I'm currently taking a class on grief and bereavement across different cultures. I thought it would be interesting, of only because I'm currently doing work as pagan clergy and it would behoove me to have as much information as possible to assist in that capacity. The most recent assignment asked us to contemplate how we want our own funerals to go and I thought that was an interesting topic to bring to discussion.

Western society has a taboo around death, we dont like to see or talk about it. However we also have many rituals and symbols surrounding it. As time goes on our funerals have become more individual, different from the rigid structure and regularity of our ancestors. My textbook even poses that funerals may sometimes be narcissistic, and risk misrepresenting the person as they were.

I would argue that this is a reflection of our growing ability to show our individuality and diversity in life, that our death rituals have become as unique as we are. As pagans we lack a specific codified faith or dogma. We dont need to worry that the music we choose for service is theologically inappropriate or that theres some conflict between the orthodoxy and what the common people believe. Our religion is itself a symbol is individualism, forging our own path and knowledge, and this gives us great justification to decide how we want our remains treated, even when many of us live in culturally Christian countries surrounded by their death rituals.

So my question is the same one my professor posed to me: can you give us some insight into how your want your funeral rights conducted? Do you want your body available for viewing? And what factors both personal and related to cultural norms are influencing your decisions?