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

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, oh

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

One day you'll look back and you'll see
Where you were held now 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, oh

Move you, spirits move
Yeah, move
Lets you move you
Does it move you?
She moves with it
Lift my days, light up my nights, oh

Lyrics submitted by Novartza

Mysterious Ways Lyrics as written by Dave Evans Adam Clayton

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Mysterious Ways song meanings
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  • +6
    General Comment

    U2 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
  • +4
    General Comment

    This 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 December 01, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    As 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
  • +2
    General Comment

    As far as Bono's take on organized religion:

    Bono: Let's not get too hard on the Holy Roman Church here. The Church has its problems, but the older I get, the more comfort I find there. The physical experience of being in a crowd of largely humble people, heads bowed, murmuring prayers, stories told in stained-glass windows …

    Check the rest of the interview out at

    And by the way, this is a beautiful and powerful song. Love it.

    LesPaul79on June 09, 2007   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning

    Let'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 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 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
    My Interpretation

    Understanding that the song really could take on many meanings, there is one glaringly obvious one that I think many are overlooking -- love that is both young, inexperienced, vulnerable, new, and pure.

    I have always interpreted this song to be about the mystery of loving a women in general, especially from the viewpoint of a young man who knows nothing about the female sex.

    The take away from the song is that you don't always have to understand, Johnny. The main things you have to learn is that to touch is to heal, to hurt is to steal and, ultimately, you need to learn how to kneel.

    That being said, and now having just celebrated my 16 year anniversary with my wife (whom I met when we were just 15 and 17 years old), I think there is a lot of truth to this song.

    The singer, who is much older and wiser, tells the young man, Johnny, to "take a walk with his sister, the moon." The words "moon" and "sister" here are figurative and symbolic to me. This women you love is awe inspiring -- she is all you can see in the darkness. You don't really understand her, and probably never fully will. You need to accept the fact that you will probably never be at her "level" -- she is FAR too high above you and beautiful. But there is no question she is the light to your darkness. In an essence, she is like a goddess to you -- and that is ok. She is also your sister, meaning that she is your better half and your compliment. You were "made" to be with her. Notwithstanding your fear and apprehension, she is your "soulmate."

    You are now embarking on feelings and emotions and a journey you have never taken, but your sister/moon/goddess (i.e., the female you love) will be there to guide you -- "Let her pale light in to fill up your room" -- let her love and light in to help guide you through your fear, apprehension and darkness.

    "You have been living underground eating from a can" -- i.e., you've been living in darkness without love and, really, without life. "You've been running away from what you don't understand, love" -- you have been scared to death in the past. You have never dared to love until now, but you can no longer deny you are at a crossroads between fear and love.

    The chorus says it is alright to feel scared -- women in general (and your woman in particular) are deserved and deserving of your reverence and awe -- maybe even your worship. It is ok to be afraid, but you need to take the dive.

    "Johnny take a dive with your sister in the rain" -- despite your fear, you need to just commit yourself and overcome your fear. "Let her talk about the things, you can't explain" -- just listen to her. She naturally has a lot of wisdom by mere virtue of her being a woman and almost always will have a different perspective. Just listen and she can teach you -- even about things your can't explain or don't entirely understand

    To touch is to heal -- Be there for her and cherish her and you will be made whole.

    To hurt is to steal -- if you hurt her, you only hurt/steal from yourself.

    If you want to kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel, ON YOUR KNEES, BOY! If you want her, you had better learn to serve her. If you want her happy, you need to commit and devote yourself to her. Nothing wavering -- your life is now hers. She is your "goddess," treat her as such. She deserves your reverence.

    Ultimately, Johnny, one day you will be much older and will look back on this experience. You will be so grateful that you moved on this moment and followed this feeling to allow yourself to fall completely in love. Your life will be better for it. So don't think twice, but just do it. Love her, cherish her, and serve her and your life will be better. She will lift up your days and light up your nights. Both day and night will be better because you decided to overcome your fear and truly "love" her.

    That is how I have always taken this song and I believe there is a lot of "truth" in it.

    jeff102085on March 10, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    love is personified in the form of woman, as if that she exists for men's gratification. but the woman is a puzzle to be solved and most often, it is quite the anomaly. many a fine man falls victim to the enchantments of these spirits. and without them it appears that the earth won't turn, as our atavistic desires lead us to the thrill of the hunt as we stalk these girls in a archaic ritual to find the ultimate copulation. but the deal is two sided: both parties must win in this mutual relationship. so, in this case, johny doesn't understand these women-beasts, therefore, his sister, born of the same demon, must explain the intricacies of the femme-bottes.

    shauncreaneyon July 31, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Yeah what they said ^ .

    I honestly love this song to an obsession

    BS2_Magiker0on May 25, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I think this song is about a two peoplewho share the same religious faith. A young man, maybe 18,19, early 20s and a slightly older more experianced woman. The young man is just barly learning about love between man and woman and the woman possible already has had a few broken relationships. These two are good friends and the woman is tring to teach this young man about love. I think the young man has a attraction for the woman and she probably plays a little on that because she is looking for love too but not from him. "She's slippy, You're sliding down, She'll be there when you hit the ground" I also think that the woman tries to teach him about Gods love too. Even though the young man dosent understand everything now when he learns it through experiance latter on in life, he will remember what she told him and it will be something that he can stand on latter in life. But the very fact that the woman is more mature than the young man and that she is not showing the same attraction to him as he shows to her, makes her seem mysterious to him. I can relate to the song because I have had a very identical experiance in my past.

    Adamsmasheron June 07, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    one of the best u2 songs ever written, love it

    bean99on November 23, 2004   Link

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