Divorce Hurts: A new way to Heal

This article by Modern Celebrant ran in the October issue of the prestigious Spirituality and Health Magazine. (How thrilling is that!)

Divorce holds the potential to transform the lives of those who go through it. It is a painful journey, one that takes courage and a personal commitment to healing. So what gives with the lack of ritual around it?

There is a trend gathering steam that supports divorced individuals to embrace their future in a meaningful way: Divorce Ceremonies. A thoughtful Divorce Ceremony mindfully unbinds the emotional ties of a relationship and can be a hugely transformative part of the healing process. An aim may be to help the individual acknowledge the good parts of the marriage and not reject it outright. In virtually every marriage, even the most dysfunctional, there were lessons learned and small blessings (sometimes in disguise!)

One must be well and truly ready for such a ritual, often two years after the marriage is legally over, because it takes time to awaken to conciliation. Ex-spouses have differing emotional paces and needs, and so Divorce Ceremonies are typically for the individual.

As with all deeply resonate ceremonies, the preparation done to develop the rituals used are the foundation of the experience.Through mindful reflection the individual comes to inwardly acknowledge the gifts of the marriage, and the opportunities that lie ahead as the result of its conclusion. During the ceremony, the honoree symbolically manifests this acceptance. Such a ritual can take the form of clipping the edges of a marriage certificate to symbolically render it null and then making pledges for ones future, reworking a ring, or gifting. When the union has brought children into the world, one may express intention to interact respectfully with ones former spouse by offering prayers of forgiveness and release.

Typically a small but close group of family and friends are invited to attend the intimate ceremony. Guests may find the ceremony provides a safe place to process whatever feelings they themselves hold around this divorce.

I love what Marianne Williamson says about divorce in her lovely book Illuminata: Thoughts, Prayer, Rites of Passage: “I bless you and release you. Please forgive me; I forgive you. Go in peace. You will remain in my heart.”

by Master Celebrant Michele Davidson


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