The act of scattering cremated remains of a loved one is an intimate and reverent occasion that should be carefully planned. Before taking any action, you must first do your homework and find out about local, state, and federal statutes that regulate where human cremated remains can and cannot be scattered.

Where Can I Scatter Ashes?

The location of the scattering is really up to your personal preferences as well as the wishes of your loved one. Some popular suggestions are dedicated scattering gardens at a cemetery, a scenic outdoor locale that held great importance to the deceased, or even a place that the deceased was never able to visit, but had a lifelong dream to go.

Once you identify where to scatter and have the approval from the proper authorities to do so, there are many different ways to release them.

How to Scatter Ashes

There are several basic methods for scattering:

1. Green Burial

The cremated remains are poured into a hole in the ground, or placed in an urn that is biodegradable. If the urn is buried, make sure to mark the gravesite with a permanent memorial so you and future generations can visit the area in the future.

2. Trenching

Someone digs a shallow groove in the soil and the small trenches are filled with the ashes. Some individuals choose to get creative with trenching and spell out a person’s name, or they write a message to the deceased in the soil, then fill the groove with ashes and cover it with topsoil. Trenching is popular in beach communities because the ocean’s tides will absorb the ashes and carry them out to sea.

3. Casting

This entails throwing the ashes into the wind, and is usually done by one person. Check the direction of the wind, so when you throw the ashes, they don’t blow back on the gathering. If several people want to cast the ashes, pass the urn around and scatter the ashes a little at a time, or divide the cremated remains and place them in small keepsake urns that can serve as a lasting memento after the service.

4. Water Scattering

Water-soluble urns are available for scattering services that take place on lakes, rivers or ocean. Once placed in the water, these urns float for short period of time and then slowly sink to the bottom of the sea.

The Neptune Society of California is proud to offer ash scattering services at sea aboard our company yacht, the Naiad. Click here to learn more.

 5. Ringing

Scatter the ashes around an object that symbolizes the deceased’s life, such as a favorite plant or tree.

 6. Aerial Scattering

Ashes are cast from an airplane. This ceremony requires the use of a special plane outfitted for this type of event and therefore must be done by a professional.

What Kind of Ceremony Should I Perform?

The key is design a service that is meaningful, personal, and pays tribute to the memory of the deceased. Funeral directors can be helpful resources for planning a scattering ceremony. Ask them about products, memorials, and suggestions to make the event a truly special occasion. There are beautiful urns available for the cremated remains of the deceased that lend dignity to the scattering ceremony. And, there is even jewelry available, which can contain some of the ashes of the deceased so you can always keep a piece of that special person close to you.

Regardless of where the scattering takes place, it is possible to create a fitting tribute to a life well lived. Make sure you consider their wishes and then personalize the ceremony so it is unique to their lasting legacy.

The Neptune Society of Northern California has provided a simple and affordable option for more than 125,000 Californians who prefer cremation as the dignified and ecologically responsible alternative to traditional final arrangements. Contact us online or browse our locations to contact a representative.

Category: What is Cremation?.