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Sign Of The Southern Cross

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  • Sign Of The Southern Cross

    What the hell is this song about? Maybe I'm dumb or maybe I am thinking way too much, but for the life of me I don't know what the song is about. I know probably everyone has their own thoughts of songs and what they mean. Did Ronnie ever say what it was about in an article or something? I always thought maybe it had something to do with Heaven And Hell since they played those songs together live. Thoughts?
    "Dumb Ass" Red Foreman That 70's Show

  • #2
    Thought I read it's about a star constellation in the sky, known as the southern cross. It goes by a few other names also in astronomy circles if I recall correctly.

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    • #3
      Yes the title of the song is taken from the constellation Crux (english Southern Cross) what the song actually is about is like most of Ronnie's songs up for interpretation...

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      • #4
        One of my favourite songs, and also one of the first songs I really liked with sabbath. I always thought it had to do with some kind of major mysterious phenomena that would change the course of life, maybe day of judgement? The above post about the "Southern Cross" being a star constellation really fits in here, maybe one night those stars will define our destiny? Of course there is a deeper meaning to this, assuming that this is what he sings about.

        I really love the second last thing he says in the end:
        "Don't live for pleasure
        Make life your treasure
        Fade away!"

        Maybe something like "When the southern cross shines you better have a clear conscience, or you can't be saved"? Don't get me wrong, I don't believe the actual meaning is christian, it just sounds a bit religious on the surface. Very interesting lyrics, in my opinion there's no better lyric writer than RJD, RIP Master!
        "I am the crazy man who lives inside your head, but I think I'm breaking through the wall... You are the innocent convicted of the crime, no one was ever there to catch you when you fall" (1992)
        -Ronnie James Dio, Rest in Peace

        "In the summer days we flew to the sun, on melting wings, but the seasons changed to fast, leave us all behind... Blind..." (1969)
        - Jon Lord, Rest in Peace

        My first album!!!:
        http://open.spotify.com/album/60jv1AdlWvi1KlcR8JhG4b

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        • #5
          I remember reading somewhere that in some cultures the Southern Cross means hope. That would make sense, as far as the lyrics go.

          "Eight miles high about to fall
          and no-one there to catch you
          look for the sign - the time
          The Sign of the Southern Cross"
          "The consequence of conscience/Is that you'll be left somewhere/Swinging in the air"-Ronnie James Dio (1942-2010) R.I.P. King Of Metal
          "Just take a look around you what do you see/Pain, suffering, and misery/It's not the way that the world was planned/It's a pity you don't understand" - Geezer Butler
          "If god is in heaven/How can this happen here" - Phil Lynott (1949-1986)

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          • #6
            The Southern Cross is a constellation seen in the Southern Hemisphere, sought by those from the Northern Hemisphere who can't see it (only @ certain locations).

            Southern Cross being a metaphor then of true happiness when we are our real selves. Northern Hemisphere observers, have to go quite a long way just to find it. like all the stars in general, worth looking for ?. The constellation beautiful/true happiness.

            The aptly named False Cross is often mistaken with the Southern Cross (Crux) by Stargazers (pun int.) causing errors in Astronavigation...apparently.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Ironsabb View Post
              The Southern Cross is a constellation seen in the Southern Hemisphere, sought by those from the Northern Hemisphere who can't see it (only @ certain locations).

              Southern Cross being a metaphor then of true happiness when we are our real selves. Northern Hemisphere observers, have to go quite a long way just to find it. like all the stars in general, worth looking for ?. The constellation beautiful/true happiness.

              The aptly named False Cross is often mistaken with the Southern Cross (Crux) by Stargazers (pun int.) causing errors in Astronavigation...apparently.
              Great explination. Let's go with this one
              Nobody will ever let you know
              When you ask the reason why
              They just tell you that you're on your own
              Fill your head all full of lies

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              • #8
                I posted the following on another board a year or two ago, responding to the same question -



                I've wondered about this myself for years. While I can't narrow it down to a line by line interpretation, I did a little reading up on it a while ago.

                The Southern Cross is a constellation of stars. It's most easily viewed by those in the Southern Hemisphere of the Earth. You can see representations of it on several countries' flags, such as New Zealands & Australias.

                From their vantage point, the Maori tribe of New Zealand saw the constellation known as, the Big Dipper as a boat, and the Southern Cross as an anchor. So at first this is where I suspected Dio was getting his sailing references from. I started thinking this might be based on some sort of Maori folklore. Especially considering lines like 'A story told that can't be real."

