Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Like the Vikings

Here is another funereal option...

Any funeral that involves flaming arrows...well, how you gonna beat that?

Of course, you would want to use ale, not cider. Perhaps mead. And you would lose the yearly aspect to it, but it still has much to recommend it.


Anonymous said...

I don't know... seems too pagan to me. Perhaps a good pile of unhewn stones to mark the spot. You have a little experience in placing stones, right? If I go first, you can make the pile. If you go, I can plant the tree.

Dubbahdee said...

Of course it's pagan...but that's just a place on a continuum isn't it? Someone of Orthodox training would consider ANY kind of burning of the body to be pagan, yet that doesn't seem to bother us. A Christian convert from India might also eschew the pyre as redolent of his pagan past. We have no such compunction.
When it comes to rituals, co-opting is a tradition in itself. See Christmas trees, Easter eggs, etc, etc. The attempt to strip all christian ritual of all pagan influence is a bit of a shell game, and even if you manage to do it, you end up with something pretty sterile and bland. The problem is the assumption that if it is earthy, and material, in any way focused on our bodies, then it is unspiritual and sinful. That is gnosticism of course, and has it's own inherent problems.
So let's not burn so that our shadow bodies will cross the sword bridge to feast in Valhalla. But let's burn in celebration of a life well lived, and looking to the fire that will remake the earth before our bodies are ressurected.
Referring you to Albert Wolters' book Creation Regained, it's not the structure but the direction that matters.

Anonymous said...

Quite right about the continuum, as I said, "too" pagan.

With more reflection, perhaps we need to bring the Christian symbol of the phoenix back in vogue. A "Rising from the Ashes" liturgy would work well.

Oh! And if we practiced a real Ash Wednesday service, there could be a greater connection between the creamation ritual, Lent and Easter Sunday.

BTW, there is usually (I almost wrote always) a connection between structure and direction. Structures are not always neutral.

Anonymous said...

That would be CREMATION, not creamation. All the apple talk has made me crave some pie and ice cream.

Anonymous said...

From wikipedia-
A phoenix is a mythical bird with a tail of beautiful gold and red plumage (or purple and blue, by some sources [1]). It has a 1,000 year life-cycle, and near the end the phoenix builds itself a nest of cinnamon twigs that it then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix or phoenix egg arises.
Cinnamon? I am really wanting that pie now!