Divorce as a Cleansing Rite of Passage

Those of you, who know that my Piano Man and I are getting married in a month, are probably still squinting at the title of this post. Why would anyone speak about divorce a month before her wedding? Well, I shall explain…

It all started a few days before Valentine’s Day. Diana Rajchel posted a status update (that I wish I had bookmarked) asking Facebook friends if they thought it was of poor taste to announce that her book, Divorcing a Real Witch, was about to be available for pre-ordering. I can’t remember what I replied. But I do recall thinking that reading a book about divorce, right before a day a lot of our society dedicates to the celebration of romantic love, might be an interesting exercise for couples.

Because I’m a fan of taking my own advice, I read the book a few weeks before my wedding.

I found myself nodding a lot, agreeing with statements like: “Divorce is bereavement, the same as death. In some ways, it’s worse than death and not just because the body is still walking around.” I can’t imagine a happy divorce. Maybe two people decide to cut the knot because the love has ended, but the heart might feel a little pang for the beautiful things that once were. And I think that’s healthy. If we are a result of our experiences, it makes sense for us to miss some of the ones that made us who we are; even if they weren’t always pleasant.

There were also things I didn’t agree with. For instance, I don’t believe that “Men’s only advantage in their impossible standards (of being the ideal spouse) is that their unrealistic expectations are limited to two areas: sexual performance and money.” I know guys who are expected to take out the trash, carry luggage and groceries, lie about what their eyes perceive… and a bunch of things I consider ridiculous. And the detail is in the “I.” What I believe isn’t law, and neither is what Diana writes. The fact that she says this in her disclaimer—that a lot of the book is her opinion and biased—makes me want to be just like her when I grow up… which might be tricky because I think I’m older than she is. *cough*

The book is a collection of Diana’s divorce experience, anecdotes, and research used to suggest that if a rite of passage as important as marriage comes to an end, the couple to be dissolved might want to consider a ritual which Diana refer to as “Handparting.”

I was very surprised to find out that my ex-husband and I did some kind of handparting rite of passage without knowing that it had a name. Before we parted ways, we gathered many of the symbolic things we had made for each other and burned them in a silent sorrowful fire. We said our goodbyes, after promising that regardless of what the future threw our way, we would never make a conscious decision to hurt each other. I don’t think that it removed any of the pain, but it did give us closure. The ritual said: we didn’t fail, the marriage didn’t work; in my case, it also said that I would take the lessons learned and try to do better when my ever after came again.

I’m getting married in fewer than five weeks. The reading of Divorcing a Real Witch and the sharing of this post are a kind of cleansing ritual for me. The month of June will be full of witchy wedding posts. Yep, there will be enough lovey-dovey bits to make you gag with happiness for my Piano Man and me. And you know what, my Wicked Loves? Everything I experienced before this day—the divorce included—has taught me how to love my Piano Man better, and how to allow him to do the same for me.

Diana Rajchel’s book reads like a story told by a wise friend who has many lessons to share. All of it won’t apply to everyone, but a lot of it will leave many heads nodding in agreement.

***
If you haven’t entered Pagan Culture’s belated fifth blogoversary giveaway, you still have time to do so—the yumminess doesn’t close until the 28th of May, 2014, at 10:13 pm, EDT. Fly over to “Inkwell and Quill, Hammer, Crabapple, Thorn…and a Giveaway” for a chance to win one of Eliora’s elegantly enchanting creations. Here are a few of the pieces the winner can choose from:
 

Divorcing a Real Witch, by Diana Rajchel, is scheduled to be released on May 30th.

43 comments:

  1. Dear Magaly i didn't know that until now! I m sooooo happy for you two! I am going to keep an eye on your blog, and watch your happiness grow!:)

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    1. We are rather giddy about the whole thing, too. Can't wait to share. ;-D

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  2. The idea of a ritual to mark the parting of the ways makes complete sense. Maybe those divorces that end cleanly happen between couples who make some kind of tidy ending, even if they don't understand the process as ritualised. Maybe those couples whose divorces become vast Jacobean tragedies need to have one. I wish you blessings. I wish you luck. I wish you all happiness. (And no divorces)

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    1. I thought the same. Maybe people who divorce without ripping each other's throats go through a ritualistic cutting--a surgery instead of a tearing--and that helps things to heal a bit nicer.

      I welcome all your wishes!

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  3. As much as we try to avoid such topics as divorce, it exists no matter. Life has many sides, many facets so to say.

    I wish you to have a bright and fruitful marriage Magaly, with loads of happiness and loads of support and understanding, reciprocal of course.

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    1. It's like the whole thing about life and death. We can't have the first without thinking about the second.

