Upon your passing, you may wish that your body be cremated. While many people want the cremated remains to be placed into an urn and given to a loved one, that is far from the only option. Many people would prefer that their ashes be scattered across a meaningful location—generally somewhere they liked to spend time when alive. The idea is that they may now frequent that location forever, though others simply see it as a symbolic gesture. Either way, you have a number of different options where scattering your ashes is concerned.
This is generally the traditional form of scattering ashes. It essentially means throwing them into the wind so that they are scattered throughout the location. Obviously, before you do casting, you want to check the wind to ensure the scattering happens away from the onlookers and so it covers enough of the land.
Instead of scattering ashes, you can also bury them as well. Many people decide to build shallow trenches for their loved one and then pour their ashes into it before refilling the hole. There are a number of ways you can add to the act too, like drawing their name into the soil, a big heart or their family crest. One particularly popular method is to do it at the beach in such a way that the surf will immediately wash over it.
Much like trenching, there are some who would like their ashes scattered on the ground and then have a rake drawn over them so that they can dug into the earth. This is also a very symbolic way of ensuring that the deceased and the location they love never part—that they become one with it.
This option has become so popular that many cemeteries actually feature scattering gardens. People can have their ashes spread over them and then raked in so they are allowed to help the vegetation grow for future generations.
As the name suggests, this is when you make a ring out of the ashes. Often times people do it around a tree that may be at a specific park or yard the deceased used to frequent. Other times, it’s around the headstone of their deceased spouse. There are countless options here, but the idea is that you’re encircling something they loved with the remains of their body.
A Green Burial
This method of scattering ashes is a lot like raking and is becoming more and more common with people who want a green option or who lived a green lifestyle during their time on earth.
A hole is dug that the person’s ashes are then poured into. It also works to use a biodegradable urn. In either case, a tree is then planted into the same hole, the dirt is filled back in and water is poured. This way, the ashes are literally helping a tree grow from that very spot.
One of the nice things about this option—aside from its green characteristics—is that the result functions much like a headstone. People can come visit the tree to pay their respects or talk to their loved one. They can also decorate it for different holidays or otherwise spend time pruning or tending to it, which can be very therapeutic and enjoyable.
Scattering Over Water
If the deceased loved the ocean or a certain fishing hole, they may want their ashes scattered over the water. It’s a lot like casting in this sense, though it may happen on a bridge over the water or from a boat.
Usually professionals need to handle this method, which involves scattering the ashes over miles of land from high above. There are a number of companies that handle this type of service these days and they can scatter them over forests, cities or far out into the ocean too.
Before You Scatter
No matter which method you prefer, before you scatter ashes, make sure you consult the necessary parties. First, you need to make sure it’s legal to do so wherever you pick. If it’s private land, obviously you must speak to the people who own it.
For help with this decision, speak to a funeral director or the local crematorium. They’ll be able to guide you through it so that you pick the best possible location for your scattering or that of your loved one. This way, you’ll also know that you’re doing it legally.
Finally, decide if you just want to have a scattering or if you’d like some kind of headstone or memorial too. Again, depending on where you choose, you may be able to have something like this erected so people always have a place to come visit you after your ashes have been scattered. Think about the ceremony you may want to have too.