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Divorcing a Real Witch: for Pagans and the People that Used to Love Them Kindle Edition
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
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.
I came to discover the substance of each of the candidates for the 2014 Bookseller/Diagram Prize for oddest book title of the year. This year’s candidates:
•Nature’s Nether Regions, by Menno Schilthuizen
•Advanced Pavement Research, edited by Bo Tian
•The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones, by Sandra Tsing-Loh
•Where Do Camels Belong? by Ken Thompson
•Divorcing a Real Witch: For Pagans and the People That Used to Love Them, by Diana Rajchel
•The Ugly Wife Is a Treasure at Home, by Melissa Margaret Schneider
•Strangers Have the Best Candy, by Margaret Meps Schulte
The substance of this book was, in fact, a fascinating insight into a world I know nothing about; marriage was celebrated by normal people and by pagans; in divorce, Rajchel found no support anywhere.
So she interviewed many pagans, and in the process found many rituals to help her and other pagans through one of life's traumas.
Incidentally, she provided me with a clear headed, common sense guide through a world I only imagined existed.
Fascinating on many levels. (It needs an index in the next edition -- so many rituals, my copy was riddled with post 'em notes.)
Robert C. Ross
Nowhere does Ms. Rajchel condescend or preach. This is a book about making it through a difficult time and healing from it. She is very right to point out that people, especially women, feel a great deal of pressure to get married and provide their parents with grandchildren, among other requirements. To this end, many people view divorce as a failure. It is not. It is often the best solution to a bad situation.
Ms. Rajchel walks the reader through several different approaches to dealing with divorce, from handling the inevitable feelings of shame and failure, to finding a life for yourself outside a relationship. I am especially impressed by her handparting ritual. I included such a ritual in my recent book Ariadne’s Thread and I honestly felt a little awkward doing so. We are so well trained to believe that the breakup of a marriage is a failure that acknowledging it with a ritual seems almost inappropriate. Well, it’s not. We need to recognize the changes in our lives, the shifts from one stage of existence to another. We also need to admit that no one is perfect and that people change over time, two facts that often lead to the end of a relationship.
I wish I had read this book twenty years ago, when I went through a divorce. It probably wouldn’t have lessened my pain, but it would have given me the tools to deal with it and move forward in my life more easily. If you or someone you know is dealing with the collapse of a marriage, this book is definitely worth your time.