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Funerals/ritual "green" burial


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


Please excuse the delay in answering your question. I have been out of town for several days and did not have access to the internet.

Your question is difficult to answer, as I don't know where you live. But assuming you live in the U.S. and near an ocean, I'll go from there.  I do not know of any laws anywhere that "Directly" forbid or outlaw a traditional Norse burial. I have heard of several attempts in the Portland,Oregon area where a family tried to set a loved ones cremated remains out to sea, via a local river which feeds into the Columbia River, which feeds into the Pacific Ocean. As the story came to me the miniature boat was set on fire with the cremated remains "Onboard", it sailed a short distance and the fire was extinguished by the water.

That aside, the only way I could see this happening would be as follows:

1. All legal paperwork would need to be taken care of to satisfy the state or provincial government (Death certificate,burial permits et al) with the disposition of the body section showing as "Burial at Sea).

2. Your body would need to be placed in a combustible vessel (Wood boat, think sail boat), with the boat and your body in a shroud covered with a flammable substance (Preferable something that is not petroleum based)to ensure that your body and the boat would burn very hot and complete as possible.

3. Your body and the boat would need to be taken out to sea to international waters so no one government would have jurisdiction, then set on fire as the transport vessel is heading back to shore. The Captain/Skipper of the boat would need to also need to make record of the longitude and latitude of where your body was released, if perchance there were questions asked later.

4. Your would need to have approximately 150 lbs. of weight attached to the shroud so that if the vessel and your body do not completely burn that your body would sink deep into the ocean with little chance of washing up on shore somewhere.

5.  I would suggest running this past an attorney who specializes in in Maritime law to make sure this is anywhere close to being legal.

Officially I can't recommend this type of disposition to you, hence checking with a Maritime Attorney, but from a strictly hypothetical standpoint, I think this could work. I also would caution you this could be rather expensive, particularly in the cost of the burial vessel and the cost of hiring the boat to take you out to sea.

I hope this helped you,

Erin Phelps


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Erin Phelps


I can answer any questions about funerals,embalming, cremation, green burial, home funerals, burial on your own land, scattering of cremated remains and any other death related questions you may have.


I have worked in the death care industry since 1977, owning my own funeral home since 1990. I worked as an EMT at a funeral home based ambulance service for 6 years gain much experience there. When I opened my funeral home, my goal was to provide honest, straightforward, significant and affordable services to the families who called upon me for my services. Since Sept. 2008, I have served as a member of the Oregon State Mortuary & Cemetery Board, which regulates the operation of mortuarys and cemeteries in Oregon. I have been a regular attendee and speaker at various funeral related seminars over the years and am a frequent contributor to "Mortuary Management" magazine. I was one of the first funeral directors in Oregon to offer "Green" or "Natural" burial services and to offer assistance to families who wish to take care of their own family members at home. I also have vast experience in the repatriation of a deceased to their country of origin.

Oregon Funeral Directors Association, International Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Association, Cremation Association of America, Funeral Ethics Association Natural End Funeral Services - Charter Member.

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Attended the University of Oregon Associates of Science Degree - Mt. Hood Community College, Gresham, Oregon

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Top 10 Eye Enucleators in Oregon. Nationally Board Certified Funeral Director/Embalmer Honored in "Funeral Monitor", Aug. 2007 for my business practices.

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Since 1990, I have served over 10,000 families, requesting the gamute of services ranging from the simplest to the most elaborate. Servicing christian, jewish, muslim, buddhist, hindu and humanists, along with families from every continent in the world.

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