Turn Your Dead Into a Tree!

Vikings sent their dead into the sea on a boat of flames. Zoroastrians leave theirs in special towers for vultures to consume; Hindus famously put the deceased on a funeral pyre. And in the U.S., we pump our faithful departed with formaldehyde and dress them up like they have somewhere to go. No matter which culture, humankind takes care of those who have passed; it's ceremonial, and necessary for both grieving and celebration. But recently, two companies are trying to change how we handle our dead, and it's all about making life, and death, more natural. 

Bio Urn is a Spanish company that will ship you a cute little receptacle containing the seeds of a tree. In the bottom of the receptacle there's a place to pour your loved one's ashes and then you plant the entire container in the ground. When the tree begins to root, the container will break and the roots will grow down through your loved one, giving the tree extra nutrients. This is probably the least-controversial, most-natural method available and saves you from ever having a Big Lebowski moment.

A bit more . . . out there is a design by Capsula Mundi in Italy. Two artists have created a burial pod that attaches underneath a tree seedling. Your loved one's body is folded into the fetal position and then placed inside the burial pod. This way, the tree is literally fed by your loved one's nutrients as he or she decomposes. The Capsula Mundi method faces problems however, as many laws prohibit you from burying an actual body in just any old place.

Death will never be easy for those left behind, but the more creative ways that we learn to deal with it certainly helps. And involving a tree—the ultimate symbol of life and death—is a great way to do that. Besides, it's way better to fertilize your fruit trees with Grandma than disgusting, harmful pesticides, amiright?

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