Cut glass cathedrals
Slash holes in the air
So it always is raining
When we kneel down in prayer
And Christ leans and laughs . . .
Christ! He's shaking his head
Because the wine's Portugese
And the bread's only bread
No trance, no substance, no conscience for sure
As the Pope licks a jackboot and lays down the law
And his flock form a cross
All fall down with disease
And the only survivors
Are him and his priests
In them there seven hills
There's a big crock of gold
But it's all stashed in sacks
And belongs to a Pole
And name any language
He's got something to sell
But if you add it up
It's a ticket to hell

Lyrics submitted by Mellow_Harsher

A Strychnine Kiss song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentIt seems to be about greediness and opportunism of the Catholic Church. We all know the pictures of priests siegheiling with Nazi troops... I think the “Pole” is supposed to be John Paul II, who was pope at the time of recording of this song. This song has the drum machine and bass guitar sound that is so typical of 1986/1987 era Dots.
    slow pulse boyon July 30, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMost likely organized religion in general, using Rome for the specifics. The crumbs falling to the supplicants, "every morsel tainted, every kiss the purest strychnine".
    kazmodeuson November 03, 2008   Link
  • -1
    General CommentA Strychnine Kiss (1)

    Cut glass cathedrals (2)
    Slash holes in the air
    So it always is raining
    When we kneel down in prayer (3)
    And Christ leans and laughs . . .(4)
    Christ! (5) He's shaking his head
    Because the wine's Portugese
    And the bread's only bread (6)
    No trance, no substance, no conscience for sure (7)
    As the Pope licks a jackboot and lays down the law (8)
    And his flock form a cross
    All fall down with disease
    And the only survivors
    Are him and his priests (9)
    In them there seven hills (10)
    There's a big crock of gold
    But it's all stashed in sacks
    And belongs to a Pole (11)
    And name any language
    He's got something to sell (12)
    But if you add it up
    It's a ticket to hell (13)

    (1) Strychnine is an extremely poisonous white crystalline alkaloid, C21H22O2N2, derived from nux vomica and related plants, used as a poison for rodents and other pests and topically in medicine as a stimulant for the central nervous system.

    In keeping with the multiple levels of meaning and allusions to the psychedelic experience in Edward's lyrics, this is probably a reference to a common myth.

    The following text was written by Alexander T. Shulgin in response to the overwhelming misconception that strychnine is commonly found in street samples of LSD:

    "The observation of strychnine as being present in any street drug, as a by-product, or a contaminant, or an impurity has never been documented. It is a natural plant product, as are the ergots which are used in the synthesis of LSD. But they come from totally unrelated plants; there has never been a report of strychnine and an ergot alkaloid co-existing in a single species. So if the two materials are together in a drug sample, it could only be by the hand of man. I have personally looked a large number of illicit street offerings and have never detected the presence of strychnine. The few times that I have indeed found it present, have been in legal exhibits where it usually occurred in admixture with brucine (also from the plant Strychnos nux-vomica) in criminal cases involving attempted or successful poisoning.

    The same argument applies to the myth that occasionally surfaces, that strychnine occurs in the white tufts of peyote. This is equally fraudulent -- it has never been reported in that cactus or any other cactus."
    Furthermore, it should probably be spelled out that strychnine is not needed to bond LSD to blotter paper, nor is strychnine a breakdown product of LSD. these are probably the two most commonly repeated gross misconceptions.

    The source of the "strychnine is commonly found in LSD" myth may be somewhat grounded in truth. For example, in "LSD: My Problem Child" Albert Hofmann cites a case in the late sixties of Strychnine being found in an "LSD" sample that was a white powder. However, what is commonly claimed is that strychnine is found in a significant percentage of LSD, specifically blotter LSD, which is *not* true. Shulgin's note that he has analyzed many samples of LSD and never found strychnine is backed up by published analyses done by PharmChem and the LA County Street Drug Analysis program, which likewise never found any strychnine.

    This is intuitively backed up by the fact that a 5mm x 5mm "standard" square of blotter LSD only weights about 2mg and if the paper itself was made completely out of pure strychnine it is still on the very low end of Strychnine's threshold of activity.

