Return to Free Library

Return to Culture Menu


Tool wants you to Wake Up, Remember

Upon the release of Tool’s new album Fear Inoculum, a whole new generation now has the opportunity to be introduced to the power of Tool’s music and its profound wisdom shrouded in metaphor.  To truly understand Tool’s music it is extremely helpful to understand that there are two streams of knowledge running throughout human history – the exoteric – that of mainstream science, religion and culture, and the esoteric – that of visionary science and spirituality that has profoundly shaped human consciousness behind the scenes.


This esoteric stream of knowledge has been expressed throughout human history by varied religious, mystical, philosophical and scientific viewpoints including:  Alchemy, Ancient Egyptian traditions (Doctrine of the Anthropocosm), Ancient Greek traditions of Pythagoras and Plato, Ancient Persian traditions of Sufism, various sects of Buddhism, Ancient Celtic and Druidic traditions, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Vedic Hindu traditions, Mystic Judaism (Kabbalistic traditions), Mystic Christianity, Taoism and other ancient Chinese traditions, Theosophy, Anthroposophy, Zoroastrianism, Native Indigenous and Shamanic traditions from the world over, Yoga…and more.


The esoteric stream of knowledge has also been expressed throughout the artistic realm of human history in music, literature, film and the visual arts including the work of Dante Alighieri; Albrecht Durer; Alex Grey; St. Augustine; Beethoven; Joseph Beuys; Helena Blavatsky; Bob Dylan; Bob Marley; Bram Stoker; Carl Jung; Cervantes; Conscious Hip-hop artists such as Blackalicious, Jurassic 5, Blue Scholars, Macklemore, Kendrick Lamar, The Roots & Logic; Fyodor Dostoevksy; Emmanuel Swedenborg; Fernando Pessoa; Francis Bacon; Francois Rabelais; Allen Ginsberg; Giordano Bruno; Goethe; Wilhelm Leibniz; Antoni Gaudi; Guillaume Apollinaire; G.I. Gurdijeff; Walter Russell; Henry Miller; Henry Thoreau; Hieronymus Bosch; Homer; Ibn Arabi; Jacob Boehme; James Joyce; Johannes Kepler; John Michell; Jonathan Swift; Keith Critchlow, Jack Kerouac; Lao-Tzu; Led Zeppelin; Leonardo da Vinci; Manly P. Hall; Meister Eckhart; Michelangelo; Friedrich Nietzsche; Oscar Wilde; Paracelsus; Pablo Picasso; Pink Floyd; Plato; Pythagoras; Raphael; Arthur Rimbaud; Roger Bacon; Rudolf Steiner; Salvador Dali; Vincent van Gogh; Shakespeare; Thomas Aquinas; Umberto Eco; Virgil; Voltaire; Walt Whitman; William Keats; William Wordsworth; Wu-Tang Clan; Frank Chester; John Martineau; Buckminster Fuller; Robert Lawlor; Hermann Hesse; Rumi; Mozart; Paul Cezanne; F. Scott Fitzgerald; Herman Melville; Tom Robbins; Kurt Vonnegut; The Flaming Lips; Ernst Haeckel; The Brothers Grimm; Anthony Burgess; The Grateful Dead; The Beatles; Beck; Cat Stevens; The Dave Matthews Band; David Bowie; The Doors; Jack Johnson; Janis Joplin; Jimi Hendrix; Nahko & Medicine for the People; Neil Young; The Rolling Stones, Tool…and more…so many more.


These are widely varying in their style, perspective and execution of skill yet they are all translations of the esoteric stream of knowledge to one degree or another.

There are several basic premises of the esoteric stream of knowledge.  These universal principles have most often been expressed in tales, metaphors, parables, myths, music and art.  The meanings are shrouded so that one must take the effort to find the hidden truths. Sure there are subtle differences of translation among groups and there are also infinite perspectives, but there are still only a few basic universal principles that the esoteric stream of knowledge, and all its implications, are built upon.  I am not telling you to believe or not believe this perspective of reality.  I am simply alerting you as to what this ancient perspective is.


Click the links below for explanations.  It is extremely helpful to read these explanations in order to understand the translations.  Or read the translations first then come back here to read more.  The main principles of the esoteric stream of knowledge are:

  1. Consciousness creates matter and not the other way around. Consciousness came first.
  2. Everything contains consciousness, without exception.
  3. The fundamental principles of the Universe are Unity, Infinity and Harmony.
  4. The three principles above are illustrated by geometric principles, patterns and ratios common to all scales of reality. This means all in reality has a geometric underpinning to it.
  5. All in reality, seen and unseen, are interconnected and interpenetrate one another. There are infinite dimensions that are interconnected to make a unified harmonious whole.  All points in space, time and consciousness are connected.
  6. The point of existence is to take the cosmic journey of the evolution of the soul and to encourage others to wake up and recognize this task set before each of us.


Tool is one such example of how an individual, or a small unified group of individuals, can express these profound truths in their uniquely personal and creative way and how this translation can reach other people – inspiring them to learn to rise to their unique highest potential for the greatest good.

I will now translate many of the lyrics from various Tool songs according to the esoteric stream of knowledge.  I will then, through this series of articles, discuss many other individuals or groups and how they have uniquely translated this same knowledge through their music, literature, film or visual arts.


Pnuema – Fear Inoculum

We will start with Pneuma, the second track on Tool’s Fear InoculumPneuma is one of the more obvious references to the esoteric stream of knowledge.  It begins:

We are Spirit bound to this flesh.
(We) go round one foot nailed down.
(But) Bound to reach out and beyond this flesh, become Pneuma.
We are will and wonder, bound to recall – remember
We are Born of One Breath, One Word.
We are all One Spark, Sun becoming.


[We are Spirit bound to this flesh.]  This is obviously referring to the idea that each human has both a spirit and a physical body.  The spirit, or consciousness, is permanent and the physical body, or flesh, is temporary.  This realization that each human being is more than one body, more than one lifetime, is an important concept of the esoteric stream of knowledge.  First you must remember that you are more than flesh.  Then you must remember that your spirit goes on after your flesh disintegrates.  Life goes on after death.  The spirit remains.  This means the consciousness or spirit of an individual does not disappear after death.  We go on, intact, with our memories and personalities so that we may continue the journey of the evolution of the soul which takes many, many lifetimes.  We build ourselves, or transform ourselves as we evolve.  Therefore we grow on the progress we have made.  This progress is not lost to us after each lifetime.  We do not have to start again at the beginning of each lifetime…starting over from scratch.  This is one of the most important aspects of the esoteric stream of knowledge whether you choose to believe it or not:  We go on after death.  We do not lose our individuality, our personalities or our memories.  We keep these and grow with them as we evolve.  So there is no need to fear death.


[We go round one foot nailed down.]  This is referring to the cycles of existence.  “We go round” means that there are cycles within cycles (spirals within spirals) and there is no escape from these cycles.  This is a universal principle.  These cycles refer to the cycles of the cosmic evolution of the soul and are the cycles of day, week, month, year, lifetime (reincarnations), and level of consciousness (larger cycles of reincarnation).  While we move through these cycles in physical reality we have “one foot nailed down.”  This means that there is an aspect of us that is fused to physical reality while we are ‘alive’ in bodies.  We are essentially stuck in physical reality while we are incarnate.  We have consented to experience physical reality so we cannot escape it.  Yet we are still moving though the cycles of evolution even though we are half-stuck in physical reality.  Our foot is nailed down, but our consciousness is not.  We can learn to use our consciousness to transcend physical reality and experience metaphysical reality.

Furthermore, the “one foot nailed down” is symbolic of Jesus being nailed to the cross, with nails being driven through the feet and hands (or ankles and wrists).  The cruxifiction of Jesus revolves around the aspect of forgiveness.  We are each partially crucified in this physical reality.  This means we will all suffer; we will all feel pain; we will all be made fun of or belittled or blamed or insulted.  Yet the symbolism of Jesus on the cross (which is barely alluded to here) is a reference that forgiveness will set you free.  Until you forgive you will always suffer – you will remain “nailed down”.


[But Bound to reach out and beyond this flesh, become Pneuma.]  Pneuma refers to the vital spirit, soul or creative force that is so central to the esoteric stream of knowledge.  Pneuma also refers to breath.  In the esoteric knowledge when ‘breath’ is mentioned this means not only the actual breath that keeps us alive each day, but also the “Cosmic Breath” of which we are a part.  This Cosmic breath is the eternal oscillation from the physical to the metaphysical.  It is the process that creates and maintains the physical reality.  It is the process from which we were all born, and it is the process that keeps each and every person connected to their source while they are in the physical reality.  Once we realize we are more than a body – we are spirit – we can consciously reach out towards this knowledge – we can reach out beyond this body or flesh that seems to imprison us and reach towards the truth that we are pneuma.  We are eternal spirit.  Again, when we die, we go on.  The conviction that this is true can set the mind free and free the human from the fear of death and dissolution.

The fact that Tool says we are “bound” to reach out and beyond this flesh means that whether you believe it or not, whether you realize it or not, you are Spirit and eventually you will recognize this.  This freeing of the body and mind and the evolution of the soul is a process that everyone is going through and everyone is ‘bound’ to wake up to it eventually.  There really is no other way.  None can escape the truth, although they can run from it for quite some time.


