The Ho’Oponopono: Ancient Rite of Forgiveness

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The Ho’Oponopono: The Ancient Rite of Forgiveness

Do you ever get the unshakable feeling of being unwanted or unwelcome around specific people or in a certain environment? Do you ever avoid attending certain events or being around a select group of people because there is “bad blood?” Whether you are at the center of these negative feelings or removed by a degree or two, the effects of grudges and unforgiveness are strong, widespread, and life-changing.

In an unsavory situation such as this, everyone involved can own up to some responsibility. You might have been the one who made the first mistake and then was shunned. You might be the one shunning. Either way, both parties are perpetuating the issue by not taking responsibility for their actions. With both parties unwilling to confront the issue, grudges and negative feelings can last a lifetime and lead to many missed opportunities and ruined experiences.

If you are ready to take control of your side of the situation, it’s time to learn from the masters of forgiveness. Whether or not the other side is ready or willing to move on, you can begin practicing Ho’Oponopono, the ancient Hawaiin rite of forgiveness.

What is Ho’Oponopono?

In Hawaii, “Ho’Oponopono” means “to make things right” or to “move things back into balance.” Unlike other understandings of “making things right,” this ancient ritual is focused on the self and introspection. Many people might think that confrontation with the other party and working things out verbally is the only way to reach forgiveness, but the Hawaiians believe that self-love is at the center of life’s balance in this ritual.

Without any intervention or knowledge of the other party, you can practice Ho’Oponopono by yourself. This ritual cleanses the body of all those negative feelings left over by unfortunate events and helps you to rid yourself of your guilt. This ritual is especially powerful for those who need to forgive themselves, even if the only wrong they committed was to themselves.

How Do I Do the Ho’Oponopono Ritual?

Forgiveness can seem extremely complicated, but the beauty of the Ho’Oponopono ritual is that it’s simple. The ritual is a manta made of four phrases that you can repeat to yourself as much as you need, as often as you need to. Find comfort in a still position, and close your eyes. If you think you need more confrontation with yourself, I like to look at myself in the mirror! Do what you’re comfortable with and go at your own pace.

The next step is to really visualize who you need forgiveness from. If you have wronged someone a long time ago, it’s time to confront them in your mind. You might never be able to face them again, but this ritual will allow you to ask for that forgiveness, and on some level, that person will feel the effects of this powerful ritual, too. If you need forgiveness from yourself, this ritual is an extremely powerful way to begin that healing process and jumpstart your journey towards wholeness and gentle self-love.

When you’re ready, repeat this mantra:

“I love you. I’m sorry. Please Forgive me. Thank you.”

This mantra might come in different forms for different people. If you are struggling to forgive yourself because you don’t have any self-love, it’s important to begin this ritual with “I love you.” Make sure you say it over and over until you start to feel its effects. Make sure you really mean each phrase as you say it.

For others, saying “I’m sorry” might be the biggest struggle. Having a hard time admitting guilt is common, so focusing on “I’m sorry” first could be most important. It is only by breaking down the first wall that we can continue to the next.

Repeating this mantra will help you dive deeper into the meaning of the mantra and slowly cleanse yourself of the guilt and pain. Now, you can begin to heal.

Benefits of the Ho’Oponopono Ritual

Beyond getting past an awkward or unfortunate mistake in the past is just one reason why you should practice the ancient rite of forgiveness. There are so many benefits to performing frequent forgiveness rituals that even fairly content and healthy people should still consider trying Ho’Oponopono!


At the center of this ancient Hawaiin rite of forgiveness is self-love. Learning to love yourself is the first step of many aspects of your life’s journey. Without self-love, every effort and action you take is rooted in hurt and a misunderstanding of yourself. You won’t ever get to know your needs or embrace your true self. How can you ever reach your goals and enjoy life without first discovering and loving yourself?

Sitting quietly in reflection or staring yourself in the face while repeating these mantras can help you delve into yourself and begin breaking down walls. Extend yourself an embrace and accept every edge and corner. By being more loving to yourself, you can also more fully give of yourself to others.

Letting Go of the Past

Many of us live in our past. We think too much about where we’ve been, what we’ve done, and who we’ve met along the way. Because of this, we are creatures of habit and tend to sulk in the darker corners of our minds. We struggle to break the chains of past faults and broken relationships.

Forgiveness requires us to let go of the past, and ultimately, the past doesn’t exist! The past is made up of our memories, many of them faulty and distorted due to our emotions and perceptions. The sooner we accept that the past doesn’t exist and cannot come back to do us any more harm, the sooner we can move on from our guilt and negative experiences.

Improve Mindfulness

Mantras and meditation of any kind are wonderful ways to improve our mindfulness. Not only does Ho’Oponopono help us to forgive ourselves and move on from the past, but it helps us to better root ourselves in the present. Making a point to set an alarm or stop to reflect each day pulls us from our busy routines and forces us to live in the present. The Ho’Oponopono ritual forces us to reflect on ourselves and be with ourselves in the now.

While we’re practicing this ancient ritual, we’re also given the opportunity to check in with ourselves. How do we feel when we tell ourselves “I love you” or “I’m sorry?” Are we uncomfortable, squirmy, unable to make eye contact without ourselves?

How about asking ourselves for forgiveness? Do we feel ready for forgiveness?

Ask all these questions throughout your forgiveness journey so that you can track your progress and understand where you’re at in your development.

Looking for More Guidance?

The Ho’Oponopono is by far one of my favorite rituals to practice. I do it sometimes a hundred times a day, making sure to always show myself love and forgiveness. I encourage you to practice this mantra, even if only for a moment in the day. I’ve also created a video on Ho’Oponopono to help you get started!

If you love these types of rituals, I have so many more to offer you to try. You can visit my free resources page to find more mantras, prayers, and practices for all types of healing. Check out this great list as well of Divine Masters for more spiritual inspiration.


You are a beautiful Living Being filled with light and love, born from stardust. You are unlimited potential in every direction. With a focus on discipline, virtue, and your own goodness, you can become as expanded and liberated as you desire.

Pray for others and the Universe prays for us.

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