    Strychnine is not the cause of tracers, cramps, nausea, or amphetamine-like LSD-effects. Its possible that poorly synthesized LSD might have other ergot derivatives in it, which might contribute to the harsh body load that some get on taking LSD. Also, the very close chemical relatives 1-Methyl-LSD and 1-Acetyl-LSD (which break down into LSD in aqueous solution) might be present in some street samples and might contribute to the harsh body load. (Petter Stafford has claimed in his _Psychedelics Encyclopedia_ that 1-Acetyl-LSD is supposedly "smoother" than d-LSD -- thus "strychnine laced acid" may acutally be pure d-LSD, while "pure lsd" may be 1-Acetyl-LSD or some substitute). And the chemicals iso-LSD and lumi-LSD which are breakdown products of LSD might contribute to the body loading on some trips, particularly via a hypothetical synergistic effect. Given this plethora of possible chemicals in street "LSD", its not needed to look to a chemical which has hardly ever been found in analyzed samples to explain variations in the strength and "cleanliness" of street acid.

    Its also possible that LSD itself simply causes adverse physical effects, particularly muscle cramping, in persons suceptible to it. The reported side effects of LSD (the nausea and apparent CNS stimulant effects) are commonly reported side effects of seritonergic drugs such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and buspirone (Buspar), and also are commonly reported (and typically more severe) with other psychedelics like Mescaline.

    Or its quite likely that the "strychnine" reactions to LSD are entirely psychosomatic. Both Leary ("The Psychedelic Experience") and Lilly ("Programming and Metaprogramming...", "Center of the Cyclone") have each observed this reaction in people who cannot handle the surge of emotion associated with a trip.

    Further advice would be to avoid methylxanthines (caffiene, theophylline in tea, etc) prior to dosing. Some have noted a possible synergistic effect between them and LSD causing, or contributing, to a harsh body load during a trip. And prior use of dramamine may alleviate the nausea sometimes associated with LSD, and other psychedelic drugs (although it may also effect the quality of the trip -- Shulgin has noted in PiHKAL that he shuns the use of anti-nauseants in order to experience the effects of the psychedelic, both good and bad, with no possible interference).

    In summary, it can't be said that we know specifically why sometimes acid feels "cleaner" than other times. However, based on the availability of plausible explanations, and the evidence of drug analysis, and general implausiblity of the whole strychnine concept, we can conclude that it isn't due to any concentration of strychnine. Also, while it can't completely be ruled out, the presence of strychnine in LSD is so minimal that the majority of LSD users will never once come across it.

    In reference to the lyrics of the song, Edward tells us in a live intro:

    "Well, we all of us have our idols. And somewhere pointed hats lean from balconies - throwing crumbs and blowing kisses - and we all fall on our knees, hoping to get hit in the eye with one of those kisses or get a little taste of the crumbs. But every crumb is poison. Every kiss is pure, pure, strychnine. Every promise is false. Don't buy a used car from this man. Never trust a man in a pointed hat."

    (2) On Cathedrals:…

    Cathedrals often have stained glass depictions of bible stories.…

    (3) The "cut glass cathedrals" depicted here are slashing holes in the air - a statement of aggression. The holes open up the opportunity for rain to fall and dampen the mood of those who pray.
    Most early Christian and later specifically Catholic churches were built over what was originally pagan holy places. These places have been described as being at the intersections of natural paths called "ley-lines" (see "The New View Over Atlantis" by John Michell). The Church found they could not easily convert the pagans, and so simply asserted themselves as the dominant religion by assimilation.

    For instance, the lines of the song "Spirit Calling" written by Gilli Smyth with her group Mother Gong on the 1993 album "She Made the World":

    "...Hello - this is your spirit calling, though I'm sometimes named as God, spelt backward 'dog' - well, I like dogs. God for that matter is a dog as much as a priest and a priest is a tree and a tree is a church, but who wants stone churches anyway? They are only our fears made rigid. Hopes fixed in brick for the eternity of an artificial paradise full of Righteous headmasters, policemen priests, and hollow women who have never 'sinned'..."

    (4) This line implies a personal relationship with the Christ figure, rather than one mediated through another human "authority". The metaphysical/metaphorical spirit of Christ is observing the clergy of this Cathedral, and finding their actions funny.