[We are will and wonder, bound to recall – remember] – We are “will” and “wonder”.  This speaks to the importance of the Will – the aspect of our consciousness that makes choices from seemingly endless possibilities.  We cannot evolve if we do not use our will.  This is an important aspect of the esoteric stream of knowledge – the importance of the Choice.  This choice refers to waking up to the truth of your spiritual nature and choosing to consciously evolve.  This choice also refers to the importance of choosing between the path of unity, compassion and forgiveness or the path of separation, control and manipulation.  Our will is thus an extremely important aspect of our evolution and the function and use of the will must be better understood.

We are also “wonder”.  This aspect of wonder – of curiosity and interest and an open-mind is also an important aspect to pull us forward, or inspire us to continue moving on our journey of evolution.  As Albert Einstein said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed.”

This aspect of wonder is what can shake us out of mundane, boring, complacent conformity.  It can push us to see beyond the physical reality and experience the Cosmic nature of our existence.  Wonder keeps us searching and questioning.  If we lose our wonder, we become slaves to the physical reality.  And again, Tool uses the word “bound” to recall.  We will all remember.  We have to remember, eventually, even if it takes millions of years.  We will all recall the truth of our existence.  We are “bound” to.  Learning to use will and wonder appropriately will help one recall and remember much more quickly.

[We are Born of One Breath, One Word.] – We all arise from the same source – Cosmic Consciousness.  This Cosmic Consciousness moves the Cosmic Breath of the Universe – the eternal oscillation of the matter/consciousness feedback loop.  We are all connected through our consciousness.  The totality of our consciousness is akin to the divine infinite spirit.  The spirit is akin to the breath because its flow keeps us alive.  So we arise from One Breath – from One Spirit that is unified.

We are born of “One Word” – this refers to the “Word” or Sound that puts the Universe in motion.  This is discussed in many spiritual and religious traditions throughout time, not just Christianity.  This is another key aspect of the esoteric stream of knowledge.  The “Word” equals Sound or vibration.  Vibration (waves consisting of wavelength, amplitude and frequency) creates physical reality.  Vibration arises from consciousness.  Consciousness therefore creates reality.  Vibration creates physical matter.  Geometry is embedded within vibration.  This is easily illustrated through Cymatics.  The same geometric patterns are seen on all scales of reality from the subatomic to the galactic clustering level.

Vibration (from consciousness) = Geometry = Matter.

This is also one of the many reasons geometry is so important to the esoteric stream of knowledge and why it is used so abundantly in the art for Tool’s albums and the art of Alex Grey, among many others.

[We are all One Spark, Sun becoming.] – Again we see here that Tool is telling us “we are all One”.  That is, we are all connected.  We are all unified and we are all from the same Source.  This spark is the spark of each of our individualized consciousnesses.  We are made of light – of photons.  The spark of our individualized consciousness is more like a reflection from a divine light.  So we are sparks or reflections of the same Unity.

We are “Sun becoming”.  This is a deep concept that refers to the cosmic evolution of the Soul.  First off we are all made of light.  Consciousness creates light.  This is literal as well as metaphorical.  The oscillating waves created by consciousness create photons that carry electromagnetic energy.  Everything in physical reality is made of light (photons).  Furthermore, not only will we evolve to be “sun-like” – that is radiant, powerful and full of light, but we will literally evolve to experience a “sun-like” consciousness.  We will become Suns.  Suns = Stars.  We will become stars.  This does not mean we will turn into giant flaming balls of gas.  This means that our neighborhood will become the solar system or galaxy rather than the tiny neighborhood we experience now in our communities.  We will be able to communicate with other consciousnesses throughout our galaxy as easily as we are able to communicate with our neighbors today.  We will be able to move through our galaxy just as easily as we are able to move through our cities and towns today.  This evolution of the spirit or consciousness is an evolution that takes us beyond the false laws of physics pushed upon us today.  When we evolve for the greatest good we will be able to teleport, materialize and dematerialize as well as all the other things we can do when we lucid dream.  We are able to move outside of time and space when we have evolved to other levels of consciousness including the consciousness of Suns or Stars.

This same concept is so powerfully and poetically expressed in Dante’s Divine Comedy which relates the “Hero’s Journey” and the movement through Separation (the Inferno), Initiation (Purgatory) and the Return (Paradise).  The Divine Comedy was written in 1320! Yet is full of profound mystical truths relating to the esoteric stream of knowledge.  Dante ends all three sections (or Canots) with the word “Stars”.  This is because he is cluing us in to the concept that we will evolve to have a Sun-like consciousness.


The Inferno ends with this:

“My Guide and I crossed over and began

to mount that little known and lightless road

to ascend into the shining world again.

He first, I second, without thought of rest

We climbed the dark until we reached the point

Where a round opening brought in sight the blest

And beauteous shining of the Heavenly cars.

And we walked out once more beneath the Stars.”


The Purgatorio ends with this:

“I came back from those holiest waters anew,

Remade, reborn, like a Sun-wakened tree

That spreads new foliage to the Spring dew

In sweetest freshness, healed of Winter’s scars;

Perfect, pure, and ready for the Stars.”


The Paradiso ends with this:

“Here my powers rest from their high fantasy,

But already I could feel my being turned –

Instinct and intellect balanced equally

As in a wheel whose motion nothing jars –

By the Love that moves the Sun and the other Stars.”


Did you ever realize how much the band Tool from the 21st century has in common with Dante Alighieri from the 14th century?  I will write a series of articles discussing The Divine Comedy in much more detail and we will see Dante come up again when discussing Tool.


The remainder of the lyrics of Pnuema are as follows and relate to the same concepts we have already discussed, with a few additions.

Child, wake up.
Child, release the light.
Wake up now, child.
Spirit bound to this flesh, this guise, this mask, this dream.
Wake up, remember –
We are born of One Breath, One Word.
We are all One Spark, Sun becoming.

Reach out and beyond.
Wake up, remember.
We are born of One Breath, One Word.
We are all One Spark, eyes full of wonder.


Tool calls us “Child” because we are all children of the greater universe and we are only children as far as the evolution of the spirit is concerned.  We are immature and only just beginning the journey.  We are children.  We need to wake up from the dream, or nightmare in some cases and release the light within ourselves.  Don’t keep that light trapped inside, hidden in a cage behind the darkness and pain of physical reality.  “Child, release the light.”


Tool repeatedly tells us to “Wake Up.”  This refers to waking up to the truth of our spiritual natures and the truth of the cosmic spiritual evolution of the consciousness.  The concept of “forgetting” shows up in the esoteric stream of knowledge frequently.  This is because we all “drink the waters of forgetfulness” when we become incarnate in a body.  Even though physical reality seems like it is all there is, we must be able to “pierce through the veil” of forgetfulness and remember the truth while we are still alive.  This is very difficult to do for most people – to “wake up” and see through the narrow illusion.  Yet Tool is encouraging us to do just that: to wake up from the temporary: “this flesh, this guise, this mask, this dream.”

The truth is that we are spiritual beings that decide to undertake certain lives in order to learn.  These lifetimes are the “dreams” and the cosmic spiritual nature of ourselves is the true reality.  We must “reach out and beyond.”  We have to consciously search, consciously reach out for the truth, and then consciously endeavor to live according to universal principles in order to evolve.  We must take action to evolve.  We cannot be passive and wait for someone to bestow truth or enlightenment upon us.  It doesn’t work that way.  We must “reach out”.  No one will do it for us.  We can’t just listen to music or look at art.  We cannot just talk the talk.  We must walk the walk.  We must reach out and do it ourselves.  We must go through the process.  We must learn to heal and transform.  We must learn to live harmoniously in order to evolve.


Schism – Lateralus

The next song we will examine is “Schism” from Lateralus.  Here again we will see how Tool and Dante are both reaching toward the expression of the same esoteric stream of knowledge.  Both Tool and Dante know how to expertly express the full journey of the evolution of consciousness which includes journeying through the darkness to find the light.  Many people get stuck on the darkness, imprisoned by their own fears, grudges, doubts, bitterness, regrets and so forth.  Studying the dark aspects of humanity is absolutely necessary to evolve.  One must recognize that the mind contains all things and the experience of the darkness is meant to be used as a springboard towards healing and transformation.


[I know the pieces fit ’cause I watched them fall away
Mildewed and smoldering, fundamental differing
Pure intention juxtaposed will set two lover’s souls in motion
Disintegrating as it goes testing our communication]

In these first four lines we see the expression of a beloved relationship falling apart because of the inability to appropriately communicate.  Tool knows it “fit” because they experienced the beauty of this relationship and how good it feels to be loved and to be “one” with another.  Then of course, the relationship falls apart.  This experience of heartbreak is very unpleasant – it is mildewed (spoiling) and smoldering (the flame of passion is dying).  We see how the intention of the lovers set their relationship in motion.  Intention is another aspect of the consciousness that closely resembles the Will.  Learning to use the will and intention properly is an important aspect in order to evolve.  Of course the relationship can disintegrate, no matter the original intention, if there is not open, honest and empathetic communication.


