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Old 08-12-2000, 06:49 PM   #1
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Sun versus Moon

In many of U2's songs the sun and moon
are mentioned (If You Wear that Velvet Dress, Mysterious Ways) What are your theories on what these two metaphors stand for?
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Old 08-13-2000, 11:01 PM   #2
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I think the sun/moon metaphors change from song to song. As a quick example, I've always thought the line about "your sister, the moon" in Mysterious Ways references the Holy Spirit.

But I've always been under the impression that the sun and the moon in "Velvet Dress" represent the objects of love and lust, respectively. The sun is someone the writer can love without hesitation, publically and openly. Meanwhile, the moon is a temptation the writer ultimately falls to.

Now, whether the sun is God, a wife, or what is a question I have no answers for.

(And, as with quite a few U2 songs, it helps if you don't take the song as necessarily from Bono's perspective.)

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Old 08-14-2000, 04:52 AM   #3
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Especially as we dont know what Bono's perspective is exactly.

Bono is a poet and so he would use both those celestial bodies as different metaphors in different poems.

Johnny take a walk with your sister to the moon...could simply be talking about going to a place with someone that is at times, unreachable.
What ive always wondered was 'her pale light in to fill up the room', the light of the moon, or the light of your sister?
And is the sister really a sister, or a girlfriend, or just anyone?

And more to the point, who's Johnny?!!!!!!

But then there are other songs where I dont think the sun is being used as a metaphor at all. 'Staring at the Sun' for one.

Oh man, you have opened up a can of worms, Spectre!...

p.s. IYWTVD..that line, 'the moon is a mirrorball' is one of the sexiest lines Bono has ever sung.
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Old 08-14-2000, 01:27 PM   #4
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I always thought the line was "your sister, the moon", which would make the line about "her pale light" be less ambiguous.

"Who's Johnny?" Who knows?

And I thought "Staring at the Sun" actually contained (or might contain) an interesting Christian metaphor if you replace "sun" with "Son".

And you're absolutely right: "the moon is a mirrorball" is a great line.

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Old 08-15-2000, 03:39 AM   #5
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Wow, isn't it great how open for interpretation these metaphors can be??

I feel that my interpretations could be apart from what Bono had in mind while writing.. but that's the great thing about it. It makes you think and consider the multiple possibilites. However, I would like to know what exactly Bono had in mind Regarding Mysterious Ways.. I've always felt that "your sister the moon" was the object of obsession which is being referred to throughout -- I tend to link this back to "if you want to kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel".. seeing that the moon is located in the sky.. I don't know how accurate this connection is but it's just something I've come up with.. however I also think Bubba's mention of "the moon" being a reference to the holy spirit is very valid -- Multiple interpretations is a sign of great writing
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Old 08-15-2000, 03:47 AM   #6
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Ooh yes! If You Wear That Velvet Dress is a sexy song all around. Achtung Bubba, I tend to agree with you on the sun/moon theory for Velvet Dress. I think the sun represents the wife or the steady girlfriend, someone stable that the author can spend the rest of his life with. The comforter, and the one that would make a good mother.
The moon, however is the super sexy, wild kind of woman in a tight dress that men like to oogle when the wife's not looking, but are not the type they'd settle down with. I do think that perhaps the metaphors do change from song to song, but then in certain songs perhaps their meanings are similar.
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Old 08-15-2000, 03:48 AM   #7
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To me "Staring At The Sun" is a metaphor for doing what you shouldn't be doing. You know that it's wrong but you just can't help it because of your annoyance at something (The creeps crawling...). To me it fits in with my Northern Ireland interpretation of the song:
"Will we ever live in peace..."
"Those that can't do, often have to preach
To the ones, Staring at the sun...)
Perhaps a reference to people like Ian Paisley, stirring up tension under the pretense of speaking the word of God, those Staring at the sun perhaps the people who create the violence every year without fail during the marching season...
"Intransigence is all around, Military still in town..."
This sort of speaks for itself, although intransigence is a word that is used a lot when speaking about the NI problem...

Justthought Id tell you what the song means to me. Theres more along the lines of lyric interpretation but I'll go into it in more detail later! If you are interested that is
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Old 08-15-2000, 12:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrBTH:
Theres more along the lines of lyric interpretation but I'll go into it in more detail later! If you are interested that is
By all means!!

