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Pandora's Aquarium

Lyrics by Tori Amos

Pandora
Pandora's Aquarium
she dives for shells
with her nautical nuns
and thoughts you thought
you'd never tell

I am not asking you to believe in me
Boy I think you're confused
I'm not Persephone
foam can be dangerous
with tape across my mouth
those things you do
I never asked you how

Line me up in single file
with all your grievances
Stare but I can taste
you're still alive
below the waste
ripples come and ripples go
and ripple back to me

Pandora's
Pandora's aquarium
she dives for shells
with her nautical nuns
and thoughts you thought
you'd never tell
Line me up in single file
with all your grievances
Stare but I can taste
you're still alive below the waste
ripples come and ripples go
and ripple back to me, come back
back to me

I am not asking you to believe in me
Boy I think you're confused
I'm not Persephone
She's in New York somewhere
checking her accounts
The Lord of The Flies was diagnosed as Sound


Tori Quotes

I use a lot of symbology, so if you dive into the symbol world, you'll have a better idea of what's going on. You have to go into the myth of Persephone to really understand what I'm talking about: You have to know that the Lord of the Flies is another word for Hades, and that Hades captured Persephone. It's the rape of Persephone; that is her myth. And she became queen of the underworld and couldn't leave for half the year... But did she choose to stay by eating the pomegranate seed? Did she know the rules or did he trick her? [New Jersey Star Ledger - November 20, 1998]

You know when you've cried and cried, and you really can't cry anymore, so you're very quiet? I started hearing the water. And "Pandora" -- the last song on the record -- came to me. She was sort of warning me that there are so many feelings under the rocks that I needed to turn into. She told me, "You need to dive into this one, Tori, because your healing is there. Once you go, it's a whole new journey, but you've got to metaphorically leave this little dock and come with me to find out what's really in this ocean of feelings." So I did. And that's where I met these songs. [Alternative Press - July 1998]

I couldn't chase after something that wasn't going to manifest itself in the physical. I didn't become a mother, although I owned life, I couldn't go back to being that person I was before. And yet... I knew that there was some primitive agony of women losing their children that I had to dive through. And believe it or not, "Pandora" took me by the hand and came first. It took me by the hand, drug me under, and all of a sudden, we were off. [Cincinnati Enquirer - July 17, 1998]

Well all in all about, I started writing right after I miscarried, and I miscarried on December 23, 1996, which obviously, the angel was on the tree and the whole bit. So soon after that the songs started to come, thank God. And "Pandora" was the first one to come, not in her entirety, but she started to come. She came off the water. I was staying on the river, and the water was a large part of this record. I would spend hours on the water and seeing how the sea transformed itself, knowing that I had to transform myself from a woman who had lost a baby to a woman who was grieving, to a woman who had to find joy in life again. So the songs began, I guess you could say, early January and the album was finished in February of 1998, ready to be re-mastered. [The Inside Connection - June 1998]

Because I have a lot of songs in my life that come with archetypes intrinsic to their own myths, I feel as if I've been able to try on many different archetypes. So much so that it feels like a Pandora's box of archetypes sometimes. But not all of them figure in to my personal myths. Of course, they do when I step into the jeans of a song and take on that archetype in performance, whether in the studio or onstage. But I had to separate archetypes that I play with and that, yes, may affect me but are not foundational in my personal myth. Just as I had to accept Rhiannon as one of the pieces that make up my core person. I also had to realize that I am more aligned with Demeter than with Aphrodite, or even Persephone, who seemed like an archetype that I could claim. Even though there is a violation and a rape involved in my life, that story isn't my core. For example, Persephone is Beenie's myth. (Beenie is Nancy Shanks, one of my closest friends. We've developed the habit of calling each other "Beenie," stemming from the expression "Do you know what I mean, bean?") . . . by making her wound her wise wound, she has transmitted her multiple rapes and betrayals into a fabric that is a piece in the rich tapestry of Persephone, Queen of the Underworld. Beenie is no longer only the ravished, victimized Kore (Greek for "maiden"). Together Demeter and Persephone are maiden, mother, and crone. [Tori Amos: Piece by Piece - 2005]


"Pandora's Aquarium"
August 5, 1998 - Albany, New York




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