[The light that fueled our fire then has burned a hole between us so
We cannot see to reach an end crippling our communication]

Here we see that the light of love that fueled the fire of passion and desire between two lovers has backfired and created a separation between two people who previously felt like One.  This separation between lovers, whether from cheating, dishonesty…etc. is a symbolic reference to the initial separation – the “forgetting” that each person goes through when they are born into a body.  The forgetting makes each person feel like they are separate from the Universe, from each other, from Nature, from “God”.  So this can be read on several levels.

The light of our spirit fuels our evolution and fuels us as we choose to undergo physical lives – yet there is a sadness built in because the same light that fuels us is the light that makes us ‘forget’.  We feel abandoned.  We become blind.  We cannot see.  We cannot communicate with our higher natures because we have forgotten them.

On a personal level, among two people the anger that results from broken relationships can blind us to the beauty and truth of love as a universal principle.  We may become bitter.  We may become blind and grasp our grudges tightly to us refusing to love again.  This cripples our communication between others and our communication between us and our higher selves.  We can stagnate if we remain in this state for too long.  The feeling of being abandoned or betrayed by a loved one is a parallel experience to the feeling of being abandoned or betrayed by “God.”  That is, when we are born we forget our connection to the universe.  This is an extremely painful experience.  But there are, of course, ways back to the truth – to healing and transformation – and to being “one” again with our loved ones.


[I know the pieces fit ’cause I watched them tumble down
No fault, none to blame, it doesn’t mean I don’t desire
To point the finger, blame the other, watch the temple topple over
To bring the pieces back together, rediscover communication]

Here the hurt person is realizing there is no one to blame, except perhaps themselves.  This is a key aspect of the esoteric stream of knowledge and refers to atonement (At-One-Ment).  Atonement is the ability to accept responsibility for everything in life, good and bad.  It is the realization that you cannot blame others for your problems, no matter what those problems are.  It is also a deeper realization that consciousness creates reality and the individual’s thoughts, words and actions created the situations they find themselves in now.  They are not a victim.  Yet, they still desire to blame others and to destroy the sacred (watch the temple topple over) because they are in such pain.  Yet deep down they know they cannot destroy the “temple” – which is a reference to the heart.  The body is the temple of the spirit.  The heart is the temple of the soul.  Deep down this person knows they cannot blame others.  Deep down all they want is to become whole again and to learn how to communicate in order to have meaningful joyous relationships that make life worth living.


[The poetry that comes from the squaring off between
And the circling is worth it
Finding beauty in the dissonance]

These verses are a clear reference to the “squaring of the circle”, an important symbolic concept in the esoteric stream of knowledge.  “The squaring off between and the circling” refers to the geometric squaring of the circle.  We see the importance of geometry, but more importantly the ‘squaring of the circle’ is a reference to the journey of the evolution of the consciousness.  The circle refers to the heavenly, cosmic order or our higher selves that we are becoming.  The square refers to the material physical reality and our baser selves – those selves that indulge in anger, hatred, jealousy, fear, regret, doubt…etc.  When you ‘square the circle’ you are harmonizing your human self – your finite self – with your cosmic self.  You are learning to evolve and to express the universal principles of the cosmic realm – the principles of unity, infinity, harmony, compassion, acceptance, forgiveness, honesty and peace.

This cosmic evolution of the consciousness closely aligns with the chakras.  The aspects of the seven chakras give us clues as to what we need to work on in order to evolve.  It is a 7-chakra system – which is one reason 7-pointed geometry shows up so much in the artwork on Tool’s albums.  The aspects of the chakras relate to psychological and emotional aspects of ourselves and they tell us what we need to develop within ourselves in order to evolve.  The levels are as follow:

  1. Red – Foundation – Survival, Stability, Safety
  2. Orange – Sacrum – Creativity, Emotional Balance, Healthy Sexuality
  3. Yellow – Navel – Self-awareness, Courage, Persistence, Healthy Power
  4. Green – Heart – Compassion, Understanding, Universal Love, Acceptance, Forgiveness
  5. Blue – Throat – Wisdom, Honesty, Communication – that is, open and honest communication with yourself and others. The ability to be honest with yourself and all others.  The ability to speak your truth without fear.  Obviously Schism is all about developing this aspect of the consciousness and learning to communicate without hurting others.
  6. Indigo – Pineal Gland or “Third Eye” – this symbolism shows up over and over again in Tool’s work. This is about balancing compassion with wisdom and developing a true faith in the true nature of a unified reality.  The Third Eye is also the organ or gateway into experiencing the metaphysical reality, whether this is through meditation, fasting, lucid dreaming, psychedelic experiences, sexual practices, chanting, creating art…or what have you.
  7. Violet – Crown – Infinity or the Return to Unity. This chakra expresses the unique individual energy signature of each entity as they evolve.


In the Divine Comedy Dante speaks to the extreme importance of “Squaring the Circle” and all the symbolism of spiritual evolution that encompasses it by ending the entire Divine Comedy in this way:


“Like a geometer wholly dedicated

To squaring the circle, but who cannot find,

Think as he may, the principle indicated –


So did I study the supernal face.

I yearned to know just how our image merges

Into that circle, and how it there finds place;


But mine were not the wings for such a flight.

Yet, as I wished, the truth I wished for came

Cleaving my mind in a great flash of light.


Here my powers rest from the high fantasy,

But already I could feel my being turned –

Instinct and intellect balanced equally


As in a wheel whose motion nothing jars –

By the Love that moves the Sun and other Stars.”


Here we are, almost 700 years exactly since The Divine Comedy was published and yet the message is the same.  This is a profound cosmic message that stays relevant regardless of what is going on in society.  Each person translates it in their own way.  “The paths are many.  The truth is One.”


[There was a time that the pieces fit, but I watched them fall away
Mildewed and smoldering, strangled by our coveting
I’ve done the math enough to know the dangers of our second guessing
Doomed to crumble unless we grow and strengthen our communication]

Here we have a repetition of lines already covered with the addition of “I’ve done the math enough to know…] which refers to sacred mathematics or sacred geometry and how that can clue us into the true nature of reality.  The point is that we are doomed to mildew and smolder and die away again and again unless we wake up to the truth of the evolution of our souls, learn to grow, evolve through compassion and to communicate openly and honestly without hurting others.


[cold silence has
A tendency to
Atrophy any
Sense of compassion

Between supposed lovers]

Here we have a very beautiful reminder that cold silence destroys compassion.  We must communicate with others if we want to grow.  Spiritual evolution is a group effort.  There is only so far we can evolve if we do not encounter other beings and learn how to deal harmoniously with them.  There is no other choice.  Communication can lead to empathy.  Empathy leads to compassion.  Compassion and forgiveness are the keys to spiritual evolution.



The Grudge – Lateralus

Next we will move onto “The Grudge” off of Lateralus.

[Wear the grudge like a crown of negativity
Calculate what we will or will not tolerate
Desperate to control all and everything
Unable to forgive your scarlet lettermen]

This song speaks directly to the battle within the mind in regards to letting go of past hurts, fears, doubts and regrets and learning to heal and transform so one can expand their consciousness and cosmically evolve.

One of the most common experiences in human life is being let down, betrayed or hurt by another.  These hurts, as we know, can be very painful and very serious.  This action creates a wound.  If this wound is not allowed to heal it grows into a grudge.  It the grudge is nourished than it grows stronger, the wound grows deeper and the pain grows heavier and harder to let go.  Grudges smother the spiritual light represented by the “crown” – the crown chakra.  This is also a reference to the “crown of thorns” of Jesus and how Jesus had to forgive to set himself free on the cross.  “Forgive them father, they know not what they do,” he said of those who tortured and murdered him.

Tool is asking: Do you want to wear a crown of negativity or a crown of light?  Grudges can lead to very negative behaviors including sexism, racism, hatred, bitterness, violence, infidelity, torture, murder, genocide, war…this should be obvious.  Are these the things you want to see grow in the world?  If they are not, then first you must heal all grudges within your mind and heart.  To heal is to forgive.  Are you “unable to forgive your scarlet lettermen”?  Are you unable to forgive all those who have hurt, insulted or belittled you?  If you hang onto grudges then you are walking the negative path.  The negative path is the path of control, manipulation and separation.

To “wear your grudge like a crown” is to hold onto your grudges because you think you are right; you think you are superior; or you think that being hurt gives you the right to hurt others.  Obviously Tool does not want people to walk the negative path.  They want people to walk the positive path – the path of forgiveness, acceptance and compassion.


[Clutch it like a cornerstone, otherwise it all comes down
Justify denials and grip ’em to the lonesome end
Clutch it like a cornerstone, otherwise it all comes down
Terrified of being wrong, ultimatum prison cell]

Here Tool is telling you that if you clutch your grudges as if your whole world is built upon those grudges, as if you have every right in the Universe to hold and nurse those grudges, then negativity becomes the cornerstone or foundation of your belief system and life path and you begin to use those grudges as weapons to hurt others.  Remember, if you choose to walk the path of negativity then you will be alone and no one will come to your aid.  This is because you are consciously choosing the path of separation.  The end will be lonesome indeed, and you will have to try again in the next life to learn to let go.  If you walk the path of negativity you justify your denials, your fears and your superiority as being right.  You also justify why you can hurt others (because you were hurt).

