An ash scattering event is a public expression of love for a departed loved one. It is a way to commemorate their life, honor them, and provide closure to all those left behind. An ash-scattering journey can also be a chance for family members who didn’t know the deceased well or were estranged from them while they were alive to say their final goodbyes.
The theme of the journey of the deceased has been central to grief for a loved one throughout recorded human history. From trips on the river Styx to Viking funeral pyre ships, civilizations have repeatedly referenced the idea that death involves a physical journey. Western civilization has primarily abandoned physical depictions of getting one’s body ready for travel.
Judaism is more abstract, entering an eternal state of bliss (but lacking the self-awareness as in Christianity’s heaven). At the same time, western society (Judaeo-Christian) has focused on the spiritual representation of a journey. Given the shared cultural past of the physical representation of the trip into the afterlife that unites us all, it is not surprising that this motif is making a comeback in the shape of ash dispersal rituals.
Essential Factors to Consider in the Ash Scattering Ritual
Organizing an ash-scattering journey is primarily about remembering the deceased in a way that feels right to you. The thought that their ashes will resurface as part of nature is reassuring and can bring joy amid grief. Before starting the ash-scattering journey, you should make the following plans regardless of where you intend to scatter them.
1. Begin by Determining Whether You Want to Scatter Your Loved One’s Ashes
There is no way to get a person’s remains back after scattering them following cremation. The last thing you want to do is plan everything, only to discover that you’re not as in love with the idea of scattering your loved one’s ashes as you thought.
2. Find a Suitable Location
After you and your family have decided it is the best option, you should look for the ideal location for the ash-scattering journey. Choose an excellent, quiet place where you and your family will not be disturbed during the ceremony.
You should also ensure that everyone attending the ritual has the essentials before setting out; for example, if you plan a hike in a national park to conduct the ash-scattering journey, including water, a hat, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing and footwear is essential. On a boat, you’ll probably want to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and life jackets for everyone.
Will some senior attendees require help climbing or walking? What about children? Will they be amused, or will someone have to stop them from straying off or playing in the wrong place? If necessary, is there a space for people to sit down? Even though you might not be able to plan for every scenario, you should carefully consider the location’s elements and how you will address them.
3. Collect Your Loved One’s Ashes
After clearing the cremation cost from the funeral, they will deliver your loved one’s ashes in an urn, a large enough container that holds the ashes until it is time to spread them. Look into the urn to see if the remains are contained in a plastic bag and ensure you’re ready to open it during the ceremony. Examine the ashes to check if they are compact to ensure they won’t flow out during the ritual of distributing ash.
4. Determine Who Will Speak at the Event
When planning an ash-scattering journey, including a speech to honor the person whose ashes will be scattered is vital. It could be from a religious leader or someone close to the deceased. You can also incorporate reading letters written by friends and family that tell stories about how they knew the deceased.
Also, ensure everyone is ready in advance. Some people may need time to prepare their speeches, while others may be at ease speaking spontaneously with no preparation. You can feel too emotional and be at a loss for words once you and your visitors are in the midst of the ceremony. Adequate preparation will minimize the chances of avoidable errors.
It will also enable people to bring any treasured items that connect them to the deceased. For instance, instead of researching ‘where to sell my jewelry?’ you can carry the jewelry to the ceremony and put them on display, enabling you to get closure and feel connected.
5. Consider Holding a Reception Afterwards
For many people, the ceremony is a once-in-a-lifetime experience; hence keep this in mind as you plan the event by ensuring you have enough food and drink at your reception after scattering the ashes.
6. Include Their Items
Remember to bring items that held special meaning for the deceased as a reminder of the departed to the ash-scattering journey. For instance, you can include pictures of them in a motorsports store or a Yamaha dealerships establishments if they were huge fans of motorcycles.
7. Consider Having Several Containers Available for Family and Friends
When planning, it can be challenging to decide where you want your loved one’s ashes scattered. If you can have multiple containers available so that different people can each spread some (or all) of the ashes into their favorite spot as long as there are still enough for anyone else to do the same.
8. Consider Hiring An Officiant to Assist With the Ceremony
Although hiring an officiant to participate in the scattering ceremony is not mandatory, it’s a good idea if no one in your family wants to lead the ceremony. You can seek recommendations from an affordable crematorium as they are in a better position to have contacts of suitable people to consider. The officiant will ensure a smooth ash-scattering journey from start to finish, enabling you and your family to mourn your loved one’s loss comfortably.
