Posted by: Donna Cunningham | October 10, 2009

Forgiveness–the Final Frontier

©2009 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 Why is forgiveness the final frontier? Let’s say your Moon–or the 4th house–has difficult aspects such as hard angles to Pluto or Neptune, and your relationship with your mother has been extremely difficult.  Suppose you’ve expended a lot of energy over the years in resenting and blaming her for what she did or didn’t do. Forgiving her can open the way to new adventures and explorations. If your world view has been limited by childhood experiences, you’ll discover new possibilities in both the inner and outer world–new facets of yourself. Hate binds you to the past, while forgiveness frees you to move ahead. (If you don’t have issues with your mother, choose someone else you’d have a hard time forgiving.)

If that relationship was toxic, letting go of resentments may be the last thing on your mind. You’ve grown attached to them, and you enjoy the righteous indignation at how bad and wrong the person was. It may feel like winning–but as long as you hold onto it, you’re still locked into the war. There are better pleasures. They say the best revenge is living well, and you can’t live well if you’re full of  bitterness or hate. If someone can still trigger you into rage, you’re giving them too much power. Today we’ll look at a tool for freeing yourself from this burden.

wmangryyoungattitude-a2d Forgiveness is for your sake, not hers. She may or may not deserve to be forgiven–only you can determine that. But you deserve to forgive, for only then are you truly free. You don’t even have to be willing, at this moment, to forgive, but it helps if you’re at least willing to be willing.

 And, no, forgiveness doesn’t mean allowing her–or anyone else–to continue to abuse, manipulate, or control you–it doesn’t mean being a doormat or a victim. When you’ve worked through the intricate knot of hate, guilt, powerlessness, and grief, you may find you’re able to set better limits.

Not convinced? It’s a process, not a single act. Premature and phony declarations of peace only stuff the anger deeper. For many, it’s a place to arrive near the end of their journey to recovery from family wounds.

In my client work over the years, I found that flower essences, also known as flower remedies, are a great catalyst for personal growth.  Essences are NOT the same as essential oils used in aromatherapy. Unlike essential oils, they are unscented and unflavored. Through special preparation, essences contain only the energetic properties of their parent substances.  These inexpensive preparations are available in many health food stores and new age bookstores, but don’t just use them straight from the bottle.

If you’ve never used them before and want to know more, visit Vibration Magazine Blog » FAQ About Essences. (I’m co-editor of Vibration, a vast repository of 11 years’ worth of articles on this healing tool. Our search engine is a fast way to access information on almost any healing issue.)

 My first experience of Mountain Wormwood by Alaskan Flower Essences was a moving one. A therapy client with strong Scorpio and Pluto influences in her chart had been working for over a year on resentments toward her family. Her sister was to be married, and my client was the matron of honor. A couple of weeks before the wedding, my client pleaded, “I don’t want to spoil this wedding with my attitude. Please, can’t you do something?”

In desperation, I gave her Mountain Wormwood, a remedy I didn’t know much about at the time, since  Holly – The Heart Healer and Willow Flower Essence–Healing Resentment hadn’t helped. When she came back the next week, she had a remarkable story to tell. She had talked with her mother and worked up to courage to ask if she had been a difficult child. Her mother replied, “My goodness, no! You were a wonderful child. But when you were little I had terrible migraines, so I waspeacepals-a2d irritable a lot.”

Seeing the situation from an adult perspective, my client realized what physical pain her mother must have endured and how difficult it must have been for her to be patient with children. Mother and daughter wept and hugged, and a loving new bond was forged.

The trouble with Mountain Wormwood is its lack of specificity. If you take it, you may just find yourself forgiving people indiscriminately–not just the person you had in mind, but all sorts of people. They really should put a caution on the label–WARNING: This product may be hazardous to your grudge list.

Holly and Willow by Bach can be helpful in letting go of character traits that create resentment and hate in the present.  However, in all my years of work with abuse survivors, adult children of alcoholics, and other dysfunctional families, I have never seen either of these remedies result in true forgiveness. It was only after I started using Mountain Wormwood that I really got results.

Related articles in this series:Donna Cunningham Skywriter Mars

For more Articles on Relationship Issues on Skywriter, see the category Relationship Help.

 More articles about flower essences on this blog:

moonbkltcvr FREE EBOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Mothers, Daughters, and the Moon, a 50-page excerpt from The Moon in your Life. Read more about it here: NEW: FREE BOOKLET FOR SKYWRITER SUBSCRIBERS!  If you’re already a subscriber and want a copy, forward the most recent email post to me at To sign up for a subscription, go to the top right hand corner of the blog and click on “Subscribe.”  Then send me an email with your subscription confirmation or an email post.

Note: This has been an excerpt from my out-of-print book, The Moon in Your Life (known in an earlier edition as Being a Lunar Type in a Solar World), which you might find used at or free in exchange for one of your own used books at


  1. I use flower essences but never tried Willow. I’m at the point in my life that I do want to let go of past resentments and struggle to do so. I’ll give Willow a go in hopes it will help me to let go. Thanks for posting.

    • Brave soul, Robin. To me, the results of Willow are a balm for the soul. It’s so difficult to live with resentful thoughts churning around in my brain, and Willow helps me to put them in perspective and to sort out my own contribution to the situation. I find it helps if I commune directly with the willows I encounter next door and as I travel through the city. As an inveterate tree lover, I must admit that since about the age of 8, willow has been my favorite tree. They were in my grandma’s back yard, and when things got heated at home, I’d go sit with it’s branches around me and feel safe. Donna

  2. Very timely column for me. I have struggled for years with forgiving my adoptive mother. She did not love me and treated me badly. However, I did actively work at letting go all of the verbal and physical abuse that she put me through via prayer, meditation and EFT. When an unexpected opportunity came to forgive her face-to-face, I was surprised how easily I was able to forgive.

    • Good work, Kelli. What a burden to be free of! Doesn’t EFT absolutely rock in terms of releasing powerful emotions from trauma? Donna

  3. One thing I’ve learned is that forgiveness is also like a muscle that needs to be worked again and again. I’m not sure if it’s because we gravitate to falling into old patterns when we’re in a low-energy state, if we hold on to part of the pain, or if some wounds don’t heal so easily over time. Not to impose a worldview, but perhaps Jesus was right in what he said about forgiveness.

    • I agree that forgiveness often seems to needs to be worked again and again. I’ve seen that in my issues with my mother–it comes up from time to time, but generally in some area of that very complex and long relationship that hasn’t arisen in a while. I’d say there are so many facets to any crucial and difficult relationship–and so many different instances of betrayal or abuse–that maybe forgiveness is like a complex knot that keeps needing to be untied. Perhaps in some relationships there’s no such thing as total, across the board forgiveness, but only piecemeal. You’ve made me think, Kristy. Donna

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