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The Music

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The Lyrics

Ladder from the Sky

Chaos with a Crown of Gold

Starfooted in a Garden of Cans

The Illusion of Flesh

In the Cave

Seed

The Bridal Chamber

Don't Sleep

Battle of the Archons

Assumption

All lyrics ©1998 by John R. Mabry except where noted. All quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The Gnostic Scriptures, translated by Bentley Layton (Garden City: Doubleday & Co, 1987).

 

Faith Wisdom (Pistis Sophia) is bitten by curiosity, and ventures outside the known universe; outside the belly of God.

 

I. Ladder from the Sky

 

NARRATOR: There's a ladder from the sky,

step by step, descending.

There's a ladder from the sky, step by step, descending.

There's a ladder from the sky, step by step, descending.

 

SOPHIA: What am I doing here? This place is nowhere

The chill of a lifeless eye, the hard of bone

 

I just wanted to look behind the curtain

didn't know I'd be thrown to the farthest shore

I've torn away every marker that matters

No trail I can follow to get back home

 

I've blown it big in the past, but God! what happened?

I don't know what to do with a soul that's torn

 

And it's lonely outside of God's belly

The not knowing, the not knowing

I want to suck the universe into the inside

to fill me up, to fill me up

 

Please don't take your fullness from me

Please don't take your fullness from me

Please don't take your fullness from me.

 

I am the mother, and I am the daughter,

I am the first, and I am the last

I am the barren, but I'll breed many nations

I am the revered, and yet I got no class

I am the whore, I am the holy

I am the only comfort in my travail

I am the law, and I am the lawless

It's been me all along, nipping at your tail

It is I who cry out, upon this hard earth cast out

I will not forget, I will not forget, I will not forget

 

the tender taste of light...

["I am the mother" section adapted from Thunder, Perfect Mind, 80]

 

 

[Sophia attempts to return

to the safety of the pleroma;

she turns to the magick of demiurgy

--to attain God by mimicking God.

She gives birth to a blind god

Samael, who creates the world.

And us.

And finds he likes power.]


II. Chaos with a Crown of Gold

 

SAMAEL: And there is chaos here

it's all I've ever known

It is my home, where e'er I roam

It's here I'll set my throne

 

And Wisdom won't look at me

She turns her face away

from her bastard son

Seems to despise

the god she bore who has no eyes

 

But it is lonely here

Behold, I'll make a beast

to sing my praise, for all his days

Until he sinks to dust again.

 

And they must never know

the spark inside of them

is greater than I am

So all their many lifetimes

to this prison planet damned

 

Now I will set my guard

on every sphere that reigns this restless planet in

I'll give you laws

and tell you lies about your sin

 

And you will bow to me

and sacrifice your sons

and teach your seed

to praise my name

 

or I will crush you like a reed

 

[And Samael set in the garden

a man and a woman

who believed that he was himself

the high God

And Samael strove to keep them ignorant

of the truth.

The true and high GOD took pity

on the plight of the human creatures

and unbeknownst to Samael,

sent to them a slithering messenger of light.]


III. Starfooted in a Garden of Cans

 

a. Ignorance and Bess

 

NARRATOR: Light of heart in the garden

nothing do you want

 

Light of mind in the garden

nothing do you know

 

THE SNAKE (to Eve): Baby so serene

like a goddamn beauty queen

got a stew in the pot

though it ain't a lot

sure as hell seems like a dream

 

And everything's so warm

and everything's so calm

and almost everything is unseen

'cause you got no eyes

 

You're just like your Dad

'cept your life is more sad

You might both be blind

but at least He has a mind

and He's been lying to you all the time

all the time...

 

Like a shade out of the night

I'm here to tell you

 

You're not alone

there's another world

and your life is precious

You don't know it's your only crime

and it's easy to undo

 

...do everything he says

eat this - don't eat that

he says you'll die

but I swear it's a lie

he sits on his throne and gets fat

on your sweat

 

EVE: Will I not die?

