Ireland’s banshee, now singing with angels.
Ireland’s banshee, now singing with angels.
It was twenty years ago today.
On November 22, 1997, Australian rock star Michael Hutchence was found dead in a Ritz-Carlton hotel room in Sydney. His death was ruled a suicide, although family and friends have continued to dispute this.
The question remains: What would cause a young man, at the top of his game, a wealthy international superstar, a new father, much loved by family, friends and the public, to take his own life?
But maybe there is more to this story. The human mind is a complexity, full of perceived tragedies and horrific imaginings. There are dark nights of the soul when problems explode and life simply gives no mercy.
Hutchence was apparently in the middle of one.
Michael Hutchence was born in Sydney, Australia on January 22, 1960, to working class parents. The family lived in Hong Kong for much of Michael’s childhood, but returned to Australia in 1972. Michael joined a rock band with his friends the Farriss brothers when he was just 17 years old. That band was eventually named INXS. They rose to fame and fortune in the 1980’s and 90’s. Some critics consider INXS to be one of Australia’s finest bands.
They had a fresh, funky sound, exemplified in their best selling album ‘Kick’. Writing team Andrew Farriss and Michael Hutchence came up with catchy pop songs as well as deep and soulful ballads. The six talented musicians included horn, keyboard and saxophone players. None, however, could match the illustrious Hutch on stage.
As the band’s lead singer, he had a seductive voice, plenty of feral cat moves, and a Mick-Jagger-like star quality that is rarely duplicated. Anyone who saw Hutch in concert was hooked. And I mean anyone! Men, women, young, old, straight, gay, no matter. All went gaga for Hutch.
In 1994, Hutchence began having an affair with celebrity Paula Yates, who was then married to another famous rock star, Bob Geldoff. Eventually Paula divorced Bob, but what followed was a nasty custody battle that apparently made everyone miserable. In the meantime, Hutch and Paula also had a child of their own, a daughter named Tiger Lily. Legal issues forced Paula to remain in England, continually separated from Hutchence.
Hutch had also experienced a terrible head injury which reportedly left him with a bunch of physical ailments, including loss of his sense of smell. These difficulties were exacerbated by the fact that the band was, by then, losing its star status, no longer filling stadiums and playing to smaller crowds. According to some, Hutchence had entered the dreaded realm of (gasp!) “aging rock star”. (At the ripe old age of 37.)
I know! Who makes these dumb rules?
Michael Hutchence’s corpse was found at 11:50 AM on the morning of November 22, 1997 in the Sydney Ritz Carlton. He died alone. Friends and visitors had been partying with him in the hotel room as late (or early!) as 5AM the same morning. Allegedly the activities included lots of alcohol and unnamed drugs. Strangely, no coroner’s report was filed as to which substances Hutch actually had in his body when he died. The official cause of his death was strangulation by hanging.
But there is another side to the story. By many accounts, Hutch was a bit kinky. He may never have intended to actually kill himself, but was merely involved in a few rounds of autoerotic asphyxiation.
This story gets even sadder. Three years later, Paula Yates died of a drug overdose, leaving Tiger Lily an orphan. Bob Geldoff became her legal guardian. She recently began a modeling career, no doubt owing a lot to her father’s gorgeous looks.
Michael Hutchence remains one of the great, gone too soon artists. On this day we honor him. Here, INXS perform a patchwork of their song ‘Mystify’. Hope you like it!
Hutch Rock In Peace!
My body was rife with boils and scabs, the pain constant, like blue fire to an open wound. My own hands were clamshells, too stiff and weak to aid myself. My sisters, Martha and Mary, dressed my inflamed skin in cool gauze and oils, yet it did no good. I wished only for death.
“He, Yeshua, the healer,” Martha told me, her young face riddled with lines of worry. “He shall be back. It was his promise to us.”
“You speak of the Rabboni?” I could barely gasp the words. My breath was fast vanishing.
I moved my stiff body, a near corpse, against the straw mattress. It cut like a blade. No miracle worker could help me, that I knew. The pox gripped and I was well beyond healing. Yet I had not the heart nor the strength to say this aloud, knowing it would crush my sisters’ hopes.
“It is told the Rabboni has walked on waves in the sea of Galilee,” Mary continued. “He calms the ocean’s storms. In Canaan they talk of the man who has changed water into wine. In Tiberias they talk of the man who fed a multitude with only seven loaves and two fishes. Such are the miracles of Yeshua bin Joseph, and he has stated his undying love for us.”
