Yes, I know. It is the rock song that everyone loves to hate apparently. It is almost as if it is so popular no-one wants to admit to liking it any more. I love it…I always did and these days, I love it even more for the memories it holds.
There are so many urban legends about this one that none of them bear repeating, except that the lyrics were written almost entirely in one stream. Jimmy Page was playing the chords on the guitar and Robert Plant had a pencil and paper. He is quoted as saying,
“My hand was writing out the words, ‘There’s a lady is sure, all that glitters is gold, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven’. I just sat there and looked at them and almost leapt out of my seat.”
Plant says that he had been reading the works of antiquarian Lewis Spence, and that his Magic Arts in Celtic Britain may have had some influence on the song. Where the lyrics really came from, we will never know. Inspiration finds its own voice. Everyone seems to have their own interpretation of the words and their meaning. They have been applied to the imagery of the Tarot and to the Tree of Life as well as being taken more literally, and that is the true gift of music. It is unique for every listener. .
It is for this reason, amongst others, that we started to use contemporary songs as the basis for meditations during the workshop weekends. We were a little nervous about it, to be fair. We had started the year before with Kate Bush’s Nocturn… but that is a gentler sound. Just how well would rock music go down in a ritual setting? We played Stairway to Heaven during the Leaf and Flame workshop last year. In fact, it went down very well. Possibly better than Bauhaus’ Bela Lugosi’s Dead, which was the perfect mood-music for when we led ‘Sir Gawain’ to meet his fate at the hands of the Green Knight…
We wanted to breach the shell of ‘mechanicalness’ with which we often listen to music, hearing and even singing along to the lyrics without ever listening to them. It is a question of attention, bringing the awareness to bear with a conscious, mindful intent. It is surprising what meaning can be uncovered that way.
It doesn’t actually matter what the songwriter intended, or what is written. What matters is that we can each draw something from what we hear…something that speaks directly to our imagination and emotions…and from that experience we can perhaps learn something about ourselves.
Me? I’m still working on that…
“Stairway To Heaven”
There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for.
Ooh, ooh, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.
There’s a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure
‘Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings.
In a tree by the brook, there’s a songbird who sings,
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.
Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it makes me wonder.
There’s a feeling I get when I look to the west,
And my spirit is crying for leaving.
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees,
And the voices of those who stand looking.
Ooh, it makes me wonder,
Ooh, it really makes me wonder.
(Full lyrics here)
My thanks to Willow who included me in this challenge.
The rules of the challenge:
Post a song a day for five consecutive days.
Post what the lyrics mean to you. (Optional)
Post the name of the song and a video.
Nominate 1 or 2 bloggers each day of the challenge.
Today, I’ll ask Debby if she would care to join in 🙂