What does Building a Mystery mean?

Sarah McLachlan: Building a Mystery Meaning

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Album cover for Building a Mystery album cover

Song Released: 1997


Building a Mystery Lyrics

You come out at night
that's when the energy comes
and the dark side's light
and the vampires roam
you strut your rasta wear
and your suicide poem
and a cross from a faith
that died before Jesus came
you're building a mystery

You live...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    #1 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
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    Dec 21st 2016 !⃝

    It's about narcissism. They come out at night, when the vampires roam. They're fucked up and we wish we could save them.
    His belief is his own self, that's the faith that died before Jesus came. The energy comes at night (the light: they're attracted to it as moths are drawn to light: the light represents the light of their victims). The suicide poem is their self absorption and their constantly talking about themesleves: they build up false illusions of idealized love, completely unable to love, with flattering words during the so called love bombing phase: although they suck the energy out of us, they end up being alone and lonely, thus the suicide poem (their words can kill but they also kill them). The voodoo dolls represent the souls such individuals choose carefully (often empaths or emotionally wounded victims with a narcissistic "injury"). The narcissistic features are confirmed by the line "you give us a tantrum and a know it all grin": they always seem to know everything whereas we know nothing, with our opinion which often is considered useless by them.

  2. anonymous
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    Oct 5th 2023 !⃝

    I always thought the cross from a faith that died before Jesus came was a reference to the Egyptian onk

  3. anonymous
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    Jul 20th 2023 !⃝

    According to Sarah at a live performance in 1997, the song is “basically about the fact that we all… have insecurities to hide, and we often do that by putting on a facade.”

  4. anonymous
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    Feb 16th 2021 !⃝

    I've listen to this song a million times. Sarah is describing a warlock. The line "And a cross (the pagan cross) from a faith that died before Jesus came" clearly is a reference to Wicca. The man is a warlock struggling between intentions that are at times are good or evil...."Can you look in the window without your shadow getting in the way?" Light flows through a window and means life and love. The Shadow "getting in the way" meaning hate and destruction.
    Also, "You come out at night. That's when the energy comes and the darkside's light and the vampires roam." White witches and warlocks cast their spells at night where those of darkness cast their spells during the day.
    In general the song speaks to the struggles we all face. It is also about anyone who is a non-conformist..."wear sandals in the snow." Building a Mystery is one of my favorite songs because it is completely unique and speaks of the mystery's of life and the paranormal that flows through it.

  5. anonymous
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    Jan 16th 2021 !⃝

    I think this song is about a sociopath. They're very charming, and secetive a manipulative. They cause people hell in their lives,and have no remorse for the people they hurt.And if you're involved with one, leave ASAP! They're very dangerous, carming at first, but then become very abusive and violent.

  6. anonymous
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    Jul 27th 2020 !⃝

    Sarah said it herself, the song is about people having a facade. She goes on to say that people should just be themselves. The song has Nothing to do with satanism.

  7. anonymous
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    May 3rd 2019 !⃝

    One severe failure of the above interpretations is accentuated by the wonder of joy Sarah experiences when she finally discovers where the "mystery" is revealed--in the curtain or tapestry of lights-- he has drawn from lights in the outside world. You cannot find lights at night thus he comes out at night to find them. He takes them from multiple places and protects them to weave or sew them into his curtain of lights, his world that he builds to show and yet hide the beauty inside himself. He is to an extent with minimal hope yet he goes on finding lights and building his mystery. He does not take the little girls cake or her birthday away but one light, one little candle, because it provides so much light from that one tiny source. All of the light images in the curtain he weaves are small, yet each reveals great light. He is something of a master seamster and magician weaving and revealing his performance at one and the same time--as when he is staring directly at whomever would look, draws back yet one more thread in his curtain of lights--and the lights are very bright when focused on him.
    The voodoo dogs reference is almost too obvious and all of the above interpretations are dead wrong. The "voodoo dogs" are gargoyles that were affixed Gothic church structures and cathedrals. Their "intent": was to ward off, to frighten away evil spirits. He lives when demons are kept at bay, as he comes out (goes out) at night briefly on a "suicide mission" (suicide poem) to find the lights to continue his creation of a mystery--which Sarah is drawn to find, and again, is delighted to see, Sarah is drawn to him and does not understand why she is drawn to what is seemingly a dark figure only to learn that he is building his mystery of lights.
    This man is not narcisstic, he intends the lights to be found. Otherwise he would have locked fast the door and Sarah would never be able to sneak in and find his creation. He is sad and depressed man determined to create his art and bring beautiful lights into a dark world likely intending only the one person to ever see them.

  8. anonymous
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    Sep 18th 2017 !⃝

    Narcissism ,plain and simple every verse describes these self absorbed evil men and women. Truly a masterpiece... demons do exist , if your with one , get out ....

  9. anonymous
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    Sep 18th 2017 !⃝

    Narcissism ,plain and simple every verse describes these self absorbed evil men and women. Truly a masterpiece... demons do exist , if your with one , get out ....

  10. anonymous
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    Nov 13th 2014 !⃝

    Ridiculous, it's about narcissist men, the syndrome, and the way their behavior, self centeredness and deceit resembles the mythical vampire.

  11. anonymous
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    Apr 25th 2014 !⃝

    It's about satanism or if you prefer, Mystery Babylon.
    -dark side's light
    -a cross from a faith that died before Jesus came
    -you sleep with voodoo dolls
    -You woke up screaming aloud a prayer from your secret god


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