This isn’t exactly related to witchery but it isn’t exactly unrelated either.
I believe I’ve mentioned before that my grandfather was a funeral director. A mortician. A guide for the living to deal with death. The word death doula wasn’t a thing when he was in business but it would have very much applied to his way of doing business. His was a very holistic approach, in a very conservative, preacher’s son sort of way.
Death is a natural and inevitable part of living. It is where we all end up. I never really thought about what happens to your body afterward as being controversial but apparently it is. Right now, in most places, it’s burial, cremation, or donation and that’s it. But there are some places where composting is no longer illegal.
It’s not like your backyard compost bin but it’s not really like industrial composting either.
It is a way to literally return to the earth – no burning, no expensive wooden box with silk pillow. It is much more like burials used to be except that the process of returning to the earth is artificially sped up and doesn’t take many many years.
Please watch this lovely explanation of it done by my favorite YouTube Mortician.
Just recently, California and New York have declared composting legal (and I know some people are all up in arms about that).
I really hope that my state follows suit before I die. Just donate the compost though, I can’t see either of my kids wanting to deal with that. Well, maybe my oldest. But probably not.
I have always understood death to be a natural part of life. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t understand that. It’s never been some taboo mystery for me – my mother at least talked quite freely about it with me. I do totally understand why it might be a hard topic, an avoided topic, but also, I don’t get it. We all will reach that end eventually – that’s why how you live matters so much.
I have always had interest in the culture – present and historical – surrounding it – from mummification to bog bodies to sin eaters to coins for Charon to psychopomps – my interest has always run the gamut and, if I had my choice, my say in the matter, from all the ways there are to care for the deceased, composting would definitely be my choice. I do NOT want to be in a fancy box in a cement box in the ground. I don’t really like taking up space in life, why would I want to waste space in death?
Have you made a plan for what should happen to you when it’s your time?
(I’ll likely come back to this topic as I have a book on the death rites of rural Ireland that I’ve been itching to sit down with but keep getting distracted.)
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