It's difficult to generalize about how to create a Pagan Funeral, primarily because there are no universally accepted Funerary Rites or Traditions that bind all the different Pagan beliefs together.
However, if you or someone you love is a Pagan and want to have a Pagan Funeral, here are some suggestions on how to go about creating a Ritual that will be both successful (as in flow and rythym) but also be moving and special as such a Ceremony should be.
We are, for the purpose of this instruction, going to assume that you are creating your own Funeral Service, to leave for your family and friends.
1. Make a separate list of things that will be needed by whomever is conducting your funeral, as you work out the details, there is going to be a lot to remember, so lists and details are important if you want to make conducting your funeral to be as smooth as possible. This list might include things such as:
2. Research various funerary customs, their origins and decide what you want and why, remember to include the who, what, when, how and why in the instructions, assume that it may not be a Pagan who has to carry out your wishes. That way if your details are precise your wishes can be carried out to the best of your loved one's abilities.
3. Determine how you can nominate a person who would be willing to officiate at the funeral legally in your area. This information can vary according to legislation. Traditional choices for a pagan funeral officiant are often your family members or friends who are pagans (or sympathetic to your beliefs). If you are a member of a coven, there may be a priest or priestess willing to perform the funeral. In a pinch, a Unitarian Universalist minister may be available to perform the rites.
4. Locate an appropriate venue for the ceremony. Most pagan funerals are conducted outside. You may have had a special place that felt very spiritual to you, like a forest or a seashore, and you may want to have the funeral held at that location.
5. Determine how you want your body to be taken care of after death. Many pagan traditions use cremation as the preferred way of disposing of a body, but you mayhave other preferences, such as a sroud, an eco-funeral, an entombment. Work out what you want and what you are able to have according to your local legislation. Then set in place all the details to enable your wishes to be followed.
6. What Calls for the quarters and watchtowers would you prefer? An essential part of any ritual is calling them to assist and a Pagan Funeral is no different, many calls used for other ceremonies wouldnt be appropriate for a funeral service, find some that appeal or better yet, write your own. The watchtowers provide protection for the participants in the ritual and should be invited to attend, who would you prefer to represent each of these quaters, ask the people if they are happy being nominated and record your decision.
7. Arrange to have music, colours and other decorations appropriate for the ceremony. Your traditions may have specific flowers adorning an altar, candles of a certain color, incense and music from a different culture setting the mood of reverence and respect for the deceased, or it may simply be that you feel certain things should be in place for reasons of yourown. Whatever is appropriate or desired should be recorded, with explainations.
8. Work in some way funeral guests can pay some kind of tribute to the spiritual being that you honored in life. You may honor a specific God or Goddess, Mother Earth, the life force or another celestial being that symbolized deeply held beliefs and wish for mention of them in your funeral.
9. Readings or Poetry may be things you also wish to have included in your funeral, either a piece you have written or a piece which hold a deep significance for you and those you love.
10. Once you have gathered all the researched material together you can follow the basic Ritual construction format to work all the material together into your funeral service.
11. When you have complied all the sections you may find you need to adjust sections to allow for flow or further personalisation, until you come up with a final draft.
12. Take the final draft, show it to your funeral director to make sure it covers any legal requirements (or check the legalities yourself), then type up a final copy.
13. Ensure that a copy is placed with your will, another given to the person whom will be performing the ritual, and possibly keep another couple of copies - if your part of a Coven maybe with your HPS, or in a Safe, and even in your BOS as well, and don't forget to make sure you tell your loved ones that you have written a funeral service.
Funeral Information Pages.
Pagan Funeral Samples
Note: if you would like to share a funeral service you have developed on thse pages please email us.