Jim Morrison, modern day mystic and shaman, referred to his alter ego as The Lizard King and wrote many cryptic songs such as Celebration of The Lizard. While at first glance, it may be tempting to dismiss his lyrical prose as the rantings of a madman on drugs, rather consider that the drugs may have opened a gateway or door to another dimension which enabled him to peer into a world more real than the one we live in. Even the name of the group was culled from Aldous Huxley's book on mescaline, the Doors of Perception. Most of us are pretty familiar with some of his songs. However, he also wrote much poetry, and was dubbed "The Electric Poet". Let us first look at some of his poems and then later we will delve into his song lyrics. One notable poems wasThe Lords and The New Creatures which hinted at the human race being enslaved by overlords who disguise themselves and control us through entertainment.
|"Events take place beyond our knowledge or control. Our
lives are lived for us. We can only try to enslave others. But gradually,
special perceptions are being developed. The idea of the 'Lords' is
beginning to form in some. We should enlist them into bands of perceivers
to tour the labyrinth during their mysterious nocturnal appearances. The
Lords have secret entrances,
and they know disguises. But they give themselves away in minor ways. Too much glint of light in the eye. A wrong gesture. Too long and curious a glance. The Lords appease us with images. They give us books, concerts, galleries, shows, cinemas. Especially the cinemas. Through art they confuse us and blind us to our enslavement. Art adorns our prison walls, keeps us silent and diverted and indifferent.
Dull lions prone on a watery beach. The universe kneels at the swamp to curiously eye its own raw postures of decay in the mirror of human consciousness. Absent and peopled mirror, absorbent, passive to whatever visits and retains its interest. Door to passage to the other side, the soul frees itself in stride. Turn mirrors to the wall in the house of the new dead."
Garden of Eden reveals the garden we live in to be a prison and perhaps contains iimagery alluding to a circular or dome-like bubble. "They're aware of our presence in the garden of Eden. They're aware of the outcasts within the perimeter. They have sent out their sentries to retain their diameter. We must remain within the set forth parameter or suffer the fate of millions of untold souls who heard the calling and left their homes."
The concept of death is also mentioned in unison with a garden in two other poems, Feast of Friends (Severed Garden) and Sirens. Severed Garden contains a potential chilling reference to the possibility of souls being food in a garden. "These mutants, blood-meal for the plant that's plowed. They are waiting to take us into the severed garden. Do you know how pale & wanton thrillful comes death in a strange hour, unannounced, unplanned for like a scaring over-friendly guest you've brought to bed? Death makes angels of us all & gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as raven's claws. No more money, no more fancy dress. This other Kingdom seems by far the best until its other jaw reveals incest & loose obedience to a vegetable law. I will not go. Prefer a feast of friends to the Giant family."
Sirens not only reveals that death has a garden, but that it uses night as a disguise. "Death is a good disguise for late at night, Wrapping all games in its calm garden... To call up the godhead, spirits, demons, the shaman calls: 'when radio dark night...' We are eating each other. The Voice of the Serpent, dry hiss of age & steam, & leaves of gold, old books in ruined Temples, the pages break like ash."
This may relate to the song Soul Kitchen since a kitchen is where food is prepared and cooked. Interestingly, the song also mentions a 'secret alphabet'. "Speak in secret alphabets. I light another cigarette. Learn to forget. Learn to forget. Learn to forget. Learn to forget. Let me sleep all night in your soul kitchen."
Another poem is entitled Thank You O Lord. With all the allusions to Snakes or Lizards that Morrison makes, one has to wonder when he addresses a being as Lord, if he is not petitioning Satan, also known as the Serpent or Dragon in the Bible. The poem reads, "Thank you, O Lord, for the white blind light. Thank you, O Lord, for the white blind light. A city rises from the sea. I had a splitting headache from which the future is made." Could he perhaps be referring to the white light of the near death experience? After all, The Bible admonishes us that Satan masquerades as an angel of light.
