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Into The Mystic by Van Morrison

Album: MoondanceReleased: 1970
  • This is about a sailor at sea thinking about returning to his lover, who is back on land. Normally a foghorn signals danger, but in this case it means he is close to home and his love.
  • There is room for interpretation beyond the superficial meaning. It might be interpreted as expressing an understanding that life is finite (the ship sailing on its round trip) and must be lived to its fullest ("I want to rock your Gypsy soul"), and an acceptance of its inevitable end ("We will magnificently float into the mystic, when the foghorn blows I will be coming home"). When you have seen the world and loved someone, you should have no reason to fear the end because you have lived your life to the fullest. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    William - Webster Groves, MO
  • The original title was "Into the Misty."
  • According to Morrison, he couldn't decide whether the first line should be "We were born before the wind" or "We were borne before the wind."
  • This was played in the 1989 Mary Stuart Masterson movie Immediate Family. She played a woman who was young and pregnant and planning to give her baby to Glenn Close and James Woods, who couldn't have a baby of their own. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Debra - Cypress, TX
  • According to a BBC survey, because of this song's cooling, soothing vibe, this is one of the most popular songs for surgeons to listen to whilst performing operations.
  • Jen Chapin, the daughter of Cat's In The Cradle singer-songwriter Harry Chapin, covered this on her 2008 CD Light of Mine.
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Comments: 53

The live acoustic version, taped during an appearance on Musik in Germany is superb, sublime and soul shaking. The stripped down four piece performance is captured so perfectly, cutting to each performer, but focusing on Morrison in such an intimate manner. It truly touched me so, that I can readily recall it at will. It stirs me in a physical way no other live performance has yet.Francie - Puyallup Washington
Van Morrison is a poet then a musician. I've been listening to him for the last 30x years. Inspiring and amazing. He has been there through thick and thin. Solid. Perfect.Richard - Eagle River, Ak
On May 3rd 1970, Johnny Rivers' 20th Hot Top 100 charted record, "Into The Mystic", entered the chart at position #90; eventually it peaked at #51 and it spent 8 weeks on the Top 100...
'And when the fog horn blows I want to hear it, I don't have to fear it'
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
i would be interested to hear what 'little village ' means to you .........understandably its personal thats why we follow Van Morrrison , he will be a long time dead but will endure like many folk legends. I don't thnk he even wanted us to disect his songs for meaning...what is 'brown eyed girl' other than a throw away song as he said, all of it hits hard for those who search meaning, but like a all art it's timeless and whatever it means to you cheerish it and don't look for the sanctification of the song ...........it wasn't intended that way. ps little village is about the struggle between old ways we had and coming to terms with our new lives. maybe we can all move forwardsJames - Chichester, United Kingdom
My brother Jason recently passed away from brain cancer. Into the Mystic was his favorite song. I always knew that and I loved it as well but never really listened to the words. After really listening to the meaning of this song I can see why he loved it so much. It had a much deeper meaning for him. He was one of the greatest people I have ever known and everytime I hear this song I think of him. Van Morrison has an amazing way of telling a story and I am so thankful for this one.Meggan - West Plains, Mo
This song soothes my soul. No matter how bad a day I have had the words and music sweep over me and make everything OK.Liliane - Doncaster, United Kingdom
A powerful, haunting song - I've loved it for many years. Spiritual and sensual at the same time -- isn't that why we love it so?Sandy - Enterprise, Fl
I have known this song for many years, since it first appeared on "Moondance", but I only recently rediscovered it. I am not a huge Van Morrison fan like many are but, along with a couple of Leonard Cohen tunes and Sting's "Fields of Gold", "Into the Mystic" is now my favourite contemporary song. Mostly I like opera and classical music, yet I can listen to "Into the Mystic" over and over, which I cannot do for any other songs except a couple of arias such as Mozart's "Voi che sapete". For reasons that I cannot explain, probably the spiritual connotations of the lyrics, I weep every time I hear "Into the Mystic", but especially when hearing/seeing it done by Diane Villadsen on You Tube. If you watch her take, you may think I'm crazy to be so moved by it. I wrote the one comment on the site about the interpretation (comment from "MapleLeafRag11"), so if you read that you will know why Ms. Villadsen's cover so touches me (though my strong emotional reaction to her version is also somewhat of a mystery to me beyond reason). If you want to see/hear this take, just type "You Tube Into the Mystic Diane Villadsen" into your "Search". Incidentally, I do not know Ms. Villadsen at all, so this is not some kind of friend's promo for her. Just happened to stumble across her video while looking at others of the song by VM, Joe Cocker, etc.Neil - Montreal, Qc
