Pagan Funeral Traditionsby J-Touchette
Pagan funerals are, for the most part, not singularly definable. The beliefs from one pagan to another can differ greatly, with a few exceptions, most believe that they will be reincarnated and that there is a goddess. The elements of air, earth, fire and water are also usually big players in this religion.
This means a pagan funeral only has guidelines and suggested rituals, but that the wishes of the deceased are always respected. Preparation of the body begins with a washing. The body can be washed with regular water and a few drops of ocean water or water taken from a special place. As well, rosemary is sometimes used as it is viewed as a herb of purity and protection. After the washing, the body may be wrapped in cloth, or clothed with simple clothing.
Pagans do hold both funerals and memorial services, which often combine prayers for healing, meditation, offerings to nature and ancestors along with many other traditions sometimes used. Mourners may also share stories of the deceased as a away to aid in the healing process. Music played by those in attendance is usually incorporated, with drum use being very common.
Pagans can be either buried or cremated, although if a pagan is cremated the ashes are usually spread and not buried. At the burial or scattering of ashes, more prayers and rituals are performed that vary from person to person.
This is a prayer sometimes said in a pagan funeral:
“O Great Spirit, Mother and Father of us all, we ask for your Blessings on this our Ceremony of thanksgiving, and honoring and blessing of (name). We stand at a Gateway now.
A Gateway that each of us must step through at some time in our lives. (Name) has stepped through this gateway already.
His/Her soul is immersed in the shining light of the Unity that is the Mother and Father of us all.
The sadness and pain that we feel now is in our knowledge and our experience of the fact that we ourselves cannot yet cross that threshold to be with (name) until our time has come.”