7 Life-Changing Songs For The Mystical Soul
I’ve always wanted to be a songwriter and as an avid music listener, I listen with the ears of an artist, so that I learn to improve in my own craft. Although I have quite the eclectic music taste, the songs I keep returning to are the ones that are filled with mystical lyrics, symbolism, and themes that pertain to transcendence above the temporary pleasures that society keeps bombarding us with. This does not mean I’m more spiritually advanced in any way because I’m very deficient in many areas and I’m always learning and growing, but when it comes to music, I’m more drawn to the simple things of the soul both in times of inner peace and times of inner turmoil. I believe that true wisdom does not indulge in complexities. I am who I am and these are the songs that have resonated with me the most for the past seven years, not only for their lyrics but also for their melodies and production:
“Gates of Dawn” by Secret Garden — 2001
I first heard this song when I was 18 and I was immediately drawn to it because of its Celtic melody, mystical lyrics, and somber tone. Lyrically, this song profoundly reveals the state of the soul from a bird’s eye view while weaving in the new and the old. Although it is not centered on traditionalism, it does describe how spiritual glory is beyond what we are and what our mortal souls can understand (vastly different from today’s overly trite and fluffy platitude, “you can be whatever you want”) and it does mention the presence of the Creator and all the mysteries before time that we admittedly aren’t able to fathom with reason alone.
“To the Wild Country” by John Denver — 1977
Judging from the title alone, you might think it’s another song similar to “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” which is John Denver’s signature song. However, this song is at a slower pace and is sung more passionately, especially during the chorus. The lyrics are extremely profound as Denver expresses his worry about the future being the death of him and how commonly people are willing to trade away timeless wisdom in exchange for the struggle for survival in this mad rush to nowhere, out of pride (which in turn, enslaves them to the world instead of delivering the freedom that society dangles in front of them). All in all, the lyrics read like pure poetry and Denver’s resonant vocals enhance the message and takes you soaring high through clear blue Alaska skies.
“The River” by Dan Fogelberg — 1972
Dan Fogelberg’s debut album is probably the least known out of all his albums. However, it is a wonderful album which shows Fogelberg’s lyrical prowess even at his young age at the time when he wrote it. “The River” is a highly introspective song about what it means to be free, but freedom really isn’t so freeing if you’re doing it out of rebellion and anger. Symbolically, it speaks of a man running away from the river where he was raised and into the heat of the sun on the quest for freedom, only to find that he’s being burned by his own folly and vanity, and he desires the freely flowing waters of mercy once more.
“Dante’s Prayer” by Loreena McKennitt — 1997
Loreena McKennitt has written many mystical songs, but I have to say that “Dante’s Prayer” stood out to me ever since the first time I heard it when I was 18. This song is written in a way that allows much room for personal interpretation, but I see it as describing how Dante’s in his most wretched spiritual state and praying for guidance when he’s lost in the dark woods, for humility when he’s too blinded by pride, and for strength when he is the weakest. This song is one of abject humility, which is truly foundational for the soul.
“Something More Than This” by October Project — 1995
October Project was a band formed in the 1990’s. And it’s funny because they released their first album in the year I was born, so I guess that’s why they hold a special place in my heart. “Something More Than This” is a song that describes the desire to seek more — not in a materialistic sense, but rather for the sake of personal growth. More appreciation of the simplest of joys. More courage to go in the opposite direction of the world. More time for doing things that mean more to you, as opposed to doing what you’re obligated to do because that’s what society says so. The sound of this track (and the overall vibe of October Project’s music) is certainly distinct with its mix of rock, alternative, singer-songwriter, and a bit of Celtic.
“The Temple of the King” by Rainbow — 1975
I do appreciate classic rock, but I’m not one of those die-hard fans who collect every single classic rock record known to man. Speaking of which, Rainbow is the only band I truly am a fan of, and I own three of their albums. I was instantly drawn to Rainbow because of Ronnie James Dio’s vocals, Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar work, compelling lyrics, and the insanely memorable melodies. “The Temple of the King” is a song that speaks of death and how no one can ever escape from it. It’s a song of mourning but also of deep contemplation and in essence, it uses the symbols of a black bell and a temple of a heavenly king to describe death and the wisdom one attains upon accepting the inevitability of it.
“The Wings That Fly Us Home” by John Denver — 1976
Side note: As a huge fan of John Denver, I just had to include another one of his songs!
This is one of Denver’s most underrated songs and it’s such a shame that not many know of it. “The Wings That Fly Us Home” speaks of eternal yearning and how eternity is far greater than anyone can ever fathom, in spite of the exquisite and awe-inspiring beauty in the natural world that we see with our own eyes. It’s more than just a tribute to nature — it’s about appreciating the simple while recognizing that there is so much we cannot see with our eyes, yet we can be aware of a more powerful spirit beyond us that delivers hope through everyday experiences.
I hope these songs mean as much to you as they do to me.