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Honoring the Earth And Ourselves
Through Pagan Burial Grounds

by Petherwin

As we are all carbon-based life forms on our Holy Mother Earth, and as we are all going to eventually rest in the Earth one day, let us, as Pagan Folk who honor Her, examine the methods of our physically returning to Her. Cemeteries take up a lot of space and embalming prevents us from returning to Her for a long time: I think the ancient Celts had a good idea when they chose cremation because the ashes mix with the soil easily again, nourishing the Earth faster than metal-lined boxes!

We need Pagan cemeteries! Most states require a hefty dollar amount to start a commercial cemetery (for profit) but churches, as non-profit religious organizations, can have cemeteries as part of their real estate. Did I say organizing?

Organizing Pagans has been compared to trying to "herd cats" -- next to impossible! Rather than attempting to organize ourselves in larger and more complicated groups that can be difficult to maintain: we need to focus on many smaller groups or Pagan federally and state recognized churches, and if we don't find them: create them! No matter if we "belong" to a group, or are waiting for just the right group to appear, I believe each of us needs to choose to make commitments to Gaia now, not putting off these decisions "until" we can associate with others. If we can support each others commitments in groups: wonderful! There are many Pagans now over the age of 55, who need to make funeral arrangements and wills in advance of their physical passing. We all need to think about our own mortality and what we want to occur upon our own transition/physical passing. I had a sudden attack of Angina this spring, and this kind of event tends to awaken one's awareness of mortality. I am 44 as of this writing. I am also a retired hospice nurse.

I believe that we each, as individuals, can effectively change the way in which we bury our Beloved Dead. Do we want our non-Pagan relatives designing our funerals? Do we want our memorial place looking very much like a golfing green? Most cemetery plots do not allow trees to be planted over the dead. We need to create eco-cemeteries, and Pagan burial grounds where the wildlife habitat is expanded and augmented, where Memorial Trees are planted and we may thereby give back to the Mother, in our own passing, a gift of life to those who remain.

We need to write down our wishes, like who gets to divide our ritual working tools and who gets the chalice. We recycle and compost, we have reduced, we are re-using items instead of throwing them out; but let us take this concept further and nurture the next generations by creating beautiful Sacred Groves -- intentionally planted forests made up of memorial trees marking where our physical remains are.

If you read this and think this is a good idea: think what our grand-children may enjoy 50 years from now. Turning the Great Wheel of the Year in sacred groves all over the world, Pagan folk gather to circle amongst their ancestors trees. We are the generation to create these groves, these special living forests!

I challenge you, to write and share your dreams, and create our sacred sites !!! When Samhain rolls around again, what a wonderful thanks offering to the Goddess....your own commitment, with or without a "group"....to honor the Earth by choosing the manner in which you will return to Her one day.

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Petherwin starred as the HPS in the 1990 Llewellyn Video "Witchcraft, Yesterday and Today" by Ray Buckland. She co-ordinates the Church of All Worlds Nest "Mother Rest Sacred Grove" P.O. Box 3713, Blaine, WA 98231 http://www.knotwork.com/~mrsgrove/

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