Merkaba
by Tool

Songfacts®:

  • This song, included in the box set Salival, is named after an enlightened state of expanded awareness similar to the concept of nirvana, called merkaba or merkabah. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Stefano - Old Bridge, NJ
  • This is an extended intro to "Sober," which Tool played live on their 1997-98 tours. Then it got a name. On those shows Maynard Keenan sat while the rest of the band gave birth to the screaming sound. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Danny - Franklin, GA

Comments: 11

  • Randy from Tulsa, OkI've told this story at least 50 times online, and the memory comes back to me more clearly each time.

    "MER KA BA" I saw that word for the first time I believe in 2001 or so, while following some links on an Illuminati conspiracy article... about Washington DC and Freemasons. When I saw this shape, I got chills up my spine. I did not know it had a name. The article said according to Kabbalah, the merkaba was the chariot of a seraphim angel.

    The reason I got chills up my spine seeing this shape, was my history with it. It was like GOD saying "NO YOU ARE NOT CRAZY, IT IS REAL." You have to know the back story. Back in the mid 1980s I was in my 20s, smoked weed regularly, dropped enough acid to know what a good trip was all about, and one day was taken to a dairy pasture for a "course" in mushroom id... well sir, before a month had passed, I was putting boots on at 4 am, sneaking through the hole in the barbedwire, catching me about two good bread loaf bags full, going home, locking myself away, setting aside the prettiest and mashing the rest into thick black tar / psilocybin espresso... I was completely antisocial when I took mushrooms and I would unplug my phone, sometimes hide my car blocks away so folks don't think I'm home. I became a weird hermit for a couple of years. I still toy with the idea of writing a book about what I got into. Just wonder if anyone would find it interesting.

    Ok... first impressions of psilocybin... unlike LSD I felt more spiritual... visuals were similar to LSD, with their own "uniqueness"... but low doses were enough to tell me I had to be alone to enjoy them, so I worked myself up to taking more and more every time I would do them. And it was almost as if I was being "speed-taught" through some over-my-head calculus in an alien language I couldn't understand... but it was also a spiritual BAPTISM that I was feeling... spirit things I'd never felt in my life... the feeling of infinitesimal-ness, in the presence of the infinite... I rolled on the floor and shook like a Benny Hinn shill, 20 years before ever seeing a holyroller... no other word for it... baptism... I felt spirits. I heard "alien" languages that wouldn't stop babbling around me. At the higher levels, I was noticing that every time I went out a little further, I would retrace the "steps" of the previous "lesson," and move forward... like I was being guided through some curriculum of some kind...

    But to come back to the conversation... this IS relevant... I was going back to the same "place", just a deeper level, every week, which is genuinely strange, when in season, and I was pushing my envelope going "deeper" every time... consistent visual phenomena that did not exist with LSD. With me, in ALL my psilocybin experiences, every single visual pattern was a variation of the six pointed star. Without fail. Hexagram shapes, only hex shaped visuals, mosaics of them dancing on the walls .... and my 22 yr old brain trying to decode... am I going into a "mushroom synagogue" of a parallel dimension when I take these? I'm not Jewish, why are the visuals always hex patterns when I do mushrooms? Well, I'm consistently going deeper into the same "places" on a regular basis, due in part to the spiritual "aliveness" that I feel - like never in my life - and I cry in fear and yet I cannot get enough, like my soul is on a roller coaster... and I always get back in line...

    Also because of something else... something really weird... something people called me crazy over... I lost friends, became afraid to talk about it... something that kept me coming back again and again, trying to FIGURE OUT WHAT IT ALL MEANT.. the "trip" always took off with hex shaped visuals, but once I had passed this "second plateau" of high intake (I'd been eating caps over a couple of hour span), the visuals became three dimensional... the hexagrams turned into this curious double-pyramid that would literally "play" with me. And it would come back every time I ate enough psilocybin. I was transfixed, I was fascinated, this thing came back every time I ate enough... it moved and spun in a multitude of different ways, it was like a little "spaceship" in the living room, circling around my head... or a fleet of them if occasionally... and once you paid attention to it and focused on it, it would start moving in more complex ways... I was feeling in my soul that this thing was speaking to me in some language of movement... it is so much more than just two counterrotating pyramids. Each segment had independent control. See you think I'm crazy now talking about it. So did others. But that's how vividly I remember. Something was trying to communicate with me, something ALIVE was connecting to me, and it was in my face every time I ate enough psilocybin.

    Then my quest to find "meaning" to all this "terminal fascination" - ended disappointingly with me scared to ever touch them again, when that last time, I went through all the other "levels of the spirit", the shaking, the babbling, the voices babbling around me, the "spinning thing" on the ceiling, descending... over me... takes me inside for a few moments... then I felt fear like I'd never felt, and there was an apparition, in the room, hovering over me. I feel something so big in the room, as big as God. As big as A god. Part human, part bird. I thought I was dying really. I didn't know you couldn't OD on shrooms. I thought this bird creature was the "real" grim reaper and he was taking me somewhere. It was the most frightening, AND the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. Wings covered the ceiling in an iridescent light show, eyes just glared at me silently. I was scared s--tless for hours praying for this thing to leave. And it never did. And I dreamed about it. And I woke up thinking about it. I could not stop talking about the experience for weeks afterward, and it took months for me to realize, this is just going to be my own thing I have to live with.

    And that was all she wrote on that subject...
    until that one day - I follow an Illuminati link and there it is. My little friend...
    The day my CRAZY VISIONS were validated by PEOPLE A LOT OLDER AND SMARTER THAN I AM...
    And after hearing this instrumental, I cannot help but wonder which of the band members saw I did...
  • Matt from Auburn, Wamerkaba meditation is believed to be a way of using prana (see hindu) breathing (taking in energy thru the top of the head and down a tube thats in your spine) to create counter-rotating fields about 30 feet in diameter that will then act as a vehicle to another dimension the jewish word for charriot is merkabah coincidentaly similar to merkaba P.S. yes joseph is correct you other guys are officialy not as big of a tool fan as joseph.
  • Colin from Denver, CoActually, Joseph is completely correct. ZAVM (Zaum) is a side project involving Danny Carey, more electronic-oriented. Volto! is a completely different project.
  • Drew from Shawnee, Ksactually dannys side band is Volto! yes it has an exclamation point in the title
  • Kevin from Independence, MoNope "Zaum" isnt dannys side band its actually called "Volta".
  • Joseph from Frsno, CaSome people think that this song is a cover of the band "Zaum" (a side project with Danny Carey). Who also had a song called "Merkaba", but actually Tool's version is a whole different song (not a cover).
  • Jacob from San Diego, Catool is awesome . hands down genius . even maynard would agree , he knows he rocks .
  • Jorge from Venezuela, South AmericaIn ancient Egyptian, it breaks down to Mer (rotating fields of light), Ka (spirit), and Ba (soul / body). Merkaba meditations facilitate deep spiritual growth and activation. Given the head space listeners tend to enter when listening to the song, and that live performances of this song feature Maynard introspective onstage, it makes sense that the song is named for this style of meditation.
  • George from Hell, Pa...this is referenced in the movie Pi as well as a bunch of other things in tool songs
  • Mike from Toronto, CanadaActually, the MerKaBa is a vehicle that, with the assistance of your Higher Self, will take you to a different dimension in the hopes of becoming one with 'God'.

    Literally, it's a form of deep breathing and meditation.

  • Delirium Trigger from New Brunswick, Ny"merkaba" is actually named after a book of Kaballah (mysticism).
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