Tool says, if you don’t keep clutching onto your grudges then your reality will crumble apart.  This is true.  Your reality will crumble apart.  This would be a good thing if you can recognize it properly.  In order to heal you have to let go.  This is so difficult it feels like the whole foundation of your being is falling away.  Sometimes it feels as if you will completely disappear.  This is part of the process of transformation.  A false limiting world falls away in order for a new cosmic reality to become known.  “Nothing is lost, that which is not needed falls away.”  This process can be very frightening, but if you are aware of how the universe works and how the evolution of the consciousness works then it is far less terrifying, and if you choose the path of unity you will know that there are always guides to help you on your journey.


[Saturn ascends
Choose one or ten
Hang on or be humbled again]

Saturn, in the esoteric stream of knowledge, refers to the “Dark Lord” or “Principle of Darkness”.  This is the side of our shadow – the side of our consciousness that wants to grasp onto grudges, hurt, pain, anger, bitterness, shame….to grasp it and never let it go.  This is the side of ourselves that wants vengeance instead of forgiveness.  It is the side that wants to see destruction in the world and pain in humanity because we were let down by the world and hurt by humanity.  “Saturn” is the side of ourselves that we must acknowledge in order to understand it and then transform it.  It is not to be feared.  It is a natural part of human consciousness.  So when “Saturn ascends” it refers to that dark force coming up and taking over the light.  It means that we are expressing fear, anger, hatred, jealously, doubt, regret, bitterness, violence…etc.  We think that if we hang onto our grudges we are correct.  But we will be humbled eventually, whether we try to grasp onto our grudges or not.

Mark Booth writes of Saturn: “Saturn’s title is Rex Mundi, King of the World or ‘Prince of this world’ because of his control of our material lives.  If an individual entity can exist through time, then by implication it can cease to exist too.  This is why Saturn is the god of destruction.  Saturn eats his own children.  He is sometimes portrayed as Old Father Time and sometimes as Death himself.  Because of Saturn’s influence everything that lives contains the seeds of its own end, and it is because of Saturn that what feeds us also destroys us…because of Saturn our lives are hard.  Because of Saturn every sword is double-edged and every crown a crown of thorns.  It we sometimes feel our lives almost too hard to bear, if we bruise and if we do cry out to the stars in despair, it is because Saturn pushes us to our limits.”  This is why Satan, the Dark Lord, the agent of materialism is identified with Saturn in Greek and Roman mythology.

Saturn ascending also refers to planetary alignments and planetary cycles.  The “One to Ten” refer to the celestial bodies that maintain influence over humanity on Earth.  These celestial bodies are: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.  These celestial bodies are involved in spiraling cycles or orbits.  These cycles are meant to remind us of greater cosmic cycles that we should be aware of.  They are meant to remind us that there are always dark phases of life and that if we keep going and keep trying, we can always, eventually, get back to the light.  Everything comes in phases, oscillations, cycles, circuits…there are always rising and declining phases.  This is a universal truth.

As Mark Booth writes, “Working through our different centres of consciousness, the gods of the planets and constellations prepare us for the great experiences, the great tests that the cosmos means us to have.  The deep structure of our lives is described by the movements of the heavenly bodies.  I am moved to desire by Venus and, when Saturn returns, I am sorely tested.”


[Clutch it like a cornerstone, otherwise it all comes down
Justify denials and grip ’em to the lonesome end
Saturn ascends, comes round again
Saturn ascends, the one, the ten
Ignorant to the damage done

Wear the grudge like a crown of negativity
Calculate what we will or will not tolerate
Desperate to control all and everything
Unable to forgive these scarlet lettermen

Wear the grudge like a crown
Desperate to control
Unable to forgive and sinking deeper]

These lines are a repeat of lines discussed earlier with one addition:  “Unable to forgive and sinking deeper”.  This refers to how we will sink deeper and deeper into negativity and the negative path (of control and manipulation) the longer we refuse to forgive – the longer we hold onto our grudges.  We can sink so low that reality looks like a dark, frightening horrible place and we feel every right to be angry and mean-spirited all the time.  We feel we have every right to laugh at the pain of others or take advantage of others.  We feel we are correct to desire destruction in the world.  We want to see the pain within ourselves reflected in the world – to “get even” so to speak with all those out there who hurt us.  This is a very destructive viewpoint that leads to extreme despair and self-destruction.  Tool is trying to warn us against it.  Although Tool is very adept at telling us that it is OK to feel this way sometimes.  It is a part of the journey.  But for god’s sake, it is only a tiny part of the journey.  Let it go.


And sinking deeper
And we’re sinking deeper

Saturn comes back around to show you everything
Let’s you choose what you will not see and then
Drags you down like a stone or lifts you up again
Spits you out like a child, light and innocent]

Here we see the same symbolism as before in this song with a few additions.  We have the same Saturn symbolism as above that reminds us of the cycles of life and how there will always be down times (dragged down like a stone) and up times (lifts you up again) with the reminder of how important ‘choosing’ or your choice is in regards to your perspective on life.  You can choose to see or not to see.  Your choice will determine if you are dragged down or lifted up.  The importance of cycles is stressed many times: cycles are an unavoidable aspect of life.  You cannot escape them.  But don’t worry, if you are dragged down like a stone then you will be lifted up again, like a child.  No matter how dark and dirty life can get you can free yourself and become light and innocent.  This is the process of transformation and it is open and available to everyone no matter what they have experienced or what they have done.


[Saturn comes back around.
Lifts you up like a child or
Drags you down like a stone
To consume you till you choose to let this go
Choose to let this go]

These lines are a reminder that the forces of ‘Saturn’ will consume you until you are able to let go of your grudges.  You will be consumed with anger, pain and hatred until you are able to forgive.  Forgiveness is the key in regards to becoming light and innocent again.


[Give away the stone
Let the oceans take and transmutate this cold and fated anchor
Give away the stone
Let the waters kiss and transmutate these leaden grudges into gold]

First off, these lines are telling us that our grudges are like anchors that drag us down to destroy us under the weight of our own emotions.  The oceans – water itself – is a symbol of the emotions.  If we work with healing our emotions then they can transmutate our grudges and we can be free.

These lines are also a nod to alchemy.  Alchemy is often thought of a silly ancient practice in which men actually believed they could turn lead into gold.  It should not be surprising to learn that this transmutation process is symbolic for spiritual transformation.  Alchemy equals the ‘Mystic Chemistry of the Soul’.  The transmutation of lead into gold is a reference to the human learning how to heal and transform their consciousness, letting go of all anger, hate, pain, grudges, fear, doubts…etc. and developing the higher faculties of humanity: courage, compassion, understanding, empathy, peace, wisdom, honesty, faith, etc.  This process of spiritual transformation and the evolution of consciousness allow the human to move beyond the false limiting laws of physics.  One can evolve to have a “light” body.  One can evolve to be able to join a greater galactic community.  Sure one could actually transmutate lead into gold, but if you are spiritually evolved you know that physical gold means nothing compared to developing the ‘golden’ aspects of the consciousness that allows for telepathy, teleportation, dematerialization…and much, much more.

Returning to Mark Booth once again: “Esoteric philosophy calls for a rediscovery of the spiritual hierarchies ranged above us, and intimately connected with that, a discovery of the divine capabilities ranged within us.  This was the secret preserved and nurtured by geniuses as diverse as Plato, St Paul, Leonardo, Shakespeare and Newton (an alchemist):

  1. If you can think so deeply that you can rediscover the spiritual roots of thought, if you can recognize thoughts as living, spiritual beings…
  2. If you can develop a strong enough sense of your own individuality that you can become aware of your interaction with the Thought-Beings that weave in and out of yourself, yet not be overwhelmed by this reality…
  3. If you can recreate the ancient sense of wonder and use this sense of wonder to help awaken the willpower overwhelmed by this reality… (refer to line #4 in Pneuma)
  4. If the fire of love for your fellow human beings rises from your heart and causes you to weep tears of compassion…

Then you have been working on the Four Elements.  You have begun the process of their transformation.”



Fear Inoculum – Fear Inoculum

The next song we will discuss is “Fear Inoculum” off of Fear Inoculum.  This song is an obvious reference to casting out the fear that prevents transformation and evolution.


Long overdue
I exhale you
I opened up to you
Venom in mania]

These lines seem to refer to a person seeking immunity against all the negativity of the world.  When one chooses to walk the path of spiritual evolution there will always be obstacles in the way and challenges to overcome.  Just because you are aware of the process of spiritual evolution and you consciously choose to undertake the journey does not mean it is easy.  There will always be dark forces arriving to test your convictions.  So you may think that if you are “spiritual” you are somehow immune to negativity.  This is not true.  The choice to live in unity and harmony must be made at all times, not just once.  It is a constant living and choosing the positive and your guard can never really be let down when you are interacting with the world.  You must stay true to your values.  The Hero’s Journey is a challenge and often Part 3: The Return is the most challenging part of all.

This person was naïve to think they were immune and so accidentally opened themselves up to a negative experience that they now wish to rid themselves of.


