Ghost, Mary on a Cross: the lyrics and their meaning

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Ghost are among the most enigmatic and complicated musical realities of the last decades, and Mary on a Cross is one of the most analyzed songs in their repertory. The track was released in 2019 and is still popular among hard rock fans. It’s a song that requires a deep analysis and leads to multiple interpretations: this article will guide you through the song’s meaning and provide the full lyrics at the end.

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You can find the full streaming of the song below.

Ghost - Mary On A Cross (Official Audio)
Watch this video on YouTube.

Mary on a Cross: inside the lyrics and their meaning

Mary on a Cross is a song full of double meanings that hide behind the religious figure of the Holy Mary. According to the occult universe of contents typical of the Swedish band, there are many possible interpretations, and none of those meanings are actually religious ones.

The chorus is the apotheosis of the song’s multiple allusions:

You go down just like Holy Mary, Mary on a, Mary on a cross
Not just another bloody Mary, Mary on a, Mary on a cross
If you choose to run away with me, I will tickle you internally
And I see nothing wrong with that

“Going down” is usually slang for going on your knees to give oral sex. The comparison with the Holy Mary is blasphemous, as the Holy Mary was on her knees to pray for Jesus. At the same time, the repeated “mary on a” could send a different interpretation, as it sounds very similar to the word “marijuana.” From this point of view, “going down” could also refer to getting high with weed (another line in the song supports this interpretation, we will get there in a minute). “Mary on a cross” could therefore refer to cross joints, a particular way to smoke marijuana. Internal tickling can also have a double interpretation: it can be a sexual allusion (we don’t need to explain all the different ways sex can tickle someone from the inside), or it could be the effect of being high.

There is a couple of lines in the lyrics of Mary on a Cross that come back often:

But through all the sorrow, we’ve been riding high
And the truth of the matter is I never let you go, let you go

Those lines may support the weed interpretation, and “riding high” could refer to the altered status you get after smoking weed. The other interpretation relates to the story that the band’s characters wanted to build: they went through different adventures, enjoyed the ups and downs, and then realized that they would be together forever, living as outlaws. This is supported by the lines in the song’s beginning and the second verse:

We were speeding together down the dark avenues
But besides all the stardom, all we got was blues

We were scanning the cities, rocking to pay their dues
But besides all the glamour, all we got was bruised

We were searching for reasons to play by the rules
But we quickly found out it was just for fools

For many, the meaning of the last two lines is again a reference to weed, which is banned in Sweden: realizing that trying to follow the rules is “for fools” would mean that they understood that weed needs to be part of their life, even though it’s illegal.

On the other hand, also this part of the chorus has multiple interpretations:

Not just another bloody Mary

It might mean “we are not talking again and again about the Holy Mary in the Bible, our Mary is different” (according to Ghost’s occult universe), or it could be a profane reference to the famous cocktail placed next to the reference to the Bible character. According to someone, though, there is a more advanced interpretation to this: “not another bloody Mary” could refer to a woman that won’t have menstruation again, meaning that she’s pregnant. The two characters will have a baby due to their close relationship.

Based on all these interpretations, the real meaning of the lyrics inside Mary on a Cross has multiple faces: the song is built in a way that always offers an interpretation related to smoking weed, a story about the adventures of the band’s characters, and the blasphemous contrast that profane stories make next to religious topics. That’s why fans still love it.

Read other popular song lyrics meaning on Auralcrave

The complete lyrics

We were speeding together down the dark avenues
But besides all the stardom, all we got was blues
But through all the sorrow, we’ve been riding high
And the truth of the matter is I never let you go, let you go
We were scanning the cities, rocking to pay their dues
But besides all the glamour, all we got was bruised
But through all the sorrow, we’ve been riding high
And the truth of the matter is I never let you go, let you go

You go down just like Holy Mary, Mary on a, Mary on a cross
Not just another bloody Mary, Mary on a, Mary on a cross
If you choose to run away with me, I will tickle you internally
And I see nothing wrong with that

We were searching for reasons to play by the rules
But we quickly found out it was just for fools
Now through all the sorrow, we’ll be riding high
And the truth of the matter is I never let you go, let you go

You go down just like Holy Mary, Mary on a, Mary on a cross
Not just another bloody Mary, Mary on a, Mary on a…

You go down just like Holy Mary, Mary on a, Mary on a cross
Your beauty never ever scared me, Mary on a, Mary on a cross
If you choose to run away with me, I will tickle you internally
And I see nothing wrong with that

(Mary on a, Mary on a cross) Nothing wrong with that
(Mary on a, Mary on a cross) Nothing wrong with that
(Mary on a, Mary on a cross)
(Mary on a) Mary on a cross