Lazy Sunday lyric post — the pit

All the way down to the bottom
All the way down to the fire
All the way down to the devil
Beelzebub
(To the bottom of the pit, now)

I got sins
Piled high
Wait for me
When I die
Holy love
Dirty deed
You don’t care

All the way down to the bottom
All the way down to the fire
All the way down to the devil
Beelzebub
(To the bottom of the pit, now)

Fire burns
Cold as ice
No more hate
No more lies
Coffin nailed
Dirty deeds
No more life

(“The pit” by moe.)

moe.*  is a “jam band” and I have only ever listened to one of their albums, The conch, which is where this song comes from.  It’s preceded by an instrumental piece called “Tubing the River Styx” which ends with the main “theme” or “hook” or whatever you call it of this song, “The pit.”

The song is maybe five or six minutes long, and very repetitive, apart from a weird bridge that uses some eerie, echo-y sound effects, while the main parts of the song use a fun, crunchy guitar riff.

Anyway the song is not great but it is catchy and it’s germane to my Telengard campaign because lately the party has been exploring a massive, thirteen “level” open pit mine that goes all the way down, descending 666 feet from the start in the “physical space” of Midgard but the bottom is … well I won’t spoil it for my players, a couple of whom read this blog.  I will drop a hint and mention that Heraclitus can be wrong about the the way up and the way down being one and the same. 🙂

De Plancy's Beelzebub

Also: “Beelzebub.”   As you know, this is usually understood to mean “Lord of the Flies,” and is meant to mock “Ba’al” or “Ba’al Zebul,” names for a Philistine god.   “Ba’al” just means “Lord” (in exactly the same sense that “Lord” is used in English versions of the bible) and “Zebul” means something like “heaven,” “high places” (=literally the tops of ziggurauts or other temples? the Bible mentions the “pillars of Ba’al”…), etc. “Bel” is another common title for the gods of the region, and I assume the “el” in Bel,” and the “‘al” in “Ba’al,” share some etymological root with Hebrew’s “El” (“God”).  Most of the Ba’als and Bels you read about were fairly vanilla Babylonian gods, or in some cases demigods born of a human and god, some of them quite similar to the myths surrounding Jesus, oddly enough.  (As fas as I can tell these parallels begin to break down when you consider that Baal is not a mushroom at all.)

A statuette of Baal

But back to Beelzebub — one interpretation is that Beelzebub is literally crap, and thus surrounded by flies (=his followers?).  The Hebrews, according to I Kings, tore down the temples of Ba’al in Tyre and turned the site into a latrine, in an edifying lesson of religious tolerance.  And “Beelzebub,” like all the middle eastern rivals of the mountain god Yaweh, is now counted as a demon or devil (sometimes Beelzebub is THE devil, although more commonly he’s just one of the bigger devils; AD&D made him an arch-devil of course).

The Ba’al of Carthage was supposedly offered the infants of the upper classes in times of duress (Ba’al Hammon = Mammon? = Moloch).  It’s hard to say if all, or any, of these Ba’als are the same guy; probably not.  “Ba’al” just means “Lord.”

Moloch being offered infants

When the Romans were grinding down the Carthaginians in the Punic Wars (especially the third “war” which was very one-sided, as Rome decided to finish off their defeated and humiliated ’empire’), they began to frantically sacrifice more and more of their children to Ba’al/Moloch, hoping that their god would do something, anything, to help them.  It’s hard not to draw parallels with the Aztecs, desperately sacrificing to their gods when European disease & conquest were upon them.

Fritz Lang's Moloch from the film Metropolis

*Yeah, it’s “moe.”, not “Moe” — the idiosyncratic capitalization and punctuation is part of their “thing”

Published in: on June 5, 2011 at 6:00 am  Comments (1)  
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  1. […] access at almost any level, given enough rope.   I posted stuff about it earlier  (also here and here) but wanted to keep the DM tools for it a secret.  Not much need to now.  The guys I game with […]


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