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Druidry: The Power of Forgiveness

Druidry: The Power of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is often held up as the spiritual thing to do.

However, if you’ve read any broadly Celtic myths, you’ll know that it doesn’t feature heavily in those traditions. Where does that leave us as modern Druids?

While going on an epic revenge quest and dying tragically makes for a good story, it doesn’t make for a good life. What stories we have of the ancient Druids indicate that they were peacemakers in a culture that could be quite violent– at least some of the time. Forgiveness is often key to peace. However, the forgiveness that allows harm to continue isn’t a basis for real peace at all.

Sometimes we have to decide whether to forgive or stay angry. There isn’t a neat answer to this that will work in all situations.

Ask what it’s costing you to stay angry. Also ask what it would cost you not to stay angry. Protect your boundaries, and if the reasons to be angry continue, forgiveness is not an answer.

Ask what good forgiveness could do. What would it allow? Could you move forward in some meaningful way if you were able to forgive and put it behind you?

For me, it matters a great deal whether someone asks for forgiveness. If someone owns a mistake and apologises then normally I would want to forgive them and move on. Not so much if they keep doing the same things and apologising, beyond a certain points that’s just manipulative. The person who wants forgiving but has no intention of acting responsibly or sorting anything is someone I am unlikely to keep dealing with.

Often when people hurt us it isn’t deliberate, or about us. Accidental harm is something I will tend to forgive, along with bruises to pride and stuff that is unfortunate and uncomfortable. When it’s obvious that people were doing their best, or what they needed to do for their own wellbeing, I don’t usually take it personally.

We  all normally make exceptions for children and teens. But then, a person who is young, learning, dealing with wild bursts of hormones and so forth, needs the room to make mistakes and try again. I’ve also done a lot of forgiving around other people’s mental health issues in the past, but not always. Sometimes I’ve needed to act to protect myself.

Compassion is always a consideration, I think. That includes acknowledging what you can bear, and not seeking to martyr yourself in difficult situations. Declining to forgive can be a learning opportunity for someone who is not acting in a fair or responsible way. Forgiveness can, in some situations, turn into enabling. It’s not easy to call that, and these are seldom comfortable decisions to have to make.

There are no hard rules about when we should forgive, and for Druids there is no rule that we are supposed to always forgive. Sometimes it isn’t the answer. Some things are truly unforgiveable, and we’re seeing a lot of that on the world stage at the moment.

Credit

druid life

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings.
Credit: druidlife.wordpress.com
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