Dio: Holy Diver Meaning
Song Released: 1983
Holy Diver Lyrics
Holy diver you've been down too long in the midnight sea oh what's becoming of me
Ride the tiger you can see his stripes but you know he's clean oh don't you see what I mean
Gotta get away holy diver yeah
1TOP RATED#1 top rated interpretation:
Hail Dio! He stated once in an interview that the Holy Diver is about a Christ figure on another planet. That said, the way I've always taken the song is that we all have within us a primal energy and courage we can use if we choose, and it is described as a tiger and called pure and clean and mean because a tiger is only what a tiger is, it doesn't try to be anything else. Hence talk of a masquerade, people wear masks out of fear of being different, but if you realized that this is your only life you would know you are the star of the masquerade, not a supporting character. To me, the eyes of the cat in the black are those flashes within you where you feel the tiger, you will have to confront yourself at some point. The shiny diamonds are your personality, like the rainbow in the dark, your gifts, light within yourself that you alone can see. Ultimately I think the video to the song must also be a guide in interpreting the sing as it seems to be Ronnie's work as far as concepts and story. He chose the images carefully, the priest with the threatening sword at the beginning is a clear reference to people trying to control you through fear, social or religious conformity. Obviously he regarded the structure of organized religion as being a ruin, but felt that underneath and within, there lies spiritual truth ("between the velvet lies, there's a truth as hard as steel." My final comment is that the vision that never dies, the neverending wheel, is the true self within you slowly guiding you towards your life's work, the realization of dreams and your desires, a recurring theme in so much of this great man's songs. I do not claim my interpretation is correct but at a low point in life once that's what this song meant to me.
2TOP RATED#2 top rated interpretation:anonymous Oct 13th 2009 report
The line Ride the tiger you can see his stipes but you know he's clean means don't dudge something by it's outward appearence. Later he says you can feel his heart but you know he's mean some light can never be seen which alludes to the hidden nature of evil. The song is partially about religion and how there are people pretending to be men of God but aren't. "Holy Diver sole survivor you're the one who's clean but Holy Diver there's a cat in the blue comming after you" again high lighting that you can pretend to be holier than thou but if there is evil in your heart it will catch up to you.
anonymous Feb 27th 2019 report
Holy Diver is a song about another world similar to Earth and a God who created it. The difference is that other world does not give people a choice of good or evil. It's just Evil. Just want to get away...
anonymous May 25th 2018 report
Dio grew up in a Catholic house hold & this song is about his rejection of the beliefs his family tried to force on him
anonymous Mar 3rd 2018 report
35 year fan. Read King James version of your Bible. It's about Satan. No heroin.
anonymous Aug 10th 2017 report
this means refotmed clean christian.. And those he wronged havent forgiven him or something wicked is coming for him be it revenge,held accountablr for being the holy snitch or something of that nature perhaps. christian persecution????
anonymous Jun 26th 2016 report
I agree with ( Suoroboro ) from Apr 27th, 4:13am except for "the neverending wheel" which I take to mean the never ending circle of life. The Sun comes up in the morning and sets in the evening as the world rotates and travels around the sun. In the Spring the grass turns green, the flowers bloom, the crops grow through the summer, to be harvested in the Fall. Its happened last year, it is happening this year and it will happen again next year and the after that.
I hope that I painted my picture well enough for you to see what I mean. If I had Dio's talent for words, I could paint you a masterpiece, but alas, there can be only ONE Master and May he rest in peace and may the World be blessed with his talent once again. *Bows to The Master*
anonymous Jun 21st 2014 report
Holly Diver is Lucifer, Enki-EA, Ptat, Satan. He lives in the deep sea, that's what EA means. Two eyes like diamonds is ANU o Jehova looking for him to kill him. But without no success. (ANu is a reptilian) and Hate Humans, he is the real devil. The true hard as steel is the reality that behind the Christian propaganda Lucifer is the real god creator of mankind and one day he will come and humans will know the truth."You're the star of the masquerade" Lucifer is the real actor of this show and our salvation. But right now Jesus is the coca cola of the word.
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
anonymous May 28th 2013 report
"shinny diamonds like the eyes of a cat in the black and blue" a periscope on a black night over blue water would shine like diamonds if the light caught it right.
"between the velvet lies a truth as hard as steel" under the smooth ocean is a steel sub hunter....coming for you.
"you're the star of the masquerade"
subs were the ultimate stealth weapon.
anonymous May 28th 2013 report
Here is the interpretation. It is about a german U-boat captain. A man that kills hundreds of men in the name of god and his country. Evil to us but. a hero, holy.
