a
black man. The black man is shown in a bright light. Is he possessed by the light, or is he radiating it? Madonna approaches a frozen figure of him,
in a memorial shrine setting. He is behind bars, crying. He has been judged, suffering in silence. He can’t speak, yet she is instantly drawn to
him, into this place and straight to him, as if by a prayer...mindlessly drawn.
She lays down in a permissive posture, yet still as if entranced. She strokes her private area. We see her eyes open, and we see her falling from
heaven (so this is what is happening inside her, behind her closed eyes.) She is rescued from her fall, but not by the man. A black woman aids her,
and throws her back into a high state. So, there is more interaction occurring here than just one. She kisses the man’s feet, as if WORSHIPPING him
a religious way. Now we see the significance of the religious theme in this song/video. Only when she touches HIM (connects to him) does he come alive
(react) to her. He’s tall and acts wise, so he is clearly superior to her.
He kisses her, in thanks for freeing him from his prison state, outside her world of perception. Because she reached for him and they connected, he is
now free (to inter her world.) He exits her safe chapel space. She looks about, insecure. She picks up a dagger (a phallic symbol, or does it
represent sacrifice?) She slits her hands, and it looks like stigmata. Except, she wounded herself. I submit that this represents suicide. After he
left her, she loses her safety and wants to end her life. In a modern operatic style, the camera pans to the left as a kind of interlude—the choir
singing. This builds the suspense of the story...
She is back outside, in the realm of darkness. So, this scene IS NOT a flashback to a back story, but the continuation of the story being told. We see
a woman in black under attack by men in black and white clothing (representing spiritual forces, not real men.) Madonna is tugging insecurely at her
attire, reliving a past trauma. When her ‘protector’ leaves, in her weakened state in the darkness, she is attacked by entities. But a familiar
face returns to her, having been distracted by something else (she does not know what, since he is a mystery.) The light shines on him (CLARITY,) and
the police (justice, reactionary moral senses) REMOVE him. HE is the villain, HE is responsible. She knows that now and lays blame where it belongs.
She has him removed from her world.
She stands confidently in her world now. A lot has changed through her ordeal. Crosses burn behind her, in outright defiance to God and everything
good in the world. She is EMPOWERED now. She realizes that she can USE HIM to get what she wants or needs, when she wants it. SHE feels in control
now. Unlike before, she is on the same level as the Fallen Angels. She dances with them, equal now to the one who rescued her earlier. The two women
smile sexually at each other, suggesting that they too have an intimate relationship. The one who protected her looks down, regretful for allowing her
to be harmed (Madonna’s perspective of how she’d like him/it to feel about his betrayal, and possibly how he/it acted to it.) By now it is clearly
a male figure, by all indications, but it is a Fallen Angel and can be either sex. In fact, the female entity which rescued her might be the same
entity. Does Madonna wonder this?
Madonna relaxes in a sensual way beside candles, acquiring the pleasure she desires. The choir now seems like visitors in her realm. VERY WEIRD is
this exorcism which the female entity performs on her. Madonna seems to laugh out loud in a state of ecstasy over it (‘breaking out of character’
like it’s an inside joke.) We see her embracing the entity which had deceived her, but they seem more like equals now. He comes over her with a look
of respect for her, rather than deception (but we know better!) While they engage, there is a sexual rapture and we see the burning crosses,
indicating that the death of her morals and spiritual purity is a part of the enjoyment.
At about 4:16 minutes in we briefly see the All-Seeing Eye, crying blood. Poor guy, huh? Notice how Madonna is dressed and acting VERY proactively now
(no longer a “virgin,” in the dark spiritual sense.) Notice CHIDREN around her while she does this! She really HAS abandoned her morals! They’re
dressed in white, not singing. Are they a sacrifice? She puts her hands on a black boy in a rather odd way. Although it suits her dance and tone
(heavy, sexual,) it is no way for an adult woman to touch a child (while dancing like a stripper in front of him as well.)
She lies, waiting to be possessed (or having been.) She sits up. The ‘male’ entity who possesses her is frozen (unable to reach her, unless she
chooses.) She is happy about this scenario. He is BEHIND BARS, SAD. Her BACK stays to him and she is smiling widely. She orders the guard to release
him from his cage as she goes to him (SHE goes to HIM now, instead of vice-versa.) The whole thing comes to an end, under her control. It’s all been
an act, like Shakespeare said. A dream. None of it mattered but the journey—not morals or anything else (to Madonna.) Yet it is this safe place, now
charged with energy, which opens for us as we watch. This is Madonna as a performer, her powers which made her a star revealed symbolically. The
entity which possessed her is right there with her, in support, under her control. It ends like a horror show.
