I just wrote this essay about Communion And The Oracle for my English class. I'm not sure if everything I wrote is accurate, but I tried putting in some of my interpretations. Its kind of long but let me know what you think! Code: “Communion And The Oracle” is a song written and performed by the New Jersey based progressive metal band, Symphony X. It is a part of a larger series of songs from their concept album, V: The New Mythology Suite. Symphony X created a musical rendition of mythological tale that connects ancient Atlantis, Egyptian mysticism, and astrology to the origins of mankind and what our purpose is here on Earth. The details and story elements of The New Mythology Suite are fantastic, but they are besides the message, they parallel ideas that relate to our present world as we know it. The lyrics can be difficult to decipher when taken out of the context of the entire story. “Communion And The Oracle” is a song about having hope in a time of chaos and disorder. It also speaks of a mystical, collective, spiritual unity that exists between all people, the Earth, and all natural things. This theme is very reminiscent of the “oversoul” that is repeatedly discussed in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. Therefore, the song does not have a particular speaker, but rather the collective voice of all people. The word “communion” in the title is representative of this. “The Oracle”, in the story refers to the child Ma’at, who in ancient Egyptian mythology, descended from the heavens as a bringer of truth and wisdom to teach the Atlateans (the presumed progenitors of modern age mankind) an order of divine equality and world peace. This order, as explained in the lyrics of “Communion and the Oracle”, is supposed to be centered on a balanced “yin-yang” relationship between light and darkness. The Atlanteans were an extremely advanced race that was supposedly destroyed due to their society’s own corruption, but “Communion and the Oracle” discusses what must be done so that we as humans can ultimately reach the highest level of order and peace. Basically, we, in modern times are just rediscovering the same advanced knowledge and technology that the ancient Atlanteans once had, both the good and evil, enabling us to destroy ourselves just as easily. However the key message in all this heavily stresses the fact that we humans can control, shape, and change our own destiny as a united group. The song can be interpreted as being set in a time period much like our own, where the world has been ravaged by war, greed, destruction, and the inequality that we see around us, where many people are starving, yet there still exists an elite rich class. The “order of equality” can even be equated to the idealistic embodiment of Marxism and early concepts of communism. This presents an interesting idea that has mystified humanity since the beginning of time, blurring the line between a style of government and religion. “Communion and the Oracle” speaks to every man, woman, and child who is willing to unite as one in the order of equality in hope of restoring balance in a time of chaos. The first stanza reads: All we know, now has come undone Balance lost between the Moon and Sun Hear our prayers - Keepers of the Skies Divine Upon us all - let your wisdom shine (1.1-5) This stanza states the condition of the world, where everything is in an apocalyptic state and all that we’ve created is, or is about to be destroyed. “Keepers of the Skies Divine” (1.3-4) refers to the child goddess Ma’at, the embodiment of truth and balance, whom we call upon for wisdom. From a non-mythological standpoint, this can also mean we are looking into our own souls, seeking for our own inner human strength and wisdom. The “moon and sun” (1.2) theme repeats itself several times throughout the song and can correspond to light and darkness, day and night, and good and evil. In this case, the dark side has overpowered the light side, as explained in greater detail in other songs from V: The New Mythology Suite, such as “Absence of Light”, “The Death of Balance”, and “A Fool’s Paradise”. The second stanza of “Communion And The Oracle” reads: Losing faith as the madness prevails in us all we are searching for a reason, a need to calm the storm In our sails - let your winds be strong (2.1-4) This explains how many people have fallen into despair and given up hope in the dark time, but still many try to find a reason to carry on despite the chaotic conditions. “In our sails – let your winds be strong” (2.4) is the seeking of strength to propel forward, as a sailboat does through a vast sea that never seems to end. The third stanza has to do with us becoming back in touch with nature and the earth. It assumes that positive energy and power can be generated through being spiritually united through the earth and the natural elements. It reads: Breathe the air around you The oceans fill your veins and winds embrace your heart Feel the change within you The Sun and Moon align - The Grand Design awaits a new start (3.1-6) “Feel the change within you” (3.4) is an important line as coming down to the simple, bear earth from our unnatural human society sparks a change in the meaning of life. One who is spiritually in touch with nature will feel re-invigorated and see life in a different way. “The Sun and Moon align – The Grand Design awaits a new start” (3.5-6) bears some astrological importance, and the alignment of the sun and moon (again there is a reference to light and dark) may signify the end of the world, followed by a spiritual rebirth