Hands and Sky


Care of the Body after Death…
Burial or Cremation?

Dear Philip,

First, I would like to say “thank you” for this website that is so beautifully created. Thank you for the very beautiful pictures, your writings, and teachings. The title of the blog, Head in the Clouds, Feet on the Ground, says it all to me, as this is how I want to live. I wish I had more eloquent words to express how deeply I value [this blog] and how thankful I am for all you are teaching us about the spiritual side of our lives.  

I have a question regarding this week's blog:  Does it matter if our physical body is buried or cremated when we pass over? I was raised a Catholic and it would be hard for me to imagine that when I pass over my body would be cremated; in other words, burned in an oven!

Even though my spirit is not there in the body anymore, I, as an indwelling spirit, will have spent my whole lifetime on earth with my body serving as a temple for me as I endeavored to fulfill my purpose on this earth—and then it gets cremated rather than being laid to rest in the earth for natural disposal of it.

My bottom line question is, Do we mind what happens to our physical body after we pass over?

I would like to add another question: How is it when people decide to donate organs or to give one’s body to research after passing over? We can make those decisions while living on earth – but how would we feel about it when we are on the other side???

Thank you for your response Philip.


To Bury or to Cremate?

Death and its spiritual ramifications are debated in every manner all over the world. Most civilizations dispose of their dead with rituals developed through spiritual traditions. (Death and Culture, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_and_culture)

Rosemarie, I understand your question about taking care of your body when you leave it for the final time. It is obvious that your question Cemeteryis very personal, and that too is understandable. The answer to this question lies with each individual. Ideally, no one but you should decide how to dispose of your body. A will or some written and signed instructions should suffice, letting it be known clearly if you want your earthly body to be buried or cremated.

I also understand and appreciate your concern for respecting your body that will have served as a vehicle for your spirit your entire time on earth. Our reasons for such concern may be for sentimental, religious, or spiritual reasons or a combination of these reasons and they could all be legitimate reasons. Again, it is a very personal thing.

In response to your questions and tributary thoughts off of them, I am presenting the pros and cons, as I am aware or see them in the context of eternity. I know for certain that I will not be there, I feel whatever way my body returns to dust—the short or the long way—does not matter to me as I will be off into reaching ever upward to fulfill my potential in eternity.

Cremation UrnOn the other hand, if desirable, a gravestone in the case of burial or a wall marker, as is used in some cemeteries for cremated bodies, can mark, for our family and history, where our body is entombed. In some cases, as we know, where cremation is used the ashes are scattered in some chosen spot and no marker or gravestone is left to designate that the ashes that remain were ever scattered there. Each of these approaches, and there are more I have not included, shows clearly varying points of view as to how the body is treated when it dies.

For me, since there is an eternal existence in the spirit world, I am not sure if it makes any ultimate difference how our body is taken care of when we leave it, for they say, on the other side, the longer you live there the more you forget your life on earth. Whether for 10,000 years or an eternity, I could imagine the body will be a thing long forgotten as we progress ever higher and higher in the spirit world.

Tradition, Religion, and Beliefs

It seems that funerals are more for the living. Yes, a person having just passed and being in spirit may benefit from some form of ceremony in sending them off into the spirit world. Various religious or spiritual teachings or beliefs indicate as much. In the case of my father, Kenneth Burley’s body was cremated and there was no funeral. Members of my family, with our mother, spent time together remembering him, talking about him, and celebrating his life and passing with a commemorative dinner. The gathering was both religious and celebratory in nature.

My father has come to me in spirit and in dreams a number of times and he always appears in the peak of health, looking about 25 years old and so loving; apparently not affected by anything done or not done to his body on earth, including not having a formal funeral. It stands to reason that this would be so, as he was a good man and there are plentiful numbers of people, including departed family and friends, and ever present angels on the other side, to aid the spirit as it passes and adjusts to life in the spirit world.

The Bible, in Genesis 3:19 KJV, states, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

While open to several interpretations, to me these words ultimately mean that the body will return to the earth as it is comprised of earth elements and whether that is by burial—a slower process for the deterioration of the body—or by cremation… which is the fastest means.

The remaining factor, also for the living and… as some would say, “respect for the deceased,” is the idea that if the body is buried then the living relatives can visit the grave site to feel close to and sometimes communicate with their loved one(s). I can well understand this point and yet, I think this tradition is still more for the living than the dead.  Kept in moderation and not long term bereavement, which can hold the person who has passed from progressing in the spirit world, I think that there is nothing wrong with burial and visiting the grave site if desirable.

