Divorcing a Real Witch addresses the painful emotional journey of divorce from a Wiccan perspective. Along with sharing her own experience, author Diana Rajchel solicits the experiences and advice of other Pagans on how to handle this life passage.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Rajchel's book is a helpful guide to an often-avoided subject in Pagan culture... While the book suggests that we Pagans seem to rely on the mainstream methods of state-sanctioned divorce and peer-rebounding, the parts I found most helpful built around protection, self-healing, and rediscovery. From chapter four on, every chapter had prayers, rituals, spells, or other activities to encourage this process... All in all, I recommend this book to Pagans who are in the process of a divorce, or still feel the need the for closure from a past relationship. I think the spellwork and rituals suggested would be of particular interest. ~ Leslie Linder, Witches and Pagans: Earthwise Spirituality for Today - Issue 30
ook Review: Divorcing a Real Witch by Diana Rajchel
In this book, Diana explores the topic of divorce and what t do when you are a Pagan (or married to one) and are about to go through the process of divorce. She walks readers through that process as well as exploring how people come to that decision. What I like in particular about the book are the rituals she shares and ideas she has for how to make a clean break of it, and make the divorce as easy as it possibly can be. I wish I’d had this book when I had my divorce. Reading this book will help you make sense of your divorce, find empowerment, and move on from the relationship you are leaving. And it can also be a good book for couples to read, to help them have some conversations that may need to occur, especially if you are in a rocky phase of your relationship.
- See more at: http://www.magicalexperiments.com/lunar-and-sacred-cross-workings/#sthash.WudmRd2F.dpuf ~ Taylor Ellwood, http://www.magicalexperiments.com/lunar-and-sacred-cross-workings/
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. ~ Maly Guerrero's Pagan Culture Blog, http://pagan-culture.blogspot.com/2014/05/divorce-as-cleansing-rite-of-passage.html
Diana Rajchel divorced her husband in 2002, bringing an end to a marriage that from her perspective never should have happened in the first place. Pressured into it from family, friends, and society at large, when she finally reached the inevitable conclusion that she needed to sever that relationship she found herself facing the exact opposite situation: no support, no encouragement, nowhere to turn. Of particular note as a Pagan, she found no particularly helpful resource within our own community. Personal anecdotes were the best that were offered, and were inherently hit-or-miss for usefulness. Divorcing a Real Witch is her attempt to fill the breach in support for Pagans going through this often-tumultuous experience, and she succeeds admirably
The foundation of Divorcing a Real Witch is the truly impressive amount of research that Rajchel conducted, surveying hundreds of Pagans and, to my eye, examining the resulting data with keen thoroughness to reveal insights that would otherwise have remained buried. From there she examines divorce with an investigative touch that on the one hand you might take for granted in a book on the subject yet, on the other hand, is often times missing, replaced with zealotry or an ironclad point of view that will brook no argument. She starts at the very beginning, reframing the notion of divorce in ritual terms: according to her own research, 76% of divorced Pagans did not participate in any sort of handparting (the opposite of a handfasting). I don't mean to regurgitate the entirety of her research to you, but this illustrates what is so valuable about this book - how little Pagans have to go on, or perhaps think to reach for, in a particularly troubling time.
The book is filled with a mix of survey results, practical advice and wisdom, and ritual suggestions on a number of milestones and topics surrounding divorce. Depression, anxiety, coping with the stigma or opinions from family and friends, even the mundane yet necessary evils of finances and property are all examined in this way. If the sharing of stories resonates with you, you'll be fascinated with the interspersed selections from the survey responses that she uses to illustrate and illuminate each topic. Handparting is dealt with starting from before it is to take place and on through to the long aftermath. Traditions of many stripes are considered, although Rajchel is upfront about where her own strengths are and where she needs to encourage further outside help. I found her actual rituals to be concise and very well done - if you are of a mind to there is plenty of room to expand upon them, but many of them are ready to be used with only a bit of tailoring for your particular traditions.
My only niggle with the book at all, and it is a mild one, is that it has a very rudimentary table of contents and no index whatsoever. That might normally not be a problem, but given the sheer number of subtopics and rituals that she includes it would have been handy for those who want to refer back to this book again and again. I suspect the author may not realize just how valuable Divorcing a Real Witch is, but her readers are going to be telling her in droves, shortly.
~review by Patricia Mullen
Author: Diana Rajchel
Moon Books, 2014
pp. 190, $22.95 ~ Facing North, http://facingnorth.net/Lifestyle-Sexuality-and-Relationships/divorcing-a-real-witch.html
Divorcing a Real Witch fills a huge gap in the resources that Witches and Pagans have in the areas of family and relationships. This book is not just the story of an individual, but a practical and spiritual companion for what is truly a transformational journey. ~ David Salisbury, author of The Deep Heart of Witchcraft and Teen Spirit Wicca.
Divorce is one of the most painful experiences any us of can go through, a life passage that most religions tend to ignore. Using stories from real people, Rajchel has woven a practical, elegant, and supportive guide to divorce for Pagans of many paths. ~ Lisa Mc Sherry, author of Magickal Connections: Creating a Lasting and Healthy Spiritual Group.
Much has been written about handfasting and the joys of pagan marriage ceremonies. But what happens when a married couple must part ways? Diana Rajchel approaches this sensitive subject with a powerful mixture of empathy, personal experience, and practical consideration. The words of other pagan survivors of divorce add further depth and diversity to the text. Whether you are considering divorce, are currently going through with this parting of the ways, or are mending wounds after the fact, consider this book a sort of companion on your journey into the next stage of your life ~ Lupa, author of New Paths to Animal Totems.