By the final verse the decision has been made. The glass is emptied and
hurled along the road. This reminds me of one of those Russian vodka toasts
where you smash the glass at the end of the session.
I think he is saying "the hell with it all!"
As discussed earlier, verse one is primarily concerned with Peter's integrity
as an artist. Verse two continues this theme while ingeniously introducing
the military imagery that will come to dominate the final verse. In verse
three, Peter brings it all together. The first two verses begin with
prophetic actions. In verse one, the sea goat "casts aquarian
runes" and in verse two he "reads the flight of birds and writes
upon the sand". In the third and final verse...
"The sea goat sips and hurls his glass
The breaking of the glass could signify that the shamanic spell or
state is broken. The prophesying is done. He has, in a state of shamanic
ecstacy, received his messages from the gods and is now back on earth, the
smoke-filled (obscured) road of life. This is the same motif, the rising to
consciousness or birth/re-birth in the material world, used to open the first
four King Crimson albums.
War in the house of Aquarius
The Vietnam war was an almost constant accompaniment to the first four
Crimson albums. In 1968, there were half a million US soldiers fighting in
Vietnam. The 'peace' treaty leading to the withdrawal of the American troops
was signed in January 1973, around the time of the writing of Sea Goat.
Peter Sinfield has addressed the horrors of that war. In
'innocents are raped with napalm fire'.
be applied to the masters of that particularly nasty war.
At the start of this essay we observed that the Tenth House 'is the executive
branch of the government and all means of enforcement, from police to the
military. It is also the seat of upper management in large corporations.
'This provides Peter Sinfield with a context in which to address wider
The focus of the song shifts back to the social and political. A people
corrupted and manipulated by powerful forces can hardly withstand the call to
arms. Chomsky's review of how the American people are led to consent to
overseas wars is very revealing. Consent is manufactured through the creation
of necessary illusions, and this takes us back to the midas oil imagery of
the first verse. The transmuting panacea will soon 'smear their uniforms with
blood, whitewash and woad'
"Where shuttered snakes of brakeless trains
with their load"
"Shuttered", like "smoke-filled", creates
another image of the truth obscured by material reality. In this passage
"snakes" has an obvious negative connotation and
"brakeless" tells us that these "trains" are unstoppable.
In modern society, the inhuman logos, the law or "no one", sets the
"The L-shaped goad", as Peter has informed me, is the
British pound sign (money) and it is "kissed" (worshipped) with
equal fervor by soldiers, musicians, lyricists and the rest of us when we buy
into the world and its deceptive message.
"Which soon will smear their uniforms with
whitewash & woad."
Peter has told me that "blood, whitewash and woad"
represent the red, white and blue of the Union Jack, which brings us back to
the "pointing hand" image. It is actually that of John Bull, the British
equivalent and predecessor of Uncle Sam.
John Bull Recruiting Poster
"This World War I military recruiting poster
demonstrates that more than a century after
independence from Great Britain, in many areas
the United States still copied the mother country.
This British recruiting poster showing John Bull
was produced in 1914 or 1915, before mandatory
conscription began. Both this and James
Montgomery Flagg's Uncle Sam poster are
similar to an earlier recruiting poster showing
Britain's Lord Kitchner.."
". . . soon will smear their uniforms with
whitewash & woad."
For "woad" (a blue dye used as war paint by the Medieval Scots) see
Mel Gibson as
William Wallace (Braveheart). The love of money leads us all into the
Nine 'till Five
rat race where we are bloodied, forced to give up our
true natures (whitwashed) and eventually find ourselves depressed!?
woad=blue! But let us note: only our "uniform" (uniformity) is
affected by the love of money. Where does the play of forms (Maya) end and
true reality begin?
"Damn iron minded, gold braid blinded, officers and
Once again, this is all of us. We all want the gold ring.
"In Aquarius, Christ put
His disciples in touch with the "man, bearing a pitcher of water,"
Aquarius, and in the upper room introduced them to union and unity under the
symbolism of the communion feast. For that feast, humanity is today
preparing, as we saw when studying the last constellation. The astrological
significance of the New Testament is as yet little understood. Christ was
born in Capricorn, fulfilled the law under Saturn, initiated the era of
intelligent brotherhood under Venus and is the perfect example of the
Capricornian initiate who becomes the world Server in Aquarius, and the world
Savior in Pisces, thus completing the round of the zodiac and able to say
triumphantly in Pisces "It is finished."
The tone of the Sea Goat's song becomes messianic, which is consistent with
the astrological idea of the 'world server'.
He returns to the world where
he lives to teach others.
"And in the tenth and final picture, called Entering the
City with Bliss-Bestowing Hands, or In the World, it shows them now in an
enlightened stage, walking, smiling, meeting others, this portrays the
situation of one whose personality is completely transformed. He goes, and
everything he touches, the trees, the blossoms -- so that's, to me, the
difference between unity and wholeness. Unity is a transcendent state of
no-differences, no-dualities. But wholeness means everything is included, and
therefore you can function out of that unity and then that enlightened stage
is able to give to others, also what the Buddhists call the
"bodhisattva", who foregoes going into a unitive state, and devotes
him or herself to the enlightenment of all sentient beings."