"Birth Ritual" as written by Chris Cornell, Matthew Cameron and Kim A. Thayil....
Lying like needles on forest earth
Euphoric rush trees bend to pray for us
I'm sputtering like cold machines
Late for the birth ritual
Ritual, ritual, ritual

You can drive my tail to watch the circus
A birth ritual, a birth of idiots
Now I woke up blessed and good strives for heartache
Marked for the death ritual
Ritual, ritual

As you start the song and face this garden
I light a cigarette before the execution
Now you see your crime for every miracle
Add another drug at every birth ritual

I took the drug to make me stay
And now everything dies in shyness
The snake retreats admits defeat
And waits for the birth ritual
Ritual, ritual

As you start the song and face this garden
I light a cigarette before the execution
Now you see your crime for every miracle
Add another drug at every birth ritual

Shining light
Child's highs
Mark his sides
Bright until the newness wears off

As you start the song and face this garden
I light a cigarette before the execution
Now you see your crime for every miracle
Add another drug at every birth ritual

Ritual, ritual, ritual


Lyrics submitted by aldeayeah

"Birth Ritual" as written by Matthew Cameron Chris Cornell

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Birth Ritual song meanings
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17 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI think this song might be about pagans calling on the natural world.
    Trashazonon January 08, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this is kind of about mortality and how after birth, your whole life is leading towards your death no matter how long you try to make it or whatever you accomplish.

    Kind of like Pink Floyd talks about in the song "Time" or Iron Maiden in "The Clairvoyant"

    No matter what the lyrics mean, this song completely and absolutely rocks \m/
    Alice_in_Soundweezeron January 25, 2016   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think the overall premise of the song is that despite different, customs, religions and life experiences, the only two true rites of passage for all of humanity are birth and death. That is why nature prays for us. Everything else is the "circus" that Cornell references. Being "driven by the tail" reminds me of circus elephants walking in a circle holding each other's tails. It has no definite beginning or end. and represents what we know of the life cycle.

    The "shining light" is coming from the womb/actual birth and into the world. "Child highs" relate to innocence and newness. "Mark his sides" is referencing being marked for death/exodus....

    I think the "garden" is a cemetery and the "song" the death march. I think the "lighting the cigarette" is coming to grips with dying.("execution") Kind of like how Dennis Hopper asked Walkin for a Chesterfield before getting executed in True Romance. Coincidentally, Soundgarden's Outshined is in that movie. I think the "crimes" are all the things done wrong in life that could determine passage to Heaven.

    The only thing I can associate with "miracle" is the miracle of birth.

    "Serpent" could be Satan trying to steal your soul right up to the eleventh hour and retreating when you take the "drug" or leap of religious faith that you will be granted entrance to Heaven. Serpents and snakes appear often in Cornell's lyrics. I believe he had a lot of personal conflict about whether he was inherently a good or hedonistic human being.

    While the above is a how I interpret the song, there is also a part of me that believes there may be a tie to reincarnation.
    brewlandon June 01, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI promise a reward to anyone who finds a coherent concrete meaning of this song!!! (and no generic interpretations like "sex", "drugs" or "free mind flow")
    aldeayeahon March 30, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is heavy, nasty, sick, etc...
    dave_rock716on December 08, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsorry mate but i am not getting much from this i think it may be a personal joke or personal phrase, i think he is talking about sex as a birth ritual and he is describing our culture in a disturbing way.
    i hate to say it but lines like
    'you can drive my tail'
    and
    'Euphoric rush', I'm sputtering
    it really suggests sex
    and then saying that we are just tools(Like cold machines) in reproduction when all that is going to happen to us is death
    'And good strives for heart ache
    Marked for the death ritual, ritual, ritual"
    it seems purposely clear as mud
    i don't think it is made for an easy or linear interpretation
    ThayilBeGodon December 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentquite hard to say what its about but it has some outrageous singing and the lyrics are awesome. cornell's voice is so high on this i knew hardly any of the lyrics until now!
    layne1012on December 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have just read the lyrincs for the first time even though Ive heard the song many times and man are the lyrics graphic.

    Yeah his voice is really high but it seems like that in most of soundgardens songs. Like he is screaming into the microphone but the actual strength of his voice is masked by the surrounding instruments.
    drew29on March 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI too have wondered what the f**k this song is about. I found this website with a detailed interpretation by another SG fan, and found it rather interesting (see below) geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Pit/2648/…
    Rocket_Queenon January 01, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"I took the drug
    To make me stay
    And now everything
    Dies in shyness"

    I always thought this verse said:

    "I took the drug, to make me see,
    now everything is doubt and shadow"

    I kind of like that better
    stogieon July 01, 2007   Link

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