"The Sign Of The Southern Cross" as written by and Tony Iommi Terry Butler....
If there isn't light when no one sees
Then how can I know what you might believe?
A story told that can't be real
Somehow must reflect the truth we feel, yeah

Fade away, fade away
Vanish into smoke
Fade away, fade away
Break the crystal ball oh!

It's the sign
Feels like the time!

On a small world, west of wonder
Somewhere, nowhere, oh
There's a rainbow that will shimmer
When the summer falls
If an echo doesn't answer
When it hears a certain sound
Then the beast is free to wander
But never is seen around

And it's the sign of the southern cross
It's the sign of the southern cross
All right
Sail away
To the sign

From the book, the word is spoken
Whispers from forgotten psalms
Gather all around the young ones
They will make us strong
Reach above your dreams of pleasure
Giving life to those who died
Look beyond your own horizons
Sail the ship of signs

And it's the sign of the southern cross
It's the sign of the southern cross
Fade away, fade away
Break the crystal ball
Fade away, fade away
I can't accept it anymore

On a real world, west of wonder
Somewhere, nowhere all
There's a rainbow, see it shimmer
When the summer falls
From the book, the word is spoken
Whispers from forgotten psalms
Gather all around the young ones
They will make us strong!

It's the sign of the southern cross
It's the sign of the southern cross

Don't live for pleasure
Make life your treasure
Fade away!
Eight miles high, about to fall
And no one there to catch you
Look for the sign, the time
The sign of the southern cross, yeah

Lyrics submitted by carlos_avdas, edited by Pseudobrain

"The Sign of the Southern Cross" as written by Ronnie Dio Michael Butler

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., T.R.O. INC.

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The Sign Of The Southern Cross song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentThis is possibly the most underrated Black Sabbath song ever. It's also possibly their most epic song ever. I think the song is about not conforming and being your true self.

    "If there isn't light ..."
    I think the first verse means that no matter what, what we say or do will always reflect how we feel and what we believe to some extent. And that other people can see what's inside us by our actions. To some extent, we can't wear a mask of conformity and "coolness" all the time.

    "Fade away..."
    Fade away from the false happiness of being "cool" and be yourself. Society puts so many useless limits on us, and we need to get around those and show the world who we really are.

    "On a small world..."
    This part is describing a paradise. As soon as one good thing ends "the summer falls," another begins "there's a rainbow..." This paradise is actually an emotional and mental one. It is the happiness we feel when we our ourselves.

    "If an echo doesn't..."
    If when we are ourselves and are rejected, then we are disappointed, of course. However, our disappointment won't obstruct us, because few people will even notice it unless you bring it up.

    "And it's the sign..."
    The Southern Cross is a constellation seen only in the Southern Hemisphere, which is sought by people from the Northern Hemisphere who can't see it back home. It is barely visible to the naked eye, but it is still there. The Southern Cross is a metaphor for the true happiness that we feel when we are our real selves. We are the northerners, and we have to go quite a long way just to find it, and even then we have to look hard for it. But, like all the stars in general, it is definitely worth looking for. The stars are actually quite beautiful. Just like true happiness.

    "From the book..."
    Young people are the strongest because they haven't been corrupted by the horrors of life and society. Young people are more likely to be able to be themselves because society isn't completely done warping us into machines. This has been said by many other people, but none of them are remembered specifically for saying that. Society is trying to crush their voices about non-conformity.

    "Reach above your dreams..."
    We need to look outside our own selfish desires and help the people who need our help the most.

    "Don't live for pleasure..."
    This, like the "fade away" part, tells us not to fit in, but to live life to the fullest and be yourself whenever you can.

    "Eight miles high..."
    This is a warning. What goes up must come down. And if you forced other people down on your way up (which it seems is implied here), then no one will want to help stop your fall. They would probably prefer to laugh at you in your agony.
    erasmus11290on August 01, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI always took this song as the opposite of "Don't live for pleasure, make life your treasure!"...maybe because of the "fade away!" (like f*** off) that comes afterwards.
    Or it's just me thinking that "Don't live for treasure, make life your pleasure!" is the right "message".
    Anyway, POWERFUL song.
    pyromaniac90on April 24, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOne line that EVERYONE has gotten wrong is, "given (or give a) life to those who died." It's "give a knife to those who died."

    In many culture's ancient folklore, giving the gift of a knife is considered bad as it will severe the relationship between giver and recipient.

    In the case of this song the line, "Give a knife to those who died." is preceded by, "Reach above your dreams of pleasure." The entire meaning of both lines together being, "live not your life through sin (a doomed or dead soul) and sever yourself from the relationships with those who have."

    Oh, and by the way, the southern cross, here, is the inverted cross - the rejection of christ and his message of light and innocence (prominent in the young). Song message: Be warned and make sure you are not part of the time of the southern cross.

    And no I'm not religious. But I do study up on it all (and I do mean ALL) ... and I know how to interpret lyrics. ;)
    TheMagnificentVoidon August 02, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Commentnice interpretation
    meaningmastaon September 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti gotta admit thats very in depth
    and i agree this song is MASSIVLY underrated...while not sabbaths best song it is certainly up there
    Dustpanon April 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwell, erasmus11290, i can agree with you to a certain extent. I live in Australia, and as you may already know, the southern cross is on our flag, and also it's not 'barely visible to the naked eye', at least not in Australia, where for most of the year it is one of the most visible constelations in the sky. enough of the hoo ha, this song absolutely rocks, and is one of their alltime greatest. Dio, although not the character or frontman campared to Osbourne, he had a much better voice.
    hawk_er_8on July 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe first Sabbath w/Dio I ever heard back in High and wow is all could say then and today it still moves me. The depth of the song so dark and deep into search for the truth is right on. When all hope is gone because you were trying to be the person you are not go back to the true you and stop letting the southern cross bring uyou down. Stop yourself from "Falling of the Edge of the world.
    ERANUS11290 is right on.
    RACC/E5150on October 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think erasmus is definitely in the ballpark.

    While listening to this song for the bazillionth time, I had a day dream. It was a viking chief funeral...his body was being burned at sea. The burning mast cross was the sign of the southern cross...symbolizing the destination of a true warrior: Vahalla (small world west of wonder)...a place where northerners see the wonders of the world (epitomized by the Southern Cross star constellation that previous traveling vikings told stories about). The vikings were masters of the sea and, thus, their heaven would reflect that.

    Also, the funeral is the chief's final lesson to the young: "Don't live for pleasure, make your life a treasure".

    There's more to the day dream, but hey, it's just a day dream...fan fic of the song if you will.
    HeavyBon April 27, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song MIGHT BE about Women's reproductive rights.
    BotoxHulkon August 12, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is generally about life and the human condition. It's also about the bible and that it's misinterpreted and misused by about 98% of people. And if people can find their way, as it's every individual's journey, to understand the truths found in the bible allegories, we will find peace. Of course, it's not only the Christian bible that contains these truths. It's all of them, as they're one and the same, and it's every person's journey to find the truths therein.
    The lyrics, like the bible, are to be interpreted through knowledge and understanding. Otherwise, it's just a really cool song with cool sounding words.
    jim1046026on March 24, 2016   Link

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