MÉFIE-TOI


Collage curtesy of MYNA MORAMENTO RAFI
“Masterpieces are not single and solitary births;
they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common,
of thinking by the body of the people,
so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice.”
Virginia Woolf

Méfie-toi (Beware) is a song # 6 from Mylène Farmer’s fifth studio album, Innamoramento released on 7 April 1999.

The lyrics and music both were written by Mylène Farmer. YES! another Mylene’s creation along with a few we talked before:


Laurent Boutonnat helped with arrangements and production. It’s a lovely, sensitive and “very Mylene” song. With an unexpected depth, it flows very freely and somewhat cheerful in its mood.



“As for this” Méfie-toi”, I was not addressing myself, nor my double or my second self. There, I was referring more to the strong spirit, to the idea that the Soul, that the word is something very important, that wicked deeds and deeds which are material things and both kinds are vain. So, when I spoke of strength, it is more the strength of the spirit that has the top.” (Mylène Farmer – Radio Scoop – 04/16/1999)

“I may need to be accountable; it is undoubtedly true. The “beware” was meant to be threatening and, I believe, it is! ” (Mylène Farmer – Top Music – 04/30/1999)

Reference to Egyptology in the text of the song Méfie-toi:

It took me dead end (the Egyptian Book of the dead) – Give my tongue to the cat (reference to the cats being worshipped as messengers in the Ancient Egypt)- To counter existence – IAO / IAO”

I for Isis (symbol of creation – she also a sculpture on the stage for the Mylenium Tour), A for Apophis (symbol of destruction) and O for Osis (symbol of redemption): the Egyptian trinity which rules the cycle of life.

more on the creation of the Isis sculpture in the Mylenium chapter

There is a reference to the Tarot and specifically to the Major Arcana which contains 22 cards. The number 11 is Justice which is very often portraits as woman sitting on the throne holding a sword (blade) in one hand (signifying the clarity of thinking that cutting through the confusion) and the balanced scale in the other (signifying the weighted and fair verdict).

“C’est la onzième, lame
Majeur est, l’arcane”

“It is the eleventh blade
Major is, the arcane”

The card signifies a universal fairness and that you always in the end receive exactly what you deserve. It is a core of Buddhism which reminds us that everything in the universe must to remain in balance. Therefore, Sanskrit karman (“act”) is a spiritual low which explains certain bad circumstances in once’s life simply as a repayment for the past deeds. And on the contrary, all the fortunate happening might be explained as good Karma (rewards for the past good deeds). Clearly, Mylene believes that its true and reaffirms that she is aware of her Karma.

My karma is persistent
We are according to Buddha
Heir to our deeds

A little more about the tarot. There are a few different Tarot decks out there as you might or night not know. It is also possible Mylene refers to the divinatory tarot which consist of only 22 cards (predecessors of the modern Major Arcana)

The Egyptian tarot is a divinatory tarot whose origin dates back to ancient Egypt, spread around the Mediterranean by the Gypsies (meaning of Egypt), people originally from India. It is likely that was the originator of the Tarot de Marseille, but today there are few traces of this tarot practiced in Antiquity.

However, thanks to reconstructions it is now possible to draw the cards of this divinatory game. Visualization, astrology and numerology are used in the Egyptian tarot (along with all the other newer version of it including the most famous Rider-Waite tarot deck) to answer the questions asked. To know which direction to take, it will be necessary to rely on hieroglyphics.

The Egyptian tarot has 22 cards called blades, divided into seven positive blades, five negative blades and seven neutral blades. The last three blades denote fate.

The eleventh card of the divinatory tarot symbolizes strength and persuasion.

If Mylene in fast refers to the card of Strength in her lyrics, then the strength of the Feminine power is no doubt described here. A woman is taming a wild beast (usually, a Lion and rarely a Tiger) by her feminine Power. It is a lot to be said for this superb metaphor. The power most often comes from gentleness and the spiritual awareness which leads to the unlimited strength.

Female energy is more often seen as a gentle and internalized power as opposed to the male power which historically was dependent on his physical strength or a political power both of which are mortal and don’t come from within but rather from without. Another thing about the Strength card, as you can see the wild beast never actually engaged into the power struggle with the Woman knowing that there cannot be a fair fight. There is an unspoken knowing who is a true master here – the Spirit hence the sign of infinity of a woman’s head.

I am personally a huge admirer of Tarot and have been practicing it for a long time along with other occult disciplines and I vouch that the philosophical basis for the Tarot architypes is unmatched in its wisdom and depth. In many Mylene’s lyrics, I could recognize the certain reminiscence to the certain Tarot denominations, and I believe I even mentioned in my much earlier in the chapter for Rolling Stone

But never have I thought I will actually find a reference to the Tarot spelled out like it is in the song. So, I can’t be happier to find that Mylene is interested in the same spiritual practices as I am. Needless to say I do believe in Karma and although I do not practice any particular religion, I find Buddhism very easy to relate to. It just makes sense.