Drivel and nonsense! My mind screamed but my voice could not utter it. I was thirsty, very thirsty and my head burned with fever. Martha pressed a wineskin to my lips but its taste was bitter as gall. The liquid burned in my swollen throat. “You must drink brother,” Martha said. “So as to stay quick till the Rabboni arrives. It is then he will cure you and you shall be whole once more.”
I let out a sigh in as much as my breath would permit it. Whole. Did I want to be whole ever again?
Illness is a mad thing. It steals one’s will. I was a young man, younger than the Rabboni, who was three and thirty years. These miracles my sisters spoke of meant little to me. I followed no god, paid Caesar no tithes, was beholden to no man. Death was inevitable. When my time came I had always known I’d accept it.
Not so with my sisters. Their faith was constant as rise of the sun. They’d not give up hope. Mary sat at the edge of my mat, her hands folded in prayer. “When I am gone,” I began, but could not continue as I saw the tears trickle like silent rain from the corners of her eyes.
“You will not be gone brother,” Martha called. She brought bread from the village and begged me to eat but its taste was dust, my ulcered mouth too weak to chew.
Night fell. Finally my sisters ceased their fussing and took to bed. I was relieved.
Through the bare windows of our hut I saw the moon rise. The first full moon since change of the season. Desert winds were now calmer and pink phlox grew like spun silk across the land. The heat of summer would not be far behind, yet I knew I’d not live to see it.
I closed my eyes. Sleep enveloped me like a womb.
When I awoke it was yet night, the moon outside the window full and pink as the phlox that grew beneath it.
Stars twinkled all around. I could feel the breeze, balmy against my bandages. Oh, to breathe that air once again! To stand beneath that full moon. If I had but one last request, that would be it. Yet I had such little strength.
Rising on my blistered feet, I grabbed the wineskin, tried to drink but still the taste was bitter. Martha’s loaf of bread sat upon the table, now covered with locusts. The sight of it turned my stomach.
My breath was heavy. I longed for the night air. I stood on shaky legs. Although I had been bedridden for weeks I now walked outside, compelled by some force, a force as powerful as the moon’s diamond tides.
It was there in the rich darkness that the woman met me.
She was naked, illuminated in the moon’s glow, her skin and lips pink, with streams of red hair hair that fell to her hips.
“Lazarus,” she said. “Your time is not yet come. Though your body is diseased and imperfect, you are still a young man. The years ahead are many. Your sisters need you. If you will show but a tiny seedling of faith you shall be healed.”
Such perfection I had never seen in a woman before. “Who are you?” I asked.
“Come nearer,” she answered.
I approached her and when I was cheek press close she whispered in my ear, “Lillith.”
I backed away. Lillith! It was she who had cursed the earth, she who had left her husband Adam, she who brought death to one hundred babies each day. This Lillith, a demon! A vixen! So said all the holy books. My instincts were to flee. Yet when she spoke again, her voice like rich bells beckoning me, I could not refuse.
She placed her hand upon my forehead. Her touch was cool and soft, like moonbeams themselves. “You’d do well not to believe the legends of men!” she quipped.
She then took me into her bosom, placed her teat to my mouth. “Drink, Lazarus,” she commanded. “This is the milk of life, stronger than any wine.”
Her taste was sweet and as I drank I felt my strength restored. The boils healed on my skin, the ulcers vanished from my mouth. My fever broke and my head cooled. My muscles, which had begun to atrophy, now took on a new suppleness and flexibility. I stood to my full height. My vision was sharp and clear.
I looked around me. All the ground seemed brighter, the plants green as pine, the flowers grown to the size of wheat fields. The colors were dazzling. Silver rivers flowed, sheep grazed, trees were ripe with apples. Far in the distance the landscape sprung with all manner of vegetation, the lavender fields a sea of purple before us. We were no longer in Bethany.
“What is the place, my lady?” I asked. My voice was now deep, restored of its full volume and masculinity.
“This is but a fragment of Eden,” she answered. “And you are here for but a fragment of time. Answer when Yeshua calls. He weeps for you. There is so much more of your life to live.”
The next I knew I was in a tomb, rock walls encompassing like a prison around me. I was clothed in linen, my head wrapped and eyes covered. This seemed quite absurd as I had never felt fitter in my life. They had buried me? Buried me alive, no less! I unraveled the gauze from my eyes.
