Many years ago, when I got divorced from my first husband, there was a lot of anger and resentment in my heart for him. He had left me and our small children with nothing, to chase another woman. He cleaned out our bank accounts, I didn’t even have food for my children or nappies.
I had to sell all my jewellery, including pieces that had belonged to my mother and grandmother, for basically a fraction of what they were worth to buy essentials for my children. I was too ashamed to call my father, who had direly predicted this would happen and stubbornly thought I could manage by myself.
When it came to my wedding ring, the jeweller offered me £15 and I felt that was unfair so I didn’t sell it. Maybe somewhere in my heart I had hoped things would ‘right themselves’. They never did.
I didn’t see my husband again until a few years later, he never visited the children, he just disappeared. Then suddenly he turned up, expecting to be forgiven, expecting to just slot back into our life. You can imagine how that worked out. I knew though, having had parents whose divorce was a bitter experience in my childhood, that I needed to make my peace with what had happened before I could commit to someone else. At the time in Germany a new trend had emerged where couples would meet, if they had the strength and wisdom, throw a big party, and ‘uncouple’. Often it ended up in the wife being in floods of tears, drunk in a corner somewhere with all her mates, like a reverse hen night, and I thought “this could be done in a far more sacred way”. I spoke to me exhusband and he agreed that he owed me a closure ceremony. We invited our friends, we each had a couple of ‘husband men’ and ‘wife women’ who stood with us as support. Our children were there, with their own support of my sister and her friends, the younger generation. It was good for them to see a new way of doing things. To break the chain of shame and blame. No good comes from that in my experience as a divorce lawyer in Germany and here in Britain as a counsellor. It just prolongs the suffering.
The ceremony was held in a local field with trees like in this clip. Nature heals. Nature balances us, nature is sacred. I didn’t want to be in a closed place for this. We held hands, thanked each other for all the things we were grateful for and exchanged rings, I got his and he took mine. We spoke of the qualities we loved about each other. It was honest and raw, emotional and loving.
Later, my ex-husband returned my ring to me with a beautiful emerald stone set into it, I never wore it but it has been passed on to my daughter as a memento and a sign that things can be done right. She now goes through her own divorce and although right now she is very angry, one day she too will find a way to forgive and to release what can no longer be sustained, that I pray.
During our ceremony I remember feeling a wave of love washing over me, it was gratitude for this rite, for the children we had together, for the good times, for the letting go. By then I realised him leaving was the best resolution for us. It was like a stone was lifted from my heart. I felt such relief. The anger and darkness of resentment had gone.
Since that day we have been firm friends, he is part of my life, he became a part of our new family, my present husband and he are good friends because they bonded over the welfare of our children and me. I am certain that the heartfelt ceremony we held made a difference to the situation, and I know that it helped me let go of the hurt and fear, allowed me to move into a new partnership without the baggage from a failed marriage, which can scupper any real connection with the next partner. Letting go of what no longer serves us is our motto, but doing it right, elegantly and kindly, with forgiveness for all parties, including ourselves, that is the secret to a good divorce.
Cerridwen Priestesses are trained specifically as Sacred Listeners, and to guide you through the Rites of Passage that release a painful experience in your life. Unbindings – divorce ceremonies -are just one of our offerings.
For more information contact Bee on firstname.lastname@example.org