The Long Form - Going Out in a Blaze of Glory
“When I die I want my body used as fertilizer for cannabis so my friends can smoke me.” A quote from Bruce Linton or a writer at Vice? - Your guess*! This week we’re putting the fun in funeral and looking at the ways cannabis can be incorporated into your final destination.
As you may have read in the news last week, the latest discovery around ancient use of cannabis was a set of braziers (similar to incense burners in the Catholic Church). The small wooden bowls were used to burn cannabis at a funeral site in the mountains of Western China. Another discovery back in 2016 uncovered a tomb which had been laid to rest with a shroud of cannabis plants, placed very intentionally across the body and resting under the chin. The Scythians, who habited what is now Eastern Europe, also used cannabis in their post-death cleansing rituals, throwing the plant upon coals and bathing in the steam. Clearly cannabis has a long-standing tradition at funerals that was not carried over to modern grief rituals… until now.
There’s no need to be a stiff - adding a bit of lightness and celebration to the ceremony is another tool for dealing with grief. Take the Irish wake tradition: to anyone who’s never been to a wake, it may seem like a big piss-up with an open casket, but that’s a bit of a modern reductionist attitude. The real motivation behind the gathering is community, a sense of pause and reflection on a life well-lived. It’s stopping long enough to visit with the family of the deceased that you can share a sip, a bite, a memory, and maybe a laugh.
The tradition of a three day observance over the body before burial, which is also part of the Jewish custom of sitting Shiva, is an old practice. Until the medical advancements of the last two centuries or so, the family would need to wait to make sure the person had indeed passed away, but this custom also allows enough time for many visitors to stop by and pay their respects.
In the spirit of spending time together and maybe even a laugh, it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to add cannabis to part of the refreshments. We’d like to think that it might help coax out a few more stores from the life of the deceased. It’s certainly a healthier option than alcohol, according to a report released this week from The Global Commission on Drug Policy, Classification of Psychoactive Substances: When Science Was Left Behind.
In addition to cannabis as a refreshment - it’s not impossible to consider bringing back the weed funeral traditions of yore. We wouldn’t mind a cannabis bouquet as part of our burial flowers. You could even take it a step further and use your ashes to fertilize the next season’s grow as some people are already doing with trees, or perhaps more meaningfully, use it for the soil of your mother plant from which you clip your clones. It’s the circle of life.
*Obviously it was a writer for Vice...