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Yes, There Are Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins' Oceania, Part 2: The Name

St. Charles's Church

Here we are in Part Two of my series on the Judeo-Christian themes in the Smashing Pumpkins' 2012 album Oceania. Last week, I looked at the second track, "Panopticon," the concept of the seeker, and God's rewards for those who seek Him. This week, I'm backtracking in terms of album order and looking at the opening cut, "Quasar."

"Quasar" roars right out of the box with a driving beat and charging guitars. It's a challenging piece of music, shifting tempos and time signatures but always rocking hard. Leader Billy Corgan issues a charge:

God right on!

Krishna right on!

Mark right on!

Yod He Vau He Om

Let's ride on!

Right on!

Let's ride on!

I love the trade off between the phrases "Right on!" and "Ride on!" - but my focus in this post is on the fourth line there. Remove the Dharmic mantra Om from the end of the line and we see a powerful and integral part of both Judaism and Christianity - the name of God.

Yodh He Vav He (יהוה‎)are the Hebrew letters which make up the Tetragrammaton - the Hebrew abbreviation for the sacred Name of the God of Israel. In Roman letters YHWH make up the Tetragrammaton. The Name of God is so holy in Judaism that observant Jews dare not speak it. Some Christians have pronounced the Tetragrammaton as "Jehovah" or "Yahweh," but neither are quite right. I found this superb explanation in the Urban Dictionary, of all places:

This codified form was not meant to be pronounced as is, rather it means "think Yahweh, say Adonai". This was done based on the idea of Rabbinic Judaism that it is better not to say "Yahweh" at all rather than to take a chance on saying it in vain.