BTW, was I the only one who actually had to get out the dictionary and look up "intransigence"?

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Old 08-17-2000, 11:21 PM   #9
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HAHA I did that as well Bubba!! U2 is a learning process
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Old 08-18-2000, 03:47 AM   #10
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About the use of the moon in "Mysterious Ways", I think I have some info that makes some sense, well at least on one level. There is a play by Oscar Wilde named Salome. It is shaped around the passage in the Bible that talks about Queen Herodias and her daughter Salome, and how she danced for Herod Antipas and got in return the head of John the Baptist on a silver plate. In the song, Johnny refers to John the Baptist (Iokanaan in the play) and the moon to Salome: (I will quote from the play here)

YOUNG SYRIAN: How beautiful is the Princess Salome tonight!
PAGE OF HERODIAS: Look at the moon. How strange the moon seems! She is like a woman rising from a tomb. She is like a dead woman. One might fancy she was looking for dead things.

And then again about the part of "let her pale light in to fill up your room":
YOUNG SYRIAN: How pale the Princess is! Never have I seen her so pale.

Johnny is indeed living underground, he is in prison! And then Salome herself talks about the moon: SALOME: How good to see the moon! She is like a little piece of money, a little silver flower. She is cold and chaste. I am sure she is a virgin. She has the beauty of a virgin. Yes, she is a virgin. She has never defiled herself. She has never abandoned herself to men, like the other goddesses.

And about "to touch is to heal, to hurt is to steal, if you want to kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel", Salome goes to see John and she says:
SALOME: How wasted he is! He is like a thin ivory statue. He is like an image of silver. I am sure he is chaste, as the moon is. He is like a moonbeam, like a shaft of silver. His flesh must be very cold, cold as ivory... I would look closer at him.

And eventually she wants to kiss him but he wouldn't let her. And at the end of the play when John is death, Salome says: (.) Ah! ah! wherefore didst thou not look at me? If thou hadst looked at me thou hadst loved me. Well I know that thou wouldst have loved me, and the mystery of Love is greater than the mystery of Death.

And THE VOICE OF SALOME: Ah! I have kissed thy mouth, Iokanaan, I have kissed thy mouth. There was a bitter taste on thy lips. Was it the taste of blood... Nay; but perchance it was the taste of love... They say that love hath a bitter taste... But what matter? what matter? I have kissed thy mouth, lokanaan, I have kissed thy mouth. [A ray of moonlight falls on Salome and illumines her]
HEROD: [Turning round and seeing Salome] Kill that woman! [The soldiers rush forward and crush beneath their shields Salome, daughter of Herodias, Princess of Judaea].

Sorry about the long post, I really didn't want to bore you guys! But I had to, since no one had mentioned the Salome/John the Baptist connection. The play is really short, and in it references to the moon appear line after line, so if you want to read it you will be surprised about how it relates to "Mysterious Ways". Which only makes me think that Bono is a genius in writing, as Achtung Bebe said, songs that have multiple interpretations.

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Old 08-18-2000, 03:52 AM   #11
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I hope the moon connection in Oscar Wilde's Salome with "Mysterious Ways" makes some sense! If not, I would love to hear more about what you all think!
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Old 08-18-2000, 04:49 AM   #12
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Wow, that's really interesting! If nothing else, it was educational to read that, and I think it does make sense.
I've always associated the moon with things feminine, and the sun with the masculine side of things... I think that's a common theme in various mythologies and metaphors in general...
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Old 08-19-2000, 09:28 AM   #13
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That is about the only thing of Wilde's that i havent read.

to think, I could have found so many connections if I had. Thanks one love Ill go read it!
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Old 08-19-2000, 05:31 PM   #14
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Some more sun/moon references--

In "The Fly", Bono sings
"They say the sun is sometimes eclipsed by a moon
you know I don't see you when she walks in the room"

It seems like the sun is the wife/long-term partner and the moon is the alluring, unknown woman.
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Old 08-20-2000, 12:13 AM   #15
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One love, that is very, very interesting. There are so many hard facts in that post that definately do make sense. I think you are onto something. And rpenner, I think you're right on.. that interpretation definately fits
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