Forgiveness does not make you morally superior.

I want to take a moment to offer some advice I gave to a good friend of mine a little over a month ago. It seemed to help him immensely and, if it can help others, I think it’s worth sharing.

While present nearly everywhere, I find that the concept of forgiveness as some kind of elevated morality particularly rampant within the pagan and witchcraft community. We become coaxed into believing that forgiveness is the only way to some sort of metaphorical pagan-esque enlightenment, that it will somehow make us better human beings. Forgiveness is seen as this catch-all solution that will make us feel happier and less weighted down by the pressures of the world. This often goes hand-in-hand with “love and light,” which I’ve ranted about ad nauseam here.

I’d like to present an alternative viewpoint: Being your most authentic self is true weightlessness…

To read more, click here.

 

About the Author

Marietta has been a nontheistic witch for over 15 years. She's the Circle Coordinator for Circle of Fountains, the volunteer photographer for the Kansas City pagan community, and the writer behind WitchyWords.com since 2012. She's been published in Good Mojo and The Center Spiral, partnered with Sabbat Box, TheWitchery.ca and Blackthorn Hoodoo Blends, and now she offers her expertise here at Pagan Bloggers.

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1 Comment

  1. I agree wholeheartedly. I think a lot of the “white light” nonsense in the modern movement is much more New Age than Pagan in nature. It’s essentially diluted and rewarmed Christianity mixed with bits of Eastern religions and philosophies which equate spiritual growth and “elightenment” as rising above or tamping down one’s human nature. None of that is authentic to the myths and deities and ancestral history that inspire many of us.

    Those sources fully recognized and legitimized all feelings and reactions, including hate. They delve very deeply into themes of vengeance. They also teach us the benefits and pitfalls of indulging these passions in various degrees. The challenge of wisdom lies in dealing forgiveness and vengeance, mercy and severity etc., in the right measures at the right times. This concept can easily be lost at the extremes: The “white lighters” who think we all need to be Christ-like “ascended masters” and some of the “left hand path” folks who place a premium on vengeance and believe they need to go full-on Sauron on anybody who wrongs them in any degree.

    Forgiveness extended too casually is not a virtue. It can in fact mark one as a fool, and sometimes an insincere fool, when someone claims to have forgiven someone as a sort of virtue signalling or false piety. It can also be very powerful as a way to reclaim victory from victimhood. Consider Louis Zamperini, the WW II veteran whose harrowing story of survival as a Japanese POW inspired the book and film “Unbroken.” In addition to the usual horrors of his situation, he had a camp commander who made it his personal hobby to single him out for torment for the better part of two years. To add insult to injury, his tormentor escaped justice despite his status as one of the worst war criminals of the conflict.

    Zamperini would have been well within his rights, in my estimation, to hunt this guy down and feed him his own entrails, slowly. He certainly wanted to for a period of years after the war, and I have little doubt he could have pulled it off had he set himself to it in earnest. He came to forgive the guy and his other captors it seems as a form of grace extended to himself as much or more than to them. He met with many of them in later life during a visit to Japan, and tried to meet with his worst enemy, who refused to see him. Through forgiveness, Zamperini reclaimed not only power but greatness. He died at 97 with a spirit I imagine standing almost eye-to-eye with Odin in Valhalla. His captor, who once fancied himself with godlike power over life and death, lived out his own years as little more than a cockroach, scurrying away from the truth of his deeds. I have not mentioned his name because his name is not worthy of remembrance. Such is the power of forgiveness, when it comes from the authentic self.

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