I want to know if anyone thinks "Into the Mystic" was written about the legend of "Arturo and Katerina" they were young lovers, but destined to be together forever...We born before the wind/also younger than the sun... He is coming home to get her, in the legend, the foghorn blows 3x to let her know he is coming, and in the song, the foghorn blows 3x... in the legend, she jumps into the sea, to swim out to him in the boat , the lyrics "come on girl", and he looses her in the fog... the lyrics, "too late to stop now"...he jumps into the sea after her, they are finally together...and drowned, the legend says the sea spray against the rocks is evidence of them making love forever, is the "Mystic" enternity???L - Eustis, Fl
On June 14, 2011 the satellite radio show 'Ron and Fez' played this wonderful song as it's outro. They lost a close friend that day named Irish Alkey, he was only 32. His wife, Solara, called in and among other wonderful things said 'At lesat I was able to marry my best friend'. I didn't personally know him, but was personally tied to the memory by the music from this song as it played. It brings such emotion and is the perfect memorial song.Jennifer - Shoreline, Wa
One of his best; Johnny Rivers covered it in 1970, it wasn't bad but only peaked at #51 on the Billboard pop chart...Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
Correct 1989's dream a little dream cast that song perfectly and got me hooked that songs power at that moment was one of the best ive seen yet that whole movie sound track was one of the best ever.Joey - Altoona, Pa
During the AFI Lifetime Achievement Awards Ceremony on TVLand 7-19-09, the first line of this song was played while giving honor to Michael Douglas. I'd not heard it before and I'm glad I surfed to learn about it. The female singer reminds me of Janis Joplin and her great talent!Sherm - Mountain View, Ar
i had long forgotten this song,now i cant forget it.to me it seems very spiritual ad everytime i listen to it it makes me cry like a baby.yes,it follows the bible to point but ild like to say this. the boat is our bodies ,rocke your gypsy soul refers to two souls wo met before they were bodies, and into themystic is what is outthere beyond this life.Debbie - Odessa, Tx
I'm not religious and when i listen to this song I don't like to think of it as religious. This song is amazing and the lyrics are powerful. This song has helped me through some dark times. This is literally the greatest song ever written.Mercedies - Soldotna, Ak
Only Van knows what it all means, right? It was number 5905 of the Moondance cd played on the juke box at a local pub where I hung out in college... which is where I first heard it. I spent many quarters of my laundry money on this one song to the exasperation of the bar tenders who would have rather heard ACDC, I'm sure. It got me through a period of sadness in my life. Yet, I played it at my wedding recently as well....a time of true happiness. It is my favorite song. I can't explain why except by saying that Van's music speaks to the soul! I love everything I've heard from him. Also, we played "No Guru, No Teacher," before my wedding started. I read "The Shack" recently and was amazed by the parallel between "No Guru" and the "celebration" segment of the story in this novel. There is something spiritual about Van's music. Is it the lyrics, his Bluesy voice, or the arrangement of lovely music. Perhaps it is all of this and more still. I don't know. I just know I find solace within its ebb and flow. God Bless You, Van!Malachi - Dublin, Ireland
Into The Mystic - a Christian viewpoint
We were born before the wind - (Adam was created or "born" before the wind which came about after his fall from grace, when the world received it's curse, that's when weather or "wind" began)
Also younger than the sun - (The sun was made on the fourth day of creation, Adam on the sixth, making him 2 days younger than the sun)
Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic - (According to the traditional Irish Skye Boat Song, the line "Carry the lad that is born to be king" could be referring to the Christ child, born to be king, thus they were One with Christ or the' bonnie boat' as they "sailed" into their wondrous life)
Hark, now hear the sailors cry - (Now that man has fallen everything has changed, he feels cold, needs coverings, all Is not well, hunger thirst and corruption are its inhabitants, the people who are "sailing" through time "cry" out in their agony)
Smell the sea and feel the sky - (There was no rain before the fall of man, streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground, but now they could feel the rain from the sky come down, and smell that now raging sea)
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic - (Fallen man is doomed to an eternal life apart from God unless God's grace which was offered him, is received by letting his 'soul and spirit fly' or return to the 'mystic' or wonderful life with Christ)
And when that fog horn blows I will be coming home - (The Bible states: "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call (fog horn) of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever")
And when that fog horn blows I want to hear it - (The call to come home to Christ, come quickly!)
