Natural burial is something old and new; It is a return to the ancient rites of the Great Cycle of birth, growth, death, and rebirth. It is a reclamation of traditional practices in the modern age.
Herland’s Vision of natural burial encompasses death-care practices that enhance and honor the natural process that reincorporates a persons body into the landscape so that is can fulfill the cycle and be made available to nourish new life. In this way contemporary practices such as embalming, sealed caskets and concrete vaults, are replaced with less expensive, non-toxic and hopefully local materials.
From Conservation to Stewardship
Natural burial is also way for people to guard land against destructive development. In Washington state, when human bodies are interred on a piece of cemetery land, it becomes legally protected from other development in perpetuity. This is one way that natural cemeteries are being harnessed in support of conservation, restoration and stewardship of semi-wild land
In the case of Herland Forest, our goal is to expand the Cemetery property in the future, bringing more mixed Douglas Fir, Ponderosa Pine, and Oregon White Oak woodlands under our stewardship, and partnering with these ecosystems to integrate our needs with the needs of the forest.
Funds received for interment rights and burial expenses will support the Forest’s well-being via establishing beneficial plants, aiding the trees resiliency against fire, and by increasing wildlife habitat.
Honoring Life’s Transitions
Our vision of natural burial also incorporates space for families to develop their own rituals, ceremonies, and rites of passage surrounding death. We support the opportunity to practice these acts of celebration and mourning in a forest that will grow and flourish with new life nourished by their loved ones. Creating new funeral traditions are an essential aspect of forging a new cultural relationship with death.
We are passionate leaders in the fields of restoration ecology, stewardship and green burial. A central mission of Herland is to utilize regenerative land use practices to provide for human needs and to preserve the healthy functioning of the forest ecosystem. We hold a deep commitment to learning from this land as we explore the environmental benefits which flow from full body interment.
We also believe that creating new end of life traditions is an essential aspect of inspiring a new cultural relationship with death.
A Final Contribution
In our daily lives, it can be difficult to find meaningful avenues to serve the natural world. Natural burial offers individuals a way to realize the truly life-giving potential of death, a chance to honor and re-enter the natural cycles of life. It provides an opportunity to celebrate the final passage surrounded with loved ones in a beautiful and meaningful forest setting.
For generations to come, this living cemetery will be protected from development, as it provides a quiet, natural place that sustains a vibrant and productive transitional ecosystem.
We are grateful for the opportunity to provide a way for people to make a final contribution to the renewal of the earth.
For More information about natural burial options, send us a message via the Contact Us page.