A Ceremonial Art Project for Green Burial.
Green burial means no embalmed bodies, biodegradable funerary wares (caskets etc), in a setting with natural landscaping, usually native vegetation and low resource usage, avoiding chemical pesticides, fertilizers etc.
There are now hundreds of green burial grounds around the US. This is an option that more and more people are requesting, but this is not available in Boulder County unless you own private land on which you can bury.
I am a volunteer with Green Burial Boulder County - a group affiliated with Natural Transitions that is spearheading an initiative to raise awareness in our community about green burial. Speaking to Death is a ceremonial art project created to support Green Burial Boulder County in our outreach efforts.
This project is important to me personally because I believe in treating the body as a sacred vessel, and treating death as a sacred transition. I feel that tremendous healing and renewal occurs when we honor death naturally and take time to grieve. Green burials and other natural end-of-life practices can assist in bringing death close to us so that we can take the time we need to honor endings. I believe that in this way we also honor our collective spiritual heart and our mother earth.
Speaking to Death
Phase I: The Coffin - this phase is complete.
Using natural pigments, I painted a coffin made of beetle kill pine from Nature's Casket in Longmont (a local green casket company). The imagery I used represents green burial, the beauty of mother earth, and the honoring of death as a part of life. I painted the coffin to share the importance of a natural return to the earth. Everything about the coffin is eco-friendly, from the pine used to build it, to the milk-based paint I used to add imagery. I also wanted to show an example of how death can be embraced and brought home. This casket is a great example of how one might personalize a casket for a funeral held at home, where family members of the deceased care for and prepare the body for burial or cremation.
Phase II: The Community Ceremony - this phase is in progress.
The intention with this phase is to inspire community participation and reflection. We have been bringing the coffin along to some of Green Burial Boulder County's presentations and workshops. At presentations we invite participants to write a message or draw a picture on paper and place it inside the coffin as an offering. The paper offerings placed inside the coffin are treated with care. We plan to compile messages and art we receive from participants to create a community art piece that has it's own legacy.
© 2016 Diana Zucco. All Rights Reserved.
Thank you to everyone who donated in 2015 to make this project possible!