Just then the tomb’s boulder was moved. A path opened and yellow sunlight poured in. I heard his voice, sturdy and pleading. “Lazarus, come out.”
Slowly I stepped from the tomb, earth warm on my bare feet. Mary and Martha ran to my side and embraced me. “Brother,” Mary said. “Never did we lose our faith. Though we buried you four days ago, it is as he promised. You live!” Her face was wet with tears of joy.
Four days? Surely she was wrong, for I had been with Lillith but a moment! Only long enough to drink the milk from her breasts and glimpse paradise.
“Remove those burial linens and let him go,” Yeshua instructed.
Later, as we dined together at our table he leaned in to me and whispered in my ear, “Tell no one of Lillith.”
“But why, Rabboni?” I asked. The woman Lillith had been a vision, a hope and a miracle. I longed to share my story.
“They will crucify me for this,” Yeshua answered. “If they learn the source from which my power comes it will be even worse. You’ll endanger your sisters. You’ll endanger all of womankind. This world is not yet prepared for the Truth.”
I heeded his words and told none of my visit with Lillith.
My sister Mary then took an alabaster jar filled with our finest perfumed oil. She anointed Yeshua’s feet and dried them with her own hair.
The men criticized her. The one called Judas Iscariot rose and gestured wildly. “This fine perfume could have been sold and its money given to the poor!” he bellowed. “Yet Mary has wasted it on the Rabboni’s feet! She is sinful.”
My sister, unperturbed, continued her anointing.
“Leave the woman alone,” Yeshua commanded. “She is preparing me for my burial. The poor will be with you always, but I am destined to leave you soon.”
All were silent at this. He was correct. When the Sanhedrin heard of my resurrection, they became even more suspicious of him. A bounty was put on his head and the one called Iscariot betrayed him for thirty pieces of silver. He was arrested the following Thursday at the garden of Gethsemane.
The very next day Yeshua bin Joseph was crucified, nailed to a cross with a crown of thorns on his head. He died at Golgatha and was buried in a nearby tomb.
Like me, he arose from that tomb. Like me, he never told anyone of his encounter with Lillith.
As time went on many were persecuted. Women were burned at the stake, hung and murdered for their gifts of healing , elemental powers and necromancy. It was not until millennia had passed that the Enlightenment came.
The world was then ready for the Truth.
He was the youngest of the Beatles, reportedly ‘the quietest’ and also perhaps the most spiritual.
George Harrison was born on February 25, 1943 to working class parents in Liverpool England. He was the baby brother of three siblings. According to legend, he fell in love with rock & roll after hearing Elvis Presley’s song ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ playing from a neighbor’s window. In 1958, at the tender age of fifteen, George auditioned for a band called The Quarrymen, led by two lads named John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Because he was so young, John thought it best he not join the band, but George wormed his way in, hanging around rehearsals and making himself so available they could not refuse him. That band, of course, was eventually renamed The Beatles. George’s age came back to haunt him when the Beatles played their first gigs in Hamburg. George was too young to legally work in Germany and got deported back to England. He rejoined the band after his eighteenth birthday and the rest is history!
Raised as a Roman Catholic, George sent himself on a spiritual search that lasted his entire lifetime. As the excesses of materialism and the rock & roll lifestyle mounted, George became desperate to fill the hole of the soul with more substantial things. He explored Hinduism, Buddhism and transcendental meditation. He, along with the other band members, traveled to Rishikesh India and studied under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
George also became interested in Indian music and culture. He learned to play the sitar under the tutelage of Ravi Shankar. This influence changed his western perspective and reshaped his life.
George Harrison died of lung cancer on November 29, 2001. His last words on his death bed were “Love one another.”
Ironically, whatever afterlife George found himself in, he still lives on in this physical world. The astronomer Brian A. Skiff, working out of the Anderson Mesa Station, located in the arid fields of Flagstaff Arizona, happened to discover an asteroid. He named that asteroid after George, the 4149 Harrison!
This interview, recorded in 1997 for VH1 was George’s last public appearance. He speaks wise words of life, death and spirituality.
Give Me Love – a song that I feel must sum up George’s philosophy. Hope you like it!
Music needed no translation violin bittersweet, saxophone bold, drum heart and the xylophone shining.
Color needed no translation red passion black mystery, bridal white, yellow and the sun’s bread of life.
Grief needed no translation, desolation, dull eyes, empty breath forever broken in its lonely void.
