What I'm going to propose here are some ideas for last rites--as with most of the other rites in this turn of the personal wheel, what happens at this time is going to rely on several factors, one being the person's own wishes (and we can hope that the person took the survivors, and not just themselves, into account when they considered how they wanted to be remembered in that final rite), the wishes/will of the family, and the traditions of those doing the rite.ite.te.e..
The most difficult problem that pagan folk run into when one of their members dies is that responsibility for their last rites goes to the next of kin. It is a painful reality that devout pagans often end up being buried in a Christian (or other religious) service, because the family is the one legally entitled to bury them. Their pagan friends have no such rights.
So! If you are a pagan, and you have certain wishes as to your last rites, it's time to arrange things legally, so that those who will respect your wishes will be in charge. Otherwise, your family is going to claim you and bury you as they want you buried, not as you or any of your pagan family know you would want to be buried.
White candles, white altar, flowers (white is the color of death and mourning in many countries; but in this case, it is also a reminder of rebirth; in this rite, we're going to focus on that).
A picture of the loved one.
One thought is to have a cauldron filled with earth, and a bowl filled with seeds. Have each person plant a seed in the cauldron.
Each person, using the urn of water, should rinse their hands just before entering the circle. This unifies the mourners and it emphasizes the quiet, special feel of the ritual.
Cast the Circle:
You might want to use callings for the quarters created/used by the loved one, and call upon his/her favored deities, as well as the God and Goddess.
HP/S states that all are here "to remember ________name, born_________, died____________. He/She has gone on to Summerland and now awaits rebirth."
Starting with a meditation or a song is always good at such times. Meditations on one's own personal death, or on a last communication with the loved one, or on a remembrance of past lives would be good. You might have slow drumming or soft music. I would then pass round the photo, have each person look at it, hold it before them so that it is facing the rest of the group, and relate a favored anecdote about the person.
This can also be done with a bottle of booze if you wish to make it more of a wake, or with a special talisman of the person.
If this is a burial as well, then all should head out to the area where the ashes are to be scattered (or the body buried) and there should be a rite at this point, as well. People may wish to bury with the person certain items--a wand or, if the loved one was a tarot reader, a deck of cards. People may wish to say good-bye.
The HP/S should have a final word before the circle is opened. With everyone holding hands, she should speak to/of the Goddess, of the turning of the Wheel, of rebirth, of this person now gone, and how we will all meet them again to enjoy, once again, their many wonderful qualities.
The HP/S should add that, in the loved one's place, she offers everyone a flower to take home as a farewell gift. She should then open the circle. Hugs should be exchanged.
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