Isn’t it curious that we have rituals and ceremonies for just about every big experience in our society, but nothing for divorce? A ceremony to begin a marriage…but nothing to end it?
Yet, like all experiences of significant transition, divorce has the power to transform the lives of those who go through it. Though there is no denying that it’s painful and takes much inner work.
As I develop my Celebrancy practice, I realize in talking with people that there is a HUGE (and very undeserved) yearning to move forward from divorce with integrity and a renewed sense of self.
And this is why Divorce Ceremonies are of such great interest to me. Divorce is such a huge transition and I think it’s a terrible shame that sitting down with a lawyer is the associated rite in our society.
It’s my hope that Divorce Ceremonies — not to be confused with that tragic American phenomena of Divorce Parties!!! — will become a broadly accepted way to end a marriage. And respected as a helpful way for individuals and families to move forward with resolve and hope.
My Marriage Dissolution Ceremonies are part of this process. (Note: I use the terms Divorce and Marriage Dissolution interchangeably.)
And while I am certainly not the only one doing these sorts of ceremonies in Vancouver, there are few opportunities to work with a professional non-denominational ceremonialist here. In terms of non-secular divorce traditions: I honour the Jewish tradition of the ‘Giving of the Get‘ to signify the end of a marriage. (And no, I am not Jewish. I am of the Buddhist faith. But I am fascinated by Jewish ritual.)
So who’s my typical divorce ceremony client?
More often than not, I work with ONE of the former spouses… more women than men, though I hope that will change.
Several divorced men at a recent divorce ceremony told me, “I wish I had known about this when I got divorced!”
It is definitely possible to work with a couple — though a collaborative respectful relationship between the two of them is important.
For most people, such a ceremony is not appropriate until well after the marriage is legally over. It takes time to view the relationship with forgiveness and conciliation.
I believe it’s important to remember that while a couple has concluded their marriage, it does not mean that the entire marriage was a failure. In virtually every marriage, no matter how dysfunctional, lessons and blessings lay within.
The transformation for the participant and their family and friends — well, it’s quite dramatic. Whenever I do one of these ceremonies, I am awestruck by the triumph of the human spirit.
Thanks for reading!
Please PASS THIS ON… we all know someone touched by the pain of divorce. Someone who may be struggling and will find hope and inspiration here.
Celebrant Michele Davidson
Meaningful Ceremonies for Birth, Marriage, and Death