A part of me really felt like the most appropriate thing to say today is…silence.
But I’m a chatterbox by nature, so I guess staying silent isn’t for me.
Instead, maybe this is a good time to reflect on what this three year anniversary means. I’m not huge into numerology, but the subject does fascinate me on a rudimentary level. Here were some interesting facts I found on the website Crystalinks.com about the number three. I began to think of how we might apply some of these to our observation of Michael’s three year death anniversary.
Actually, I prefer to think of it as the three-year anniversary of his evolvement into another state of existence, one in which he is removed from the pain of this life. Michael himself described it as returning to “Bliss.”
From Bliss I came
In Bliss I am sustained
To Bliss I return
If you dont know it now
Its a shame (my emphasis)
Are you listening?-Michael Jackson, Excerpt From “Are You Listening?”
Some interesting facts on the number three (boldfaced terms are my emphasis). Note: This is all taken directly from the Crystalinks website.
It’s roots stem from the meaning of multiplicity. Creative power; growth. Three is a moving forward of energy, overcoming duality, expression, manifestation and synthesis. Three is the first number to which the meaning “all” was given. It is The Triad, being the number of the whole as it contains the beginning, a middle and an end.
The power of three is universal and is the tripartide nature of the world as heaven, earth, and waters. It is human as body, soul and spirit. Notice the distinction that soul and spirit are not the same. They are not. Three is birth, life, death. It is the beginning, middle and end. Three is a complete cycle unto itself. It is past, present, future.
The symbol of three is the triangle. Three interwoven circles or triangles can represent the indissoluble unity of the three persons of the trinity. Others symbols using three are: trident, fleur-de-lis, trefoil, trisula, thunderbolt, and trigrams.
The astral or emotional body stays connected to the physical body for three days after death. There is scientific evidence that the brain, even when all other systems are failing takes three days to register complete shutdown. (This part is very interesting indeed! What might Michael have experienced-what might he been aware of-those three post-partum days between the 25th and the 27th/28th? Of course, given that his autopsy was conducted by Friday the 26th, perhaps there was no opportunity for any lingering, physical attachment of consciousness to his body. But it does raise a lot of interesting questions. Could he have known he was passing into another form of existence? Did he have a chance to tell his children good-bye, even if only via that lingering physical consciousness? And what would he have said to us, the fans, to the world, if he could have given voice to those thoughts?).
There are 3 phases to the moon. Lunar animals are often depicted as 3 legged.
Three is the heavenly number, representing soul, as four represents body. Together the two equal seven (3+4=7 ) and form the sacred hebdomad. (Most serious numerologists who also happen to be MJ fans are already well aware of the special, personal significance that the number seven held for him). The 3×4=12 representing the signs of the Zodiac and months of the year.
Pythagorean three means completion.
There are three wishes, genies have three wishes, three leprecons, three prince or princesses, three witches, three weird sisters among others.
Arabian, Pre-Islamic: the Manant is a threefold goddess representing the 3 Holy Virgins, Al-Itab, Al-Uzza, and Al-Manat. They are depicted as aniconic stelae, stones or pillars, or as pillars surmounted by doves.
Buddhist: tradition the theme of 3 is represented by, The Tri-ratna, The Three Precious Jewels, and the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha.
Chinese: Sanctity; the auspicious number; the first odd, yang number….The moon toad, or bird, is three-legged.
Celtic: Bridgit is threefold; there are the Three Blessed Ladies and innumerable Triads, often a threefold aspect of the same divinity.
Christianity: Three represents the Trinity, the soul, the union of body and soul in human in the church. There were three gifts of the Magi to Christ as God-King-Sacrifice; three figures of transformation, temptations, denials by Peter (one of the 12 Apostles— 12=3 (1+2=3). There were 3 crosses at Calvary, He died on The Hills, there were 3 days to the death process for Christ, and there were 3 appearances after his death. There were 3 Marys, and there are 3 qualities or theological virtutes being Faith, Hope, Love or more commonly known as Charity. The number 3 gives to the meaning the embracing Godhead – Father, Mother, Son/Daughter.
Egyptian: Hermetic tradition, Thoth is the Thrice Great, ‘Trismegistus. The Supreme Power.
The opening line of the Emerald Tablets of Thoth the Atlantean:
Three is the mystery, come from the great one,
Hear, and light on thee will dawn.
In the primeval dwell three unities,
Other than these none can exist.
These are the equilibrium, source of creation,
One God, One Truth, One Point of Freedom.
Three come forth from the three of the balance,
All Life, all Good, all Power.
Three are the qualities of God in his light-home
Infinite Power, Infinite Wisdom, Infinite Love.
Three are the circles (or states) of Existence:
The Circle of Light where dwells nothing but God,
and only God can traverse it,
The Circle of Chaos where all things by nature arise from Death,
The Circle of Awareness where all things spring from Life.
All things animate are of three states of existence,
Chaos or death, liberty in humanity, and felicity of Heaven.
