Forgiveness – one of those ideas that is so often preached as one of the keys to peace within. What is it about forgiving that holds so much healing power? How can one make sense of wounds inflicted that make no sense – let alone forgive?
Thinking about the connotations we attach the term forgiveness is something that makes a big impact on whether we carry forgiveness in our hearts or whether we choose not to. And it is most definitely our individual right to decide whether or not we forgive.
Reflecting on the image of the Hanging Man, card number 12 in the Tarot, our view of forgiveness and what it means – in all its raw imperfect and human forms comes swirling around in a gentle pre transforming moment of understanding.
Suspended upside down, in this position that changes our angle of sight, we begin to look at words that mean the same to us as forgiveness; acceptance, letting go, closure, release – refusing to own any residual ongoing pain from the initial wounds, refusing to own someone else’s actions. We catch a view of this bitterness that has held us – or perhaps it is we that have held on to it? We see the futility in holding on to what has occurred and realise that no matter how much anger, sorrow, disgust, or any other emotion or feeling we have in relation to our wounds – it does not make our injuries heal. It does not aid our growth or bring us peace.
For a long time, I misunderstood what forgiveness meant. My upbringing and personal make up always believed that to forgive was to condone or to say that it didn’t matter. Looking from the Hanged man’s position, it was in essence diminishing my rights as a human, saying I was less than. Now that came not from a place of self love and self esteem, but a perception of unconscious unworthiness! When I look further afield in this view I can now see, the word forgiveness is such a compassionate, loving, merciful word about our own experience. It is from a place of self respect and love.
If we are to grow, if we are to be compassionate humans, we must include ourselves in the equation. Often when we resist forgiving, the only person who suffers from this is ourself. We lug around this big bulk of anger, pain, hate, resentment and the rest of it like a nasty old weight that burdens our minds, our spirits, our hearts, and we cannot let go.
And when we suffer like this, it can affect our physical wellbeing too.
To forgive can feel almost impossible at times, especially when we are talking about vile, cruel and heartless wounds inflicted by another, yet it can be done with great work and rummaging through our box of stashed away intangible useless objects that clutter our path to wholeness.
Forgiving is one of the most powerful aspects of being human. It can change the course of our experience. It holds properties of healing beyond what we can achieve while holding resentment and anger in our heart. There are so many amazing thoughts and ideas about forgiving; powerful statements showing the potency of forgiveness.
Perhaps the one that stood out the most was by Nelson Mandela when he said that “forgiveness liberates the soul”. He further states about forgiveness that when we choose not to forgive, we remain imprisoned.
As we surrender to the movement of acceptance, forgiveness and release in the position of the Hanged Man, we will be taking steps to heal and grow as humans, benefitting ourselves and our purpose.