"Castle Walls" as written by and Dennis De Young....
Once in a dream
Far beyond these castle walls
Down by the bay where the
Moonlit water falls
I stood alone while the minstrel sang his song
So afraid I'd lost my soul

There in the fog his song kept calling me
Leading me on with its haunting melody
Deep in my heart a voice kept echoing
I knew I'd soon be wandering

Far beyond these castle walls
Where the distant harbour meets the sky
There the battle raged like hell
And every dove had lost its will to fly

Far beyond these castle walls
Where I thought I heard Tiresias say
Life is never what it seems
And every man must meet his destiny

Lyrics submitted by kevin

"Castle Walls" as written by Dennis De Young

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Castle Walls song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentTiresias was the son of Everes and the nymph Chariclo; he was a blind prophet, the most famous soothsayer of ancient Greece.
    The most famous account of the origin of his blindness and his prophetic talent is as follows. When Tiresias was walking in the woods one day, he came upon two great serpents copulating; he struck them with his staff, and was thereupon transformed into a woman. Seven years later, she/he passed by the same place and came upon the same two serpents copulating; she/he struck them again with the staff and was turned back into a man. Some time later, Zeus and Hera were arguing over who had more pleasure in sex, the man or the woman: Zeus said it was the woman, while Hera claimed men got more pleasure from the act. To settle the argument, they consulted Tiresias, since he had experienced life as both sexes, and Tiresias sided with Zeus. In her anger, Hera struck Tiresias blind. Since Zeus could not undo the act of another deity, he gave Tiresias the gift of prophecy in compensation.

    Hence the line "Life is never what it seems, and every man must meet his destiny"
    FracFxon June 09, 2014   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis is a song about a journey into realms that are beyond are ordinary day-to-day experience, known by many different names: the Dreamtime, the Astral Plane, the Chi Realms, the Collective Unconscious, the Afterlife, the Underworld, Hades, etc. It's about a journey into soul, beyond the ego. "Once in a dream..." Castle walls are a metaphor for the restrictions and defensiveness associated with ordinary ego-oriented consciousness. Music is identified as a means to enter these realms beyond the ego, and a guide once you have entered: "I stood alone while the minstrel sang his song", "his song kept calling me... leading me on..." The keyboard and guitar solos can take you on your own journey if you let them. It takes courage to overcome the fears associated with leaving your ego behind (even though we all do so every night when we sleep) - fear of losing the soul (but the ego is not the soul), fear of facing the raging battles, fear of hell itself. Hell is a metaphor for the intimidatingly deep levels of the unconscious mind. The synth music referencing the Exorcist music is there for more reasons than just a joke about Tommy Shaw's girlfriend at the time. But this realm is only appears evil if you don't get over your fears, and your delusions that the soul and the ego are equivalent. When you take this journey, you leave your ego behind (temporarily), but your soul IS the realm you are traveling into. Tiresias is a prophet or seer from Greek mythology who helped Odysseus when he visited Hades, talked to spirits of the dead, and gained valuable insight into his life's journey. Tiresias had already died and was there awaiting Odysseus, who was just visiting. Tiresias was one of the few spirits in this realm that remained lucid, sentient, and intact - most of the the others had little ability to remember or make sense of matters related to earthly, linear existence. To understand your destiny before you meet it requires both the courage to enter this haunting, fearful realm, and the lucidity to remember and understand what is revealed to you there, and apply it to your everyday life once you get back to the castle. "Every man must meet his destiny" - but what is your destiny, our collective destiny as a species? This music is so melancholic because there is great grief in contemplating all the harm we do to each other in our ignorance of our destiny. For me, the answer is alluded to in the following song on the album "The Grand Finale": we all are destined to realize, sooner or later, that "Deep inside we're all the same... We are the same... Yeeeeeeah - O!" But if you have the courage to take your own journey, you will find your own answer. Listen to the song, close your eyes, let the music take and guide you, and you might get a hint. The bass notes are the sublime footsteps leading you beyond your castle walls. Follow the minstrel's song. Don't be afraid you'll lose your soul - you are going to meet it, to experience a part of it at least. Stay lucid and remember what you're shown. Ask Tiresias to help you too.
    zorbheadon August 12, 2014   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning“Castle Walls”, by Styx, from the album Grand Illusion, was as written by band leader Dennis DeYoung, and was the 7th song on the 7th album of the band. The album was released on the 7th day of the 7th month of ’77! The album peaked at 6 on Billboard’s U.S. Top 200 chart and went on to sell over 3 million copies. It launched Styx into superstardom.