I don't have to fear it - (It will signal the restoration to perfection and reconciliation with God)
I want to rock your gypsy soul - (enjoying the life as it was intended)
Just like way back in the days of old - ("days of old" back before the 'fall')
Then magnificently we will float into the mystic - ("float" those raging seas are now calm and glassy, and the perfectly wonderful life with our "bonnie boat" continues)
And when that fog horn blows you know I will be coming home
And when that fog horn whistle blows I got to hear it
I don't have to fear it
I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And together we will float into the mystic
Come on girl...
Dan - Detroit, Mi
On the version I have he says at the end,"It's too late to stop now!" But I don't see that in the lyrics, am I wrong? Am I thinking of another song?John Daley - Hollywood,ca., Ca
Melissa from Eustus: "Bonny" is a Scottish word which means handsome or pretty. As pointed out below, "won" not only means attained, but also abide or dwell. The words of the first verse, when spoken, have multiple meanings (borne/born, also/all so, won/one), so what Van is exactly talking about is open to the listener to interpret. I think the poet is creating a sailing metaphor to not only talk about love but to point out that we are timeless and love exists beyond the physical plane (the bonny boat) we live in. That's what the mystic is.Jonathan - Atlanta, Ga
This song wells up many human emotions, such as sentimentality and poignancy, I believe it's messages are many, such as live life to the fullest, take chances (even if maybe calculated),
take that leap of faith!!!love, live ,learn, ask
questions, be a seeker...take that voyage into the unknown, Do you have a "restless heart?". this song could be very phrophetic, it's a great work...I'm a guitar student and starting to work this piece with my teacher, it's a song I'll pay to learn. It's also done by a folk band called
"Marley's Ghost" on their album "Accross the River", released in 2004.. God Bless........
Robert - Scranton, Pa
I always liked this song a lot. Recently a singing student brought it by to work on and I was struck with it's message. My dear loving partner Bruce recently died. He was a wooden boat builder and a jewellry artist of amazing insight and connection with nature -salmon, whales, dolphins, birds and waves. 'Into the Mystic' is transporting me to a place of such closeness with him. I bless him on his journey through the cosmos.Colleen Savage - Vancouver, Bc, Bc
What's the "bonnie boat" part about? I don't know what a bonnie boat is. Thanks.Melissa - Eustis, Fl
Michael McDonald recently covered this on "Soul Speak"Sara - Silver Spring, Md
Just in case anybody was wondering on Morrison's website they list the lyric as "we will FOLD into the mystic."Brett - Fresno, Ca
To me, this song is about what we really are, where we are from (unity) and going back to it( into the mystic). We "existed" before the wind and sun. "Won" in old english means dwell or abide, in a poetic sense you could substitute the word "one." Do not fear, live this sensuous life, but let go to UNITY, come on girl, "Into the Mystic." What an incredible song.Jimmy - La Jolla, Ca
Rich from Elkins.. can you recommend a few others? This song is the greatest... would like to know a few other of your faves to avoid the needle out of the haystack when I go to buy/download...Kheba - Outer Space, Iceland
Morrison is a modern day Rumi. Song to me is about longing for another person and longing for union with GOdPaul - New Albany, Ms
The first time I ever heard this song was in American Wedding and I have loved it ever since!!Cari - Canton, Oh
The song Into the Mystic was in the movie "Immediate Family" which starred Mary Stuart MastersonnJennfier - Mystic Island, Nj
The best, very smooth, feel it to the core song, can't get tired of it! I like to close my eyes and turn it UP! It'd be nice at a memorial service. I had this tune in my head without knowing the name for years until I saw Patch Adams.Tom - Hershey, Pa
Written four years before I was born it wasn't till I was 18 before I heard it. Upon first hearing it the song immediately resonated with me. Somehow I lost track of this gem until just recently when I purchased it for my MP3 player. As soon as the song finished downloading I put on my headphones, leaned back in my office chair and closed my eyes as emotions long forgotten whelmed back into me. After the song ended I turned my PC speakers on and turned up the volume as I had started the song over. My wife was in the entertainment room on the couch and I laid next to her. Amazingly she never heard of it and she is older than myself, but she liked it as well. As we laid there I told her that I'll be playing this song on my sailboats stereo as I shove off from the pier in Bermuda on my way across the Atlantic on a solo sail to the Azores.Josh - Fairbanks, Ak
Van Morrison used to sing with a group called THEM. They sang "Gloria", "Here Comes the Night" and "Baby Please Don't Go". I'm pretty sure he wrote Gloria but the other may be an old blues cover. Van Morrison also had hits with "Crazy Love", (lots of people have covered), Domino, "Jackie Wilson Said", and "And It Stoned Me". I think this song was also in the movie "Always" which was Audrey Hepburn's last. "Crazy Love" was integral to the plot but I could have sworn this song was in it too.Lalah - Wasilla, Ak
The American Wedding version is by The Wallflowers I reckon... Well done but.Scott - Kap, Canada
When I'e heard this song I always thought he was singing about a woman. But,having read the lyrics, it struck me that he was singing about transcending his fear of death and that it would just be a continuance of his life's journey. Quite an up-lifting song when you get past the romance aspect
of it.