Understand, I am in no way advocating her outlook or even suggesting she is being entirely truthful about her experiences. This is what Madonna and
her assisting artists had to say, through her lyrics and video. I believe that black people were used to contrast her white skin, to reflect night and
day; the black performers are used to represent demonic entities. Despite Madonna’s loving (or inappropriately loving in one case) attitude here,
there is racism for obvious reasons. I am not sure if it was Madonna’s idea or if she just went along with it. But this video is not ABOUT racism,
it is about her interaction with dark entities. It’s the way they told this story that makes the video racist (while serving to distract viewers
from the actual story here.)
edit on 18-12-2015 by LoneCloudHopper2 because: (no reason given)
edit on 18-12-2015 by
LoneCloudHopper2 because: (no reason given)
I always felt that the song lyrics were about falling in love. The video would be more in the video director's purview, the director is both telling a
story (not a complete one, as most videos don't have a full intro, middle and end) and mixes it with symbols and fashion of the time to get more
You made a vrery good effort. I don't think the occult meanings were on purpose or trying to lead anyone to the occult or devil, though. It actually
has a plethora of Christian symbolism and is a statement on discrimination.
edit on 18-12-2015 by reldra because: (no reason given)
The viewers first see Madonna who runs on the street. She witnesses the murder of a young woman, but is too frozen in fear to protest. A black
man walking down the alley notices the incident and decides to help the woman, but the police arrive and arrest him. The murderers give a threatening
look towards Madonna and leave. She escapes to a church and sees a caged saint who resembles the black man on the street. As the song starts,
Madonna utters a prayer in front of the saint, who appears to be crying.
In the wiki it says she hides in the church and gains strength to come forward as a
witness to the crime.
Nice breakdown. I remember seeing Madonna before going on stage to perform with her dancers. They were in a circle and she made a prayer directed to
what she called an entity, if I remember correctly. I may be remembering wrong but it wasn't a prayer to God in the name of Jesus Christ. She seemed
unsure about who or what the prayer was directed at.
Anyway, in Hoodoo, there are lot's of stories about meeting a tall black man at the crossroads to sell your soul for a talent like playing guitar. I
mention this because of the use of black people being used in contrast to a white person in the video to portray dark and light (good and evil?).
The Hoodoo claim isn't that the man is an African or of African decent, he is a man that is black like the darkness the devil or Satan or advisary of
Christ (whatever name..?) Prejudice? I'd have to study Hoodoo some more. Or even look into the Orisha religion, because I think the Orisha's are
African dark skin deities.
Excellent OP and Lot's to think about!
You can't really equate the meaning of the song lyrics to the video, because as reldra points out, the video is the director's concept of a story, not
a literal representation of the song...
...As well, you have to 'separate' the 'sensual' elements out of the actual storyline, because those are simply 'Madonna being Madonna', and pandering
to her fan base.
And really, you have misinterpreted the story of the video - the statue in the church is not supposed to be a "frozen figure" of the falsely accused
black man, and it's not about Madonna falling in love with him.
The thing is: it's normal for Catholic churches in Latin American countries to have religious tableaux involving statues of saints - they are
generally kept behind bars to protect them, because they are works of art and people have long had a tendency to want to express their reverence for
the saints by touching and kissing the statues, which wears away at them...
...Anyway, the statue in the church is a metaphor for the innocent black man who (being 'saint like') was attempting to help the rape victim and then
ended up falsely accused..
The point of Madonna opening the iron gate and the statue 'coming to life' is a metaphor showing that (if she conquers her fear of the true criminals
- who would seek revenge for her turning them in) she has the power to get the falsely accused man set free -
- this is why the 'statue', who is literally a 'Saint' kisses her on the forehead, he is blessing her for making the decision to risk her own safety
and do the right thing...
All of the 'background' activities with the choir, including Madonna 'flying' are there to underscore the fact that this is a story of spiritual
'awakening' for this 'character' (that Madonna is 'playing') as she deals with the consequences of witnessing the injustice of the black man being
assumed guilty of a crime committed by the white men, just because he went to the aid of the victim -
- a particularly noble (saint-like) action, due to the social 'environment' depicted (underscored by the burning crosses), which makes it clear that
by trying to help the woman, he was risking the very fate that befell him - the police assuming him to be the rapist..
So, no, this is not at all an occult video...it is in fact a sad commentary on certain societal attitudes toward race (even sadder now that race
relations have sunk to new lows)...
...And as well, it is a somewhat beautiful spiritual story, which asks us to look into people's hearts rather than at the color of their skin, as well
as asking us to rise above our fears and do the right thing, even at possible risk to our own safety..
edit on 19-12-2015 by lostgirl because:
While the song and video tell what seems to be a story about doing the right thing, I believe the OP has tapped into the subconscious meanings behind
the story shown/sung. I believe this because pandering to the public with all the symbolism that so many musical artists do, the artists and people
who help them, want fame and riches.
Why does anyone need fame and riches so badly, because of ego and the desire to be worshipped. God wants us to worship only him in Jesus' name(my
When we are subconsciously guided to worship the famous people, we go astray from worshiping God.
