A Druid's Funeral
Ivsaar Thornvine slowly walked up to the tree that marked his master's grave. It had grown quite a bit since he had last seen it. A large willow tree next to a pond, about three times as high as Ivsaar. He remembered last seeing his master at the funeral: Lying in a circle of leaves right where the tree now stood. As he stepped beneath the canopy, kneeled and touched the tree's trunk he could almost feel his masters presence. It gave him strength and a sense of security in this time of trouble. Ivsaar wondered what his master would have done in his place.
Selecting the Site
When a druid dies, the first thing to happen is finding a suitable burial site. If the druid did not specify anything while he was still alive, this choice rests on his relatives or—if there are none—on his druid circle. Usually, a site is chosen that is connected to nature and the druid's work. Other aspects to consider are enough available space and the accessibility for his relatives.
Every aspect of the ritual is planned exactly and loaded with symbolism. A circle of leaves is spread on the ground, with a diameter large enough for the deceased's height. The circular shape symbolizes the circle of life and the Everlasting. The body is then placed in the circle, arms spread out wide and facing the sky as if embracing it. This is done because the sky is said to be the new home of the gods, where his soul will return until the gods decide to send him down again. Furthermore, four weeping willow seeds are placed in the earth, one below and above each arm respectively. These seeds will grow the tree which will mark the grave.
When the time of the burial has come, family, close friends, and at least one druid from the deceased's circle will gather at the burial site. That druid will lead the ceremony. All participants will stand around the circumference of the leaf circle and say a prayer to the Evergreen. In that prayer, the Evergreen is asked to guard the druid's body and guide his soul to the realm of the gods in exchange for the lifetime the druid spent protecting her forests and their inhabitants. After the prayer, all guests will hold each other's hands as the ceremony leader begins chanting a spell in the strange old druidic language. This causes the willow seeds to sprout and rapidly grow into one tree with four roots, engulfing the dead body under its roots within only minutes. When the tree reaches the height of a man, this marks the end of the ritual.
Remembering the Dead
In memory of the deceased, his friends and relatives return to the tree, step beneath its leaf canopy and touch the trunk to feel close their loved one again. For particularly important druids, the grave often also attracts younger druids seeking advice, They also will step beneath the leaf canopy and touch the trunk and ask the tree their question. Some claim to have gotten an answer.
Components and tools
The ceremony requires:
- Enough green leaves to form the cycle.
- Four weeping willow seeds.
Everyone who knew the deceased or benefitted from his work is welcome to the ceremony. However, only select few close friends and relatives have the honour to stand directly around the circle. All others gather a few metres away. The most important participant is the druid who leads the ritual and casts the spell.