Final Wishes

A Witchvox reader recently asked me what I thought should be done to ensure that her wishes were followed to have a Wiccan funeral, what to do for the funeral and what to do about her Catholic family, though her children are fine with her religion.

My response:

The best thing you can do imo is to start by making a will if you haven’t already with your wishes in it and inform your kids (or next of kin) about your decision. Having this document legally drawn up by a lawyer will insure that your wishes are followed. Next, I would say you want to decide who you would like to conduct your burial for you and to inform them that while you are not dying, you want to plan for your future and ensure someone you know and trust conducts the ceremony for you. I personally would then consider a few points:

* How do I want my life celebrated? It’s often natural that some people will be sad and grieve if your passing is sudden or unexpected, how would you like to celebrate your life while still leaving room for grieving? A picture board? A dvd with your happiest moments? For people to share memories of you?

* Think of this as one of the most important rituals you’ll go through. What do you want to wear for it? Which chants/hymns, etc. do you want to be sang during it? Which god/dess/es do you want invoked to assist you in your passing? Are there any readings from any sacred texts that you want? Do you want to be buried with any other objects? Or herbs? What kind of flowers or charities do you want to use?

* How do you want to be buried? In the ground naturally? Cremated and your ashes spread in a special place? Interned? A standard burial with a fancy coffin? What cemetary do you want to be buried at if you want to be buried? What kind of headstone if so?

* Your family who is Catholic are going to need to grieve your loss too. Are you willing to do a traditional wake in addition to your Wiccan burial? Have a priest involved at all even for a short prayer for them? Prayers to Mary? Or allow for a memorial service where you’re not present but gives them a chance to grieve in a way that’s familiar to them?

* Make sure your affairs are in order – that your children (or next of kin) know where your important papers are, that they know how your life insurance works (if applicable), how to access security boxes and bank accounts, where your deed and car title is if applicable and that they know who your lawyer is and what your wishes are in terms of a long hospital stay (do you not want to be kept alive through machines? Do you want a do not resuscitate order? If you have a long term terminal illness, do you want hospice care?)

Have a question? Email me at corvaxgirl [at] gmail [dottie] com

Deborah Castellano
Deborah Castellano's book Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want is available for purchase through Amazon, Llewellyn and Barnes and Noble.
Her frequently updated catalogue of published work is available on Author Central.

She writes about Glamour Magic here at Charmed, I'm Sure. Her podcast appearances are available here.

Her craft shop, The Mermaid & The Crow specializes in old-world style workshop from 100% local, sustainable sources featuring tempting small batch ritual oils and hand-spun hand-dyed yarn in luxe fibers and more!

In a previous life, Deborah founded the first Neo-Victorian/Steampunk convention, SalonCon which received rave reviews from con-goers and interviews from the New York Times and MTV.

She resides in New Jersey with her husband, Jow and their cat, Max II. She has a terrible reality television habit she can't shake and likes St. Germain liquor, record players and typewriters.  

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2 Responses

  1. Regarding "buried in the ground naturally" – Is it legal to be buried without a coffin? I was under the impression that you couldn't do that for some reason.

  2. Deborah Castellano

    I think that's an issue that's maybe state by state? I had meant un-embalmed and a simple wooden coffin but that wasn't clear at all 🙂 I would also suggest investigating "eco-burials" for the most natural (and legal) approach.

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