In the lush Virginia hills
They kept her as long as they could
Cause they knew when the white brother
Found white shell beads
Wrapped around her skin --
A life giving river --
Her body open as will his hand
And with a "goodbye" there she goes

She may betray all that she loves
And even wait for their savior to come
And in some things, maybe he'll be right
But as always the thing that he loves
He will change from her sunrise to clockwise to soul trading
Still she'll lay down her body
Covering him all the same

So hundreds of years go by
(the red road carved up by sharp knife)
She's a girl out working her trade
And she loses a little each day
To ghetto pimps and presidents
Who try and arouse her turquoise serpents
She can't recall what they represent
And when you ask, she won't know

She will betray

Oh Virginia
Do you remember
When the land held your hand
Oh Virginia
She will let you back in
Oh Virginia
You can't remember your name

Lyrics submitted by merchantpierce, edited by Iago1604

Virginia Lyrics as written by Tori Ellen Amos

Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

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Virginia song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI think this song is about the land that is America, the actual continent itself, the people that have inhabited it... and the bloody history that is has suffered through. From the slaughter of Native Americans and the European take over - "the Red Road carved up by Sharp Knife" (the bloody trail of war and Inidian blood that lead to their takeover) - to the present day - "ghetto pimps
    and presidents."

    The Native Americans who wanted to make peace - "She may betray all that she loves" (America, as the Native American people, betray themselves) - and the broken promises of that peace made by the white man - "But as always, the thing that he (the white man) loves he will change from her sunrise, to clockwise, to soul trading (the white man's back and forth attitude about assuring the Native Americans their homes, peace and freedom... the things they love changing from peace to want of the land they promised away.)"

    The song is aptly named, because Virginia was the first state (where all the conflict and change began,) and it is a feminine name, thus bringing in more connections to the usually female associated Earth/land (Gaia, etc.) The name, obviously, also has a virginal meaning; the land that is America was a clean virgin while in the hands of the Native Americans, and when the white man came, they "raped" the land for all it's worth.

    The lines "Oh, Virginia, you can't even remember your name" and "And she loses a little each day, to ghetto pimps and presidents, who try and arouse her turquoise serpents... She can't recall what they represent, and when you ask, she won't know." are about what has come of the white man's take over and how America can't seem to find it's true identity or even its former self when the Native Americans lived with the earth. It's like asking what it was all for, and was the end result worth it? Filled with people with little respect for the planet and the land (America) that they live off of... where corruption and greed is in both (political corruption and greed/self-interest with presidents, greed for sex and money with ghetto pimps) ends of the "social spectrum," and Virginia can no longer find meaning in these things that make her up because it's hard to tell what is truly "good" and "evil." The lines "Oh Virginia, do you remember when the land held your hand?" go back to when Virginia (America/the Native American people) knew who she was and she lived simply with the earth. Now, Virginia can't remember her old name that was given to her before the white man came, the names also representing who "she is/was."

    Phew, sorry about the length. But, this song is definitely one of my favorite Tori song's ever.
    Kagerouon August 10, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think this the metaphorical story of Pocahontas Pochantas and what has become of her heirs.
    ksbon December 10, 2007   Link
  • +2
    Song Meaningthis is clearly about exploitation of the Native Amaerican culture told through the story of Pocahontas (and i mean the real Pocahontas, not some crappy Disney version), there's no question about it.
    at least the lines "still she'll lay down her Body /covering him all the same" strongly suggest it, and it shouldn't be unclear to anyone familiar with her story.
    Yvaineon December 16, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWomen from back in the days of plantation slaves and voodoo, to working girls today who use their sexuality as their magick ... I think it's about remaining true to the pagan religion of the earth, especially as a female, because you're inherently more in tune with it ...
    *shrug* eloquence is lost on me. The song has such great imagery, though.
    darkspoton January 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThat sound fairly accurate. I somehow thought some form of prostitution, but the magic(k) works too. Good idea.
    Rinse_It_Awayon June 20, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSo many levels I'm sure. Listening to it I've come to hear a native american girl falling in love with an individual or the white people taking over her peoples land. There is love from the other side too (for the land or the individual for the individual girl) but little respect for the native american attitudes and beliefs about life. The girl actively forgetting herself. "She will betray all that she loves, and even wait for their saviour to come". Native American's being very connected to the land "Virginia do you remember when the land held your hand?". "Turquoise serpents" - spiritual wisdom. They remind me of the chakra system. Loosing the thread now but something like that maybe?
    HawaiianHighon April 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree with you Kageroo, give or take some minor details.
    carmenadrifton October 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentKsb, did you see the video on YouTube to this song using the Disney film?…
    Obsessive0514on March 25, 2008   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI'm pretty sure (well, as sure as it's possible to be on a Tori song- so many fucking layers!) that this is about Virginia, the actual spirit of that slice of land. Tori's choosing to characterize her as female and definitely Native American- turquoise serpents, the Red Road part, etc.- which makes sense because that was the first culture to live there, and the Native American connection with and spirituality given to land fits her metaphor nicely.

    Basically, Virginia's all chillin' happy with her native peeps, and then said native peeps are like, "Oh no the white man is coming, hellll no! He is going to take to Virginia too!" So the white man does, but Virginia being what she is (land, the basis of life) she is fully giving. Unlike the natives the white man doesn't know the right amount to take: he just takes and takes (hands open bit.)

    The savoir bit I'm not as sure on, though I think it's Virginia taking the whole Jesus thing (all will be made well in the end) on credit, but doesn't see it come to fruition. So life goes on and she's losing her self to all the corruption, both from individuals and politically. Forgetting her name, not knowing what her turquoise serpents represent- she has lost her spirit.

    In a nutshell, a song about "raping the land," using the metaphor of physically doing so (gives him her body, covering him, arouse.)
    wanderloveon November 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentand i love the change in time signature. genius.
    pantherliwongon May 23, 2012   Link

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