of humanity (referred to as The Grand Design). In other words, there is hope that something good is going to come out in the end from this apocalypse. The next two stanzas refer again to the mystical nature of the child Ma’at, who represents the power of wisdom and truth. The fourth stanza reads: From the skies, looking down on you Through the clouds tainted crystal blue "Such advancement, yet lacking the control, so unaware of your earthly roles" (4.1-5) Part of this is spoken by Ma’at herself as she looks down on us from the heavens. The line “Through the clouds tainted crystal blue”, paints a very vivid, surreal, heavenly, and ethereal image. “Such advancement, yet lacking the control, so unaware of your earthly roles”, is an observation made my Ma’at and those who have become aware of the frightening unbalance between good and evil. It means that although our society is so advanced and sophisticated, we really don’t know what we are doing as we destroy the earth that gave us life, unaware that our advanced power will ultimately result in our doom. Our “earthly role” should be to care for our world, not destroy it, which is such a big issue nowadays, concerning environmental protection, global warming, deforestation, pollution, etc. Stanza five reads: Praise this child and the words of her rhyme A sacred gift - Magic of the Five will bring you tranquillity A new order of equality (5.1-5) The child is the goddess, and her rhyme is her wisdom and advice to us all. Throughout V: The New Mythology Suite, there is a strong importance placed on the number five. There is little information on what the particular significance of the number five is, but there is great power in this “Magic of the Five”, which can be used for good or evil. The next stanza discusses this even further: Five senses come alive - Five reasons thrive - Five nations unite - Unite as one Night and Day will find a way to keep the Balance true Let the Sky and Stars be your guide - the destination is up to you (6.1-7) The first three lines, “Five senses come alive - Five reasons thrive - Five nations unite - Unite as one” (6.1-3) are pretty self explanatory. It means that we will be powerful and able to restore balance once we have come to rely on our instincts (assuming there is still good in each of us) and unite as one. “Night and Day will find a way to keep the Balance true” (6.4-5) makes yet another reference to light and darkness (good and evil), saying that there will be a time when we can restore order even though darkness seems to be the permanently stronger side. “Let the Sky and Stars be you guide – the destination is up to you” (6.6-7) suggests that we abandon many of our sophisticated technologies in order to let the Earth be our guide. The time when we can restore order is marked by the alignment of five planets, and the time when we realize the lesson of equality hidden in the rhyme told by Ma’at mentioned in the fifth stanza. Then, good and evil will be balanced once more, leaving our final destiny up to us to rediscover and reshape, hopefully avoiding the same demise of the Atlanteans. The final stanza reads: Raise our heads up to the Skies Feel the essence of Time Changing ways like the shifting tides In the waves hear the Rhyme (7.1-4) It again stresses the importance of being re-invigorated with the essence of nature and time. Shifting tides and waves are again, used as examples of earthly things that surround us. “In the waves hear the Rhyme” (7.4) tells us that we must look to the Earth to give us the answer to restoring balance. The quality of these lyrics is impeccable. The choice of words really creates so much vivid imagery with a really epic and mythological feel. The repeated thematic elements such as light and dark, astrology, and nature add significantly to the meaning of the song. Musically, the piece is impeccably composed and performed. It sounds simple but it is actually very complex to produce such a glorious, epic sound. Many advanced composition techniques are used, such as polyrhythm, chromaticism, fusion of several different musical styles, and most notably, the harmonic modulation between many tonal centers without breaking the moving melodic line. Atmospheric keyboards / orchestration, soaring guitar solos that manage to be amazing and not annoying, and crystal clear vocal choruses all add to the epic, grandiose scale of this piece. The most amazing section is probably the 5:12 mark to the 5:37 mark, building up to the magnificent sound of the final stanza. It is just so awesome how this piece manages to sound so epic but not in a cheesy, power-metal (a stylistic metal subgenre) kind of way. It is also important to note that although the song is so glorious when the lyrics end, the song ends with a very ominous tone by utilizing the dominant V chord to modulate to a minor i. It makes it very clear with an epic tone that the turmoil is still there. The music then tonicizes to the minor iii, which is a modal change as the third scale degree of a minor scale would normally be a major III. This creates a very ominous tone. It symbolizes the specter of our looming destruction if we mess up our chance to bring equality, balance, and peace to Earth. The song is timeless and will always have a very important meaning to all of humanity. The music and words fit together perfectly and “Communion And The Oracle” is only a fraction of the entire suite. It any song makes me have hope for mankind, it is definitely this song, because as it seems right now, we are all rushing at an alarming rate toward our doom.