tree of life

A church, a graveyard, a hotel and several holiday cottages, that is, according to Wikipedia, the extent of Kirkton of Glenisla in Angus.

The above-mentioned graveyard is a beautiful one, with old stones and serene views. There are many trees within the graveyard and that has a reason, in Kirkton of Glenisla, trees are planted to remember the dead.

There are still actual graves and not like in some woodland plots tree burials only – you choose a tree and a plaque to commemorate the deceased. These memory forests celebrate life, not death.

The idea to use a tree, the symbol of life, for burials is not new and very different from traditional headstones. It is an integral part of various religions, like Yggdrasil, the tree of life in Norse culture. Others have sacred groves, the Christians the Garden of Eden, some God’s have certain trees associated with them, Thor for example an oak. Special trees have even made it into modern times, the Christmas tree or the maypole. They were all connected to a spiritual purpose at one time.

Including trees into modern day burial customs is a fairly new development but one it seems many people can identify with.

Like a tree lives through a cycle of growth, bloom and decay so does the human body. In death it can create new life and gives what it has taken back to earth. There is a beauty in that simplicity that seems to appeal to those who mourn what they have lost.

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