      Yay! for delicious wishes. ♥

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  4. Sounds like you and your ex conducted your divorce in rather an enlightened way, despite the pain, so it doesn't surprise me that you would take this time leading up to your marriage to reflect on past experiences and how they affected you and the person you've become. I wish you and your Piano Man every joy, and look forward to both your contemplations and the "lovey-dovey bits" over the next month! ❤

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    1. It was not pretty or easy or quick, but looking back... we did things the only way we knew how, and it wasn't so terrible. We learned.

      I'm rather looking forward to the lovey-dovey bits, too! ;-D

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  5. I didn't realise you and your piano man were tying the knot Magaly, congratulations.

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    1. Thank you! Yep, we are dancing the dance over the broom and holding on to the same cord. ;-)

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  6. "Everything I experienced before this day—the divorce included—has taught me how to love my Piano Man better, and how to allow him to do the same for me."

    I love that, and I love that you're getting married (I didn't know until now).

    The burning of belongings with your ex sounds like an amicable way to end a relationship.
    You always seem to go the right way about things.

    I've never been married, but I will continue to learn from past mistakes/experiences.

    I'm looking forward to all your wedding themed posts :)

    Such a lovely giveaway too x

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    1. The book speaks about how being married to someone is different than sharing a home with a person. I don't agree. I think it works different for different people. In my case, it feels the same. Marriage is a legal thing... the exchange of promises is the binding thing. From reading your words, I know your relationship with your ex was a marriage without papers. I've also seen that there has been a lot of learning... Reading that post the other day--the one with the jumper behind the door--reminded me a lot about my own former feelings.

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  7. That whole "sex & money" part made the book sound like something from the 50's and I marvel at Americans even writing things like that in the 2000's... Or maybe I don't, since many of your films and Tv-series still support that exact ideal :(
    I expect my man to do the dishes and take out the trash (we split everything 50/50) - but I don't expect him to support me. Welcome to 2014.

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    1. I think you'd have a lot to say about this book. A lot. I actually thought of you when I read it... I might have to gift you a copy, just because I want to know how you feel about it.

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  8. So looking forward to the witchy June wedding blogs! Do what you have to do this month then clear the deck for your next great adventure, Magaly!

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    1. Francie, I swear you can see inside my head. I waited until the very end of the month to write this post because I wanted it to be a way to tie loose ends, to leave certain things behind and start something new... It seems to be doing exactly that. ;-)

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  9. Awe! Civility is nauseating ! Hand parting? Oh I got a small caliber bullet with the message " happy I didn't need to use it". Others, I couldn't even tell you their names.....fiddle lee dee!
    I'm to old for this discussion, I wish you rainbows dear Magaly! love Debi

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    1. Having a civil break up is not something that can be done when both parties aren't sane, let me tell ya. Someone I was engaged to, and who hid the fact that he had a small army of children I didn't know about, actually through a computer screen throw a window the day I told him the whole thing was off. With him, the ritual was of the legal kind. Sometimes, people can't see eye to eye; especially when one of them is trying to eye-gouge the other.

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  10. *is too busy wrapping wedding pressie to read* <3 XXX

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    1. You IS a terrible Witch! And I LOVES you for it. ♥

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    2. P.S. I just did a little dance and went to see the Red Bride again. ;-D

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  11. Divorce has so many faces. It would be hard to accept a book if it didn't have a disclaimer saying "in my opinion". I personally do not know anyone who ever divorced and remained friends, friendly yes, friends no. I was fortunate in my divorce, we didn't really commit to the marriage and so the divorce was easy. But none the less, I as a child in a grownup body, acted out the script I thought I needed to follow.
    But this sounds like an interesting read. I like the idea of someone parting without the sherrif's office being involved. Sorry, couldn't resist.
    Only 5 weeks til your wedding, and I am looking forward to all the lovey-dovey posts. Once again, congratulations and best wishes. xoxo Oma Linda

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    1. Like I said on my reply to Debi, every now and then the law is needed, and even a few well-aimed kicks. People can act rather strange towards those they used to love. So strange.

      And yes, indeed, on the "in my opinion" bit. Diana did such a great job with the point of view, the tone of the narrative, and everything else. It is delicious to see her not just creating a book to try to help others through the same situation, but also taking blame for past silliness and realizing that it was also not her fault.

      Five weeks!!!

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  12. In 45 + years of marriage, we have cycled through "lovey-dovey" to "I want a Lawyer" and back, again so many times, I have lost count. Thankfully (because I do adore him) our relationship has NEVER been healthier than it is, today. Had the cycle ever stopped at "Lawyer", I don't think either of us would have emerged un-scarred.