The Ghost Song instructs us to choose the Ancient Ones beneath the moon. "A vast radiant beach in a cool jeweled moon. Couples naked race down by its quiet side. And we laugh like soft, mad children, snug in the wooly cotton brains of infancy. The music and voices are all around us. 'Choose', they croon, 'the Ancient Ones'. The time has come again. 'Choose now', they croon. Beneath the moon. Beside an ancient lake. Enter again the sweet forest. Enter the hot dream. Come with us. Everything is broken up and dances."
Several Morrison songs seem to contain a central theme of taking a ride on a highway and contain the same characters -- a snake, the moon and the sun. For instance, in Women Is a Devil, the song mentions being taken on a long evil ride by the Devil who is revealed to be female. "Me and the devil walkin' side by side. Me and the devil, gonna take you on a long and evil ride. The women is a devil, that's what I've been told. Women is a devil, that's what I've been told. She'll take all your money. Then she'll spend all your gold."
A highway is mentioned in The End of the Night. " Take the highway to the end of the night, End of the night, end of the night. Take a journey to the bright midnight. End of the night, end of the night. Realms of bliss, realms of light."
|The single for The End, featured in the movie Apocalypse Now, appropriately displays a sun. The song, which is presumably about death, also mentions taking a ride. "There's danger on the edge of town. Ride the King's highway, baby. Weird scenes inside the gold mine. Ride the highway west, baby. Ride the snake, ride the snake to the lake, the ancient lake, baby. The snake is long, seven miles. Ride the snake...he's old, and his skin is cold. The west is the best. The west is the best. Get here, and we'll do the rest. The blue bus is callin' us. The blue bus is callin' us. Driver, where you takin' us?"|
Perhaps the answer to where we are being taken is answered in the next few songs we'll analyze. In Moonlight Drive, Morrison encourages us to swim to the moon. "Let's swim to the moon. Let's climb through the tide. Surrender to the waking world that laps against our side. Nothing left open and no time to decide. We'll stop into a river on our moonlight drive... Come on baby, gonna take a little ride." Perhaps the highway is the blue light from the moon river of the blue moon and we are to ride on
the blue bus of the tide or swim on the wake that the light produces?
Besides being prodded to swim to the moon, other songs tell us not to touch the earth, but to run and wait for the sun: "Not to touch the earth, Not to see the sun, Nothing left to do, but run, run, run. Let's run. Let's run. House upon the hill, Moon is lying still... Some outlaws lived by the side of a lake. The minister's daughter's in love with the snake who lives in a well by the side of the road. Wake up, girl, we're almost home. Ya, c'mon! We should see the gates by mornin'. We should be inside by evenin'. Sun, sun, sun. Burn, burn, burn. Soon, soon, soon. Moon, moon, moon. I will get you. Soon! Soon! Soon! Let the carnival bells ring. Let the serpent sing... I am the Lizard King. I can do anything." So we find out that the snake lives in a well by the road. Based the frantic tone and fevered pitch of this verse, it is pretty evident the snake is using the moon to get you and that eventually the sun will burn us.
The moon is also mentioned in Alabama Song. "I tell you we must die. I tell you we must die. I tell you, I tell you, I tell you we must die. Oh, moon of Alabama. We now must say goodbye." Again in Strange Days: "We linger alone, bodies confused, memories misused as we run from the day to a strange night of stone."
In the song Waiting For the Sun, it is mentioned that we wait
for the sun, for the time to live in the scattered sun:
Take It As It Comes tells us to aim at the sun. "Time to
live. Time to lie. Time to laugh. Time to die...
Time to walk. Time to run. Time to aim your arrows at the sun."
Those were some of the most revealing songs, but let's take a brief look at the group's biggest hits. Perhaps the band is best known for their mega-hit Light My Fire, "Girl, we couldn't get much higher. Come on baby, light my fire. Come on baby, light my fire. Try to set the night on fire. The time to hesitate is through. No time to wallow in the mire. Try now we can only lose. And our love become a funeral pyre. Come on baby, light my fire. Come on baby, light my fire. Try to set the night on fire." As you can see, the song talks about a girl using love as a funeral pyre that lights his soul on fire resulting in setting the night on fire.