Religious teachings play no little role in what traditions and practices have arisen on earth regarding how different cultures and religious devotees deal with the body remaining after a person dies.

U. S. A. and World Stats on Cremation

From Wikipedia I found the information below as the opening paragraph to extensive information, state by state in the U.S.A. and country by country, regarding what percentage chose cremation as a means of disposing of the body of a deceased individual. Of course the presentation of these figures lets us know as well, by deduction, what percentage of people bury their deceased instead of cremate. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_cremation_rate)

Cremation rates vary widely around the world with some countries like Japan having a rate over 95% while other countries like Italy and Poland having less than 10%. Factors include culture and religion; for example, the cremation rate in Muslim and Eastern World ReligionsOrthodox Christian-majority countries is much lower due to religious sanctions on cremation. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cremation)

The cremation rate in the United States has been increasing steadily with the national average rate rising from 3.56% in 1960 to 40.62% in 2010. The Cremation Association of North America forecasts a rate of 44.42% in 2015 and 55.65% in 2025. The rates vary considerably among the states with the highest rates (over 60%) being reported in the Western United States with the lowest rates (under 25%) being reported in the Southern United States.

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These figures show that in the United States more people bury (about 60%) than cremate. It also shows an ever increasing number who chose cremation over burial; by the year 2025 it is estimated to be 55.65% will cremate.

In India and some other Far Eastern countries and cultures cremation is most predominant. They are more in keeping with the eternal spirit having left the body and that the body, while respected by ceremony and religious services at the site of cremation, the spirit has departed and is no longer connected to or affected by whatever happens to the remaining physical body.

Use of Spiritual Gifts Makes a Difference

Philip giving readingAs a spiritual medium who readily communicates with the spirit world, I know that they would rather see less atttention paid to the body (whether buried or burned) and more to the person who has just passed into the spirit world. He or she has moved on naturally with infinite vistas and horizons to venture toward. They are, indeed, in most cases, in a whole new world of adventure—a world where people learn very quickly to transport themselves from one place to another by thought or to communicate with someone close or in great distance by the same means. In most cases the individual has gotten their youthfulness back, appearing as about 25 years old, and a mind so clear and greatly expanded that they are hardly the same person. Are they aware or do they care what happens to their body? In most cases no as they are already out of the body and realize it is not them and wish to move on as quickly as possible. To underline this fact please visit my blog post of January 17, 2013, Fun at a Funeral.

As I have already written, my father was cremated and… my mother was also. They asked for their ashes to be spread upon the Pacific Ocean off of the coast of Southern California where they lived for many years. Consequently, there is no place that any of my siblings and I can go to commemorate their passing or seek to commune with them in a graveyard somewhere. For some this may seem sad, unreasonable, and even heartless. Is it?

I have seen and communicated directly with both of my parents a number of times since their passing, and it does not depend upon an earthly place or a visitation to a piece of land somewhere. It is why you will find me continuously emphasizing the spiritual gifts innate to each human being and the need to both understand them and to awaken to use them as intended.

Truth be known, there was to be no separation between those on earth and those who have just departed for the spirit world. No, an evolved humanity would easily and quickly communicate back and forth and be both comforted and healed of sadness and the deep, endless grief that often follows the parting of a loved one to the spirit world.

I realize my commentary is unorthodox to some in this country. But I would not be fulfilling my calling on earth by not putting death, dying, funerals, and graveyards into a larger context for more advanced consideration. However, I think, in the end, most will follow what their parents did or what their church does (if they belong to a church) or other religious organization.  Most of us are influenced by belief systems, whether social or spiritual and to step out of those systems is rare for many. What I present is seen through the eyes of ultimate reality or the spirit world and perhaps the need to reconsider and question some of the ways we approach death and dying and how we dispose of the body.

Enlightened or Unenlightened Affects Outcome

Wise WomanWe were born out of God a living, loving, infinite, and ever-present Spirit who surrounds us at all times and is present in our whole being at all times. We came from that Reality and when we are born again into the spirit world we are returning to that Reality.

In the end, again our beliefs, true or not, have great bearing upon whether we will cremate or bury. As long as we are attached to any belief, true or not, we will comply with it until we realize it is not true. If it is undeniably true then we have no need to change and should continue with our way of thinking.

