Into the Mystic

Today I received an opt-in text notification that the flu vaccine had finally arrived at a nearby drug store.

Being the responsible folks we are, both over 60, wanting to protect any vulnerable folks we might come into contact with (as limited as it seems that will be for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19, but hey), Sweety and I registered online and then headed to the pharmacy to get our shots. Then we shared the vaccine availability with close people. 

After we had our jabs and hung around the obligatory 15 minutes to make sure we didn’t have adverse reactions, we hopped back into the car. On SiriusXM’s The Bridge, the Northern Irish musical icon Van Morrison began belting out “Into the Mystic.” I don’t know what the song is supposed to mean and have never taken the time to really analyze it, but it always gets me feeling really good and grateful whenever I hear the song. I read a little about it, and it’s said to be about a spiritual quest.

Morrison said this about the song: “‘Into the Mystic’ is another one like ‘Madame Joy’ and ‘Brown Eyed Girl.’ Originally I wrote it as ‘Into the Misty.’ But later I thought that it had something of an ethereal feeling to it so I called it ‘Into the Mystic.’ That song is kind of funny because when it came time to send the lyrics in WB Music, I couldn’t figure out what to send them. Because really the song has two sets of lyrics. For example, there’s ‘I was born before the wind’ and ‘I was borne before the wind,’ and also ‘Also younger than the sun, Ere the bonny boat was one’ and ‘All so younger than the son, Ere the bonny boat was won’ … I guess the song is just about being part of the universe.” (from Celtic Crossroads: The Art of Van Morrison, by Brian Hinton, Sanctuary, 1997

The explanation makes sense and fits for the way I receive the song, especially today, while I’m still fresh from my weekend retreat and a follow-up Google Meet call with two fellow participants with whom I genuinely enjoy spending time.

“Into the Mystic” is not a complicated piece; there are no multi-layered effects… just some good, heartfelt, down-to-earth soul music.

I think I’ll leave it at that and let the music speak for itself.

Here’s the “official vinyl version” from the album Moondance (1970), in a 1999 remastered version (it sure brings out the “foghorn”!) on the Rhino Entertainment YouTube channel:

No other cover I’ve heard comes close to the magic of Morrison’s passionate vocal, though a Canadian singer-songwriter and producer from Regina, Saskatchewan, Colin James, who got his big break opening for Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1984, plays a darned respectable cover in this version, recorded live by Toronto, Canada radio station Q107:

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