[Now, contagion
I exhale you]

Here the person is exhaling the negativity.  We again see the importance of the breath and how the breath relates to the spirit and how one can spiritually cleanse themself.  This cleansing is the process of healing and transformation that takes place within the consciousness.  Breathing exercises are often a part of spiritual practices because the breath is used to focus the mind.


[The deceiver says, he says
You belong to me
You don’t wanna breathe the light of the others
Fear the light
Fear the breath
Fear the others for eternity
But I hear them now inhale the clarity
Hear the venom, the venom in
What you say inoculated]

The deceiver here is the principle of darkness.  This principle has been personified throughout the ages by Saturn, Satan, Lucifer and others.  The deceiver is really that dark side of the human consciousness – the one that wants to remain separate, the one that wants to revel in their own pain and the pain of others.  This deceiver tries to convince us that the material world is all there is.  It tries to tell us that we are not spirits – we are only flesh.  It tells us we are stupid and crazy to believe in spiritual processes and realities.  It tells us to fear the light and to fear others because humanity is evil and bad at its core.  It does not want you to spiritually evolve.  It wants you to be separate from others and walk the path of separation for all eternity so that you will be a slave to your neuroses and a slave to the darkness.  The deceiver speaks venom that will poison all who believe it.  But of course, there is always a way out.  Use the breath.  Use the spirit to inhale clarity and exhale venom.  Healing and transformation is always open to those who choose to do the work.


[Bless this immunity
Bless this immunity
Bless this immunity

Exhale, expel
Recast my tale
Read my allegorical elegy]

These lines are a further expression of healing and transformation through spiritual processes.  One must get in touch with the “divine” or cosmic.  Healing becomes a divine blessing – the Cosmos wants each person to be healed.  It provides for the process – it blesses its inhabitants when they become aware of its divinity and live according to its principles.  The venom is exhaled.  The negativity is expelled.  The tale is recast – the story has changed.  The elegy (a poem of serious reflection, typically a lament for the dead) is now about the death of the negative side of one’s self and not the death of the actual person.  The tale is recast – what was once a tale of pain and death now becomes a tale of transformation and rebirth.


All that I’m to do
Calculating steps away from you
My own
Growing through
Delusion from mania]

Here, (surprise, surprise) the process of spiritual evolution is alluded to once again.  First the word ‘enumerate’ is used.  This is a reference to numbering – this process relates to sacred mathematics and sacred geometry but also to the numbering of the chakras and numbering of the levels of consciousness.

The word ‘mitosis’ is also used.  Mitosis is the process of cell division.  So this person is growing, but not only that, mitosis is a process that happens in octaves.  Growth occurs in octaves.  This is seen with the seven-steps of the chakras and the 8th step as the first again, but at a higher level – a higher plane of consciousness.  Of course we also see the octave arrangement in music and sound, color, light and the electromagnetic spectrum and the chemical periodic table of elements.  These are the foundational processes of reality: consciousness, sound, light, chemical elements, and the spiritual system (chakras).

Tool is pointing to this growth in octaves – the seven steps of transformation before “the return”.  Again, this is one reason 7-pointed geometry shows up throughout the artwork on Tool’s albums.


[Exhale, expel
Recast my tale
Weave my allegorical elegy

All control
You poison
You spectacle

Exorcise the spectacle
Exorcise the malady
Exorcise the disparate
Poison for eternity
Purge me and evacuate
The venom and the fear that binds me]

These lines are a kind of doubling-down on the desire to expel negativity and reconstruct the story of their lives so they can be redeemed and transformed.  The poison must be expelled so it loses its control over the person’s consciousness.  The word ‘exorcise’ is a reference to removing negative spiritual influences.  The battle here is spiritual.  Demons must be expelled.  Demons are negative states of mind and emotion.  The most powerful negative state of mind and emotion is Fear.  Fear breeds hatred, anger, violence, disgust, harmful behavior, narcissism, mental illness, apathy, feelings of powerlessness and worthlessness, among other things.  Fear prevents love from growing.  Fear prevents compassion from being developed.  Fear is poisonous venom that prevents a person from rising to their highest potential for the greatest good.  Fear cannot be ignored or feared.  Fear must be acknowledged and transformed.


[Unveil now
Lift away
I see you

Chased away
A long time

This section begins with ‘unveil now’ which refers to the ‘piercing of the veil’ that allows one to recognize the truth of their spiritual nature and the existence of the process of the cosmic evolution of the soul.  To pierce the veil to is to see beyond materialism.  It is to see beyond the finite and experience the infinite.  When the veil is pierced one knows without a doubt that unity is truth and we are all connected.  The deceiver (that belief that we are all separate) is chased away.  It is a relief now that the deceiver is gone.  It was a long time coming, but it could not have happened without the recognition of our spiritual natures and the recognition of the interconnection of all things.



The Patient – Lateralus

Now we will return to Lateralus to discuss “The Patient”.

[A groan of tedium escapes me
Startling the fearful
Is this a test? It has to be
Otherwise I can’t go on
Draining patience, drain vitality
This paranoid, paralyzed vampire act’s a little old]

“The Patient” is about the challenges of trying to evolve and transform.  As we evolve there are many tests along the way.  There are many challenges to overcome.  It is important to remember that the tests help us grow.  We cannot transform without the tests, without the challenges.  The rewards are worth it.  So remember, if you experience tests, you must still go on.  Life is not a horrible painful thing.  Sometimes tests are, but they are only tests.  You are meant to come through the other side in a much better place than you were before.  So let go of the “paranoid, paralyzed vampire act” – the inability to grow, the inability to forgive, the desire to suck the energy from others because you are too afraid to face the challenges and grow.  It’s old.  It’s time to let it go.


[But I’m still right here
Giving blood, keeping faith
And I’m still right here

But I’m still right here
Giving blood, keeping faith
And I’m still right here

Wait it out
Gonna wait it out
Be patient (wait it out)]

Obviously this song is all about learning to be patient in the face of adversity and in the face of extreme challenges.  Don’t give up.  The process of healing and transformation is a difficult one.  You will be hurt along the way (giving blood) physically or emotionally but it is important to keep the faith – to keep to the path of transformation.

Patience is one of those qualities that must be nurtured in order to spiritually evolve.


[If there were no rewards to reap
No loving embrace to see me through
This tedious path I’ve chosen here
I certainly would’ve walked away by now]

These lines remind us that if we choose to walk the path of unity, compassion and forgiveness there will be guides, helpers, or companions that will always help us through.  We can lean on them.  They will nourish us with love – with a loving embrace.  This can come in the form of divine inspiration and wisdom and communication from our higher selves, or in the form of people we meet along the way that support us in our journey in one way or another.

The point is that the path is difficult and tedious and constantly challenging, but the rewards are well worth the trouble, and if you walk the path of unity you will always be supported.


[Gonna wait it out

If there were no desire to heal
The damaged and broken met along
This tedious path I’ve chosen here
I certainly would’ve walked away by now

And I still may, I still may]

Here we see that the person on this path has a strong desire to help others.  This path of unity is the path of healing and transformation for the individual and for humanity as a whole.  The point is to evolve and help others evolve.  If one does not have the desire to help others then one cannot remain on the path of unity and spiritual transformation.  Often the desire to help others is the strongest force that pulls us along.  We see that this person feels overwhelmed by all the pain they see around them and feels they may be too weak to continue on the path.  They may walk away.  But this is Tool speaking, and of course they will not walk away.  They will be patient, as we see in the lines below.  They will continually remind themselves to be patient.  It will get better.  They will be guided and supported.  They will be patient and wait it out because the rewards for themselves, and humanity, are well worth it.

Be patient
Be patient
Be patient

I must keep reminding myself of this
I must keep reminding myself of this
I must keep reminding myself of this
I must keep reminding myself of this

And if there were no rewards to reap
No loving embrace to see me through
This tedious path I’ve chosen here
I certainly would’ve walked away by nowAnd I still may
And I still may
And I still may
And I

Gonna wait it out
Gonna wait it out
Wait it out
Gonna wait it out


Descending – Fear Inoculum

Expanding on the song above we will now discuss “Descending” from Fear Inoculum.  One important thing to note about the entire album Fear Inoculum is that is expands on Tool’s previous themes of personal transformation to something much bigger: the spiritual evolution and transformation of all humanity on the planet.

[Free fall through
Our midnight,
This epilogue
Of our own fable
Heedless in our slumber
Floating nescient we
Free fall through
This boundlessness
This madness
Of our own making]

We see here that Tool uses the word “our” many times in this song.  They are referring to an entire population falling without control through a dark phase (our midnight) in human history.  History is “our own fable”.  We write history and we can re-write it.  We can change the outcome.  An epilogue can be seen as a final or concluding event.  How will humanity end?  Will it destroy itself?  Its destruction is surely of our own making and while humanity as a whole is asleep (heedless in our slumber) we are destroying ourselves.  Heedless refers to a reckless lack of care or attention.  We have a reckless lack of care for other humans, for animals and for the environment…even for ourselves.  This will destroy us.  We are floating nescient – this means we are ignorant and lacking knowledge.  Being asleep and unaware of the spiritual reality and the truth of the corruption in our world will lead to madness and destruction of our own making.

