The next most common question I get after the “so what’s a real witch, anyway?” isn’t a question, it’s a statement usually by someone under 30. “But I’ve never been divorced, so I’d probably never read this book.” Now, on a surface level that makes sense. Why read about something you know nothing about?
On a deeper level, there’s a big problem with that, especially if you are Wiccan and work with a coven. It’s even more problematic if you ever want to lead a coven. I’m not saying that anyone should or shouldn’t read the book – it wasn’t a party to write and it’s almost painful to know how fast it will be read given the 9 years it took to research and write it. But even for those who have never experienced divorce themselves, it’s relevant. At least, it’s relevant within the Wiccan religion. Also, reading is the first thing most of us are supposed to do when we know nothing about something. That’s how we take care of that “nothing” part.
Presumably, some of these Wiccans that have never been divorced are community leaders. 2nd and 3rd degrees that lead covens. Maybe they have friends outside the coven that come to them for spiritual needs, too. I certainly did the entire time I still practiced with a coven.
If you are leading a coven or assisting with spiritual needs… divorce is going to come up. Any competent clergy person has to have some understanding of the other person’s experience, even if that clergy person hasn’t gone through that experience him or herself. If you are sincere about serving the community as part of your priesthood you’re going to need SOME set of tools to deal with divorce. Not just your own divorce, should that happen. Believe me, divorce will happen in your community, it will happen to someone you know and it will happen more than once to someone you know. Not everyone will talk about their experiences and it won’t ever be the same experience from person to person. But someone in that mix will need your help – a priest/ess for a handparting ceremony, some advice on breaking the psychic ties. In nasty cases, protection magic plus some serious tailoring for a given situation.
Real priesthood – any religion – isn’t about showboating. It’s never about power. Oh, powerful people are chosen as priests – and they are chosen to serve. The people picked tend to have plenty of power with or without the witchcraft. Yes, Wicca is a very celebratory religion but it’s with the understanding that life will be serious for us from time to time. When that happens, it’s fine to be mirthful – but a good priest will still, with careful judgment and reason, help those going through a spiritual crisis.
So if you’re serious about attaining a 3rd degree elevation (if your tradition does that) or serious about using magic to make the world a better place, understanding how divorce impacts other Pagans and having a few tools to help those people along the way is a good idea. Maybe someone will read Divorcing a Real Witch, get all worked up, and present a much better set of ideas and assistance than what I’ve put forth. I think that would be awesome! Better material for better priests! Yes!
Ultimately, it’s the same conundrum as dealing with death. I’m sure most of these people have no idea what it’s like to die, either. If they are competent, responsible members of the priesthood they still have to do something to plan for a funeral service and maybe even get some grief counseling workshops along the way. Divorce is an extension of this same issue. A good clergy person of ANY religion must comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Divorce will definitely become a huge part of that over the years for any priest/ess.