In the continuity of the previous album, Anamorphosée, Buddhism remains present – but to a lesser extent.

The text of this song directly alludes to it.

“IAO / IAO
My karma is persistent

We are according to Buddha –
Heir to our acts
IAO / IAO”

“To say that it is probably sweeter than other philosophies or religions, that it is probably, at least it was for me, more convincing, that it may just be just a passage in life, but that it is, in any case, interesting to be open to this philosophy. It can heal the soul, it can help.” (Mylène Farmer – MCM – 06/10/2000)

“Today, I am not or little inhabited by this philosophy, and the coverings are a little gone. Now it makes a comeback.” (Mylène Farmer – Radio Scoop – 04/16/1999)

It is just adorable how the song begins with noises corresponding to Mylène entering and settling in the studio: door slamming, footsteps then the headphones for the recording set up before we hear Mylène clear her throat then laugh. At the end of the song, the same elements (or almost) in the opposite direction: we hear Mylène cough, remove the headphones then the recording tape, walk away and slam the door (without bursting into laughter this time).

In the conclusion of the lyrics, Mylene mentions “Virgin iconoclast God, how classy the icon is” . It is another timeless proclamation of the sacred Female.


The lines when she sings the “IAO / IAO”, at first it sounded to me like the old MacDonald song 😊 Since it is so famous her in the US, I though (obviously mistakenly!) that’s what she is mocking



MYLENIUM TOUR



Méfie-toi was sung on all the dates of the Mylenium Tour in 1999 & 2000. Stage arrangements: Yvan Cassar. Choreography: Christophe Danchaud

It was a gorgeous performance!


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Il m'a fallu l'impasse
Donner ma langue au chat
Pour contrer l'existence
I.A.O/I.A.O
Mon Q.I. est tenace
Ma patience: un état
Dompter les apparences
I.A.O/I.A.O
Les chemins sont multiples
Tout est question de choix
Au diable les proses brutales
Les colères homériques
Tout ça n'importe quoi
Il existe arme redoutable
I.A.O/I.A.O

Méfie-toi des puissances
Méfie-toi de l'aisance
Au jeu du corps à corps
L'esprit est bien plus fort
Méfie-toi des puissances
Des vierges sans défense
Leurs forces sont subtiles
La force est féminine

Et quand l'esprit, frappe
C'est un fouet qui, claque
Méfie-toi quand même
C'est la onzième, lame
Majeur est, l'arcane
Vierge Iconoclaste
Dieu, que l'icône est classe, 5.4.3.2

Il m'a fallu l'épreuve
De : c'est chacun pour soi
Avaler des couleuvres
I.A.O/I.A.O
Mon karma est tenace
On est selon "Bouddha"
Héritier de nos actes
I.A.O/I.A.O
Les chemins sont multiples
Tout est question de choix
Et aux paroles mortifères
Mieux qu'une arithmétique
L'esprit fort est le roi
Il règne ainsi sur la matière
I.A.O/I.A.O

Méfie-toi des puissances
Méfie-toi de l'aisance
Au jeu du corps à corps
L'esprit est bien plus fort
Méfie-toi des puissances
Des vierges sans défense
Leurs forces sont subtiles
La force est féminine

Et quand l'esprit, frappe
C'est un fouet qui, claque
Méfie-toi quand même
C'est la onzième, lame
Majeur est, l'arcane
Vierge iconoclaste
Dieu, que l'icône est classe

It took me the dead end
To give my tongue to the cat
To counter the existence
I.A.O/I.A.O
My I.Q. is tenacious
My patience: a state
To tame appearances
I.A.O/I.A.O
There are many paths
It's all a matter of choice
To hell with brutal prose
The Homeric tantrums
It's all nonsense
There is a formidable weapon
I.A.O/I.A.O

Beware of the powers that be
Beware of ease
In the game of hand-to-hand combat
The spirit is stronger
Beware of the powers that be
Defenseless virgins
Their strength is subtle
The strength is feminine

And when the spirit strikes
It's a whip that slaps
Beware anyway
It is the eleventh blade
Major is, the arcane
Virgin Iconoclast
God, how classy the icon is, 5.4.3.2

It took me the test
Of: it is every man for himself
To swallow snakes
I.A.O/I.A.O
My karma is stubborn
We are according to "Buddha
Heir to our deeds
I.A.O/I.A.O
The paths are multiple
It is all a matter of choice
And to mortifying words
Better than arithmetic
The strong mind is king
It reigns over the matter
I.A.O/I.A.O

Beware of the powers that be
Beware of ease
In the game of hand-to-hand combat
The spirit is much stronger
Beware of the powers that be
Defenseless virgins
Their strength is subtle
The strength is feminine

And when the spirit strikes
It's a whip that slaps
Beware anyway
It is the eleventh blade
Major is, the arcane
Virgin iconoclast
God, how classy the icon is


The page last edited July 20, 2022

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