[Falling isn’t flying
Floating isn’t infinite
Our end suddenly
All hail our lethargy
To the quickened
Pray we mitigate the ruin, calling all to arms and order]

Here we are reminded that falling isn’t flying.  Falling ignorantly is the opposite of spiritual transformation which gives us metaphorical wings.  We, as humans, are bringing the end upon ourselves because we are apathetic and lethargic (we have a lack of energy; we are in a pathological state of sleepiness – we are asleep and unaware of the spiritual reality.)

This song seems to warn of an apocalyptic end to humanity because of our ignorance and uncaring attitude towards life.  They are praying that humanity wakes up so that we can mitigate the ruin.  We need to decrease the pain and destruction that we have been causing on this Earth.  Tool is calling all to arms and order.  The participation of all on Earth is required to save us and mitigate the ruin.  Tool really wants us to Wake Up, Remember!

[Drifting through
This boundlessness
This madness
Of our own making
Sound our dire reveille
Rouse all from our apathy
Lest we
Cease to be
Stir us from our
Wanton slumber
Mitigate our ruin
Call us all to arms and order]

Tool seems to be begging us to wake up.  We must wake up from our apathy and ignorance.  We must start caring about this earth and the people and animals on it.  We must mitigate our ruin.  Call us all to arms and order.  Everyone must be involved.  Also, order is a reference to the cosmic order of the universe.  Order symbolizes our interconnection with all in reality.  Cosmic order opens the door to harmony, not tyranny.  We must learn to harmonize with one another if we are to survive.


[Sound the dread alarm through our primal body
Sound the reveille to be or not to be
Stay the grand finale
Stay the reading of our swan song and epilogue
One drive
To stay alive
It’s elementary
Muster every fiber
Stay alive
Stir us from our wanton slumber

Mitigate our ruin
Call us all to arms and order]

This final section is again almost demanding that we as humans wake the fuck up!  They are telling us that we really want to be around to see the grand finale which can be amazing and wonderful if we learn to harmonize and evolve together.  We must stay alive.  We must acknowledge the sacredness of our being and stay alive and learn to transform so that we can see this thing through to its end.  What thing you may ask?  The defeat of tyranny and corruption.  Also the setting free of this planet so that it may heal and transform into a society of peace, abundance, justice and prosperity for all.  Tool is saying that everyone’s participation is required (we must mobilize), so please wake up, we’ve been waiting and we can’t wait much longer.



Parabola – Lateralus

[We barely remember who or what came before this precious moment
We are choosing to be here, right now
Hold on, stay inside
This holy reality
This holy experience
Choosing to be here in

This body, this body holding me
Be my reminder here that I am not alone in
This body, this body holding me
Feeling eternal, all this pain is an illusion]

Parabol/Parabola is one of my favorite Tool songs for many reasons.  In these lines we again see the symbolism of “the forgetting” that takes place when we incarnate into a body and forget our infinite natures and all the lives we have lived before: “we barely remember who or what came before…”  We also see the importance of choice.  We choose to incarnate into bodies to experience lifetimes in order to learn, grow and evolve.  This is contrary to what most people believe – that we do not have any choice of being born.  The esoteric stream of knowledge tells us that we do have the choice.  We have the choice to be born during certain times and with certain people.  We are not victims to the life process, our parents or birth itself.  We are in control of our destiny.

Tool is reminding us to hold on and try to remember that this is a holy experience.  Life is sacred and the opportunity to be alive in bodies to learn and grow is not only a responsibility, but an honor.  We are meant to learn to make the most of it – rising to our highest potential for the greatest good, helping others rise along the way.

Furthermore, when we remember the sacredness of existence, we also recognize the sacredness of our bodies – temples to our spirit.  Our bodies hold us – they comfort us by giving us form and movement that allows us to do all the things in life that we love to do: movement, sports, talking, sex, pleasure of touch, eating, sleeping, etc.  Our bodies do a lot for us and make life possible in this reality.  But they are also meant to remind us that we are eternal spirits and pain is an illusion.  If we go on after death, as the esoteric stream of knowledge teaches, then the pain of hurt and loss is only temporary.  We can reunite with our loved ones after death.  Our bodies become healthy and whole again if we were harmed by disease or injury.

Also, if we wake up to our true natures and endeavor to spiritually evolve for the greatest good then we are not alone.  We will always be guided and loved – perhaps by spiritual beings that we cannot see, or perhaps by physical people who support us on our journey.   The point is, if you walk the path of unity you will not be alone.


[Alive, I

In this holy reality
In this holy experience
Choosing to be here in

This body, this body holding me
Be my reminder here that I am not alone in
This body, this body holding me
Feeling eternal, all this pain is an illusion]

[Twirling round with this familiar parable
Spinning, weaving round each new experience
Recognize this as a holy gift and celebrate this chance to be alive and breathing
The chance to be alive and breathing]

In this section Tool comes right out and tells us that this is a parable: a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson.  It is all about spiritual evolution and they make that pretty clear in this song.  The esoteric stream of knowledge uses parables, myths and stories to express universal truths.  These truths are familiar because they are ancient and have been told and retold (in many different ways) since the dawn of humanity.

In line two Tool uses the words “spinning” and “weaving”.  These are actually important scientific terms that relate to both physics and consciousness.  Everything spins.  This means all photons, atoms, molecules, planets, galaxies (etc.) spin.  This is how the universe works.  Spin + forward movement = spirals.  Everything in physical reality moves, grows and evolves along spirals.  The concept of “weaving” is actually an ancient spiritual symbol that represents the continual oscillation from the metaphysical reality to the physical reality.  This is the consciousness/matter feedback loop.  There have been many weaving goddesses and important weavers (including spiders) throughout mythology.  This weaving is the weaving of consciousness and light together to produce physical reality.

Pulsing waveforms arise from consciousness.  These waves oscillate back and forth from the metaphysical to the physical creating interference patterns which result in standing waves of geometry.  Photons become trapped within these standing waves and so become trapped vortexes of light.  The direction of their spin determines their polarity (electron or positron).  These trapped photons spin and loop in various ways to form certain subatomic particles.  These subatomic particles form atoms (larger vortexes) which then group to form molecules…molecular lattices…and then cells,  matter and so on.

So spinning and weaving actually create new physical matter and new experiences.  Tool reminds us this is a holy experience, for many reasons, but one of the reasons is that this ‘weaving’ process means that we are always connected to the metaphysical reality.  We are always connected to the source – the holy center.  We are never severed from cosmic unity.  This is a “holy gift”.  We should celebrate life and the sacredness of existence.

As a curious aside, the first computer punch card system (from 1801) was designed for weaving.  This means that the process of weaving cloth brought about the very first computers.  In these modern times computers represent artificial consciousness.  In ancient times weaving itself represented the process of natural consciousness.  This is interesting.



Lateralus – Lateralus

[Black then white are all I see in my infancy
Red and yellow then came to be, reaching out to me
Lets me see]

Lateralus is also one of my favorite Tool songs.  It is packed full of symbolism.  The first thing, which most Tool fans know, is this song is built upon the rhythm of the Fibonacci sequence (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21…etc.)  Each term results from the addition of the previous two terms.  Furthermore, each term, when divided by its previous term approximates the golden ratio of 1.618…These quotients get closer and closer to phi as you move upwards towards infinity.  So the Fibonacci sequence and its related processes are the way that the golden ratio (phi) represents itself in physical nature.  That is, the Fibonacci sequence is the physical counterpart to the metaphysical process of the golden ratio.  The golden ratio and Fibonacci sequence processes are found abundantly in Nature and life on all scales.  It is a common pattern of existence.  This is a large topic.

These lines can be read on a cosmic universal level and a personal human level.  Black and white symbolize polarity – the first separation of unity into the physical and metaphysical – into positive and negative – into male and female – into night and day…etc.  This polarity is all a person can see if they are immature (“in their infancy”).  There is a tendency to see life as black and white – us vs. them.  Either you’re with us or against us.  Either you’re a ‘man’s man’ or a ‘delicate woman’.  Either conservative or liberal…etc.  These polarities are false and result in a narrow-minded viewpoint.  Each person is actually a complex spectrum of qualities and potentials.  No one can be boxed in or stereotyped by simple labels.

Red and yellow could represent the first steps in spiritual evolution.  Red = the first chakra – that of simple awareness.  Yellow represents the 3rd chakra – that of self-awareness.  These two steps are essential in order to continue to evolve.  Awareness (of physical reality) and self-awareness (that you are an individual within a physical reality) “lets you see”.  You are an individual that must now make choices and figure out how to live and evolve.


[As below, so above and beyond, I imagine
Drawn beyond the lines of reason
Push the envelope, watch it bend]

The first line is a nod to Hermeticism and ancient Egyptian philosophies of Hermes Trismegistus.  “As above, so below” is a very important and common principle of the esoteric stream of knowledge.  Its symbolism has many layers.  First it represents the fractal-holographic nature of reality.  This means the same patterns are seen on all levels of reality from the subatomic to the galactic clustering.  An atom is a miniature solar system…and so forth.  Another level is the realization that the human earthly sphere is a reflection of the divine infinite sphere.  This means that they are one, like mirror reflections, but they seem to be two.  This means the physical and metaphysical realms interpenetrate and continually affect one another.  This also means the physical realm (that of matter) reflects the metaphysical realm (that of consciousness).  This means that what you see and experience in physical reality is a mirror of what is going on in your consciousness.  This also means that what we see and experience in the world is a reflection of what is going on in the mass consciousness.  If we want to change what we see in the world then first we must change our beliefs, expectations, thoughts and emotions.  Matter is a reflection of consciousness.  The mind must be changed in order for reality to be changed.

