The term pagan originally referred to the people living in the countryside instead of in the cities of the Roman empire, but now it's used to describe a wide variety of people with diverse spiritual practices falling mostly outside of other major religions. When a pagan family member dies, it's tricky to plan a funeral that recognizes their specific and unique religious practice. If you're dedicated to personalizing the memorial service, work with the funeral home and use these four tips.
Ask Their Friends
Unless you're going to stick to the most generic mentions of spiritual topics, you'll need to find out exactly what kind of beliefs your family member held. Even members of the same tradition, such as Wicca or Druidry, may follow completely different practices. Look for members of religious groups and close friends who knew at least a few details about the person's paganism, including the deities they worshiped and belief in reincarnation or an afterlife.
Find a Natural Setting
While not all pagans revere nature, most of them at least respect the natural world. Hosting the funeral, or at least the memorial service, in a wooded grove or blooming meadow is a beautiful and touching way to honor those feelings. This is an ideal way to give a pagan twist to a service when you don't want to mention any specific religious facts due to the sensibilities of family members with conflicting beliefs.
Consider Green Burial
Take the natural setting one step further by investing in green burial for your family member. If your loved one regularly talked about connecting with Mother Nature or honoring the earth, they'd likely love a funeral free from chemicals and concrete vaults that damage the environment. Try to arrange this option before the person passes away since many green cemeteries have waiting lists for selling plots due to limited space and high demand.
Hire a Non-Denominational Minister
When at all possible, it's best to ask the religious leader of your family member's group, coven, or grove. However, many pagans worship alone and end up with no clergy qualified to provide tradition-specific burial rites. If this is the case, look for a non-denominational licensed minister that specializes in services for people with personal and private spiritual beliefs. They can carefully use whatever details you do know to create a moving service people of all faiths can enjoy.
Stick to generic funeral practices if you're unsure how your family member's faith effects the details. It's more respectful to focus on the other parts of their life if there's no information available about their pagan practices than to give them an overtly Christian funeral just because it's easier.
To learn more, contact a funeral home like Fletcher Funeral Home PA.