"Mysterious Ways" as written by Adam Clayton, Dave Evans, Paul David Hewson, Larry Mullen and Angelique Kidjo....
Johnny take a walk
With your sister the moon
Let her pale light in
To fill up your room
You've been living underground
Eating from a can
You've been running away
From what you don't understand
Love

She's slippy
You're sliding down
She'll be there
When you hit the ground

It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
She moves in mysterious ways

Johnny take a dive
With your sister in the rain
Let her talk about the things
You can't explain
To touch is to heal
To hurt is to steal
If you want to kiss the sky
Better learn how to kneel (on your knees boy!)

She's the wave
She turns the tide
She sees the man inside the child, yeah

It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
Lift my days, light up my nights

One day you'll look back
And when you see
Where you were held
How by this love
While you could stand there
You could move on this moment
Follow this feeling

It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
She moves in mysterious ways
It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
She moves in mysterious ways
Ah oh oh ah huh
Move, move, move, move
She moves with it
She moves me like
Lift my days and light up my nights
Love


Lyrics submitted by Novartza

"Mysterious Ways" as written by Adam Clayton, Dave Evans, Paul David Hewson, Larry Mullen, Angelique Kidjo

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Mysterious Ways song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentThe meaning of this song was written about extensively on other websites about U2. It is about John the Baptist and the Holy Spirit. There are many clues to this meaning that reveal that the "she" is the Holy Spirit, including the Spirit talking about the "things you can't explain" (Romans 8:26) and that Bono even reveals that it is the Spirit at the end of the song. Among the lessons that John learns is "If you want to kiss the sky better learn how to kneel" which as on HTDAAB refers to prayer. The dive in the rain is about baptism that John will perform. It is also loosely based on the portrayal of John from Oscar Wilde's play Salome, who's dance leads to the death of John the Baptist in Mark 6. They had even recorded a song called Salome that is on a B-side at the time. This song is also performed in concert with a belly dancer image which has the hidden double meaning representing either Salome or the secular meaning where he's just admiring a hot girl. It is a wonderful song with the hidden Biblical meaning like Until the End of the World.
    romanseighton April 04, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentU2 songs NEVER only convey one message or have one meaning. That's the amazing thing about the lyrics. They're meant to be taken many different ways. "Mysterious Ways" is no exception. When Bono writes, he only provides a canvas with a few ideas and images but the genius of his creative mind is that he wants YOU to be the artist. He wants you to decide what his songs mean. I can think of several very different interpretations that could apply to this song, and most of them probably do, because as I said, U2 songs never have one simple message or meaning.

    That said, I think this is a very spiritual song in general, but I also think most people try to oversimplify U2 to the point that all their songs and lyrics are simply 'Praise Jesus' hymns in disguise. I'm frankly a bit tired of U2 being defined as one-trick-God-pony. While yes, their lyrics are always spiritual and many of them are about God or a higher power, I don't think their lyrics are getting the full credit they deserve because so many people just pass them off as blandly being "about God". There is always so much more to it than that.

    As for the song itself, I completely agree with Beshaman here. This almost seems to be a song about someone who is on a quest to discover what it means to be alive and also to open himself up spiritually. The woman who in the lyric is clearly represented as the moon (sister the moon; she turns the tide) represents the mysteries of life and Johnny is afraid of stepping out into the real world and being hurt by it. So the narrative is telling Johnny that the world itself moves in mysterious ways, and he has to be bold enough to live his life to the fullest and not be afraid of what could happen. It's a song about opening yourself up to life and not closing yourself off because you're afraid.

    Just my thoughts though. :)
    eirenightshadeon June 26, 2006   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningLet's take it again line-by-line, but this time in the Christian context of U2:

    Johnny take a walk with your sister the moon
    Let her pale light in to fill up your room
    You've been living underground
    Eating from a can
    You've been running away
    From what you don't understand...
    Love

    My belief is that this is a take on "Fratello Sole Sorella Luna" ("Brother Sun, Sister Moon") - a biopic on St. Francis of Assisi that was in movie theaters in 1972. St Francis was an ascetic, so the humility of "eating from a can" fits. U2, I'm sure, is well familiar with the 1972 film "Fratello Sole Sorella Luna". I'm certain the Bono and company were well exposed to this religious this movie in the early 70s. And they're well exposed to St Francis of Assisi's theology.

