Six Methods for Scattering Cremains

Beach Flower

Scatter on a beach.

Do you wish to have your remains scattered after a cremation? If so, make your wishes known now to friends and/or loved ones so no one is taken aback by your request once you’re gone. Once you’ve made your decision and informed loved ones, you still need to decide how you’ll want your cremains (remains after cremation) scattered.

There are six basic ways to scatter remains and each one has benefits and problems, which are listed below. No matter which method you decide, just know that scattering cremains is legal in every state; however, scattering on public property needs a property owner’s permission and scattering on public property needs permission and often permits as well.

  1. Aerial Scattering: After scaqttering ashes at home, this is the most popular method for scattering cremains. But, despite the popularity (or perhaps because of it), many people experience sometimes traumatic issues if a professional is not hired to help with this method. There are stories of cremains blowing back into a plane, wrong locations pointed out and more. A coordinated effort with the weather can bring joy and closure to those on the ground, as on clear days you actually can see the cremains falling from the plane like a cloud.
  2. Water Scattering: A boat can be as interesting as a plane when scattering cremains over water. Watching for wind patterns is essential to keep cremains from blowing back on mourners or onto the boat. One way to remedy this situation is to use a water-soluble urn. These urns are designed to degrade in water, which helps to spread the cremains into the water body easily. This type of urn usually floats for a few minutes before it sinks slowly. Once again, you might want to hire a professional for this service so everything goes smoothly.
  3. Casting: This method of scattering cremains involves tossing cremains to the wind. Once again, wind patterns are important, as while some cremains are heavy and dense like sand, other portions may fly into the wind and fly back onto mourners.
  4. Trenching: This method involves digging a trench, depositing the cremains in the trench, and then raking back over it to cover the cremains. One burial site mentions a beautiful idea that involves digging a trench in sand on a beach during low tide, then waiting for the high tide to come in to wash the cremains out to sea.
  5. Ringing: This method involves pouring the cremains in a circle on the ground, with or without a trench. Usually, the cremains are used to circle a bush (perhaps a rose bush), trees or memory tables.
  6. Raking: A cemetery that contains a scattering garden may offer this opportunity, where a loved one’s cremains are raked into the earth. This method also is used by many who choose to leave their cremains on an old homeplace or in a public location like a park.

If you choose to scatter your cremated remains, you might learn that some family members may want to keep a piece of you with them. The individuals who have the legal right to authorize a cremation usually have the right to determine the disposition of remains as well. These decisions usually are easier to make while you are still alive.

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