Tool’s “Pneuma” Lyrics Meaning

Tool’s “Pneuma” reads somewhat like a religious song, if you will. “Pneuma” is an ancient/prehistoric Greek word which refers to a person’s spirit or soul. So perhaps more accurately, we can say that this track is spiritual in nature.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Tool's Pneuma at

And the idea it seems to be putting forth is that, at least on the earthly plane, we are “bound” to our fleshly bodies. However, being attached to the flesh does not prevent us from ‘reaching out’, as in seeking spiritual enlightenment and fulfillment.  And what Tool lead singer Maynard James Keenan is basically stating is that aspiring towards such divine goals is a good thing, as in an endeavor people should take seriously and put the necessary commitment behind achieving. Moreover the chorus and outro seem to allude to the notion that we are all one on the spiritual plane, as in originating from a singular source.

So conclusively, there is definitely an immaterial belief system/philosophy behind Tool’s “Pneuma”. And whereas the song may not be forthrightly religious in its approach, it is apparently espousing an ideology which, in terms of their perceived importance, spiritual matters should supersede physical ones.

Lyrics of "Pneuma"

Who wrote “Pneuma”?

All four members of Tool are the writers of “Pneuma”. We therefore have the following names as the song’s official writers:

  • Danny Carey
  • Justin Chancellor
  • Adam Jones
  • Maynard James Keenan

And the song was produced by one of their regular collaborators, Joe Barresi.

Release Date

“Pneuma” is the second song on the playlist of Tool’s 2019 album “Fear Inoculum”. It was released with the album on 30 August of that year by RCA Records in conjunction with Volcano Entertainment.

28 Responses

  1. Phrater Ox says:

    Actually, I suspect Danny Carey wrote this track. He is a well known Thelemite and this song is a call for people to understand their true nature. Yoda put it perfectly: “Luminous Beings Are We! Not This Crude Matter!”. So… Wake up, remember.

  2. Jason Dugggan says:

    Im pretty sure Maynard comes up with all the lyrics for tool songs. Its not suprising to hear this perspective from mjk. Whith age and experience comes a diffrent nature.

  3. Gary Pratt says:

    Currently this is my favorite rock song ever. As a quantum mechanic rock star this song just seems to fit before my name..

  4. Mark Calvert says:

    It makes sense now that Danny Carey was primarily the writer on that song. It had so many different and unique drums implemented on that song as well as different styles of drum fills and dynamically evolving polymeters.

  5. Lupe I says:

    Appropriate song for 2020 “the last days”. Seek to increase your frequency, do what’s right, reach your goal to 5D not 5G. Praise Jeh

  6. Konstantinos Railis says:

    Just a notice, “Pneuma” or “Πνεύμα” is a Greek word which is still regularly used in our language.

  7. Derek webb says:

    This piece of music is a modern symphony, to me it’s the most fabulous sound ever.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree, to me this is the greatest song I have ever heard in my 49 years, with Lateralus closely behind it.

  8. Cumquat says:

    This song is definitely about the encroachment of the telecommunications industry on the modern market infrastructure. Generally markets are static in nature but a pnuema complex is developing predominately from the Baltic states. A being cannot be immersed in its own being if the fiber allows a way forward into the psyche.

  9. Maynard James Keenan says:

    This is the future not the past past is all behind.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s something to do with tyres.

  11. Sean From TN says:

    what i love about tool is their music is so distinctive; when you hear it you know its unlike any other music you’ve ever heard. They are beyond niche- and their music is timeless I understand why it took so long for the followup LP from 10k (which was incredible) this is a worthy successor.

  12. Anonymous says:

    My little brother was the most avid Tool fan I know, even more than I am if that’s possible. Fitting that this song was playing when he was taking his last breaths after losing his fight with cancer last June. One of my all time favorite songs that breaks my heart every time I hear it now.

  13. I am Pneuma says:

    Live in transcendence, stop your duality and wake the f up. You become enlightened and can take control of any addiction. You’ll be filled with innate knowledge of what exactly is of importance. Every single breath is pure pleasure, it can only be that way as it is the opposite of anxiety. Every moment is like being stoned, but drug free. Listening to Sadhguru will help you on your way. I have died, I have no ego.

  14. Good luck 🍀 says:

    I love every debate over Tool’s lyrical interpretation…

  15. Willie B. Hardigan says:

    I’d say the song is more spiritual than it is religious.

    • Geezer1962 says:

      Maynard was close to Bill Hicks in beliefs. Both believed in the spiritual, but neither real cared for the man-made religions!

  16. Sarah from WI says:

    They are musical geniuses. Incredibly talented. Listen to this one along with Schism. How did they manage to stay in sync and follow all the time signature changes in these, especially Schism? Very underrated for talent. Tool is purely amazing.

  17. Toe Jams says:

    My toes were jammin to this song

  18. rawgod says:

    Hope there is a lyric video somewhere, my old ears cannot make the words out. Certainly not the music of the spheres, but easy to listen to for the most part. Nice to near some true spiritual music without gods involved.

  19. Anonymous says:

    It’s spiritual, not religious. Lookup the law of one.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Insane talent… full stop

  21. Adam, Climber and Mouthing Off Specialist under the Egis of Pope Narasaki says:

    I am Adam, and I am the first prophet of Dynology. The year is 2023, Ante Dynology. Writing now, shortly after Fri 24 Nov 2023 05:23:55 AM PST. Forgetting is the same as archiving for future use.

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