Love needed no translation, a wink a smile a steady gaze, gripped kiss raw flesh, leaving only grace and desire.
The aftermath was easy. For me there was no blood, no guts, no cleanup. I merely escorted them to the place they had longed for, the world they had envisioned but yet remained unseen by them. I gave them the utopias they were incapable of achieving within their waking lives.
The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was perhaps my easiest case. Similar to Abraham and John Fitzgerald, he knew beforehand he was to die, having taken on such a gargantuan and dangerous task. Indeed, when I took John Fitzgerald from the convertible car in Dallas Texas, Martin realized his fate already. He immediately said to his wife Coretta: “This is what is going to happen to me also. I keep telling you, this is a sick society.”
Martin was right on both counts. The society was sick. My duty was inevitable.
Humankind amazed me. They had such an immense capacity for love. Their enormous striving and goals were honorable, but perplexing. The altruistic visions of many were squashed by the hatred and destruction of a few. Love and fear battled fiercely, and at that time fear won. Evil forces conspired against Martin.
He was a man of peace, one who studied the works of Mahatma Gandhi, one who determined that real change could only come about in the human world through peaceful protest and non violence. Martin was, of course, unarmed when he happened to walk out on his balcony of the Lorraine Motel on that evening of April 4th, 1968.
I arrived long before it happened, my own consciousness informing me of what was to occur.
I watched in silence as Martin breathed in the hot Tennessee air. The evil ones had already gathered around him, their slimy presence palpable to me though invisible to the human eye. Their odor was putrid and their deadly intentions sent a shiver down my spine.
“Why did you not intervene, Azrael?” you may ask me. “Why did you not save him, block the shot, do what was well within your power to do?” This is a question I have encountered many a time. But intervention was not my duty. Aftermath was my duty.
I still remember how the gunshot blasted through the pink Memphis sky, just as the gold sun set upon its horizon. I heard that shot loudly, and I shuddered, for even angels have ears. We too know terror. There was the seeping of blood as the bullet bolted through Martin’s cheek and I hastened to take him from the pain of his physical body. The ambulance arrived, rushing him to Saint Joseph’s Hospital where doctors would pronounce him dead within the hour.
Later the people were brought to their knees in grief. There would be protests and rioting, Martin’s death inciting the very violence he so abhorred. Yet humankind felt justified within this violence, for what more could they do?
The world of 1968 America was not ready of the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King. And so I took him from it.
Most would lay the blame upon a man named James Earl Ray. James Earl would be given a prison sentence of 90 years. But he was not the real shooter. Many knew this. Coretta knew it, wise woman. She is with Martin now, so in case you’re wondering, you can set your mind at ease. Justice is as justice does, though the laws of humankind are often corrupt. Nonetheless, all righting of wrongs is achieved on the karmic wheel. It matters not who pulls a trigger. The shot that struck Martin was delivered by not one, but a vast array of organizations.
The humans are peculiar creatures. Whenever one of them seeks truth, it is a government which ITSELF claims to be truthful that engineers their demise. So it was with Abraham, with John Fitzgerald and his brother Robert. So it was with the one called ‘X’, so it was with the one called Lennon, and so it was with Martin.
In America they kill their best.
The plot to kill Martin was deep and intricate, spreading its grimy tentacles across countries and governments. It involved CIA operatives, FBI leaders, Illumanati and Mafiosa, those so steeped in corruption that their lives were nothing more than power and greed. These are the Reptilians, the dark forces that dwell among you. They are known by many names. Beware them, for their mission is as old as earth itself. In as much as an angel can hate, I have hated them, for they have brought grief upon many a soul.
I cradled Martin gently in the soft April night. He was unused to his body of spirit, although his faith was deep. He was not even surprised to see me. I can still picture his smile, dazzling but expectant, the exquisite light in his eyes. He had always known me.
“Where will you take me, Angel?” he asked.
“To the Promised Land, of course,” I answered. “After all Martin, you had a Dream.”
He still watches you from dimensions exponential. He sees his vision achieved in a world much alien to planet earth. He still hopes that one day this piece of heaven will be brought to his America, that people will measure one another not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character
Humankind, I am told, have a long way to go.
“Free at last, they took your life, they could not take your pride.”
