One of the distinctive features of the Celebrant community is our commitment to honoring all of life’s major events and transitions, whether joy-filled or painful. Among the much-needed ceremonies of healing in our repertoire is the divorce ceremony. In recent years, the popular media has promoted the idea of “divorce parties.” These parties—a cross between a bachelorette party and a voodoo ritual—focuses on a rambunctious celebration of the end of the marriage and the defamation of the former partner’s character. Drinking and divorce “party games” these gatherings are famous for relishing the misfortune of the ousted spouse. After all, so goes this affair, everything was “his fault.” To the Celebrant’s way of thinking, there is nothing dignified or positive about these extravagances.
The Celebrant’s ceremony of divorce healing is utterly contrary in its approach. The purpose of our work is to honor the original intention of the marriage and the love and care given to trying to make the relationship work. There is an acknowledgment of the mourning associated with recognizing the failure of an intimate relationship. The newly divorced person is surrounded by his or her closest friends and family members, who offer their support in the next phase of the life journey. Indeed, there is an observance of the adventures on the horizon for the newly single person. With love and honor, he or she is encouraged to proudly step back on the path of life’s lessons.
A Celebrant-led divorce ceremony is particularly well-suited if there are children involved in the marital break-up. Children of any age suffer greatly during the divorce process and aftermath. This healing ceremony provides an opportunity for both parents to declare their unconditional love for the children and the promise that they will continue to partner as the most effective parents possible.
Although it seems that the divorce rate in American may have leveled off in recent years and may be on the decline, there is no question that much work remains in providing support, understanding, and healing following this most terribly challenging passage of life.