Ghost’s “Mary on a Cross” Lyrics Meaning

It seems kinda odd that some major music publications went as are as to actually single out “Mary on a Cross” as being blasphemous, as liberal, secularized use of religious terminology and, to a lesser degree, reliance on imagery associated with Satanism (i.e. the upside-down cross found in the cover art) have both become industry standards of late. 

Mary on a Cross
Cover art displaying a cross that is upside-down

But perhaps such an observation has something to do with the fact that the character of Mary tends to be more associated with Catholicism than Christianity per se. Also, as far as how the titular metaphor is actually used in the chorus, it is done so to metaphorically point to the notion of, most simply interpreted, sex. And yes, even by today’s standards using the Virgin Mary’s name in that regard does read a bit extreme.

So it can be argued that what we’re actually dealing with here is a love song. Or perhaps more specifically, some may argue, a sex song. Well actually, the verses don’t really seem like they have anything to do with romance. Instead, they appear to be speaking to the career trajectory of Ghost. 

The Verses

In the first verse, the vocalist reveals that whereas the group has experienced some notable success, they’ve also ‘paid their dues’ in the process. They remained on the grind even through periods of depression. Depression can actually be considered the thesis sentiment of this piece, again, as far as the verses go.

And it seems that what the second verse is speaking to is the band at one point coming to shed off their inhibitions. Or as relayed, there was a time when Ghost was more inclined “to play by the rules”. But somewhere along the line things changed. They came to the conclusion that doing so is not ideal, at least, in context, as far as their profession goes. And since actively adopting such a disposition, it’s as if their aforenoted “sorrow” has been mitigated.

The Chorus

So as you can see, none of the above has any to do with Mary or crosses or anything like that. It isn’t until the chorus that we come across that religious (or sacrilegious) terminology. Each of the two verses conclude with the vocalist letting an unspecified addressee know that he intends to ‘never let them go’.  And yes, that does sound like a romance-based assertion. However, to reiterate the verses themselves do not read romantic.

So the point trying to be made here is that final line which segues into what is obviously a sexually-inspired chorus. Therein the vocalist seems to not only allude to sex of the oral variety but also sex itself. Here, he talks about ‘tickling’ the addressee “internally”. 

That said, it has also been put forth that the phrase “Mary on a cross”, as recited, serves as a shoutout to marijuana.

"Mary on a Cross" Lyrics

All in All

At the end of the day, this may well be a pro-marijuana song more than anything else. In other words, it could be that the aforementioned addressee is actually good ol’ ganja itself. And what the vocalist may be saying is that anxiety and restrictiveness the band experienced earlier on was ultimately relieved through partaking of this substance. Or in any event, let’s conclude by saying that if there’s one thing this track isn’t about, it’s Mary or the cross as understood within the context of Christendom.

Credits for “Mary on a Cross”

Tobias Forge, the frontman of the band known as Ghost, co-wrote this song with the following:

  • Vincent Pontare
  • Salem Al Fakir

Forge also co-produced “Mary on a Cross”. In producing it, he worked alongside Gene Walker.

Release Date of “Mary on a Cross”?

This track is from Ghost’s EP titled “Seven Inches of Satanic Panic”. The EP was released through Loma Vista Records on 13 September 2019. It contained only just two songs. “Kiss the Go-Goat” is the other song found on the EP.

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