    The song’s primary allusion is to leave a castle for some mysterious and compelling reason. Something, apparently desirable, is out side the boundary created by the castle. Ultimately, a castle is device of protection, but if that protection is perceived to be too important to shed, then the castle becomes a prison. The only way to discover and experience that which is “calling”, is to abandon the safety and protection it provides.

    This is not an easy thing to do. It’s scary out there! Battles rage like hell and doves loose there will to fly! The translation being that; “trying” is no guarantee for success and may make the situation worse. At least that’s the perception. Hanging out in the castle is the safe and easy thing to do.

    Basically, the song is about overcoming self-imposed limitations. Clinging to the safety of the castle is a metaphor for the fear of leaving one’s comfort zones. Dennis is telling us that following our dreams may “seem” like a tough thing to do, but in reality, it’s the perception of difficulty that is the limiting factor.

    “Life is never what it seems” -- of course it’s not -- it’s a Grand Illusion! And, don’t let that illusion (perception) stop you from realizing your potential. Eventually, “every man must meet his destiny” – you can’t hide in the castle forever!

    I think the song (and the album) was Dennis’ way of convincing himself that choosing Rock and Roll as an occupation would eventually pay off. He had just gone through a very difficult time in his life (around the making of Crystal Ball – the album prior to Grand Illusion) and there was concern as to weather he could continue in the band or not. By that point, Styx had only enjoyed modest success and their future was as uncertain as ever. It was a defining moment in his life and he resolved to continue to follow his dream.
    1mike161on October 13, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwasnt Tiresias the blind profit in The Homer's Odyssey, and when he is talking about the song and how it leaded him on is he talking about the sirens from the same book
    perceivingblindon June 24, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNever read the Odyssey, but what you said makes a lot of sense. I'll stick with it.
    OS Was Hereon June 11, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is my favorite Styx song by far. I like the first comment.

    I have another insight, however, having nothing to do with the song.

    It seems that the best way to get into a band is to listen to one of their best songs.


    Alan Parsons Project (my second Favorite "band")- I heard What Goes Up... first, and it was my favorite song overall for a long time.

    Pink Floyd (my favorite band)- I heard Brain Damage first, which is now my third favorite song.

    Supertramp (still getting into them)- I heard the Logical Song first, is easily my favorite of theirs, also the only reason I'm giving them a chance.

    Styx (still getting into them)- I heard Castle Walls first, one of my top ten overall songs, again, the reason why I am giving Styx a chance.

    The song is about fate (and every man must meet his destiny). The imagery is excellent throughout. 5/5
    inpraiseoffollyon April 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBy the way, this song is WAY better than Come Sail Away, which is vastly overrated, and deserves to have about three times as many comments, not one sixth.
    inpraiseoffollyon May 17, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPlayed backwards, it says:

    "Oh, sad Satan, are you gone" (far beyond these castle walls reversed)

    "He been bad. Say I'm sorry laddie.
    inpraiseoffollyon June 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI know Tiresias was in King Oedipus -- he was the blind psychic who knew the tragic ending, and almost got executed for treason for not telling the Oedipus, even though he'd still get punished 'cause what he knew was so horrible.

    And I highly doubt the Satanic lyrics there, inpraiseoffolly. Especially seeing as "slaw lessack seeth" sounds nothing like "oh sad Satan".

    Anyways, this songs is great -- highly underrated. In fact the whole Grand Illusion album is fantastic.
    clintonthegeekon April 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like this one. I really dont have an interpretation but if Dennis was a teacher he probably was an ace in mythology and world history. The man of miracles lp has some awsome songs too like mr. christopher, title track, golden lark and the Stxy 1 also have a Floyd-ish jam, A Day. These guys are awesome.
    kingemeraldon May 18, 2007   Link

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