There is an ancient wisdom that’s says; ‘Messages or events that come in three’s are worth noticing. ‘Whenever anything is mentioned three times it is a witness to us that these things are of utmost importance.
So much New Age mumbo-jumbo, or some real kernels of wisdom and truth here? That is something everyone must decide for themselves. Nevertheless, I think those passages I boldfaced are quite interesting when we apply them to this third year anniversary. Most of us spent the better part of that first year still reeling from the shock of June 25th, 2009 and trying to digest/assess the loss. There were so many unanswered questions (still are), but far and above that, we were still dealing with that huge, vacant hole that had been ripped into our hearts, souls, and minds. For those of my generation, it just didn’t seem conceivable. A world without Michael Jackson in it? It just didn’t seem real. Michael Jackson wasn’t supposed to be one of those “dead icons” like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, James Dean or even John Lennon. It was too soon. We weren’t ready.
By the first year anniversary in 2010, a lot of us were still in that place of raw numbness. But for many of us, that was also our year of discovery, of learning who the man Michael Jackson really was. Then the anger set in. By the second year anniversary in 2011, we were a fanbase steeped in chaos, distrust, and seething for justice.
So where do we stand as this third anniversary approaches? Conrad Murray has stood trial and has been convicted. It feels like a small justice, but many of those unanswered questions remain just that-unanswered. The chaos hasn’t abated, but continues to deepen.
Yet if the traditions of the number three are any indication, this third year may mark the start of an important healing process. For most of us, the tears have dried; the shock has abated (although yes, there are still those times when it will hit me all over again, like a knife in the gut, that he is no longer with us in the flesh. Sometimes there are those little ripples of temporary excitement, such as when This Is It came out, or when a newly released song charts again, and we can somewhat partly relive the excitement of old times-before the reality hits once again). It has gotten easier to accept that we’re living in a post-Michael Jackson world, but as I’ve said before, it is a colder and harsher world.
But as we face this third year anniversary, I have noticed another trend as well. Even as it seems more fans are finally drying their eyes, and choosing to turn away from the negativity and chaos (for many, I know it has meant some difficult personal choices) many are also moving forward with more determination than ever to carry on Michael’s legacy, not through grieving him endlessly, but in celebrating his life-and more importantly, by carrying on the humanitarian work that was so important to him.
To those of you who have been bullied by non-understanding friends, spouses, and family members; those of you who have been chided with, “When are you going to just let go of this dead guy?” remember, here is the beauty of it:
You don’t have to let go. It’s okay to hang on. To some extent, at least. The beauty that was Michael Jackson’s life, music, and spirit is still something to be loved, treasured, cherished, and celebrated. It’s not as if we’re hanging onto a dead body, refusing to allow it to be entombed (now that would be creepy, yes!). But as Michael said he would, his essence has simply returned to Bliss. It’s shameful that the actions of Conrad Murray, and perhaps others, hastened that journey. But Michael not only gave us permission to hang on long after his evolvement into Bliss; he, in fact, told us that it was all just part of the dance and that the tragedy would be, not in hanging on, but in letting go:
Ever the same
From Bliss I came
In Bliss I am sustainedJoin me in my dance
Please join me now
If you forget yourself
You’ll never know how
This game is played (my emphasis)-Michael Jackson, Excerpted From “Are You Listening?”
I believe that with the passing of this third year anniversary, we may finally start to experience what has been a long-delayed healing process. This anniversary is, according to the teachings of numerology, the completion of one cycle. The number three is the sacred joining of the spirit, soul, and body. Three years ago, we gave up the body-that shell that we (as fangirls, wink!) so loved to drool, giggle, and blush over; that dynamic body that could dazzle a stage like no other. We grieved the loss of that body because it encapsulated Michael Jackson as WE knew him, and the only way we had ever known him. We grieved that loss as surely as Katherine Jackson grieved the loss of that physical body that emerged from hers.
We grieved for the spirit that was crushed by injustice, and we have seen our own spirits severely tested through some very dark times.
But as this third anniversary approaches, it will be the soul that ultimately heals, and allows us to move forward. Michael Jackson is dead physically, yes.
But his Bliss remains. So this June 25th, crank up the music; dance to Thriller; find a revealing pic of The Gold Pants and giggle; re-read Dancing The Dream; eat a barrel of greasy KFC; cry and laugh with your MJ friends, whether in real life or in cyberspace. Do what you have to do.
However, keep in mind that the world will move on. It’s not what we do on June 25th, 2012 that ultimately counts, but what we do for the world and for each other come June 26th, 2012 and every day thereafter.
In the ocean bed of Eternity
Stop this agony of wishing
Play it out
Dont think, dont hesitate
Curving back within yourself
Just create just create-Michael Jackson, Excerpted From “Are You Listening” (boldfaced my emphasis).