 

THE SNAKE: The fruit is round and green

hard, sweet and obscene

just one taste

you'll know it's all a waste

you'll be groping after the unseen

the unseen...

 

Like a shade out of the night

I'm here to tell you

 

You're not alone

 

You're not alone

there's another world

and your life is precious

You don't know it's your only crime

and it's easy to undo

 

Light of heart in the garden

Baby, is that what you want?

 

Like an angel of light

I'm here to tell you

just one little bite

and it'll all be through

 

(Communion time. Eve eats.)

 

Light of heart in the garden

Baby, is that what you want?

 

And now, my pretty one

You're on your own

The stones that cut your feet and make you cry

Your husband is a hard taskmaster

And your God, a demon in the sky

 

EVE: Will I not die?

 

THE SNAKE: You will not die!

 

[Samael failed to keep Eve imprisoned

after her death, because she knew he was a sham.

But he succeeded in duping her children.

Even Sophia, after a time, began to forget.

But there were prophesies.]

 

b. The Ages Unto the Ages

 

SOPHIA: I am rolling, I am rocking

on the waves of time

Almost ancient from the waiting

on the waves of time

 

I'm forgetting what I'm knowing

on the waves of time

All creation is groaning

on the waves of time

 

PROPHET: In the fullness of time will come a being

Who will teach them all secret wisdom

And they will be freed from blind thought

And the archons will relinquish their ages

Then all the myriad children of light

shall cry unto the heavens with a single voice:

"Sanctus! Sanctus! Sanctus!" [Reality of the Rulers, 76]

 

[In the fullness of time

the serpent messenger was sent out again.

This time the Christ assumed the likeness

(but not the reality)

of a human one.]


IV. The Illusion of Flesh (Why Krishna can't tie his shoes)

 

CHRIST: And I came down from heaven

on the same ladder that she took

only to find her

and to bring her back home if I could

 

And to all the myriad sparks of God

held captive in mortal flesh

I will tell the secrets of the ages

So that they might find their rest

 

So yes I came here to find you

and to give you a way to be free

and just to thank me

you nail all my limbs to a tree

 

But I'm the one laughing

I'm the one who's laughing

I'm the one who's laughing now...

because it wasn't me...

 

(spoken) And in the cave I told my secret to John...


V. In the Cave (the Apocryphon of John)

 

CHRIST: This flesh will keep you down,

you'll perish in this ground

or you can fly far

 

Round and round and round the wheel

of death and birth and the unreal

Round and round and round the wheel

of death and birth and the unreal

 

This world is not your home

you're just sad strangers here,

that's what you are

 

Round and round and round the wheel

of death and birth and the unreal

 

Far beyond this waste

there is a world of light

that's you're true home

 

Escape the tyrant gods

let wisdom flood your heart

and soften that stone

 

Round and round and round the wheel

of death and birth and the unreal

Round and round and round the wheel

of death and birth and the unreal

 

Make the outside like the inner

Make a saint of a hardened sinner

Invite the outcast home for dinner

like an old friend

 

Make a man out of a woman [Gospel of Thomas, 399]

Make a King answer a pauper's summons

Break the power of the demons

that imprison you

 

[The inner Gospel was carried

to the ends of the earth

surviving in myriad forms

through time.]


VI. Seed (Max's Exquisite Existential Torpor)

 

(Spoken) NARRATOR: And this wheel is given another hard turn

Another mewling zygote adding its measure of pain

to the sprawling universe...

 

MAX: The sunlight, hurts my eyes

And I can't see, I swim in the lies I am given.

So I get by, I feign my surprise

And learn the right thoughts,

to think to survive in this prison

 

or until some hope has arisen

 

NEVILLE (Max's deadhead guru): Once in Eden,

one wise serpent's seed

was sown in a woman

and she broke free

 

NEO-GNOSTIC CHOIR: Oh, lost wisdom!

 

MAX: Asphalt, the ground of my being

and the stoplights the only guidance I'm seeing

But I don't scream, I keep my mouth shut

and I strive and stray to the end of my luck

and my tears

 

NEVILLE: Once in the desert, a serpent made like man

spoke of the promise

spoke of the archons' end

 

CHOIR: The mighty, fallen!

