Funeral Rites Across Different Cultures: Wicca

Wicca is a modern-day, nature-based religion.  Though rituals and practices vary widely, most Wiccans observe festival celebrations of solstices and equinoxes, worship both a male god and female goddess, and practice their religion according to an ethical code.  Wiccans draw interpretation largely from pre-Christian religions and cultures.

Wiccan funerals show many of the same characteristics as green or eco-friendly burials.  Wiccans prefer to bury the deceased in a natural setting.  It is common practice for the departed to be wrapped only in cloth.  This allows the body to decompose as naturally and quickly as possible.  Wiccan funerals are a reflection of respect for the earth and death cycle, and the desire to provide nourishment for other life.  Therefore, Wiccan funeral rites are typically held outdoors in a beautiful, natural setting.

In such rituals, Wiccans sit in circles and recite the name of the deceased.  Wiccans talk about the departed’s life, their death, and the way they felt about them.  Displaying sadness, tension, anger, and laughter as a means of connecting with others is encouraged as this can be very healing.  Funeral rituals are conducted in an atmosphere that includes fires, music, chanting, and dance to help the spirit make its transition to a new plane of existence.

Woodlawn continues to be a non-sectarian cemetery without a specific religious affiliation.