Lastly, in honor of June 25th, I want to leave you with a song that will not leave my mind today. It is not from Michael, but rather, another of my favorite artists: The band Joy Division, with lyrics by the great Ian Curtis (who himself died after committing suicide at only 22 years old). However, as I am sitting here thinking of Michael’s journey from the physical to that of Bliss, this song seems eerily and hauntingly appropriate. I have heard (source unconfirmed) that Curtis wrote this song about a real-life neighbor of his, a mentally ill child whose entire life was spent within the confines of his parents’ yard. The boy, according to the story, never left his parents’ home or front yard. Years later, when Curtis visited his old neighborhood, he found that the boy, now an adult, was still confined to his parents’ house. So it seems that Curtis, who empathized with this child’s pain and isolation, would certainly have understood Michael’s empathy for the suffering and pain of afflicted children, left alone to struggle in darkness and despair. But more than that, it is-despite its somewhat dark and melancholy air-a song that celebrates the journey into “The Eternal,” and its release from those physical bonds that confine it.
Or as Michael called it, returning to “Bliss.”
Lyrics to “The Eternal” by Joy Division:
Procession moves on, the shouting is over,
Praise to the glory of loved ones now gone.
Talking aloud as they sit round their tables,
Scattering flowers washed down by the rain.
Stood by the gate at the foot of the garden,
Watching them pass like clouds in the sky,
Try to cry out in the heat of the moment,
Possessed by a fury that burns from inside.
Cry like a child, though these years make me older,
With children my time is so wastefully spent,
A burden to keep, though their inner communion,
Accept like a curse an unlucky deal.
Played by the gate at the foot of the garden,
My view stretches out from the fence to the wall,
No words could explain, no actions determine,
Just watching the trees and the leaves as they fall.
And finally, these words from “Adonais”:
Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep!
He hath awakened from the dream of life.
‘Tis we who, lost in stormy visions, keep
With phantoms an unprofitable strife,
And in mad trance strike with our spirit’s knife
Invulnerable nothings. We decay
Like corpses in a charnel; fear and grief
Convulse us and consume us day by day,
And cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay.-From “Adonais” by Percy Shelley
The great words of Percy Shelley, written for his friend John Keats nearly two hundred years ago, ring just as true today for Michael Jackson, and are a fitting admonishment to keep in mind. Michael is gone, in a sense, but is “not dead.” Three years ago, he was merely awakened from the dream of life. We have been the ones lost to “decay like corpses in a charnel;” we have been the ones who have allowed “fear and grief” to “convulse us and consume us day by day.” And in so doing, have allowed room for all the chaos and, if we’re honest with ourselves, much of the bitterness that has resulted
Just this morning, I saw to my dismay that Michael’s gurney photo is featured on a website called Bestgore.com. Now, yes, we could moan and protest their lack of taste and decency; we could demand that they remove the photo. But in the end, I think it would be a futile effort. That photo (along with the even more gruesome autopsy photo) are “out there”, and part of the public domain now. As I said several months ago, right after the Murray trial, this is something I have more or less made my peace with:
I came to realize that seeing Michael’s dead body was not the worst thing that could happen. I feel worse for the indignity to him and to his family. But for me, personally, the gurney photo gave me a feeling of strange calm, peace, and…maybe closure. The body is only a shell, after all. My first thoughts were: Nothing can hurt him now, or ever again.
I use this as an example to say that, while the dirty business of the world and of the living goes on, Michael is-as the old cliche’ goes-in a much better place. He has become part of The Eternal.
As I send out this post, I am also sending out a prayer. It is a prayer that this, our third year without Michael, will finally be the start of true healing and acceptance. May the anger of these last three years start to heal; may those who are still hurting begin to find solace and peace. I pray that all of us who loved him, be it fans or family, his friends or his children, can finally start to look forward without bitterness or fear or regret. I pray that this will mark the true turning point in our return to equilibrium and balance.
It does not mean we have to let go, but rather, that we can learn to embrace this for the new beginning that it is. Michael left so much unfinished work that needs to be done-for the children, for the planet, and for us.
John Lennon once said, when asked of his feelings about the Beatles’ break-up and the fact that fans would mourn it as a death, “The records are still there if they want to reminisce.” In other words, remember if you must. But we’re moving on with our lives.
We will have Michael’s music forever. It is the one constant that will always be there. We cannot hold on indefinitely to something that is no longer ours, but as Michael said in “Are You Listening,” he will still be with us, and very much a part of us. It’s just that we might be too busy looking in all the wrong places to notice. It is finally time, not to continue hanging onto Michael Jackson, but to absorb him into every atom and molecule of our being.
June 25th, 2012-this third year anniversary-we can choose to continue mourning the flesh, and hanging onto all its resultant decay. Or we can celebrate the Bliss.
It’s up to us.
UPDATE (06/26/12): A lovely commemorative video from Peter McEnany at Snagfilms.com. Remember, no matter what you might hear some people say, Michael was loved! Never forget that. For me, the most poignant part of this video is at 2:40, when it shows the fans who have gathered outside Forest Lawn Mortuary during the private viewing for the family. Michael’s body is then transported from there to the Staples Center. You can hear one of the fans say, “The service is over; they’re putting him in the hearse right now.” Here is the link (sorry, am unable to embed it at this time):