Seven Ash-Scattering Journey Options to Consider
Many families decide to spread their loved one’s ashes at a spot that brings back memories or where their loved one liked to go. Common places to sprinkle ashes include parks, beaches, and bodies of water. Still, some people also prefer storing the cremains in their respective trailer rentals or at their homes to maintain proximity to the departed.
Choose a location with special meaning for your loved one, where you connected, or that makes you think of them. On where you can spread ashes, there are rules and legislation. Make sure you are permitted to disperse ashes there before choosing a location. Here are seven ash scattering alternatives to consider.
Because of its ease of use and applicability, casting cremation ashes is a typical ash scattering process. You can scatter the ashes anywhere you choose to since there are countless ways, such as spreading them on a beach. However, you should be aware of several aspects when scattering ashes.
Cremains are crushed bones from cremations that are not uniform in size; some are light like dust, while others are coarse, enabling them to fall on the ground immediately. Therefore, cast with the wind to keep the ash from blowing into your face. Some cremains may be sharp; that’s why many postal and moving services require people to send them as express in double-sealed bags. Ensure no one is downwind to the area where you’re dispersing ash, and be prepared for some to land in your shoes. If you’re scattering ash in a group, It would be best if you form a perpendicular line to the wind.
It involves digging a shallow trench to place the ashes, covering them with soil, and putting some markers at the top. Some pour them into the channel, while others keep the ashes in a biodegradable urn. This type is the closest service to a typical burial, and some prefer it as an excellent alternative to the traditional burial.
Trenching is more common along the ocean, which involves digging a trench during the low tide for the high waves to wash the ashes into the sea. Others may dig along a sentimental tree or a natural green space, a popular method of interring cremains in green cemeteries.
There are several essential points to consider in this form: how the ground surrounding the trench will change; will it be transitory? (like a beach) or permanent? (such as a forest.) You don’t have to dig deep; aim for at least one or two feet. Use a marker that will not blow away since the wind may move it immediately if it is not heavy. Also, ensure you get the landowner’s permission to dig the trench and carry out the ash-scattering journey.
Ash raking is what it sounds like: the ashes are dispersed on loose ground and then raked into the earth. Exposure of the cremation ashes to air and elements enables them to decompose much faster into the soil and for the plants nearby to absorb them easily.
It usually occurs in flower gardens or even in a country club. If you plan on raking ashes into the soil, make sure to first obtain permission from the landowner, such as country club memberships, if you decide to conduct this ceremony on a specific club’s grounds. As with trenching, be prepared for the land to change after some time. You do not want to rake in a lovely grassy area only to return three months later to find it as a parking area.
4. Water Ash Scattering
An ash-scattering journey on the water is prevalent since it can happen in many ways, such as scattering ashes in the ocean or a tranquil lake. Others prefer carrying out the service while at sea, where they charter a ship from a sea-ash scattering service provider and head far off-sea where the ceremony occurs.
However, when scattering ashes on a ship, ask the captain the ideal spot to stand to avoid having the cremains blowing back into your face. To prevent an ash blow-back, consider getting a water-soluble urn from a funeral parlor, which will hold all the cremains together until the water dissolves the jar. Also, choose a captain with experience assisting families in scattering ashes to ensure that you are not in a turbulent area of the ship.
5. Airplane Ash Scattering
Scattering ashes by air involves dispersing your loved ones’ ashes across the land from an aircraft. This ash-scattering journey is most suitable for those attached to a more extensive physical area of land, be it a national forest, a strip of beach, or the like.
Working with someone experienced with this service is critical, and the pilot should ideally have the required equipment to handle a safe and decent ash scattering process. Accept that ash will fall in places you have no control, such as the roadway. If you want to videotape the scattering, find a plane with a camera attached rather than trying to capture it from the cockpit.
6. Balloon Ash Scattering
This process involves putting the cremation ashes in five-foot bio-degradable balloons with Helium and launching them to a height of 40,000 feet which will cause them to freeze and burst, releasing the cremains at great heights. The precise location of the scattering will vary, so be prepared for that.
7. Eternal Reefs
An Eternal Reef blends the cremation urn, ash dispersal, and burial at sea to create a meaningful, long-lasting environmental homage to life. The ocean floor is the permanent resting place of an Eternal Reef, a designed reef built of cast concrete that is safe for the environment.
Eternal Reefs turns your loved one’s ashes into a coral reef and drops them in areas that lack reefs instead of scattering them or letting them sink. Your loved one might evolve into a coral reef to benefit marine life and leave a lasting living legacy — a fantastic way to remember a loved one who has passed away.
You can contact us for cremation and ash scattering services from our team of experienced experts who are always ready to help ensure you plan and conduct a dignified ash scattering journey for your loved one.