"I've been down to long in the midnight sea, what's becoming of me.". killing weighs on his conscious
"ride the tiger, you can see his stripes but you know he's clean"
german U-boats were painted tiger striped. clean-clear conscious in the name of war?
anonymous Dec 2nd 2012 report
I'm going to have to go with the shooting heroin interpretation
Ride the tiger - slang for shooting heroin, the stripes being the measurements on the syringe
Holy Diver - probably slang for the heroin syringe, diving into the "midnight sea" and the effect it brings to you being almost religious in nature/strength for the junkie
Midnight Sea - The heroin itself, typically it's a thick dark liquid
Shiny Diamonds.. black and blue - probably bruise marks, either from breaking the vessels directly for the injection, or from breaking down the cell walls making it much easier to bruise in late stage addiction. the diamonds could also be drops of sweat from perspiration while high or even tears depending on how you want to look at it.
Much of the song feels like an expression of how a heroin junkie might feel, vacillating between reverence for the drug, hiding their addiction from their day life, self deprecation for where it's lead them, and hope that they can still turn their life around.
That said, like most good songs it's layered with meanings and vague enough that people can look into it and see different things. The openness to multiple different interpretations is one of the hallmarks of music from this generation.
anonymous Oct 3rd 2012 report
This is about a martyr or a pious figure, mainly someone who is "pure," their attempted escape from evil and feigned richeousness. Though the theme remains it does vary on the story, a structure used by Dio for story telling through song. It is NOT about heroin or illicet drugs. I am not saying that it is all about the bible. When I look at the first line,"Holy Diver, you've been down to long in the midnight sea, oh what's becoming of me" is see that it is about a richeous charecter that has fallen to the level of the seedy underworld, not necessarily hell but a place of wrong doing, crime-ridden etc. "What's becoming of me?" is a sad wonderment about his fall. "Ride the tiger, you can see his stripes but you know he's clean" is discussing someone who is reformed, his stripes the markings of his wrong doings, knowing he's clean about his reform and bettering as a whole. "Shiny diamonds, like the eys of a cat in the black and blue, something is coming for you" Someone who would ensare him using greed or lust to his advantage, look out simply a literal warning. "Race for the morning, you can hide in the sun till you see the light, we will pray it's alright." They are feeing, trying to escape the night and reach morning, hiding in the sun meaning protected by a false holyness, a group or something representing the use of a front of good to reach an ultimatly evil goal. "Between the velvet lies, there's a truth as hard as steel, yeah, the vision never dies, life's a never-ending wheel, say..." Inside of the comforting false premises there is a core that is absolute and unyielding. "Jump on the tiger, you can feel his heart but you know he's mean." This is about a person who is faithful and a zelot, but someone who will gladly destroy any opposing his beliefs. This song, to me, discusses the false pretenses that appeal and how those are used by some for their own purpose, Holy Wars of sime kind, the line between belief and absolution, extremism.
anonymous Oct 21st 2011 report
Dio himself says in his anthology that holy diver is about a christ like figure and the people he's trying to save are being selfish and trying to keep him there with them when they can't see that he's trying to save them
anonymous Oct 11th 2011 report
While it is tempting to interpret the song as related to drugs, because "riding the tiger" is one slang for doing heroin, I think the message may be more spiritual and mystical, similar to the song Heaven and Hell written by him.
I think the "holy diver" is the soul who is fallen into life/incarnation. Also for me it kind of evokes The Pearl by Steinbeck!
Like in Heaven and Hell, where Dio writes:
The ending is just a beginner
The closer you get to the meaning
the sooner you'll know that you're dreaming
So it's on and on and on, oh it's on and on and on
It goes on and on and on, Heaven and Hell
I can tell
Sounds to me like a personal conviction or insight that rings very similar in this song:
"Between the velvet lies there's a truth that's hard as steel yeah
The vision never dies life's a never ending wheel say
Holy diver you're the star of the masquerade no need to look so afraid jump jump
Jump on the tiger you can feel his heart but you know he's mean some light can never be seen yeah"
"life's a never ending wheel" from this song is a similar image to "they say that life's a carousel" from Heaven and Hell.
Just some sketchy thoughts.
anonymous Aug 22nd 2011 report
Holy diver means he was a commercial diver. Its the theme song for all divers. It means they are the most badass non fearing mothers fuckers around. And they have eyes like a tiger.
anonymous May 20th 2011 report
If I remember correctly there was a kind of Fakir, shaman or holy person in India who fought tigers less aggressive and trained to give a show, at least that's what it´s said in legends, this is what concerns to holy diver; about the meaning of the lyrics I go with what is said of those addicted to heroin
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