    (5) Nice humourous use of the term "Christ!" as an exclaimative interjection after evoking the word for the actual thing.

    (6) Paul the Apostle was the first to write of the Last Supper. He wrote:

    "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come."

    The vessel which was used to serve the wine is sometimes called the Holy Chalice, and has been the one of the supposed subjects of Holy Grail literature in Christian mythology.

    The events of this Last Supper have been translated into ritual in the Catholic and many other churches. It is called the act of Holy Communion and invloves the drinking of bread and wine as above. Some have believed that through an actual miracle the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ.
    The sprirt of Christ in this song is looking at the clergy in this cathedral performing this ritual and laughing because he knows that the wine is only wine and the bread is only bread.

    (7) On Trance:…

    There is a feeling amongst some that the Catholic Church has maintained the majesty and mystery of Rome, but left out the substance. That it is now a hollow shell after the distance of so many years and changes since the Church began. One subject of interest is the role of trance as an authentic religious experience, which the Catholic sermon attempts to evoke. (The music of the Legendary Pink Dots has many trance-like elements, though much of it is not what people might think usually of as trance music - some cases are more akin in spirit to Balinese trance music -…)

    "No conscience" is probably a reference to atrocities comitted by the Church in God or Christ's names. See the notes for the song "The Third Secret" from the album "The Maria Dimension".

    (8) Jackboot:

    1. A stout military boot that extends above the knee.
    2. A person who uses bullying tactics, especially to force compliance.
    3. The spirit sustaining and motivating a militaristic, highly aggressive, or totalitarian regime or system.

    The Pope here in this song is using such tactics and historically this has been true of most Popes.

    (9) Catholicism's reaction to the Bubonic Plague era:…

    (10) This is a reference to the seven hills of Rome, since this is where the State and seat of power of the Catholic Church resides, in the Vatican. Edward uses "them thar" as a gold-rush miner in California of the early-to-mid 1800's might speak.

    (11) This is a reference to Pope John Paul II, born Karol Józef WojtyÅ‚a (18 May 1920 — 2 April 2005) reigned as Pope and Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death almost 27 years later. His was the second-longest pontificate. He has been the only Polish pope, and was the first non-Italian since the Dutch pontiff Adrian VI in the 1520s.

    (12) This is probablly a reference to the idea of Catholicism (and really most organized religions) selling the idea of Salvation to anyone across any border. See the song "The Price of Salvation" on the Edward Ka-Spel solo album Cheykk China Doll. Compare also the line "paradise, it has it's price - we're forced to walk through needle's eyes" from the song "Pennies for Heaven" on the album "The Maria Dimension".

    (13) The idea of Hell, either an afterlife, an actual physical place, or a state of mind, has been around in one form or another in most cultures since the start of recorded history. The Christian Church actually used the mythology of Hell as a deterrent for behaviour considered abberant or heretical. Here in this song, the Pope is claiming to sell Salvation, but the price is enduring a hellish treatment if not obeyed.

    This should all elucidate the live intro transcribed above - the man in the pointed hat is obviously the Pope, and the crumbs are from the saying "crumbs from a rich man's table", meaning: a small comfort or compensation given to the poor or unfortunate by the rich or more fortunate. But these small comforts are only given at a price, and that is why they are poisoned. Edward has made claims about personal issues with the Catholic Church in general, but has calmed down somewhat in his later years, and now seems to extend his distaste towards organized religion in general, citing people's right to believe what they want so long as it does no harm to others.

    Tangentially, one might want to read "Angel Tech: A Shaman's Guide to Reality Selection" by Antero Ali, in which he states:

    "When the great soul Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross in her human form as a man, she did so to convert her physical death into a metaphor for the rest of humanity. The crucifixion, then, is a spiritual signal. It's cosmic significance continues to influence the population of the planet...but for all the wrong reasons , due to some rather awkward interpretive attempts. The primary intent behind the crucifixion is astoundingly simple. It has been completely overlooked due to the human forms' immense capacity for fear, guilt, and hatred, all of which has complicated and twisted a rather sweet and elegant message. This is not to offend those of this congregation who are still enraptured by its unfathomable depth and meaning...for that is here too."
    Madpropheton March 16, 2009   Link

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