Earth, Wind & Fire – “Serpentine Fire” Lyrics meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Serpentine Fire” isn’t just a catchy tune; it’s a journey into self-discovery and spiritual awakening. At its core, the song explores the power of love, energy, and personal growth. The ‘serpentine fire’ serves as a metaphor for an inner force that drives us towards bettering ourselves, battling the negative influences that stray our mind. The songwriter penned this masterpiece as a reflection on the transformative power of love and self-discovery, emphasizing that one’s life gains new meaning when directed by positive energies.

Ready for a lyrical deep dive? Keep reading to unravel the mystery of “Serpentine Fire.”

“Serpentine Fire” Lyrics Meaning

When the song kicks off with “When I see your face like the morning sun you spark me to shine,” it immediately sets the stage for an exploration of influence and inspiration. The ‘morning sun’ symbolizes a new beginning, and the person or idea it refers to ignites a spark—the serpentine fire—that drives the narrator to excel.

The lines “Tell all the world, my need is fulfilled and that’s a new design” reveal the transformative effect this inspiration has on the individual. This ‘new design’ could mean a refreshed outlook on life, energized by newfound purpose.

But wait, the song takes a slight detour with “But when I’m away, influences stray my mind to disagree.” The struggle is real; the serpentine fire has its adversaries—negative thoughts or influences that can throw you off track. It’s a battle inside, and when you’re distanced from your source of inspiration, doubt and negativity can creep in.

It’s not all gloom, though. The chorus, “Gonna tell a story morning glory all about the serpentine fire,” serves as an anthem of empowerment. It’s like saying, ‘Hey world, listen up! I’ve got this powerful force within me, and I’m gonna harness it.’

“Negative wins when I give in and then I lose the test” shows the ongoing struggle with this inner fire. It’s not a one-time victory but a constant battle, especially when not fueled by the ‘morning sun,’ or that initial spark of inspiration.

The final lines, “Surely as life begun, you will as one battle with the serpentine fire,” sum it all up. This fire, this inner journey is universal—everybody has to contend with it at some point in their life. You’re not alone in this battle to maintain your best self.

The Story Behind “Serpentine Fire”

The genius behind this classic is Maurice White, the band’s founder and spiritual guide. When he wrote this song, he was deeply influenced by spirituality and the exploration of inner worlds. White was fascinated by Eastern philosophies and the concept of Kundalini, often represented as a ‘serpent fire,’ which aligns perfectly with the song’s theme.

White penned this song as an anthem for self-awareness, for the journey each one of us is on, struggling with our own inner fires. It’s a testament to the power of love and inspiration to guide us through life’s challenges. The song beautifully captures the essence of what it feels like to be energized by something greater than ourselves, urging us to embrace and share our own serpentine fires.

Expanding on the spiritual journey that inspired “Serpentine Fire,” it’s important to understand that Maurice White wasn’t just an entertainer; he was a philosopher in his own right. During the period this song was created, the late ’70s, America was in a phase of self-discovery, too. With the civil rights movement still fresh in the collective memory and new age spirituality becoming popular, people were searching for inner peace and greater meaning.

White wanted to add to this collective conversation through his music. He viewed Earth, Wind & Fire not just as a band but as a medium to communicate larger ideas about spirituality, unity, and personal growth. “Serpentine Fire” serves as a testament to this ambition. By blending elements of jazz, pop, rock, and R&B with underlying themes of spirituality, the song is a sonic melting pot, just like the diverse culture it was born into. This intricate blend enriches the listener’s experience, making it a timeless piece that continues to inspire generations to explore their inner worlds.