It is a day shrouded in superstition and fear. Supposedly it is the most unlucky day of the year. It created a cottage industry of movie franchises, which I’d say was pretty lucky for Jason, Freddie Kruegar and certain Hollywood moguls…
Nonetheless, many people have a specific fear of this day. So many, in fact, that apparently we now have a medical term for the phobia known as ‘fear of Friday the 13th’. That term is known as ‘paraskevidekatriaphobia’. (I can’t pronounce it either.) This term was apparently coined by one Dr. Donald Dossey, a phobia specialist. According to Dr. Dossey, paraskevidekatriaphobia is the most widespread superstition in the United States today. Some people refuse to go to work on Friday the 13th; some won’t dine in restaurants and many wouldn’t dare have a wedding on this date. My my my. But it wasn’t always like this.
In many pre Christian and goddess worshipping cultures, Friday and the number 13 were not so bad. In fact, they were actually very lucky
To the ancient Egyptians, for example, the number 13 symbolized the joyous afterlife. They thought of this physical life as a quest for spiritual ascension which unfolded in twelve stages, leading to a thirteenth which extended beyond the grave. (This explains why they had such elaborate burial and embalming rituals.)
The number 13 therefore did not symbolize death in a morbid way, but rather as a glorious and desirable transformation. Interestingly, the 13th card in the Tarot deck is Death, which often represents not a physical death but a transformation, a chance for change or an opportunity to release what no longer serves us.
When Egyptian civilization perished, the symbolism of the number 13 was, unfortunately, corrupted by subsequent cultures. Thirteen became associated with a fear of death rather than a reverence for the afterlife.
The number 13 has a unique association with the Divine Feminine. Thirteen is said to have been revered in prehistoric goddess-worshiping cultures because it corresponded to the number of lunar (menstrual) cycles in a year (13 x 28 = 364 days). The ‘Earth Mother of Laussel’ is a 27,000-year-old carving that was found near the Lascaux caves in France. She is an icon of matriarchal spirituality. The Earth Mother holds a crescent-shaped horn bearing 13 notches.
Primitive women kept track of time by the passing of their menstrual cycles and the phases of the moon, as well as the change of seasons and the wheel of the year. However, as the solar calendar, with its 12 months, triumphed over the 13 month lunar calendar, so did the ‘perfect’ number 12 over the ‘imperfect’ number 13. (But note that they really had to discombobulate those 12 months, giving some of them 30 days, some 31 and poor old February with 28, to make the 364 days…) Twelve became the sacred number after that, with, for example, 12 hours of the clock, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles of Jesus and 12 signs of the zodiac. Thirteen became unpredictable, chaotic, untrustworthy and evil.
Friday (the Sixth Day) also offers a unique connection with the Divine Feminine. The name ‘Friday’ was derived from the Norse goddess Freya (or Frigg) who was worshiped on the Sixth Day. She is a goddess of marriage, sex and fertility.
Freya/ Frigg corresponds to Venus, the goddess of love of the Romans, who named the sixth day of the week in her honor “dies Veneris.” Friday was considered to be a lucky day by Norse and Teutonic peoples — especially as a day to get married — because of its traditional association with love and fertility.
As the Christian church gained momentum in the Middle Ages, pagan associations with Friday were not forgotten. Therefore the Church went to great lengths to disassociate itself with Friday and thirteen. If Friday was a holy day for heathens, the Church fathers felt, it must not be so for Christians — thus it became known in the Middle Ages as the ‘Witches’ Sabbath’. Friday became a big deal in the Bible. It was on a Friday, supposedly, that Eve tempted Adam with the apple, thus banishing mankind from Paradise. The Great Flood began on a Friday. The Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday. Christ was crucified on a Friday, PLUS, there were 13 attendees at the last supper, the most infamous of course being the betrayer, Judas Iscariot.
Interestingly the sacred animal of the Goddess Freya is the cat (probably a black one) which also became associated with evil as Christianity began to encompass the Western world. Freya then became known as (you guessed it!) an evil witch, and her cats were evil as well.
Various legends developed around Freya, but one is particularly pertinent to this post. As the story goes, the witches of the North would observe their sabbat by gathering in the woods by the light of the moon. On one such occasion the Friday goddess, Freya herself, came down from her sanctuary in the mountaintops and appeared before the group.
The witches numbered only 12 at the time. Freya joined the circle, making the number 13, after which the witches’ coven — and every properly-formed coven since then — comprised exactly 13.
So, on this Friday the 13th embrace the luck and grace of the Goddess Freya! Pet your cats, engage in some moon-gazing, celebrate love and fertility with your significant other. Rest assured, the Divine Feminine is with you and there is nothing to fear