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    1. When we are truly honest about a relationship that has been around for so long, we'll always find that moment when we wanted to metaphorically strangle the one we love. Even if the feeling was put there by the dumbest of reasons. We are humans, we will bump heads...

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  13. Oops, I had completely missed the "getting married" part... hey, maybe you'll get your birthday gift before the wedding! No promises, though. ^^

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    1. You just reminded me that I have been staring at a gift I got for Oma Linda (for her birthday, in April) and still haven't sent it. *sigh* Your cat and I have no sense of propriety, lol!

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  14. So happy for you and your Piano Man. I wish that divorce could be civil especially with children. I come from divorce and because of it I was afraid to get married. But my husband told me lets move in and see if it works and if it didn't he would send me home. So I did and here we are 14 years later. I think that living together helped and that we are good for each other works.

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    1. I'm always intrigued by the way the same situation affects different people. Divorce is one of them. Some children are touched in ways that leaves them not wanting to marry, like your case. While others seem to just want to do better. I guess it might depend on how the parents take care of things...

      My Piano Man and I are deliriously happy. We can't wait do it... um, do things... legally. *hehehe*

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  15. Oh Mags, you sexy wicked Witch you. Congratulations! I can't wait to see your dress. This is going to be sooooo much fun!

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    1. I can't wait to show it off. It was a present from my in-laws to be (the dress worn by my Piano Man's maternal grandmother, in the 1920s! Yep, I'm really excited about the fun to be had. It will be like playing dress up with a bunch of grown ups. ;-D

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  16. There was nothing clean or cleansing about my divorce. When there are kids involved, and family (specifically parents...) who stick their noses in deeper than they should, and refuse to butt out (and the ex is encouraging their involvement because they're on his side)... Well. I just hope one day I get this cleansing thing to happen, and before my Dragon and I tie the knot (or to para-quote a wicked witchy writer... turn the sand to glass between us... yes, that has stuck with me. Hard. :D).

    Congrats to you two, and much love. From us both. May it be all you dream, and more.
    -your Artful White Fox. (and her Dragon, by proxy)

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    1. When a couple lets other have too much saying in their relationship (or the ending of it) everything gets more complicated. That's true regardless of children. I, too, hope you can get your--as clean as it gets--break.

      Thanks for the wishes!

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  17. I think this is a great post! It is truly amazing, that everything you experience in life, leads to where you are today! I like the ritual for parting. A cleansing for sure!
    5 weeks! Wow!! Doing my happy dance ;o) So exciting ;o)
    Big Hugs ;o)

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    1. I know. Five weeks and we haven't planned anything yet, lol! The rush and the rushing will be quite the thing. ;-D

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  18. So I know you are going to be a bride, BUT, will you be "blushing".......and if so, about what? DO tell!!! heeheehee

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    1. "Blushing"? I don't think I do a lot of that. Well, there was this time I hit a teammate with a paintball on his ear instead of his shoulder, like I had aimed. I blushed... because he was bleeding, and I was trying really hard not to laugh. Yes, I have a rather questionable sense of humor.

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  19. I don't like weddings, well I should say 'didn't', from someone who never had a engagement ring, lost the wedding certificate, ate mashed potato and gravy laced with headache tablets for my migraine in a hotel room in Charlotte (an earthquake changed our plans) on my honeymoon night... well, well... over 20 years later i'm f-ing excited about you and Pianoman, dam I'm getting soft :)

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    1. That's because you suspect exactly what our "wedding" will be like. ;-D

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  20. I am so happy for you!! It has been quite a long time since I left the blogosphere, but I am hoping to be back for good. I have missed your blog immensely! I did a handparting ceremony with my ex when we split 13 years ago. Then afterwards he just disappeared completely. This would have been fine if we didn't have 2 kids together. lol. I am sad I missed the give away. I love Elioras shop!! I don't know what that top pic is supposed to be but I made a book mark (or rather 8 in 1) for my BOS that looks very similar. I would have loved to have another one as my BOS one isn't removable.

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    1. Thank so much. I'm quite happy myself. *cough* It has been a while, indeed. I wondered where you had been. It will be nice to read you around again. ;-)

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  21. I found some comfort in the words in this.....I am currently going through a divorce that has been a long time coming and yes I would have to say I have felt the grieving tremendously!

    on a happy note! I look forward to the witchy wedding posts too!

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    1. Divorces are so difficult. Even more so when one of the two involved doesn't want to cooperate. It feels like all the steps of the grieving process, with an extra long stop at anger, lol!

      I'm looking forward to all the love-writing, too!

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