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Funerals/religious ritual


QUESTION: My friends have been arguing this for weeks. I am Norwegian. I can trace my family back to Farsund as far back as 750AD... so far. We follow the old religion and are what I guess you would call "pagan."  I want to know what hoopla we'd incur if my funeral (I am old and ill) was proper. Meaning I go to Valhalla sailing out to sea in a burning boat. I am VERY serious about this. I see all kinds of other religious ritual allowed.
If done secretly, what would the ramifications, charges,  be?
Thank you so much.

ANSWER: You would need a medical examiner's permit to cremate. Frankly, given the pollution I find that an unwise choice.

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QUESTION: I don't see why "pollution" would be an issue as long as it was a "green" burial. Washington State has "green cemeteries" where one can just go in the ground as long as there are no chemicals involved (like embalming fluid) and everything else involved (if there is a wooden coffin) is biodegradable. Truly "dust to dust." The only thing would be I would be in water. And consumed by fish rather than worms.
Mammals and fish haves decomposed naturally since they/we evolved.

Like I mentioned, I have seen where the rules are bent for other religious ritual.

If we just "do it," what are the charges?

If you want to be consumed by fish, then you could pick burial at sea without the burning boat.
Even for that your family would need a medical examiner's permit first. I'm not sure what the penalty would be if they went ahead without that permit.I'm surprised you would pick an exit that would put your family in jeopardy of some kind if only a fine perhaps.


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Lisa Carlson


Funeral Law. Having written a 512-page book on funeral law for consumers with state-by-state information, I am very conversant with consumer rights in this regard: What are the laws on disposition of cremated remains? Is embalming required? Do I have to use a funeral home? Can I have a home wake? Is it a state law to buy a vault? I prepaid for a funeral but changed my mind. They won`t give me all my money back. What can I do? . . . If you have an immediate need for information because a death has just occurred or is about to occur, you may call me at 802-482-6021.


I have monitored the funeral industry on behalf of consumers for over 20 years. I have been a guest speaker to funeral trade organizations, consumer workshops, and social service professionals. I am regularly consulted by lawyers and legislators as well as journalists.

Funeral Ethics Organization ( Funeral Consumers Alliance (

Caring for Your Own Dead (1987) Caring for the Dead: Your Final Act of Love (1998) I Died Laughing: Funeral Education with a Light Touch (2001) Final Rights: Reclaiming the American Way of Death (2011) with co-author Joshua Slocum

Masters degree in Administration and Special Education

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