Pagan Funerals: Burials, Customs, and Pagan Funeral Songs

Witch and pagan funerals are a real thing. We don’t have to be buried and commemorated by a Christian pastor or priest, if we don’t want to. If you want to know how to plan a pagan funeral and what to expect, we will detail it for you here including pagan death beliefs, traditions, pagan funeral songs and witch burial rites. Pagan Death Customs It truly depends on what your loved one (or you) want to happen upon death, but there are several pagan death customs to consider. Just as a baby is cleansed upon birth (via bathing or baptism, etc.), many pagans ask to be cleansed/bathed upon death. Why? Because death is another transition and just another part of the life/death/rebirth cycle. When you’re clean, you’re prepared to meet the afterlife fresh and anew! In addition, here are some other pagan death customs to consider: Massaging/anointing the deceased’s feet with oils for the “long journey” ahead; some oils used traditionally include: angelica, blackberry, chrysanthemum, tobacco, etc. placing a circle of candles around the body and keeping watch until the funerary rites call on the individual’s gods and/or ancestors to protect and guide them to the afterlife a picture or statue of the individual’s gods/ancestors/guides can be placed with the deceased to ease in transition prayers should be said to aid the deceased in its travel to the afterlife pipes and tobacco should be smoked near the deceased – the smoke wards off evil spirits bouquets of hydrangeas around the deceased burning frankincense and myrrh upon death upon death, if at home, cover the mirrors and open a few windows to allow the deceased’s soul the ability to leave this earthly plane stop the clock upon death cover the body in white linen, white and black flowers hold an Irish wake: click here to learn more Types of Pagan Burials and Cremations Pagans and witches don’t have a single holy book that they use to guide their lives or their transitions like death. It all depends on what the individual pagan believes; however, many pagan and witch burials lean towards the eco-friendly. This means a natural burial: no concrete is poured into the ground, no man-made caskets, etc. There are natural cemeteries throughout the United States who accommodate eco-friendly witch burials. You can do a simple google search to locate one in your area. Other Witch Burial Options In addition to an eco-friendly witch burial, some pagans may choose to be cremated and then have their ashes spread somewhere in nature. While cremation is purportedly a “Christian” death custom, our ancient pagan ancestors from certain countries burned their dead. Unfortunately, burning a person on a pyre is illegal and frowned upon these days, so the pyre is probably not an option. Sorry, friends. However, cremation is very similar to the pyre custom and can be used in its place. Then again, regular burials in a cemetery or being housed in a mausoleum are choices, too. Talk to your funeral director and ask for options. Ideas for a Pagan Funeral Service The best place to have a pagan funeral service is where? In nature! If the person loved the ocean, hold the service at the beach. If the person loved the mountains, hold the service on a mountaintop. Recite passages from pagan poetry, mythology, prayers to gods, etc. There are some wonderful passages that would be appropriate for a pagan funeral in the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Prose Edda, the Mabinogion, and the Carmina Gadelica, to name a few. Following the pagan funeral service, have a party to celebrate the person’s life together – eat, drink, and socialize. Our ancestors made funerals into parties! Read more pagan passages on death further down. More Pagan Funeral Traditions: To protect the deceased upon burial: drive/carry the casket around the cemetery 3 times in a sunwise direction Bury the deceased with his or her amulets/talismans: magical jewelry like crystals or runes they wore during life or any other sacred tokens During the funeral ceremony – ask psychopomps to guide the deceased to the afterlife. Psychopomps include: the deceasesd’s spirit guides and ancestors and gods, in addition – Osiris, Iris, dogs, horses, snakes, birds, Thoth, Hecate, Berchta (particularly for women and children), Madame Death, etc. Garlands of flowers and resins can be made into necklaces to protect and bless the deceased’s loved ones – hang around their necks during the funeral rites Flowers and food offerings should be left at the gravesite to aid the deceased in his/her journey to the afterlife Witch and Pagan Funeral Officiants As a witch or pagan, most of us would opt out of the Christian funeral service and ask for a pagan officiant to preside. There are shamans and ordained pagan ministers all over the country and the world. Look for one in your local area who is qualified and who also jives with the individual’s overall pagan outlook. For example, if the person was Wiccan, search for an ordained high priest or priestess to officiate. If the person was native or into shamanic practices, search for a local shaman. If the person was a druid, look for a druid priest in your area. Etc. Pagan Death Beliefs So instead of the Christian version of talking about the deceased as if they’re going to Heaven, pagan death beliefs nearly always revolve around reincarnation and/or traveling to a place outside of this world. For some pagans and Wiccans, this other place that we go upon death is called Summerland. In Norse tradition, they may say they believe we go to Valhalla upon death. For the Celtic tradition, the Celtic Otherworld, Faery Realm or Tir Na Nog. Etc. At the very least, mentioning that your pagan loved one believes we come from the earth and return to the earth is perfect. Read more about pagan death beliefs and the pagan afterlife here. In addition, share a few pagan passages or quotes on death and the afterlife: Pagan Quotes on … Continue reading Pagan Funerals: Burials, Customs, and Pagan Funeral Songs