The second line “drawn beyond the lines of reason” refer to being drawn outside the rational mind.  There are two main important aspects of consciousness: the rational mind and the intuitive mind.  Rational thinking is a result of us analyzing exterior experiences.  We get rational data from the exterior world and our five senses.  Intuition is a result of our connection to our interior world – our consciousness.  Intuition (“inner tuition” or inner knowing) creates inspiration, illumination, mystical experiences, premonitions…etc.  In the esoteric stream of knowledge the rational thinking mind must be balanced by the intuition in order for the mind to evolve and for the individual to determine truth from falsity.  Both aspects are extremely important.  In our modern culture we have elevated rational thinking far above intuition because rational thinking is related to the materialistic scientific method and our culture thinks that is the only way towards truth.  Intuition has been relegated to the trash heap because it is subjective.  Both aspects must be respected and balanced.  Without the balance of both sides one can never achieve true wisdom.  So if Tool is being drawn beyond the lines of reason, this means they are being drawn into the interior metaphysical world of intuition.  When one is “drawn within” they start to realize that the laws of physics aren’t as solid as they thought they were.  Reality is not what it seems.  To “Push the envelope” is to approach the limits of what is possible.  The envelop bending refers to the discovery that the limits of what is possible are far different than you originally thought.  You may find there are no limits.


[Over thinking, over analyzing separates the body from the mind
Withering my intuition, missing opportunities and I must
Feed my will to feel my moment drawing way outside the lines]

These lines again speak to the dominance of the rational thinking mind (over thinking, over analyzing) and how using only the rational mind can sever you from your emotions and your body.  You think but you don’t feel.  The intuition is withered.  Opportunities are missed because the view is too narrow.

We also see, once more, the importance of the Will and how it must be used to balance the rational and intuitive aspects of the mind so that one can discover the infinite possibilities of reality.  This is the thing – the spiritual journey is mind-blowingly amazing.  The rewards of discovering it and then walking the positive path are so profound and beautiful and amazing you will never regret trying.


[Black then white are all I see in my infancy
Red and yellow then came to be, reaching out to me
Lets me see
There is so much more
And beckons me to look through to these infinite possibilities]

Here again we see that the balance of the rational and intuitive aspects of the mind can lead a person to realize the infinite possibilities of both the universe and their own natures.  One can get set free from the physical prison surrounding them.


[As below, so above and beyond, I imagine
Drawn outside the lines of reason
Push the envelope, watch it bend

Over thinking, over analyzing separates the body from the mind
Withering my intuition leaving opportunities behind

Feed my will to feel this moment
Urging me to cross the line
Reaching out to embrace the random
Reaching out to embrace whatever may come]

Here again we have the same symbolism.  Balance your rational mind and intuition.  Balance your thoughts and emotions.  Reach out to the mysterious.  Embrace the cosmic mystery.  You won’t regret it.


[I embrace my desire to
I embrace my desire to
Feel the rhythm, to feel connected
Enough to step aside and weep like a widow
To feel inspired
To fathom the power
To witness the beauty
To bathe in the fountain
To swing on the spiral
To swing on the spiral to

Swing on the spiral
Of our divinity
And still be a human]

These lines are telling us to not be afraid to embrace desire.  Desire and the Will are interrelated.  If you desire something enough you will use your will to achieve it, or to try very hard to achieve it.  Also, they are telling us to not be afraid to express your emotions (to weep like a widow).  The emotions are not supposed to be suppressed.  They need to be expressed and understood and then balanced.  They are not to be feared.  Emotions are your friends.  They are telling you important things about your life path.  Listen to the emotions.  Discover where they come from and they will help you evolve.

So express your emotions, feel inspired by the mystery, imagine the power of your infinite natures, witness the beauty of the true nature of reality, bathe in the fountain of spirituality and your eternal cosmic existence, and of course, swing on the spiral of your divinity.  The spiral always shows up as a symbol of evolution and how we evolve in spiral paths – spiraling octaves.  And – still be a human!  We can appreciate our human natures (and all that comes with it, especially our emotions) and still live according to our divine natures.  Being human is an honor because we are divine.  We were meant to help others remember so that we can all experience peaceful, fulfilling lives.


[With my feet upon the ground I lose myself
Between the sounds and open wide to suck it in
I feel it move across my skin
I’m reaching up and reaching out
I’m reaching for the random or what ever will bewilder me
What ever will bewilder me
And following our will and wind we may just go where no one’s been
We’ll ride the spiral to the end and may just go where no one’s been]

These lines are another expression of the human reaching toward divinity.  “With my feet upon the ground” symbolizes are human natures.  We are anchored to physical existence.  We are human, but by using our consciousness we can experience our divinity.

The reference to “sounds” symbolizes how sound (vibration) creates matter.  So one can have the experience of dissolving into physical matter and piercing through to the source realm in which everything consists of sound, light and geometry.

“Open wide to suck it in” refers to the need to breath and the importance of the breath, both in physical life and in spiritual practices.

“Following our will and wind” refers to the importance of the will and of the breath (wind) and how both of these must be used to evolve and discover the mysteries of the Cosmos and our infinite Selves.


[Spiral out, keep going
Spiral out, keep going
Spiral out, keep going
Spiral out, keep going]

These lines are telling us to spiritually evolve.  Keep evolving.  Don’t stop.  Evolution occurs in spiraling patterns related to the chakras and the levels of consciousness.  The spiral is infinite.  Keep going my friends.



7empest – Fear Inoculum

7empest is an interesting song steeped in mystery.  The following themes all seem to be related to this song: Shakespeare’s The Tempest and its themes of forgiveness, the concepts of magic and technology, “black magic” vs. “white magic” and how this relates to the power structures of ruling governmental parties, A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and the process of spiritual transformation of a planet and the dark forces in place that are attempting to subvert this positive transformation.  The use of the number 7 in “7empest” refers to the 7-step process of spiritual transformation (related to chakras and levels of consciousness) that is at the crux of the esoteric stream of knowledge.

First, in both Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Tool’s 7empest, we have the imagery of a tempest – a wild, forceful and violent storm involving high and dangerous winds.  The highlighting of ‘wind’ or a battle of winds is significant because wind (or air) represent thoughts, just as water represents emotions and fire represents intuition.  So what we have is a battle of thoughts – a battle of minds (the powers of consciousness).

Therefore, the tempest is a symbol that can be seen on several levels.  First it represents the battle within an individual.  This is the battle between the lower aspects of consciousness (fear, doubt, regret, anger, jealousy, apathy, greed, hatred…etc.) and the higher aspects of consciousness (compassion, patience, forgiveness, peace, empathy, honesty, justice…etc.)

On another level the tempest signifies the battle between forces in a nation (or in our modern era in the entire world).  There are powerful controlling forces within national governments and multinational corporations and special interest groups that are battling with the positive forces of spiritual enlightenment so that they may retain their power and maintain a world population of slaves.  Tool knows this.

In the esoteric stream of knowledge this alludes to the spiritual battle raging for the minds and hearts of the people:  can the people rise up, free their minds, awaken to their true spiritual natures and guide the planet into an era of peace, abundance, justice and prosperity for all, or will the people remain asleep, their minds enslaved by the corrupt forces that have lied to them on every single level and have endeavored to create mindless consumers addicted to harmful material products while blinded by harmful scientific and religious dogmas?

This is the battle of the tempest, in both Shakespeare’s world of the 17th century and Tool’s world of the 21st century.  In Shakespeare’s time the ruling elite were obsessed by magic and using magic to control people.  In modern times the ruling elite are obsessed by technology and using it to control people.

As Arthur C. Clarke wrote, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”  When the true nature of science is released to the world this will be self-evident and many astounding technological advances will be released that will help heal the planet in a positive manner.  Until then the elite power structure is holding all the cards – keeping all the magic (advanced technology) for their own selfish purposes.

Interestingly, there is a Prospero figure in Star Trek episode “Requiem for Methuselah” who is an immortal man who has isolated himself from humanity and controls advanced technology that borders on magic.


[Heat lighting flash, but don’t blink
Tranquility ruse
You’re gonna happen again
That’s what I think
Follow the evidence
Look it dead in the eye
You are darkness
Trying to lull us in, before the havoc begins
Into a dubious state of serenity
Acting all surprised when you’re caught in the lie]

In these lines we see the imagery of a storm.  Tool says “don’t blink”.  This means don’t close your eyes to it.  Be aware of the battle raging in the world so you can do your part to end it positively.

The words “misleading” and “tranquility ruse” refer to the constant lies that are being fed to the people.  “Follow the evidence” of history, science and religion and it should be obvious that these dark power groups exist in the world and they are consciously trying to harm and enslave the people.  These dark interlocking power groups, or evil cabals, are “darkness”.  They are trying to “lull us in” – to make us mindless, complacent sheep that will do their bidding for them.  These evil cabals are trying to lull us in to “a dubious state of serenity” so that they can destroy the human population leaving behind much smaller numbers of humans in which they can easily control and enslave.  These groups are not to be trusted.

