AURORA’s “Heathens” Lyrics Meaning

Aurora’s most recent project, which includes this song (“Heathens”) we’re covering today, apparently, judging by its title for instance, features the young vocalist deciding to tackle some established, and shall we say complicated religious doctrine. 

More specifically in the case of “Heathens”, it does in fact read as if as a premise the songstress is mixing or contrasting certain fundamental ideas associated with Christianity and other such religions (i.e. those based on the Torah) with what many would generally classify as a pagan belief system.

For instance, Christianity teaches that from a moralistic standpoint, human beings are intrinsically flawed. What this means is that mankind is born into sin. But by the looks of things, that is not an idea that Aurora personally believes in.  

From the perspective of people like herself, even though we are imperfect, that doesn’t mean that we’re flawed. And that is why this female entity who is present throughout the lyrics is embracing mankind despite its shortcomings. It is as if to say that the religious rules of belief systems like Christianity are stacked against us. And by virtue of this, they inhibit our freedom. 

The “Heathens”

So this resolve to still do what one wants despite such teachings is what classifies such individuals, including the vocalist, as “heathens”, i.e. a person who willingly and contrarily does not adhere to any of the mainstream religious bodies.

Aurora talks about “Heathens” and the Mystery Female Entity

Now if all of this sounds a bit confusing, you likely aren’t alone. In her own explanation of this song, Aurora has alluded to the idea that the female entity identified in the lyrics is actually Eve of Genesis (i.e. the first book of Bible) fame. 

In an interview, Aurora shed some light on this. According to her, “Heathens” was inspired by the bravery Eve from the Bible showed by eating the “forbidden apple”. The singer believes that in doing so, Eve “granted humans free will”. Aurora therefore decided to use this song to honor Eve and every other woman like her.

Below are Aurora’s exact words about the meaning of “Heathens”:

Singer Aurora talks about "Heathens"

Good and Evil

And in the chorus the singer does make a roundabout reference to another related character, if you will, that being the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The said tree was also situated in what is known as the Garden of Eden. Many of us may have a cursory understanding of what the “trees of Eden” symbolize from a religious standpoint. However, not everyone interprets the outcome of the Biblical story of the Fall of Man the same.

As the story goes, God told Adam and Eve, the progenitors of the human race, not to eat from the aforementioned tree(s). However, they did so anyway and were cursed accordingly. 

And individuals who embrace belief systems, such as Luciferianism or Satanism, that oppose Christianity and co. also use that same story as a symbolic reference point. That is to say that they too contend that God cursed mankind due to Adam and Eve for partaking of the fruit which gave them knowledge of good and evil. 

But in the minds of such “heathens”, God is actually the villain. These people see God, most simply put, as an authority figure who inhibited free will. Therefore Satan, who rather encouraged Adam and Eve to eat the fruit, is more akin to a hero from their perspective. And so would be Eve, who ate the fruit first. 

And that brand of Luciferianism which focuses specifically on Eve, as does the lyrics of this song, is apparently called Satanic feminism or something of the sort.

Aurora, the Priestess

So it can be said that Aurora herself is a priestess of that doctrine. And she presents it as revolving around two fundamental principles. First is that she does not agree with established mainstream religions which, most simply put, propagate the notion that we must repent.  

The vocalist rather feels that such institutions are unfairly judging people or sitting on our happiness, as some may put it. 

So furthermore, as far as the title goes, what Aurora is seemingly asserting is that the pressure to adhere to such a level of discipline and morality, as required by mainstream religious bodies, is rather what’s causing people to spaz or “live like heathens”.  

Or perhaps put more bluntly, such individuals are dispositioned to consider moral-based rules as being restrictive. And since these types of statutes tend to be part and parcel of mainstream religion, then they rather embrace heathenism. Heathenism can be defined as a direct rejection, if you will, of such principles and belief systems.

Takeaway

So even though Aurora may not forthrightly promote Luciferianism in this piece, the lyrics do read as if she is offering us something like a religious alternative to the mainstream. And that would be, instead of following such belief systems like Christianity, to rather worship the aforementioned female entity. 

Put simply, said being does not require any type of extraordinary self-control or virtue from its believers. Instead, as presented in the bridge, “if you give your heart to her”, then “her love is [also] yours” in return. 

And to note, Aurora has elucidated that said entity is not only meant to serve as a shoutout to Eve. According to her, it is also a tribute to other such women who in her mind have sacrificed, if you will, in the name of ‘granting us freedom in this world’.

And conclusively, many pop artists these days imbue their songs or associated imagery with what some may define as espousements of heathenism and paganism. But Aurora appears to be one who is a bit more straightforward than her contemporaries in that regard.

Lyrics to AURORA's "Heathens"

Release of “Heathens”

On 3 December 2021, “Heathens” became a single issued from the project “The Gods We Can Touch”. The project in question is Aurora’s third album.

Both “Heathens” and “The Gods We Can Touch” are sponsored by Decca Records and Glassnote Records. 

Other singles from this project include the following:

Did Aurora write “Heathens”?

Aurora, a vocalist from Norway, wrote and produced this song with Magnus Skylstad. And a third composer, Odd Martin, is also credited, exclusively in a songwriting capacity.

