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Olive Branch – A Symbol of Peace

A friend of mine – I’ll call him Max – recently had a disagreement with his sister, and he was agonizing to me about it and how to mend things. When he was brainstorming how to get her to talk to him Max said, “maybe I ought to go with an olive branch in hand”. I asked him how he thought that would work and he said, “It’s a goodwill gesture – a symbol of peace – and if she throws it back at me I’ll know the timing is wrong!” Max’s use of the expression inspired me to consider its derivation, and together we headed for the internet to discover more about its meaning.

There are many sources regarding the olive branch and they date back to Ancient Greek and Roman mythology and to early Christianity. One reference also states: “The flag of Cyprus and coat of arms of Cyprus both use olive branches as symbols of peace and reflections of the country’s ancient Greek heritage; it also appears on the flag of Eritrea. Olive branches can be found in many police patches and badges across the world to signify peace.”

It is evident from all references I researched that the olive branch continues to represent a symbol of peace and is often used together with a dove (holding the branch). “Even the official seal of the United States shows an eagle holding an olive branch in its right talon.”

So, Max decided to take an olive branch to his sister’s. I am told she smiled at him and a reconciliatory conversation followed. Ah – wouldn’t it be great if all peace talks followed such a ritual?

This week’s ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) blog explores the symbolism of the olive branch as it may apply to a conflict you want to mend – and how presenting one may be used to initiate peace and peaceful communications in your situation.

  • What is the conflict about that you will consider here?
  • What would be a peaceful ending to this matter if you were to discuss with the other person the differences that resulted in the conflict?
  • What might the other person want as a peaceful ending?
  • What would make a conversation peaceful between you two?
  • How might you interact to make it so (considering your response to the last question)?
  • How might introducing the conversation with an olive branch be helpful? What do you not like about this idea of presenting an olive branch?
  • What might the other person like about you presenting an olive branch? What might she or he not like?
  • What other object may represent a symbol of peace to the other person that you could use?
  • What makes that item something that might be meaningful?
  • As you think about this week’s topic and questions, how does presenting some token of peace resonate for you as a way to initiate a conflict conversation?

What other ConflictMastery™ Quest(ions) may you add here?

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One Response to Olive Branch – A Symbol of Peace

  1. Pingback: Wave the White Flag | CINERGY Coaching

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