 

MAX: The high priests, they tell me to pray

to this great beast, who hungrily preys

on our souls and sighs to the end of our days

until we sink to dust, there must be a way

to break free

 

Oh, great Wisdom, descend upon me

sweep from my mind every shadow

every shadow...

 

*SOPHIA: You've found your way

And now you know

Look inside, I'm here to show you

 

You've found your way

And now you know

Look inside, I'm here to grow your soul...

 

You have walked this road before

You have walked this road before

You will walk this road no more!

*Sophia's lyrics by Malcolm Smith

[As a good gnostic,

Max endures the religious discipline

of ritual sex.

Max assumes the persona of Christ

his lover, of Sophia.

It breaks the power of the archons.

No, it really does.]


VII. The Bridal Chamber

 

MAX & WENDY: Here the guises are assuméd

Here the hand upon your cheek

Here the darkness is illumined

Here the knowing and belief

 

Here the rose meets the cutter

Here the treasure meets the thief

Here the halves join together

Here the healing of the breach

 

Here your body meets its maker

Here the ecstasy and grief

Here grinding and the gasping

Here our spirits are released...

 

[Max's experience of dying

is a long and conscious one.

He never really dropped off.]


*VIII. Don't Sleep

 

MAX: The church bells are ringing

I can hear them across the town

Is anyone awake out there

Is there anyone around?

 

The wind is blowing through empty streets

Leaves scattered across the square

I need someone to hear my voice

As it carries through the air

Don't sleep.....

 

The prying eyes have vanished

From the lonely attic room

My misanthropic friend returns

A brief word to soothe my fears

Leads me hand in hand

Towards an empty future's wrath

Let me find my past

 

The bells are ringing louder now

I try to find the source

I try to fight my apprehension

Try to suspend my doubt

Belief is too much to bear

Reality a fleeting friend...a fleeting friend

Let my strength last

 

I can lie awake at night

And try to make some sense of life

I can see the years pass by

I can hear the seagull's cry

No one wants to be all alone

How can I be alone if nothing's there

 

Move...climb up the stairs

Whatever I find will be the truth

Up or down left or right

It doesn't matter anyway

Besides me it's all illusion

I'll find myself and free the ghost

Let him fly...

 

I can see through mystery

Through fact and fiction and fantasy

It's all laid out before my eyes

Rights and wrongs and truths and lies

I just need to stop and let it go

After all there's nothing there to see

Nothing before me...

 

I'm still awake

There's nothing here

An endless void of mirrors

That reflect inside

On and on and on....

The reflection I see

With heavy eyes

Don't surrender

Don't give in

Don't sleep

Please don't sleep

Open your eyes...

Open your eyes...

Open your eyes...

*Lyrics by Bob Koehler

[Just as his hippie teacher had predicted,

Max was faced with the vicious archons

bent on returning his soul to earth

for another round of pain and degradation.

But Max is ready.

Max is a neo-gnostic motherfucker.]


IX. Battle of the Archons

 

MAX: I got the secret

But I don't know if it's true

Archons are hedging me round

But here goes babe,

I'm stepping into the blue

 

Hurling down the worlds...

 

I got the secret

You know, you know it's true

The Archons got no hold on me now

and I'm coming home, babe

I'm coming home to you!

 

[It pays to know your enemy;

Max's spirit soared free of the dominion

of the Samael and his archons.

Soaring into outer space

the secret teachings of Jesus

come back to him,

beckoning him towards the Pleroma

The fullness of God.]


X. Assumption (A World You Can Live In)

 

CHRIST: If you can

make the outside like the inner

you'll make a saint of a hardened sinner

invite the demons home for dinner

like an old friend

 

*If you can dream your way to waking

All your ignorance forsaking

'til there's nothing for the taking, but the given

 

*If you can see your way to seeing

'til there's nothing left but being

you can go there

find a world you can live in

*Lyrics by Keith Vandertuig



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