Murders and attempted murders were gashed across this nations soul this weekend in an outrageous scene of violence in Orlando Florida at the Pulse nightclub. Over 50 souls were extinguished in one of the most horrific ways possible, and over 50 more were injured physically in this mayhem. The number of people who have been injured that did not have physical wounds is beyond counting. The wounds that each of those rounds tore into the emotional soul of this nation’s heart are catastrophic.
This is beyond the measure of a hate crime. This is more than an act of terror. This does not hide in the mantle of only being the actions of a lone disturbed person. This is a spiritual perversion and sickness that has gripped the minds of so many in these times. That depravity of spirit is HATRED.
Make no mistake. Do not try to tie this up in a pretty little bow and vivisect it into pieces in order to make it fit whatever soundbite is most handy at the moment in the media. This is hatred, pure and simple. And it is alive, well, and spreading like the wings of death across this great nation.
The United States, contrary to popular revisionist beliefs, was founded by people who were human beings with the mind that this collection of souls, flesh, and bones would be able to be a place of sanctuary and sanity for all persons to be able to hold their ideas without persecution or violence because of them. This is not what we have become. Instead, we have become petty, mean, and intolerant. We have embraced the bigot, the scorner, the dogmatist and made them supreme. The incense of lies and fear creates a twisted kef that intoxicates the believers of this misery into a stupor of dangerous stupidity.
In our efforts to facilitate so much instantaneous validation of every position, we have neglected the child of promise that is the ingrained ability to declare what is right and what is wrong. The rights of myself end at the tip of my fellow man’s nose, as do theirs. This means that if I find my beliefs do not have accord with theirs, that all can go forth in peace and security without that disagreement leading to the evil of offering violence and bloodshed.
Guns are not the villain here. Nor is it just about mental illness. This is not about whether one religion is any more violent than another. And it is absolutely not about the supposed agenda that many are stating is the objective of the non majority populace. I will not give the name any space here. No, none of these. The true scion of this chaos is the spirit of hatred that we have formed into an egregore that feeds upon us at this time.
The right to love, and be loved. The right to marry or not marry. The right to be in our truths, live our lives no matter the gender, sexual orientation, religion, creed, or other identifying factor that makes us a living soul is not up to anyone to judge to be a death sentence.
Some of the names of the murdered are
Stanley Almodovar III, 23
Amanda Alvear, 25
Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33
Antonio Davon Brown, 29
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
Luis Daniel Conde, 39
Cory James Connell, 21
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22
Paul Terrell Henry, 41
Frank Hernandez, 27
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25
Kimberly Morris, 37
Akyra Monet Murray, 18
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34
Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33
Martin Benitez Torres, 33
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
Luis S. Vielma, 22
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31
The murderous fiend who committed this atrocity pledged allegiance to ISIL. But that is not the whole of this matter. The forces of wickedness in this world use whatever vehicle for rationalizing their actions that resonates most handily. And while that vile darkness in the world claims this person, who I will not name – for names give power and life – it means no more than a wind above a charnal pit glorifying itself of the reeking odor of rot.
No, this is not just about any one thing. If not by gun, it would have been by explosive. If not explosive, it would have been by fire. If not by fire, then by individual ways, a hundred, a million, a billion moments of death that would find their way to visit into the lives of the innocent. This is the power of hate, this is the allure, this is the relentless onslaught of fear of the “other”.
And this is not us. This is not what we believe as a nation. This is not what we believe as people of faith. This is not what we believe as souls, as humans, as spirits incarnate in this miracle called life. No, this is what happens when evil is fed, cherished, and allowed to grow wild in the gardens of our souls. Each of us is as beautiful and haunting as the most precious rose in our uniqueness. That is what makes this country beautiful.
Today, there is blood on the roses. It may be invisible to the naked eye. But there are droplets of stolen life in our garden. And we the gardeners must take heed to remove the roots of these weeds of hatred lest they destroy us all.
As Pagans, as Humans, we know what it is to be different. And we know that there is danger in celebrating that when evil would snuff that light of what makes us each real and holy and unique in the way were fashioned by the God, or Gods, in which we believe. No label, gay, straight, bi, trans, poly, mono, black, white, atheist, theist, liberal, conservative, or any other label changes that we are here, we are stars, and we deserve to be the gift that is our life in this world.
Today, I implore you to look to your neighbor, your coworker, your friend, even your enemy, and see the light in their eyes and the love in their souls. I beseech you to embrace this in your heart like a flickering flame of recognition, and cherish that face and form before you for what it is. See a person made of miracles who has the ability to love and be loved, a life.
And this week, in some small way, cherish the roses and know that for each petal, somewhere a new day is being born for those who do not live in hate. Know that as you read these words, even in grief and mourning, some small part of each of these people lives on in all of us.
This love and life will beat back the hate. It will strangle it out with love among these roses. For our thorns are sharp, and rend away the teachings and corruption that seek to stamp us out. Those whirlwinds of war and violence that try to bury us, to make us cower in fear. We will not be afraid. From the dusts of oppression and terror, we will rise anew.
This week, we wear the rose.