Colorado Town Offers Outdoor Cremation

Cremation is becoming increasingly common in the United States, but it's usually done in an enclosed facility, apart from the public or even mourners. An exception to this norm is provided by an organization in the small town of Crestone, Colorado. The Crestone End of Life Project now offers open air funeral pyres. Since starting three years ago, they've had eighteen such funerals:

Ancient Vikings lit funeral pyres to honor their dead, and it is accepted practice among Buddhist and Hindu religions. But the practice is largely taboo in the U.S.

The pyre harkens to references in the Christian and Hebrew Bibles equating rising smoke with the ascent of the soul, said David Weddle, a religion professor at Colorado College. It can be seen as honoring a natural cycle, reducing the body to ash and the elements of which it is composed. It also can be a protest against traditional funerals, which some view as a denial of death, Weddle said.[...]

It takes up to four and a half hours for a body to burn completely. Since there's no way of separating human ashes from those of the wood the family receives about five gallons of ashes.

Link via Ace of Spades HQ | Photo: AP/Ivan Morelo

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for those interested in learning more about what is involved in the traditional funerals and cremations ... and or have serious questions

I have a whole extended family I've found of folks that actually work in various parts of the trade
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Sounds like a great alternative to the usual methods of cremations, but the only thing I imagine being intolerable would be the smell. I mean, being outside is nice and all, but I think the smell alone would keep me from every doing/experiencing anything like that.
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Pretty cool. Since I can't go in a viking longboat, outdoor cremation is tempting. Of course I won't notice, so it's a touch vain. Really, just let the wild dogs carry off my carcass.
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That's just going to give me nightmares...

I don't think I ever want to see a body being burned out in the open like that, and it's only more harrowing if the body is that of a loved one.

Those images are going to stick to my hourly thoughts for months!
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