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Heartbreak, Grief, Anger: One Pagan View of Justice


The above was my status report upon leaving Oakland City Hall yesterday evening. Having been denied entry through the massive doors of the city council hall, some of us sat down on the hard marble floor at the base of the grand stairs, and at the feet of the police designed to keep us away from the rest of the crowd. We sat to meditate and pray. Up above us, people chanted and shouted, shaking the space with raised voices, piercing whistles, and sheer presence.

Occasionally, their chanting would hit a rhythm that caused me to raise my arms in prayer, to rock, spreading wings of energy through the dome of City Hall. Those around me also prayed: Muslim, Quaker, Buddhist, Christian. At one point half a thought entered my communion with the crowd, the space, my Gods, it was a sense that underneath all of this anger, grief and heartbreak coiled.

I can feel that myself – particularly in cases of injustice – which is why the centering and opening practices of meditation and prayer feel so helpful to me. They offer me a way through, a wider perspective, a deeper sense of things, a clearer connection.

Our hearts feel broken, not only from the killing of these parent’s son, but because we feel failed by the very people who are supposed to act in good faith, and hold our trust. We feel grief because a black person in the U.S. is estimated to be killed by police every 40 hours. Alan Blueford is one more. This makes us angry. This makes us cry for justice.

Earlier, during the rally outside the District Attorney’s office before we marched to City Hall, one of my Christian Interfaith Tent compatriots led us in a rousing prayer. Not only did she ask God of Many Names to send us love and understanding, but she asked, of course, for justice. I was struck by this because for me, Justice is a force unto itself: the balancing of Ma’at. Justice is a Goddess: Justitia. Justice is not something bestowed. When I do work for justice, I call for a rebalancing in the Tree of Life. I call upon Justice itself.

Ma’at shows us when things are out of balance. We can sense it, in every particle of soul. We also have the ability to reach out and attempt to rebalance the cosmos, beginning with the weighing of our own hearts. We are bound together in the unfolding of time and space. In remembering this, we re-member our community.

I have said that the only curse I am willing to level is that of justice, because justice is something I am willing to bear.

When imbalance enters our families, our communities, our nations, and our hearts, how do we redress it? How do we call upon the justice that restores us to health, to rightness, to that which feels true?

We will each have our own answer to those questions. My main wish is that we start from heart and center. That we weigh ourselves –– knowing that we are within, and not outside, the forces of imbalance –– and that we reach out to help each other heal.

Heartbreak tells us that something feels out of alignment in the world: a hole has been rent in the cosmic order, large or small. These holes, luckily, can be repaired. Sometimes all that is required is time and patience. In other moments, action is the right way through.

Justice cannot come from just one person. Justice only enters through the whole. As my wings of light spread yesterday, I  imagined sparks of justice and compassion touching every person gathered there, bringing us all one step closer toward the state of love.

We are all in this together. Today, I am with you in love.

Blessed be.


If you have your own answers to some of the questions I raise in this piece, I would love to hear them. The more we can think about these things together, the more help we offer the community at large.

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