NOTE: During tonight’s LiveCast of Heathen Talk, a question from our IRC came up, asking whether we wanted to be cremated or buried. I promised to publish this short vignette from the Asatru Subreddit from September 2014. While, as I said in the podcast, my personal theology has changed since this was written – I would prefer that I would be cremated, for example, the overall narrative of what occurs has not. In any case, I hope you find some value in this, and hope you enjoy.
On My Death
Ideally, and this means more luck than I currently have or deserve, I have died an old man, surrounded by family, with a haleful legacy. My hearth and kinfolk lay out my body, I am washed, and dressed in a good suit of clothes, with new shoes with which to make the 9 night journey to the underworld. Then, I am laid out in the parlor of my home, for the viewing.
My friends and distant kin make the journey to my home, and there they will leave small gifts for me. Some coffee, a snack, perhaps a knife, or a book. After the wake, my sons and the other young men of my tribe go out to the family plot and finish digging my grave. Then the next morning, I am lowered into the ground, surrounded by my grave goods. A small cup and bowl placed at my feet. A horn resting in my hands. Then I am interred in the underworld, among the graves of my family.
A marker is raised where I lie, and there my children will bring their children to be introduced, show me how they are growing, and bring me their problems. I will be a far better listener in death than I ever was in life. Should my shade be powerful enough, I shall give to them my blessings, or withhold it with such mysteries are needed to make them understand my feelings on the matter.
Eventually, after my Great Grandson is a Grandfather, I will pass peacefully from the earth and take my place among the great Ancestral chorus, perhaps nameless but not forgotten, to eventually await whatever mystery exists beyond the next life.
That’s a good death. I couldn’t ask for more. In all likelyhood, I will die, not unloved, but with no great legacy besides some good deeds and good words. Perhaps those who come after me will take comfort and inspiration from my bullshit, and go on to achieve the life, and the death, that I wanted so badly for myself. I’ll take that too.
Feature Image ©OnceAndFutureLaura