carlson carlson
The Temple of Forgiveness


Mary Jayne Carlson, Ph.D.

Many people are burdened by a heavy weight of guilt. The guilt may come from actual events where a person has behaved inappropriately or, more often, it is non-rational guilt and/or shame. For example, "If I had been a good boy, my parents wouldn't have divorced." Guilt/shame often leads to self-defeating and self-punishing attitudes and behavior.

After the emotions have been adequately expressed, forgiveness is a necessary step for the person to be released to go forward in life in a more whole and healthy way. Taking the client to the Temple of Forgiveness can be one way of helping your client let go of shame and guilt. Assist him in becoming deeply and comfortably relaxed. Set the scene by guiding him up a path, suggesting that he is going to a holy place. Temple

The burden of guilt you are carrying is very heavy, and you struggle step by step up the path, looking for the Temple of Forgiveness. You see ahead a large wall covered with ivy, and you know that behind the wall is the place you have been seeking. A massive gate is the entrance. The guard of the Temple steps forward to greet you. To enter, you must truly desire forgiveness. Search your heart for this desire.

The guard nods and opens the gate. You struggle through. Looking up, you see the Temple, simple, yet an impressive sight. You are very aware of how heavy your burden of guilt is. Stepping through the opening of the Temple, you feel the sacredness of this holy place. Look around...listen.

You sit in the back, feeling the peace and comfort of this holy place. You have with you a plain wooden box. Into the box you place your guilt and shame, all that you wish to be forgiven for. And now you take your plain wooden box to the altar. On the altar is a very large and beautiful open container on which there are many symbols of release and forgiveness. You place your box inside the container. Taking one of the candles, you light it on fire. Kneeling, you pray for your guilt to be replaced with forgiveness. Watch the box burn, noticing any feelings you might have. Watch until only ashes are left.

As you rise, leaving the Temple to go into the sun with the ashes, you notice how light you feel, relieved of your Finally, forgiven. Joyfully you draw a circle on the ground, then mix the ashes with the dirt. Everything seems bright and new. The colors are brighter, the sounds crisper and more soothing. When the soil is prepared, plant the seeds of the new ideas, attitudes and direction. Then water what you have planted. When you are finished, someone (a creature or person) will appear who will watch over your planting while you aren't there. This will be a caretaker who will water, weed and protect the new growth.

Gently end the imagery. Have the client check in on the garden from time to time. Your client may feel raw after this imagery for awhile. Instruct him to nurture himself in the next week. Gently guide him back into the room.

Return to Atlantis Articles
Return to