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A Perfect Circle - Orestes - Lyrics Meaning

Orestes is a song from the band's 2000 release, Mer de Noms, which is French for "Sea of Names". The song is about loss and letting go of a loved one. The lead singer Maynard James Keenan, was dealing with the difficult issue of watching his mother slowly pass away from a terminal illness and the subsequent decision to remove her from life support when he was writing this song. The title and lyrics to the track loosely refer to the Greek mythological figure of the same name that killed his mother Clytemnestra after she murdered his father Agamemnon for sacrificing Clytemnestra's daughter Iphigenia.

In the first verse, Keenan is speaking to his mother and refers to "your perfect circle" as her womb where they were one being before she gave birth to him. Then he asks for the resolve to make the decision to remove her from life support and free them both from the horrific decision he knows he must make and from her worldly pain. The chorus describes cutting an umbilical cord, which is a metaphor for pulling the plugs on his mother's life support systems and shutting down her machines.

Toward the end of the song Keenan begs for "one more medicated peaceful moment" which means he wants to share one final moment with his mother before the plugs are pulled and her earthly body begins to die. Keenan has said the song is a direct interpretation of the emotional barriers he had to overcome in order to let his mother pass away.

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