A Viking funeral for ashes

Charles 6 Comments


We sometimes have good ideas here at the GFG, but we rarely make them happen. In life there are starters and there are finishers. We have little of the latter about us. 

One of our better ideas was a model Viking longship for launching ashes in. We urged this on our good friend Richard Martin over at Scattering Ashes. 

He’s done it. Ain’t it lovely? Too nice to burn?

As we said when we thought of it:

The flames rise (vertically) to the heavens as the wind fills the longboat’s sails and it journeys (horizontally) to the horizon in a way which mirrors the words of the Christian prayer: “But as thou didst not lose them in the giving, so we do not lose them by their return. For not as the world giveth, givest thou, O Lord of souls: that which thou givest thou takest away: for life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only the horizon, and the horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.”

There is compelling emotional and spiritual appeal in this imagery, of journeying, transition, transfiguration and consummation (deliberate pun). The spirit rises as the craft moves over the face of the waters; that which is earthly is subsumed by the sea. All the elements are present: earth, air, fire, water. And there is an inexorable dynamic.




Find Richard’s ideasy, info-packed website here





Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ru Callender
11 years ago

Absolutely marvelous. Actually has made us decide to sell ashes urns, these and Alan Braidford’s extraordinary figurines.
Incidentally, the funeral pyre campaign smoulders on. Might even burst into flames this year.

Jenny Uzzell
11 years ago

This is absolutely amazing. I am a Saxon/Viking re-enactor, as are my parents. My father constantly jokes about wanting a ship burial and the family line is ‘you’ve got your urn, now stop moaning’…he actually does have his urn…modelled on Saxon cremation urns and made by a friend of ours. He was the ‘Face of Yorvic’ for a while and trust me it really is quite embarrasing when your father’s face actually IS on the back end of a bus! Seriouly though…it is utterly unthinkable that when the time comes (God willing not for many years) my Dad should not… Read more »

gloria mundi
11 years ago

Beautiful in itself, inspiring in its symbolism – even for those of us who don’t believe in any literal way the beautiful words Charles quotes. (Symbolic and emotional truths a different matter, of course.)

I fear it will further inspire our resident pyromaniac, however….which will make Jenny’s wishes more realisable.

Ru Callender
11 years ago

If you haven’t already, hasten ye and your dad over to The Natural Death Centre website where we have a poll waiting for you.
We are still looking for assistance in our campaign, be it from progressive lawyers willing to offer their services for nowt, or forward thinking landowners ready to offer a site.

Charles Cowling
11 years ago

It’s right down at the bottom of this page: http://www.naturaldeath.org.uk/

Anyone wanting to support the reintroduction of open-air cremation should lend their support. Just tick the box. No registration, etc, required.

Jenny Uzzell
11 years ago

Thanks, Rupert,
Consider it done. I will also put it out on the re-enactment group’s various lists and forums, as well as keeping my eyes open for anyone who might be of more practical use to the campaign!