Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Come Sail Away With Me

Great song lyrics usually have unconscious meanings that the writer may not have considered but which then resonate for the ages. Some say that the Chicago band Styx with their 1977 hit "Come Sail Away" meant little more than trendy space metaphors for becoming free and inspired in life, but I see a template for the ascension of the human spirit.

(Be sure to hear or purchase the full 6 minute album version)

Come Sail Away lyrics
songwriter Dennis DeYoung, © STYGIAN SONGS; ALMO MUSIC CORP;

I'm sailing away
Set an open course for the Virgin Sea
'Cause I've got to be free
Free to face the life that's ahead of me

The human being feels the need to be more true to their inner self (soul), and looks to the fluidity of the ocean as a metaphor for breaking away from land-locked social conventions. Most esoteric philosophies (theosophy for example) teach four body vehicles or planes of the human spirit, and these are represented in the land as the physical, sea as the emotional (astral), air as the mental, and space as the spiritual (causal).

On board, I'm the captain
So climb aboard
We'll search for tomorrow on every shore
And I'll try, oh Lord, I'll try to carry on

Sailing is setting out into the untested (virgin) potentials and more fluid energies of the greater self. The physical human being dares to be its own master (captain) and explore the emotional waters in an earthly conceived vessel (sailing ship), hoping to reach a brighter tomorrow while calling upon the higher self (Lord) for strength to endure trials. Each higher plane's energies are inherently less controllable, offering more freedom of movement, so surrendering to a higher guiding power is both humbling and required.

I look to the sea
Reflections in the waves spark my memory
Some happy, some sad
I think of childhood friends and the dreams we had

The waves' light reflections are the mirrors of self in reality (the people and events in our lives), which are most evocative and powerful when one lives emotionally. As one aligns with the soul, memories of pure childhood expectations for divine living return to the consciousness, some happy (when life delivered love and dreams) some sad (when failures shocked the spirit).

We lived happily forever
So the story goes
But somehow we missed out on the pot of gold
But we'll try best that we can to carry on

The myth of living happily ever after is a story we tell ourselves, when we know that we missed out on a greater truth of self (the pot of gold). Again, we pray to the higher self for strength to carry on, and comfort comes to know we're not alone in our needs for soul community.

A gathering of Angels appeared above my head
They sang to me this song of hope and this is what they said

They said, "Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me lads
Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me
Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me baby
Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me"

Then the angels appear above the seeker's head. These are the messengers of the mental plane, including sylphs and air elementals who bring hope of the mind's higher existence secure above the emotional waves. There are soul-based reasons and truths for the ups and downs of daily living, there are absolute divine lessons that call us to come sail away, to fly higher than the physical and emotional human can reach.

A higher power is calling us Home, and there is even the allusion in the lyrics to the masculine and feminine energies working in harmony, with a crew of gods and the resident goddess all voyaging together to discover (co-create) All That Is. "Come sail away lads" then "Come sail away baby" calls the captain. Okay sure, I'm a romantic, but unconscious small details seem to me significant.

I thought that they were Angels, but to my surprise
We climbed aboard their starship, we headed for the skies

Singing, come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me lads
Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me
Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me
Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me

The seeker thinks the angelic mental plane is the ultimate level, for it gives an empowering perspective from the air on the land and the sea. But to the human mind's surprise, there are worlds beyond Earth, whose visitors are irrational because no human physics can get us there. These are the celestial heavens of outer space and inner spirit, from which whole new paradigms of love and planetary reinvention come.

Extraterrestrials are guides to the human race's potentials, and they come to us energetically, bidding us now to sail in a whole new way, on starships beyond our imagination. The human soul has cosmic origins, the ascension process is about going Home, the home that was called for by the childhood memories of dreams. The child's pure spirit has returned to the seeker, trailing clouds of glory, enabling the ascended seeker to now reach down to more lost souls below, lifting them with the inherited invitation to “come sail away with me.”