Regarding burying as is practiced in the United States, some has to do with the belief that upon Christ’s return (the Second Coming) he will appear on a cloud and all those who are righteous, “sleeping” in their graves, will be awakened and receive or come forth in a glorified body and rise up to meet Jesus in the air. For this reason some fundamental Christians eschew cremation.

The ultimate question is, is this belief true? For one who has communicated with the spirit world, including my loved ones, for years, it does not appear to be true. And I boldly say, in time everyone will come to know that such a belief is not true.

Our Body is a Means and Not the End

The ultimate concern is about the person who has passed on. They are not their body; they have vacated it. Then are they somewhere else or are they non-existent as some people believe? I created this blog for a number of reasons and our mission statement says it all:  to inspire, educate, and inform interested people everywhere about the spirit world and closely related topics; treatment of our body at the time of its death being one of these closely related topics.

Above all, I would like this blog to liberate people from mistaken or erroneous beliefs. We do not die… ever! We do not receive eternal Sunsetlife when we die, depending upon some religious belief, for we are already a spirit and already living in eternity, whether in or out of a body. It is only a matter of time before everyone comes to know this and arriving in the spirit world is the best way to know for sure when we can say to ourselves, “I am a living, eternal being! I am not dead! I did not die! I am no longer in my physical body! I am a spirit!”

I spoke to someone recently whose wife died several months ago. I asked him if he ever detected her presence near him. To my surprise he said, “I don’t believe in life after death. I have read your blog and I respect who you are and what you do but I believe that when we die it is over; we exist no more.” All I said to him was, “One day we can sit down in the spirit world and talk about all of this.” I chuckled; he did not.

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And now to your final question, Rosemarie:

On Organ Donation

How is it when people decide to donate organs or to give one’s body to research after passing over? We can make those decisions while living on earth – but how would we feel about it when we are on the other side???

(I purposely left your three question marks in place to show the reader your earnest concern about organ donation from the body of someone who has died.)

If we compare the human body to a diving suit, a thing needed to stay underwater and equipped with air, when we come up and out of the water on to land and take off the suit, there is absolutely no need to concern ourselves with the diving suit. It served us well in the water but is absolutely not needed on land. When the spirit permanently leaves the body it no longer has need for and is absolutely not connected to the earthly body anymore. It has no reason to not share its “dead” body with someone on earth if it can help, and many thousands of such donations have saved lives. It could be the final and most loving and sacrificial act we render to a living person on earth. As others have given their lives for humanity in other ways, similarly, such giving could be heroic and spirit-evolving.

How many people get organ transplants every year?

Over 28,000 people get transplants in the U.S. every year. They are a standard, successful treatment for many diseases and conditions. Over half of all organ transplants done in the U.S. are kidney transplants, about a quarter are liver transplants, with the The gift of a heartother organs making up the remaining numbers.

The number of transplants is severely limited, however, by the number of donations that occur — and another person is added to the waiting list every 11 minutes. (TransWeb.Org, A Resource for Transplantation and Donation, http://www.transweb.org/faq/q30.shtml)

If for some reason one thinks that it is sacrilegious to use the human body in this way, some people, especially those whose life is sustained by such a donation, would beg to differ with such an opinion. To me the greater thing is to allow the life of my body to live on in another person rather than either burning the body or burying it in the ground. In all of these things, it comes down to a personal understanding and personal decision. I have presented facts and my understanding and convictions combined with national and world information and statistics, and I hope this has helped in answering your questions, Rosemarie.

In Closing…

In the end, one may ask, “What is the most loving thing to do in the long run?” Attachment to the Butterflyphysical world can present a considerable problem when someone passes. If there is too much emotional attachment, the departed cannot move away from the vibrations of what they are attached to. This is more of a problem than most people realize.

We came here for a period of time and when that time is over, it is over. We were not meant to stay on earth beyond a certain time any more than a baby is meant to stay in the womb beyond nine months. To find the right balance in all of this would be the best course.

I only know, after many years of giving spiritual readings in which the same or similar questions are asked, as you have asked Rosemarie, that the attending spirit world has repeatedly said, in varying ways and terms, “Do not be concerned for your body. It is not important to you as a soul released back into the spirit world. Detachment, even indifference, will guarantee that you will most quickly leave the earth plane and soar into the Heavens where your spiritual home and loved ones are waiting. You can always return to the earth plane later to ‘drop in’ on your loved ones and give inspirational assistance when and where needed. In this way, in a sense, your life is continued on earth.”

Here I close and thank you Rosemarie for your most thoughtful and valuable questions…