Think 1984 by George Orwell, or better yet, A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.  Shakespeare’s The Tempest was the first time the term “brave new world” was used.  Shakespeare coined the term when Miranda, daughter of Prospero exclaimed:

“O, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here!

How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, that has such people in’t!”

Prospero answers: “’Tis new to thee.”


In The Tempest Prospero has conjured a storm by using magic to bring the usurpers of his throne to the island he has been shipwrecked upon to give them “educational justice”.  Miranda has never seen these people, and marvels at them.  She does not know the evil treachery they represent.  Prospero, of course, does.

The point is that Miranda shows naïve enthusiasm for these new experiences, not realizing how they could harm her.  This relates to the naïve enthusiasm that we see today in regards to technology (modern magic).  Technology is often treated as if it is god – able to save us from ourselves – able to make life easy and free.  This is not true.  Technology, for all its marvels, creates three new problems for each problem it solves.  Technology is meant to be a tool, not a savior.  The spirit of humanity and human well-being must be put over technological advancement.  This is not happening in our modern times.  Usually technology advances in direct opposition to human safety, prosperity and individual freedom.  In Huxley’s A Brave New World we see what a society looks like when people are led by naïve enthusiasm, essentially, to their slaughter – or at least to their enslavement.  This “Brave New World” as it is portrayed in Huxley’s book is the type of society that the evil cabal wants to see on Earth.  They are trying to enslave using: political & financial control; weaponization of medicine, food, water and air; globalization & forced poverty in third world countries; militarization of police; surveillance technology; crowd control weapons; prisoner control through the private prison system, and the use of science and technology for interrogation and torture technologies, among many other things.  It is precisely because of this that the battle is currently raging on our planet.


[We know better
It’s not unlike you
It’s not unlike you
We know your nature]

Here Tool is telling the people that they know the true intentions of these evil people who deceive.  These evil people stand ‘on high’ to tell us that they have our best interests in mind, to sell us harmful products that they know destroy human and environmental health, and to push dogmas they insist are truths which are actually complex lies developed to trick people into believing life is meaningless and there is no spiritual reality.  Meanwhile these same people are using spirituality (“black magic”) to control humanity.  This “black magic” is a form of mind control and brainwashing.  They use technology to these ends.  To control the consciousness of the people is to control the people.

Tool knows their true nature and they will not be deceived.  They hope all the people will soon recognize the true nature of these evil people as well and will stop being deceived by them.


[Blame it all on the bastards when you’re blowing out
Shame on you
Shame on you, now
No amount of wind could to begin to cover up your petulant stench and demeanor
Calm as cookies and cream, so it seems
We’re not buying your dubious state of serenity
Acting all surprised when you’re caught in the lie

We know better
It’s not unlike you
It’s not unlike you
We know your nature]

The above lines are a repetition, repeating the same symbolism as before.  These evil cabals blame all the world problems on others and refuse to see how they are the problem.  No amount of wind (consciousness control or brainwashing) can cover up their crimes and their “petulant” demeanor.  Petulant refers to someone being childish and bad-tempered.  These evil people think they are highly evolved yet they are no more than bad-tempered children throwing a tantrum because they are having such a hard time enslaving the planet.  They are angry it is taking so long.  They also act surprised when they are called out for their lies and crimes.  They deny it, and usually get away with it.  But Tool knows better.  They know the true nature of these people.  They are guilty.


[Calm before the torrent comes
Calm before the torrent comes
Calm before the torrent comes
Calm before the tempest comes to reign all over

Disputing intentions invites devastation

A tempest must be true to its nature
A tempest must be just that…]

These lines refer to the seeming calm (or apathy) in society before this great change takes place – before the torrent comes.  “Torrent” refers to a strong and fast moving stream of water.  So we can see that this torrent will involve a disclosure of all the truths that have been hidden and all the crimes that have been committed.  This will lead to a torrent of emotions being released within the population and many things that people will have to come to terms with.  People will have to accept that they have been lied to all of their lives.  Then they will have to learn to heal – and the most important part of healing, and the most difficult is learning to forgive.

Prospero, at the end of The Tempest, ends up renouncing his magic and forgiving his usurpers.  This has been explained in many ways.  Perhaps Prospero giving up his magic is a sign of giving up trying to control others.  He renounces his control of the people and learns to forgive, thus he is set free.

This ‘great change’ however is trying to be subverted so that instead of disclosure of the truth and the arrival of justice, the evil cabals would prefer destruction of the Earth and the enslavement of whatever humans remained.  “Disputing intentions invites devastation” could refer to the fact that if people in the world population continue to argue against one another, or compete for who is right, rather than unify or harmonize, then the evil forces will win and devastation of the planet will result.

[Control, your delusion
Insane and striking at random
Victim of your certainty
And therefore your doubt’s not an option
Blameless, the tempest must will be just that
So try as you may, feeble, your attempt to atone
Your words to erase all the damage cannot

A tempest must be just that]

These lines remind us that control is the delusion of these evildoers.  The negative path is one of control and manipulation.  This delusion that they should control everyone is insanity.  When these people are called out for their evil-doings they act surprised, as if they had no idea what they were doing was harmful.  It is quite ridiculous.

Will they be forgiven?  Forgiveness, of course, does not mean pardon from guilt.  Forgiveness entails a punishment for the crime, but a letting go of the pain.  Can humanity forgive?  Time will tell.

You can notice if there are any parallels in how The Tempest ends.  (Incidentally The Tempest is the last play Shakespeare wrote alone…so this is not just the end of the Tempest, but also the last words Shakespeare had to say to the world, in a way.)  Prospero exclaims:

“Now my charms are all o’erthrown,
And what strength I have’s mine own,
Which is most faint: now, ’tis true,
I must be here confined by you,
Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
Since I have my dukedom got
And pardon’d the deceiver, dwell
In this bare island by your spell;
But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands:
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please. Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardon’d be,
Let your indulgence set me free.”

Bonus side note: It is thought by many that the man William Shakespeare (1564-1616) did not actually write the Shakespearean works attributed to him.  Most open-minded scholars, and all those who understand the esoteric stream of knowledge and its suppressed history accept that Francis Bacon was the true author (although he had co-writers at times too).  Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was highly involved in esoteric secret societies and he was extremely learned in esoteric and occult topics.  He was the legal advisor to Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) and a friend of John Dee (1527-1609) the Queen’s astrologer and occult philosopher.  It is known that John Dee was obsessed with magic.  He “revived” the use of magic within the monarchy and endeavored to contact and communicate with unseen spiritual beings.  This magic had apparently been lost and so it was John Dee, friend of Bacon, who rediscovered its use.  There is great evidence that Dee used his knowledge for negative purposes.  Whatever the truth is in that regard, it is no wonder that magic shows up so abundantly in the Shakespearean canon.


Mockingbeat – Fear Inoculum

7empest is also the last track on Fear Inoculum that has actual lyrics.  It is the epilogue, in a way, of Fear Inoculum, like The Tempest is the epilogue of the Shakespearean canon.  After 7empest is MockingbeatMockingbeat is described in this way:

Mockingbeat (a post-apocalyptic outro to Fear Inoculum) provides us with what seems to be animal sounds in a jungle with many of them screeching and even dying suggesting that the human race is killing nature because they only care about themselves. However because of all the egoism and power in the world (explained in 7empest) it appears the song suggests that humans will go extinct and nature will prevail once more. Humans are “mocking” nature by not treating it well not knowing the consequences they are destined to face – extinction, which further shows the ignorance that humans often possess.”

Furthermore stephenb0085 writes, “What it seems like to me is a post human world. It sounds like some form of A.I. we created is trying to learn and evolve by mimicking the wildlife, and as the sounds progress they become more lifelike. By the end it’s hard to determine which is the robot and what is the bird or cricket.”

It has also been suggested that Mockingbeat could refer to ‘Operation Mockingbird’ being beaten.  Operation Mockingbird is a large-scale program of the CIA that began in the early 1950s that attempts to manipulate news and entertainment media for propaganda purposes – again, using technology to enslave the minds of the people.

This is all pointing to how our naive enthusiasm for technology has the very real potential to destroy us.


Stay Tuned.  The following songs will be translated in this same way:

  • Reflection – Lateralus
  • Invincible – Fear Inoculum
  • Vicariously – 10,000 Days
  • Jambi – 10,000 Days
  • 10,000 Days – 10,000 Days
  • Intention – 10.000 Days
  • Right in Two – 10.000 Days
  • Stinkfist – Aenima
  • Eulogy – Aenima
  • H. – Aenima
  • Forty-Six & 2 – Aenima
  • Jimmy – Aenima
  • Pushit – Aenima
  • Aenima – Aenima
  • Third Eye – Aenima
  • Intolerance – Undertow
  • Prison Sex – Undertow
  • Bottom – Undertow
  • Undertow – Undertow
  • 4° – Undertow
  • Disgustipated – Undertow

Return to Free Library

Return to Culture Menu