It is interesting to note where this song fits in the career of the band. Styx was a prolific and talented group that had already released six albums since 1972, but success was slow to build, with the single “Lady” only becoming a hit two years after their second album from which it came. Band member Dennis DeYoung says he wrote “Come Sail Away” in 1977 in a state of deep depression for the seventh album “Grand Illusion” after the last two albums still hadn’t sold well despite the hit “Lady”. The mood of the new song was not depressed however but incredibly uplifting, so where did it really come from?

Then everything changed, because “Grand Illusion” went triple-platinum, commenced a series of four consecutive multi-platinum albums, and its signature hit “Come Sail Away” went on to be the favorite to close every concert for the rest of their careers, with ecstatic audiences singing the final refrains. Debate continues whether the lyrics are best taken as metaphorical or literal, with fans of both interpretations. A profound energy had clearly entered the world with this anthem.

For myself, it has taken decades to reach the center of my life and love, where my soul and its companions have always waited for me. After my best friend and I connected more recently with celestial beings in our meditations, the song “Come Sail Away” came back to me in a dream of Styx playing on my high school stage (never happened of course, and the lead singer acted afterward like a side of me unsure of what had just come over him). When I awoke I suddenly remembered how in the late 70's I sang it and felt ecstatic tears for several weeks after I first borrowed the record and heard the lyrics.

Even as a young teen I was functioning at a pretty clear level of intuition, so yes the angels and starship made me think of the vision of Ezekial (1:1-28) which I loved as a child flipping through the Bible at church, and which others have cited with regard to this song (of course Chariots of the Gods by Erich von Däniken made all this stuff popular in the seventies). So the total song experience for me back then was to make my mind feel like it was filled with the white light of a great UFO calling to me, the kind I've dreamt about and imagined many times since.

(Other pop songs in college would touch the feeling again but with a greater sense of what had been lost, like Blue Öyster Cult with "Take Me Away" and the German-Austrian band DÖF with "Codo". These I had already returned to recently before recalling "Come Sail Away" - it is interesting how the soul unwinds the past in the healing of what we call memories.)

When I told my friend of that morning's Styx dream, they remembered the hit song (we’d been reminiscing about our youth lately) but they hadn’t known the power of the lyrics. Impressed, the next day they turned on the radio to immediately hear "Come Sail Away" playing, and catch it again on another station a few hours later. Other synchronicities and mystical sensations demonstrated to us the alignment of a lot of pure energy.

My friends and I continue to develop our connections to each other and the cosmic beings who are here to help heal the Earth with their advanced civilizations of light and love. The song is to us both literal and metaphorical in the highest of senses. "Come Sail Away" feels now like a good shamanic theme for our work together, as we cross and re-cross daily the Stygian boundaries between past and future, actual and potential, lower and upper worlds.


The end of the band's successful run makes a telling footnote as well. Like many rock groups, Styx was absurdly accused in the early eighties by religious fundamentalists of hiding backward Satanic messages in their music. Dennis DeYoung, writer of "Come Sail Away", joked "we had enough trouble to make the music sound right forward."

But DeYoung went further with his theatrical ambitions to push the band respond with a rock opera in 1983 called "Kilroy was here", in which DeYoung played a star musician imprisoned in a future society by robots controlled by a charismatic evangelist who had worked to outlaw rock music. The project spawned several hits, but the exhausting and expensive stage show that followed proved the final straw and the band broke apart. DeYoung continued a solo career, bringing "Come Sail Away" to more audiences around the world, leading them to sing along even in full symphonic settings. The story is not over either.

So I can certainly relate to the evidence that DeYoung, a devout Roman Catholic, was a priest essence struggling to be free within past life church influences, and his mission had always been spiritual. I'm sure he did what he had to do. But the lesson I take is that to maintain the highest energies it is not worth lowering yourself to your critics. Let yourself be called by the heavens, and then call to more who are ready: Come, Sail Away With Me!

(-: (-: (-: O :-) :-) :-)

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