    You're sliding down
    She'll be there when you hit the ground

    It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
    She moves in mysterious ways
    It's alright, it's alright, it's alright
    She moves in mysterious ways

    A reference to someone who will be there when you've hit bottom. More on that in a moment. Note the feminine reference.

    Johnny take a dive with your sister in the rain
    Let her talk about the things you can't explain
    To touch is to heal
    To hurt is to steal
    If you want to kiss the sky
    Better learn how to kneel

    (on your knees boy)

    I can't speak to who "Johnny" is. He could, I suppose, be John the Baptist- "a dive in the rain" could be a reference to baptism. Or he can simply be the general "everyday man". While there isn't enough information in the song to really know, it appears that "Johnny" represents you and me.

    "To touch is to heal, to hurt is to steal", the reference to kissing the sky by kneeling- well of course these are references to learning humility before God if you wish to ascend to God's Grace. Well said by U2, actually!

    She's the wave
    She turns the tide
    She sees the man inside the child

    Now we get to some solid clues about who "She" is. "She's the wave, she turns the tide." Whomever this is, she's making a difference, a CHANGE for the better. She's the harbinger of change as she "turns the tide"!

    "She sees the man inside the child"

    Come on everyone- we know who "saw the man inside the child" in a Christian context! Mary, of course! It was Mary who looked upon the infant Jesus and saw the man inside the child. MARY turned the tide in accepting Christ...in her words, by being the Lord's handmaiden.

    Now we know who "she" is. It's Mary. And she does indeed move in "mysterious ways".

    It's Mary who personifies much of the Holy Spirit:

    One day you will look...back
    And you'll see...where
    You were held...how
    By this love...while
    You could stand...there
    You could move on this moment
    Follow this feeling

    A reference to God's Love. And if I may say so, Mary's love for Jesus.

    We move through miracle days
    Spirit moves in mysterious ways
    She moves with it
    She moves with it
    Lift my days, light up my nights

    Mary is not the Holy Spirit, of course. She does, though, move through the Holy Spirit - "She moves with it". Note that she moves "with" it, but isn't "it". And through the Spirit, she moves in Mysterious Ways.

    Note the context of Bono and his sincere respect for John Paul II, who simply adored Mary. Mary moves with "it", where "it" is the Holy Spirit.
    zghortamanon July 02, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAs much as I would love to think this song is about John the Baptist or the Holy Spirit [and admittedly, these interpretations make a lot of sense], for me the song is too flirty, sexy and fun to be a religious song. I’ve always simply seen it as a song that is about how man can never fully understand woman, or her motives/actions etc. I quote from Niall Stokes’ book ‘U2 Into the Heart’

    “There is a feeling throughout Achtung Baby that man is but an awe-struck observer at the banquet of love. That woman is the superior being. That all she has to do is click her fingers – or crack her whip – and he will obey”

    Although the detail of the lyric does refer to Oscar Wilde’s play A LOT, I still like see it as a sexy song with an incredible sound!

    The guitar in this song is amazing [I'm surprised no one has mentioned it before now]; Edge’s contribution to U2 is, in the wider public’s eye, severely underrated. I think this song is one of his greatest, and I hope most would agree that without the riff, this song wouldn’t be half as good.
    achtungbaby02on August 19, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentEven as we freeze in Hell
    We’ll remember the ten heavens the earth cost us
    He can’t speak and she can’t bear it
    It comes back to me …
    My she-wolf was kind autumn
    After tea, we went out into the great garden
    And I enter the station—the glass forest
    Pretending to be hair and smelling of the long lie
    I’ve lost my way in the sky
    Now where?
    Maybe this is the beginning of madness …
    If only we don’t offend them
    Or frighten them away
    So in crystals of cathedrals
    Honestly weaving back and forth
    A skater—into a blue flame
    Sudden music leapt from ambush
    The fur on the coats breathed