                But the Southern Cross seems to play a part in numerous ways throughout Greek Mythology, and South American history as well. I read some things about some ancient cultures in Chile, and Peru, and about the Incan's. But still nothing I could find (Online at least) correlated with That particular constellation, and any folklore. But one thing that came up in reading a few different articles was a term called Divination. Simply put it's a type of fortune telling. Various cultures had their own methods. Some through A calendar called Chonomancy, Druids used crystals, and Astrology was another form, and so on. So to me at least, Sign of the Southern Cross seems to be about Divination, and rituals involving divination. And Considering that Southern Cross is a constellation, I get the impression it's referencing a lot of Astrology with lines like "the Beast is free to wander" etc.

                Amazing song.
                Last edited by devstorm; 11-04-2010, 09:23 PM.
                The best blueberry muffins I ever had landed 6 people in prison, three for life.

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                • #9
                  I don't know if this has been verified but there's an interview with Axl or someone in which he talks about this being a song Ronnie worked up lyrically back in the early 80s when he helped Ronnie move a castle stone by stone from England to Southern California in a manor style. Axl said Ronnie was a great vocal coach and he did not mind helping him move the castle stone by stone because he refused to get a regular day job but he needed the work or something like that. Axl also said that it had to do with a constellation of stars seen in the southern hemisphere that ship navigators use and although he said he did not understand the point of the song it had a heavy riff and a strong bottom line (?drums) whatever that meant. It's in that old magazine CREEM or something maybe Circus. Krish

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                  • #10
                    nice insights guys! Thanks.

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                    • #11
                      Its about the greatest county in the World Australia ... we live under the Southern Cross, some Australians would pefer it to be out nation flag ... Eurka stockade and all that ....

                      Seriously no idea,,, just a bloody great song as Ronnie would say and as kid /adult i would listen to it and look at the southern Cross

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                      • #12
                        Whatever it is about, I think that Sign of the Southern Cross is truly RJD's greatest moment. This song is sheer brilliance, and is the most perfect example of the chemistry that RJD and Tony Iommi had together. It's just too bad that we don't have ten studio album collaborations from these two guys instead of just four, but I will take those four nonetheless.

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                        • #13
                          I think it's Ronnie being very clever and using some of the pseudo-Satanic imagery associated with Sabbath in his usually romantic lyrics as well as making a use of the stars in his lyrics - which is very Dio, isn't it?

                          The Southern Cross is another euphemism for an inverted cross - as it's points south towards Hell - so the Sign of the Southern Cross could be attributed to that, to tie in with the dark images that some people see in Black Sabbath's name and history.

                          As for the other images, it's just classic Ronnie James Dio, and although I'm not a huge fan of Mob Rules in itself - Sign of the Southern Cross is one of the highlights.

                          Indeed, one of my favourite moments at the Heaven and Hell gig in Newcastle I attended, was when he dedicated the song to the Australian and New Zealander fans as we live under "THE SIGN OF THE SOUTHERN CROSS".

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                          • #14
                            I'm just guessing but as someone who's favourite Dio-Era song is Sign of the Southern Cross and who sees the southern cross every night, I have spent so much time thinking about the lyrics..

                            The southern cross points south and was used by the early pioneers in Australia (and most parts of the pacific) as a compass. So I think the song is about a journey/exploration. Maybe even an exploration of one's mind or life? Or maybe the message is to be adventurous in your life and not be so close minded, to let the universe (southern cross) guide you...

                            Or something.. Haha I'm not sure, just guessing..
                            Won't you help me Mr. Jesus?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Nightskald View Post
                              I think it's Ronnie being very clever and using some of the pseudo-Satanic imagery associated with Sabbath in his usually romantic lyrics as well as making a use of the stars in his lyrics - which is very Dio, isn't it?

                              The Southern Cross is another euphemism for an inverted cross - as it's points south towards Hell - so the Sign of the Southern Cross could be attributed to that, to tie in with the dark images that some people see in Black Sabbath's name and history.

                              As for the other images, it's just classic Ronnie James Dio, and although I'm not a huge fan of Mob Rules in itself - Sign of the Southern Cross is one of the highlights.

                              Indeed, one of my favourite moments at the Heaven and Hell gig in Newcastle I attended, was when he dedicated the song to the Australian and New Zealander fans as we live under "THE SIGN OF THE SOUTHERN CROSS".

                              If, indeed, Dio dedicated the song in that fashion then he pretty much tipped his hand as to the origin and meaning of TSOTSC.

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