Ritualwell

Tradition & Innovation

A Ritual for Separation/Divorce

close up of a candle flame
INTENTION:
A ritual of transition between what was and what will be in order to mark a new chapter in life.
 
MATERIALS:
Candle
Objects of positive meaning or strength 
Small fireproof dish
Something from the “last chapter” I can burn
 
SETUP:
· Set yourself a space with objects that give you strength
· Name, out loud, why you chose the items that you will look at during this ritual
· Try to say the words out loud as you read the prayers 
· Place candle in the middle of the space
· Light the candle – give yourself 3 minutes of breathing with the flame.
 
RITUAL + PRAYER:
As I stare into the flicker of this fire
I see the ashes
The burning of the light that once was.
Sometimes
The voice within
And the voices from others
Like to tell me
That I should mourn this moment
That my marriage
Is like these ashes, burnt and dead. 
And that might be true of the marriage. 
But that is not true about me.
I am not what remains after the fire has been consumed.
I am what rises from it.
And like any strong being 
I rise
Responding to the wind that pulls me
And the sun that nourishes me
Letting my roots expand and soak in the rains
Cooling me
Enriching me
Teaching me
My reward from this flame, from these ashes
Is this
Freedom.
Everything has a season
And there are so many seasons. 
King Solomon wrote the Song of Songs in his youth, full of passion:
“Drink your fill of love” (Song of Solomon, 5:1)
And in his old age, wizened by life, 
King Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes 
“There is a time for everything and a season for everything under the heavens…”
 
But I know now 
That a woman doesn’t have just one season
Or one chapter
Or one story.
A woman has many seasons
Many loves
Many, many stories
But 
only 
one 
life. 
 
I thank God for parts of this last season that were holy 
For what I gained in children
In wisdom
In patience 
And in grace.
I am thankful. 
 
And I forgive
God
For the pain.
Yes, at least God I can forgive
so that together we can release the debt
That this season has tolled on me:
The pain
The indifference
The loss of self.
 
I let it be free
Let it float into nothingness
Sending it to the flames
Taking with me
Only what I have learned 
About the world
And about myself. 
 
Take this moment to set fire to the piece from your history that you brought to burn. If it helps, say out loud what you are burning. Let the fire burn low and then return to the prayer.
 
I do not have to wait to die to learn the meaning of Job’s words:
“The Lord gives, and the Lord takes… 
From ashes to ashes
From dust to dust.” 
Because I have lived through the ashes 
And I am far from being dust.
 
Before this place was CITY NAME
It belonged to NAME, a DESCRIPTION OF OWNER aka: revolutionary war veteran
Where its name was FIRST NAME OF CITY
And before that it belonged to the TRIBE
And before that the TRIBE 
And before that it belonged to the sea, the land and to God.
So too
My name is NAME
And before I was NAME
I was MAIDEN NAME/YOUTH NAME
I belonged to my parents
And before that to my grandparents
And before that to my great-grandparents 
The cells of my being carried through the generations
I am not one thing
Nor do I go by only one name.
 
Extinguish candle
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמַּבְדִּיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְ קֹדֶשׁ
Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha’olam hamavdil bein kodesh l’kodesh.
Blessed are you Adonai, our God, Sovereign of the world who separates holy from holy.

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