    So, I may hang on my own eyelashes
    Swelling, ripening, reading
    All the parts of the play till I’m picked
    The plot is the one thing we know
    Lyric looked into a mirror phenomenon
    And Mistral wore a wreath as she sang.
    sillybunnyon September 02, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is about two things for me. The Holy Spirit and females. I know I'm goofy, so don't mind my two cents.
    Celtic_FCon November 30, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI just ript this from songfacts.com (sorry songmeanings.net staff people)

    From Into The Heart by Niall Stokes: "It's a song about a man living on little or no romance," Bono says. "It's a song about women - or a woman - but it's addressed to him." Bono talks a bit about theology and about El Shadi - the third and least used name for God in the Bible, which translates as "the breasted one." "I've always believed that the spirit is a feminine thing," he says. "Mysterious Ways" is not about a particular woman. It is about women in general, and the way they entrance, and often dominate men. Says Bono, "At times I do tend to idealize women. It's easy to fall into the trap of separating them into angels and devils for the sake of the drama. But there's no way that there's ever anything anti-women involved. Our songs are not politically correct. They are written from a man's point of view. He's wrestling with different things, there's a flash of anger and hurt here and there. But I don't think women come out badly." (thanks, Oscar - College Station, TX)
    GrungyBeatleon January 15, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAdam Clayton (the bassist) first wrote the bassline for this song and showed it to the rest of the band. Everyone loved it and they collectivly came up with the rest of Mysterious Ways to go around the baseline without changing it. The Edge was messing around with his effects and came up with the riff while on tour (as I remember). A bit earlier Bono's wife had given birth to his daughter and bono describes being in wonderment with women. I would imagine the song could mean many different things to many different people....thats probably what they were going for.....
    Antigravityon January 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think its about the "Moon Goddess" and her son "The God of the Harvest" Its only my opinion based on
    some research I have done on different religons. Hold on to your bibles folks......

    The moon Goddess (Diana) and her son, who was also her lover, The Horned God of the Harvest (Pan)

    Johnny take a walk with your sister the moon
    Let her pale light in to light up your room
    you've been living underground, eating from a
    can, running away from what you don't understand, love

    (Diana must enlighten Pan and make him understand what his purpose is on earth, to bring forth the harvest)

    Shes slippey, your sliding down, she'll be there when you hit the ground.
    Its alright, Its alright, Its alright. She moves in mysterious ways.

    (Diana gives birth to pan and guides him on the earth.)

    Johnny take a dive with your sister in the rain
    let her talk about things you can't explain
    To touch is to heal
    To hurt is to steal
    If you want to kiss the sky you better learn how to kneel
    On your knees boy.

    (Diana explains to Pan what is expected of him on earth, she touches him to
    heal his lonely heart, in return he is expected to obey by brining forth the
    harvest on earth, to disobey her would be like stealing from her the purpose of
    her giving birth to him. To please her and not hurt her he must obey her and
    follow his destany)

    Shes the wave
    She turns the tide
    She sees the man inside the child

    (The motions of the moon affect the ocean waves and tides here on earth,
    She shows him her power. She knows his purpose on earth)

    Lift my days, light up my nights

    (She guides him to fulfill his purpose. To bring forth the harvest.)

    One day you will look back.... yada, yada

    (Pan will come to realize why he was put on the earth and understand Dianas power)

    we move through miracle days.
    spirit moves in mysterious ways

    (Life is her gift and a miracle, someday we will also realize our purpose here on earth)


    OK BREATH !!!

    I love this song.


    Don't believe me? Research it for yourself. I don't really care what you believe.
    It is what it is. Bibles down now. Oh and remember "THOU SHALL NOT JUDGE" before you
    condem me to your HELL!!

    Live & Love
    Sue







    sueisunlimitedon November 20, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah what they said ^ .

    I honestly love this song to an obsession
    BS2_Magiker0on May 25, 2004   Link

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