Heathens

14 Responses

  1. Sarah says:

    Well as a christian I can tell you that you don’t have to be perfect for God to love you. We are sick individuals and God loves us whether we give our heart to him or not. He loves us unconditionally,
    Meaning it doesn’t matter what you do, He’ll always love you. Inorder to go to heaven you have to want to be with God for eternity. It’s ultimately your choice cuz He isn’t gonna force you, but you have to give Him your heart. So I’d actually argue that this song strongly resembles Christianity besides the fact that it was a female figure representing God instead of a male

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah i agree. I do think though people do not actually understand Christianity, particularly in places like Europe where they have some vague idea but haven’t read the text, nor any religious scholars work concerning WHAT Christianity actually teaches. I think if Aurora actually read just the book of Matthew she’d be like “wait what is this actually saying?” It isn’t what the perception is to most people.

      Sadly the annoying vocal not actual practicing Christians (like Westburo) taint the religion’s name.

      • Leto says:

        I completely agree, though in Aurora’s case I think her reaction to Christianity is due to both how she was raised and the religious trauma she’s had with being queer. She may not know that Christianity is actually based on unconditional love, but with the way world treats her and people like her, she had no reason to think Christians are actually meant to be loving. As a gay Christian, it makes me so sad when other Christians are so full of hate for those who love, and even more that they hurt others for simply existing. Aurora calls for love, but she doesn’t necessarily say you can’t be Christian to love.

  2. Raineyd says:

    You’re a quick writer. And apparently not the only one (i also saw a tab for the song). And it’s a great pleasure to see how interested and reactive is “her” community.
    Due to my English level, I have an average comprehension of your explanation. But I have a simple question : do you have any reference you refer to for the meaning ? For example : the fact you mention Christianity. Or is that you personal interpretation based of the cut of lyrics.
    Cause I’m not against personal analysis. But songwriters sometimes appreciate the fact to let a certain liberty of interpretation, just disseminating symbols.
    So, it’s just a question. No more. 🙂
    But thx for the contribution.
    And for myself, I admit i don’t see any special meaning, except a praise for paganism.

  3. Marie-Anne says:

    Surely the song is trying to argue that strict adherence to religious doctrine is flawed and ultimately counter productive? “that is why we live like heathens.” Is it not making the point that “we” are doing it out of spite, to make a point, to contradict? I agree with op that it is a critique of the Christian belief system to some extent. It’s asking whether it’s possible to achieve spiritual purity and what that would even look like.

    If we can only achieve salvation from a perfect god-like entity, if we are fundamentally flawed, where does that leave us? I’ve been listening to aurora for years and I’m finding it super difficult to figure out the angle she’s approaching this from. it very well could be heard as pro-Christian doctrine, although I think when we look deeper at the way she subverts the gender of the god-like being and suggests that religious doctrine is the cause of sin itself, I find it difficult to buy that interpretation. Then again I really can’t be sure and I think a lot of this song’s beauty lies in this spiritual ambiguity.

  4. matheus says:

    Based on the things she often talks about on social media, I believe the female figure she refers to is mother earth/nature.

  5. Worrior says:

    Hi, so this is my interpretaion as a fan of aurora and somone familiar with her other work.

    But I did like the idea presented here about giving your heart in return for the love of the godess being the only requirement for an alternitive religeon.

    Aurora is a big fan of nature and godesses. Many of her music videos are themed around a particualr godess. So if one comes out for heathens you might find out if she is referencing one in the song. But honestly to me it seems very obvious shes talking about nature. I thought at first it was about nature embrasing us when we were cast out from eden. But after a few more listens I belive shes mainly refering to women, and eves sin of “stealing form the trees of eden” original sin resulting in >> “The unforgiving promise made to us” which is “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children” Adem Im pretty sure didnt get no curse so that was my first clue the song isnt refering to men. The second was “We cry for those who burn beneath the flame” the persicution of women for being smart or weird or ugly or anything cos we’re all sinners wooo go witches.

    So from what i can tell its about how women fell from grace after eve stole “from the trees of eden” but when we fell we were embrased by nature and despite having no heart she gave us her love. And that is why we live like heathens.

    But because this is our wonderful Aurora there are layers. In the beggining of the song she talks about nature bargening with us without greed “she knows what she deserves” (also can be linked to women fighting for equality). And at the end she says “her love is yours, but only if you give your heart to her” Here nature is bargening with humanity to give back, We have taken too much. When Aurora sings about the burning of witches and the fallen it also mirrors the crimes we have commited against nature. She still offers her love, it is ours, but we need to give her our hearts and start protecting our mother in return for the love she gave so freely.

    Thats what I got form it anyway. Auroras music just keeps getting better, this girl is magic xx

  6. Trimsi says:

    AURORA explained to Australian radio station Triple J that the track is inspired by the classic tale from the Book of Genesis about Eve and the biting into the forbidden apple fruit.

  7. Jeff says:

    I find it counterintuitive that a supreme being, or the cosmic muffin, or whatever one wants to call it, has to have a gender any gender. It appears we create “God” in our own image.

  8. Little Prince says:

    It’s nothing more than personal interpretations of the songwriter. I’m a believer and that’s my view. The song is melodically fine but poorly written.

    • Loki says:

      I definitely agree, Aurora is a beautiful human being and her voice is a gift from God, but I think that she should be more carful to what she says in her songs religiously especially this one. I just feel that she should be carful not to say something wrong about God. That’s my opinion, sorry if it doesn’t make sense.

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