Originally named Southern Death Cult, later Death Cult and The Cult in its final incarnation, the band has become one of the most successful hard rock alternative bands of all time. The group displayed its pagan roots right away when it released its first EP, self titled The Cult. The cover featured a black goat.
Heavily influenced by native american beliefs, The Cult has woven a human-solar philosophy into many of the lyrics. The release for the single Sun King graphically depicts a man at the core of the sun.
The Sun King offers to take you to the promised land. "This is where it all ends and the kinda dream you've never seen, not damn ooh mercy ma'am, what the hell you doing to me?... I'll do what I can to take you to the promised land, A sun king, baby, let me take you by the hand.... I'm a sun king baby, Sun king, Sun King, baby."
In Black Sun, the group blatantly sings that our souls burning in the black sun are a killjoy. "Burning in the black sun, like a jackal on the run, well, burning in the black sun... I hate your soul, you kill my fun... burning in the sun, burning in the black sun, black black sun, black black black black sun...."
The video Star flaunts a seductive woman with a golden hue and star and crown of thorns on her head. In the above still, a blazing star, the sun, shines right through the core of her being, implying they are one and the same. The lyrics encourage the listener to reach for the star in order to be liberated. "Star, I'll reach you if I try, riot girl, show me your truth yeah, I believe in liberation, won't you liberate me? Come on and take me, well -- I took no holy vow, won't you hold this pagan soul? Hold my soul... Star, I'll reach you if I try... show me your truth, yeah, hey, well, I believe in freedom"
This siren motif is echoed in the song Sail On to the Eternal Reward, but with a much grimmer result. "A fugitive has been away so long. The long men are waiting in the wings to put him in chains upon his return. Emptiness, his bitterness is gone. Journey the road to the eternal reward. It's a long way to go, a black angel at your side, the reaper at your side. The sirens call a sailor to die. Enchanted by the sounds, his desires have been found."
The song Joy associates fun with walking into the sun. "I don't need no gun. I walk into the Sun. Find what's going on. Find what's going down. I don't need no gun. I walk into your fun. Fun into the Sun. Find what's going on."
Unfortunately, they may reveal what kind of fun is waiting in the sun in the song Bad Fun. Like Pink Floyd and Yes before them, in the song Bad Fun, The Cult sets controls for the sun. "Bad fun, sister. Time to go. Life's too short. On with the show. Atomic bomb overhead, Set controls for the Sun. Mayhem children, take no lip. Rev your engine from the hip. Yeah nighttime she's callin' you. Ghetto star, you'll go far." Once again the star is calling you in the night. However, the imagery of an atomic bomb, mayhem children and a ghetto star paints a rather ominous portrait.
Like Bad Fun, the song Breathe tells us to breathe straight into the sun while 'I shot the sun' may refer to the enlightened swinging around the sun like a slingshot. "I don't wanna be myself. I just wanna run. You gotta breathe, you bastard, breathe, straight into the sun. 50,000 flowers for the hero scattered at his feet to satisfy his ego. I shot the sun, this tear of God. I shot the sun, baby."
In American Gothic a black star, white light and a death machine are prominent. "I look inside your black heaven. I see your naked altar there... black star, white light, black star, white light, eating the cancer cells from the death machine... American gothic, american dream, your black heaven."
Spiritwalker once again refers to stars and the sun and even to children kissing stars before they sing their last song. "Let the sun shine on me when I sing the last song. I will give you even my body. Spiritwalker, let all the children kiss the stars before they sing their last song.... Let all the children kiss the sun before they sing their last song. Dreamwalker, Starwalker, Sunwalker, Spiritwalker, Spiritwalker, Dreamwalker, Starwalker, Sunwalker, Windwalker, Windwalker, Windwalker, Windwalker, Spirit, Spirit, Spirit..."
Rise implies that we may be chained to the wheel (the sun) and the spark that sets them free. "You are the sun, I am the flame. You are the blood, I am the same. We are the love that rises again. They are the snake that bites on your veins. You are alive and high in my dreams. You are the stars that mystify me. And you are the wolf that frightens the thief. And you are the voice that they disbelieve. We are not chained to the wheel and you are the spark that sets us all free."
King Contrary Man tells a story of a celebrity selling his soul to the devil. "I saw the devil, the Contrary Man. I saw the Devil down the long long road. He said to me, 'Boy I want your soul'.... I took a while and thought about it, down at the crossroads tempting fate, yeah yeah yeah. You can take my soul. Take my soul. I want it all, yeah." The design for Lil' Devil features a horned reptile perched atop a golden orb. The metaphor here is that the Serpent or Dragon, The Devil, embraces the Sun.
The song Naturally High remorses that some of his friends never got to fly as high as the sun. "Some of my friends they died real young. They never got to fly as high as the Sun. There's one thing in my life that I love -- Naturally high in the kingdom of your love."
Electric Ocean may allude to the possibility there may be wild things roaming in the electric sea of space. "The spirit is free where the wild things roam, next to the sea, the electric ocean."
The video The Witch clearly makes a link between the Son of God and the Sun of God perhaps even suggesting the sun is our savior.