Charles Cowling

A ceremony to mark the end of a marriage. A funeral for a marriage.

What do you think?

The concept comes to us from (I think) Australia, the country which pioneered the secular funeral ceremony. One practitioner in this field is Jennifer Cram. I wonder how may others there are?

Of course, if you’re into the business of celebrancy, it makes sense to expand your portfolio by devising as many sorts of ceremony as you can dream up. Jennifer does ceremonies for: ‘the loving commitment of partners who are not marrying; the naming and welcoming of a child into the family; renewal of marriage vows for couples celebrating staying married; the end of a relationship; reaching puberty or maturity (wise-woman ceremonies also known as croning); launching of businesses or other ventures…’ She even does relinquishment ceremonies for parents giving a child up for adoption. She’s staked out her patch.

Obviously, it’s funerals for marriages that interest us. And, do you know, whatever your incredulity is telling you, there’s actually lots of symmetry with funerals for dead people (she’s jolly clever, is Jennifer). Without using the word liminality once, here’s what her marriage funeral addresses: ‘issues of endings, separation, and letting go (disappointment, anger, sadness, fear and trying to achieve closure); issues of acceptance, forgiveness, becoming open to new beginnings and new possibilities.’ To get the whole picture, click here.

For what other emotional thresholds might you devise a funeral ceremony?

The death of youthful dreams and ambitions, perhaps…

Do say!

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