Riders On The Storm was another very popular song. It mentions a killer on the road and riders on a storm. "Riders on the storm. Into this house we're born. Into this world we're thrown. Like a dog without a bone, an actor out on loan. Riders on the storm. There's a killer on the road...If ya give this man a ride, sweet memory will die. Killer on the road, yeah."
Break On Through once again mentions the night and describes a woman with arms that chain us and eyes that lie, encouraging us to break on through to the other side. "You know the day destroys the night. Night divides the day. Tried to run, tried to hide. Break on through to the other side... Everybody loves my baby, She get high. I found an island in your arms. Country in your eyes. Arms that chain us, Eyes that lie. Break on through to the other side... the gate is straight, deep and wide, break on through to the other side..."
L.A. Woman describes driving down a woman's (Ellie?) freeway which is a
midnight alley. The woman evidently has burning hair and may be a lost angel.
"Are you a lucky little lady in The City of Light or just another lost
angel...City of Night... I see your hair is burnin'. Hills are filled with fire.
If they say I never loved you, you know they are a liar. Drivin' down your
freeways, midnight alleys roam ."
Although the band is sometimes known for the line "No One Gets Out Alive", the group may have slyly keyed us in on the way to escape this prison. In Tell All The People, we are instructed: "Tell all the people that you see, 'Follow me, Follow me down.' Tell all the people that you see, 'Set them free. Follow me down.' You tell them they don't have to run... 'Follow me down. You got to follow me down. Follow me down.' Tell all the people that you see. 'We'll be free. Follow me down.' Tell all the people you see. 'Follow me. You got to follow me down.' " Are they alerting us that we don't have to run and that the way to freedom is down?
There are a few other songs worthy of mention. A song which perhaps contains a thinly veiled reference to the siren mythology is The Crystal Ship. "The crystal ship is being filled -- A thousand girls, a thousand thrills. A million ways to spend your time. When we get back, Iíll drop a line."
The crystal ship is being filled, but that is one ship you don't want to board for it is a Ship of Fools, the title of yet another Doors song. "Yeah, along came Mr. Goodtrip's looking for a new ship. Come on, people better climb on board. Come on, baby, now we're going home. Ship of fools, ship of fools. The human race was dyin' out. No one left to scream and shout. People walking on the moon. Smog will get you pretty soon. Ship of fools, ship of fools." Is this a veiled reference to the moon as a ship of fools?
The Doors - Moonlight Drive video
In The WASP, a maiden with wrought iron soul is mentioned: "Forget the night.
Live with us in forests of azure. Out here on the perimeter there are no stars.
Out here we is stoned - immaculate. Listen to this, and I'll tell you 'bout the
heartache. I'll tell you 'bout the heartache and the loss of God. I'll tell you
'bout the hopeless night, the meager food for souls forgot. I'll tell you 'bout
the maiden with wrought iron soul. I'll tell you this: No eternal reward will
forgive us now for wasting the dawn."
Perhaps Morrison (More Sun) a.k.a. The Lizard King, was revealing his own identity as a shape-shifting or Crawling King Snake when he sang, "I'm a Changeling. See me change. I'm a Changelin'. See me change... You gotta see me change. See me change. Yeah, I'm leavin' town on a midnight train. Gotta see me change."
In closing, a couple quotes from Jim on how controlled and brainwashed society is and how he viewed himself.
"A person has to be willing to give up everything -- not just wealth. All the bullshit that he's been taught -- all society's brainwashing. You have to let go of all that to get to the other side. Most people aren't willing to do that."
"Whoever controls the media, controls the mind."
"We're like actors, turned loose in this world to wander in search of a
phantom, endlessly searching for a half-formed shadow of our lost reality. When
others demand that we become the people they want us to be, they force us to
destroy the person we really are. It's a subtle kind of murder. The most loving
parents and relatives commit this murder with smiles on their faces."
"I see myself as a huge fiery comet, a shooting star. Everyone stops, points up and gasps "Oh look at that!" Then whoosh, and I'm gone...and they'll never see anything like it ever again...and they won't be able to forget me -- ever."