Celebrating nature during a memorial service is a long-standing tradition as old as our earliest human ancestors. Whether the goals of incorporating nature into a funeral was to bring awareness to the amazing wonders of our incredible planet or to worship Huitzilopochtli the Aztec Sun God, nature and the elements have played a major role in how we memorialize the dead.
This recent trend in more environmental funeral services has resurfaced as more and more people move away from more traditional funeral ceremonies. People are choosing to celebrate loved ones lives in a more personal way with fewer rituals. For a person to spend their entire life exploring and traveling through nature, their funeral should encompass what this passion. Let us examine how to plan a funeral for those people who lived a life dedicated to the great outdoors. To people who enjoyed getting their boots muddy.
Here is a list of 5 ways people can incorporate Mother Nature into the funeral service
Have the Funeral Outside
Weather permitting, an outdoor funeral brings people in direct contact with the land. The funeral can be conducted in the shade of an enormous weeping willow or on a dock by the lake. Having the venue outside can completely change the atmosphere of the funeral reception. A warm and sunny day can bring a glimmer of hopefulness to a solemn and otherwise gloomy occasion.
Have the Funeral When the Sun is Setting
As the sun sets and another day is ending, so too is the life of the decedent being memorialized at the funeral. Both cycles of life finish at the same time. Sunset funerals make the finality of death seems more pronounced as if even our planet understands the cycle of life and death and its importance.
Scattering the Ashes
When a loved one is cremated many families choose to incorporate an ash scattering ceremony to find a special final resting place for the cremains of a loved one. This ceremony can be as personalized as you want. Some families choose to scatter the ashes at the funeral service with family and friends. Others choose to have the ash scattering be more intimate with only close family and friends. The setting can whether on a boat, in a state park or in the woods behind the barn the deceased grew up on. The feeling of being connected to the planet and scattering the ashes holds a special meaning. It gives a sense of closure to surviving family and friends like the deceased has found a final resting place. The ashes mix with the soil and water and become one with the planet.
Get the Guest Involved
Creating an environment where the funeral goers have a way to participate always makes for a more fulfilling funeral. A great way to get the guest involved while also being mindful of nature is to organize a donation of the clothes and belongings of the deceased and the funeral guest. By donating unused items you are not only reducing waste but you are also giving back to a local charity. Memorializing a loved one with acts of kindness is always a meaningful way to pay respects to a loved one and show that even though they are no longer with us, their life is still causing ripples of positivity throughout the web of life.
Have a Green Funeral
What better way to preserve the environment than by having a Green Funeral. One way to have a green funeral is by burying the body directly without a casket and without embalming the body. This natural way of returning to Earth ensures that materials are wasted on caskets which are large and damaging to the environment to make. Similarly, embalming fluid contains a cocktail of toxic chemicals which make their way into the water table when they get buried.
Another way to have a more environmentally friendly funeral is to choose cremation. You can even take the cremation a step further by choosing biodegradable cremation urns to avoid material waste and to ensure that the urn that holds the ashes of the loved one will degrade back into the soil and become one with Earth along with the ashes of the deceased.