Bob Marley’s “Natural Mystic” Lyrics Meaning

In this classic reggae tune, Bob Marley seems to dealing with two different topics. One is Judgment Day as prophesied in the Bible, with Ras Bob, a known spiritualist, specifically referencing the “first trumpet”, an item found in the Book of Revelations. In this regard, there are actually seven trumpets in total, with Marley stating that the first one “might as well be the last”. The sounding of these horns signifies  catastrophic events which are supposed to devastate the planet. As such, Marley points out that, “Many more will have to suffer” and “Many more will have to die.” But he does not actually know why such things are happening, suggesting somewhat of a pessimistic perception of the present instead of just looking towards a future event.

Harrowing State of the World

The second verse picks up along the above mentioned lines with Tuff Gong stating that, “Things are not the way they used to be”. This line once again alludes to an unfavorable state of the world. However, this time, instead of speaking of events, he talks about himself and addresses the listener on a more-personal level. Or as Marley himself puts it, he is advising the audience “to face reality now”. This seems to be his way of saying that the listener needs to face the harrowing reality mentioned prior head-on instead of trying to run away from or ignore it.

Then he states that he has “tried to find the answer to all the question they ask”. Here, he is insinuating that he is often approached with deep inquiries which he cannot adequately respond to. Also, he sings that he “know(s) it’s impossible to go living through the past”, which may allude to his own attempts to avoid facing the present and future.

Lyrics of "Natural Mystic"

All in all, Marley wants us (the listeners) to be aware of this very important mystical power surrounding us. This natural mystic is free and it exists in nature. It is all around us. And regardless of who you are, you have the ability to hear it (that is if you really want to). Marley promises us that if we listen very carefully (meditate) we can hear it and enjoy its priceless benefits. Apparently Marley himself is trying to tell us he has heard it. He heard the natural mystic by listening carefully. Now, all he wants is for the people of the world to do the same.

But what is the “Natural Mystic”?

As for the titular “natural mystic”, it should be noted that Marley refers to this entity as a “them”, not as an individual and not as himself, even though this title has been added among his many appellations.  They are also “blowing through the air”, and he seems to associate this “blowing” with the sound of “the first trumpet” (as in trumpets have to be blown). According to Biblical lore, the seven trumpets are actually sounded by angels. And along a similar vein, the “natural mystic” Jah Bob is referring to seems to be spiritual beings who are all around and who the listener can even “hear” if he “listen(s) carefully”.  Within the context of the song, the presence of these beings seems to signify, more or less, the advent of the apocalypse.

Bob Marley sadly passed away about a year after this memorable performance of “Natural Mystic”.

Facts about “Natural Mystic”

  • “Natural Mystic” is the opening song on Bob Marley & the Wailers 1977 album Exodus, which was originally released by Island Records on 3 June 1977.
  • This song was also featured on the soundtrack of the 1982 Jamaican film Countryman.
  • Bob Marley was the sole composer of this classic song. He further produced it along with the Wailers.
  • “Natural Mystic” was recorded in London, England, where Bob Marley relocated after an assassination attempt on his life which occurred in his native Jamaica in 1976.  In fact it has been theorized that some lyrics of the song (which if true would most likely be the second verse) actually reference this life-threatening event.

Did Bob Marley ever explain the meaning of the lyrics of “Natural Mystic”?

Unfortunately, during his short lifetime, Marley never explained what exactly the deep lyrics of this song mean.

2 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow. Thank you for your insights into this beautiful song.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think Bob Marley prophesied AIDS,which came about 5 years after the release of the song and just about two months after his death. It has brought deaths and poverty which in turn has lead to poverty in the society.”many more will have to suffer,many more will have to die”…Bob talks about the trumpet which I believe could have been the first but not the last,as he says… coronavirus be another trumpet….Bob Marley has been my souls mentor for around 4 years now

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