Who really benefits? Well, the opposite of God... the great deceiver.
You are mistaken - the cross roads stories are not about selling your soul to "a tall blackman"...
...'The' (as in 'one') story, although about a real person - is a myth (or sort of 'urban' legend, though it is 'set' in the rural south)...
If you google "Cross Road Blues, Robert Johnson", you'll find that he was a Blues playing guitarist from the 1930s, who was rumored to have gone to a
cross roads and made a deal with the devil to be extra talented in playing his guitar..
There's much more to his biographical details, as well as the legend -
- apparently, as a teenager he was determined to be a blues musician, but he was so bad that people considered him to be an annoyance. So, he ended
up leaving the area for a period of 18-24 months, during which his whereabouts were unknown and this was considered rather mysterious...
...on his return, much to everyone's amazement, Robert Johnson displayed such skill in his guitar playing that the folk of that area became convinced
he had made a 'crossroads deal'..
Anyway, the point in all of the above, is that none of it has anything at all to do with the Madonna video under discussion here, and in fact, my
previous post explains the the video in question is not even 'occult' related...
...Actually, regardless what she's been up to these last few decades - in the 80's, when that song and video came out, Madonna was still in her
Catholic 'phase', hence all the 'Christian' symbology...
a reply to: lostgirl The thing about the crossroads and selling your soul is, I came across a method of following the procedure
to actually do the selling of ones soul at a cross roads. It might take me awhile to look it up if your interested in what I had come across, but only
if you would like the link. It's getting late though right now. Thank you for your posts.
I' see what you mean about occult references, but ever since I read about the mk ultra and mind control I run all lyrics by main stream pop artist
through a Mk lens. So here is my take.
I think this is more of a song celebrating her mind control and handler. Like an advertisement for mindcontrol "I have no choice" "It feels like
home" there is a sense of security when under his control. "Like a prayer", it's the ritualistic nature of mind control that she is celebrating .
"I'll take you there" is the handlers speaking.
This song makes mind control more inviting to potential subjects. Example "It's no big deal, it's like a prayer. Life is a mystery we need to find a
way to stand. This guy can take you where you want to go." Something like that.
Songs always get interpretted differently. Myself, while reading those lines I didn't feel her meaning what you saw. I just assumed she was 'falling'
for someone after she thought she was supposed to be alone, and is fighting between having the strength and power, the height of being self reliant,
then having someone bring you down to earth with a feeling that's out of your control. Sounds like she really likes this person's voice and that makes
sense why it would affect her so much she's a musician. From start to finish it seems like
not in love
falling in love
at the clouds part realizing the loss of personal power with being in love (that being that youre attatched to a feeling that's out of your
then before the chorus with the loss of control and dancing, she realizes the feeling is out of her control but she's lost in it and doesn't care,
she's in love. The dancing is her body's physical reaction to that love. Time is irrelevant in this feeling, no end and no beginning
The best songs are the one that have universal meanings that can reach to the stars above. When songs are universally relevant people can see all
sorts of meaning and connection to them, that's why they become so popular because they can instantly engage your spirit. When it's written in this
simple easy to comprehend, easy to follow way, it'll always make that connection to the listener no matter what age, culture, intelligence. I
personally did not see it as an entity or whatever speaking to her, although since it is written on that universal level without any little specifics,
noone can really say you're wrong haha, it can be applied to anything
originally posted by: Kali74
That song is 27 years old, it happened and people were outraged over it then too...
Let it go?
Are you serious with this?
ATS exists to facilitate productive discussion these types of threads and theories.
Have you really no actual input other than sarcasm?
I'll never understand the sub-culture of this website that attempts to shoot down its members who enjoy looking at the world from alternative angles.
Thanks OP, it's pretty amazing when one takes the time to examine popular music ranging from the passed 50 years- how much of it was influenced by
occult schools of thought. Symbolism aside, these lyrics put the B in subtle as far as comparable "Babylon propaganda" goes! Her super-bowl
performance a few years back was especially creepy.
Realize that especially today it is trendy to put conspiratorial references in lyrics and videos for people looking through an "MK lens".
That kind of scrutiny is what sells.
That doesn't make sense. What sells is a hot body, cute face and a compliant attitude. The voice can be fixed in producing. No one pays attention to
the lyrics they just sing along just like the choir in the video.
Record companies exhibit extreme amount of control over their artist. Most of what a pop star like Madonna are, are puppets for the Lable who dance
them around for making cash and melting minds.
Prince is one of the few who got out but not without a fight here is his opinion on record labels.
Record contracts are just like — I'm gonna say the word – slavery," Prince said. "I would tell any young artist... don't sign." Read
more: www.rollingstone.com... Follow us: @rollingstone
on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook
Then they play it over and over on the radio so your signing along, signing about wanting to be controlled and how easy it is and harmless it is.
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