Thomas - Fuquay Varina, Nc
Someone mentioned "Into the Misty". Misty is what a young Van and he bandmates in the Monarchs used to call alchohol.Spins - Philly, Pa
Van Morrison has written hundreds of songs in over 40 years in the business. He is also listed as #42 in the 100 greatest artists of all time list. (He has only 3 songs listed on songfacts). One of his songs, Have I told you lately that I love you is listed under Rod Stewart. Two of his albums, Moondance & Astral Weeks made the Time/Cnn list of 100 Albums of all time. And yet, he has 3 songs listed here and is not even listed as an artist under Artistfacts. Does anyone know why?Helen - Richmond , Va
This song was played at the spreading of my mother's ashes. This was her favorite song. I love you mom and miss you dearly.

You have to watch the very ending of American Wedding to hear this song. It always makes me cry.
Michelle - Fairfax, Va
If you like this song and album then you owe it to yourself to get at least three other Van albums- "Tupelo Honey", "St.Dominic's Preview and "His Band and the Street Choir" - these three are almost as good as "Moondance"Dan - Kingston, Canada
this song and the whole moondance album helped me graduate, no kidding. in the last week of school i had loads of unfinished work and barely any time to do it in, so i pulled 3 all-nighters in the space of 5 days. i needed something to keep me awake and focused so i took a tape from my parent's collection, it was moondance on one side and a csny album on the other, i just kept playing it over and over each night i was up and it kept me going, and i never got tired of it. into the mystic is my favorite song from moondance, it's one i'd recommend to anyone.Kelly - Eastsound, Wa
As a U.S. Merchant Marine/Navy veteran I hardily recommend this song to all seagoing people. Van Morrison is often overlooked and under-rated. As an amateur musician I can really appreciate the subtleties of his style.Boyd - Houston, Tx
I too first heard this song from the "immediate family" movie. I loved it so much I went out and bought another two Van Morrison CD's, one being Moondance (fantastic Album!!). About 7 years later, When I was pregnant with my first born, I made my fiance watch that same movie. While the credits were rolling at the end and they played a reprisal of "into the mystic", my water broke and I went into labour!!! My firstborn has been raised on this Album- we used it as his lullaby CD for bedtime and I have fond memories of rocking him to sleep to this song and the whole album!!xxxxsandiSandi - Adelaide, Australia
I think this is a great song and very underrated!!Stefanie - Rock Hill, Sc
I first heard this song on the little-known film entitled "Dusty and Sweets McGee" - Warner Bros. I fell in love with the movie more because of that song. Everyone should listen to him.Brandi - Los Angeles, Ca
Canadian blues singer Colin James does a version of this on his new record Limelight.Lisa - Brampton, Canada
My girlfriend Che' has recently introduced to this song. She has been in love with it since she was a child and i think that the lyrics are masterful and complex. It is beautifulJason - Tuscaloosa, Al
Aaron From Chicago. Thank you so much for giving the info about the song being played in Dream a Little Dream. I heard the song last night and couldn't remember what movie it was from. I thought about it for a few hours and finally gave up. You know how it is when you hear a song and try to remember what movie your heard it from. It drives you nuts. I found this website and saw your comments :) Thanks again.Laura - Palmdale, Ca
"According to Morrison, he couldn't decide whether the first line should be "We were born before the wind" or "We were borne before the wind."" WELL then, it's a good thing he chose as he did!Nessie - Sapporo, Japan
This song was also played in the 1989 movie 'Dream A Little Dream'. Its played at one of the most important scenes in the movie.Aaron - Chicago, Il
This song is nothing short of amazingCarly - San Diego, Ca
I think, I've heard the song in "Patch Adams" as wellBarbara - Little Village, Germany
What other movie was this track a part of? Mary Stuart Masterson was in it.Cindy - Cookeville, Tn
Most people only know 1 or 2 songs by Van Morrison
This is a good example of the great stuff they're missing out on.. He has least a couple dozen songs that can be listened to over and over.
He is a excellent writer/poet and his band deserves a lot of praise too. I'm glad he's been around all these years.
Rich - Elkins, Wv
This song played at the wedding on the movie American Wedding.Katie - Beaumont, Tx
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