Quia Nunc Vale
Goodbye for now
Quia Nunc Vale (typically just called Vale) is the funeral rites celebrated by followers of the Old Gods. As the Old Religion is a deeply personal (or often familial) religion, there is not a prescribed set of traditions, although many Vales tend to follow a similar pattern. Funeral rites vary greatly in United Britannia and Hibernia. Funeral rites are based on the deceased's religion, and families also tend to have their own funeral traditions.
The Vale has been a tradition for thousands of years. Since it is so personal, it is constantly changing and evolving, although there is some sort of structure to the cremation and burial. In the past, people's remains were often not buried but rather left to the wind. Now, adherents believe that the person's "soul" is released during the cremation, and the remains are only their physical remains.
When a witch of the Old Religion dies, the rites are typically held at the Elderwood, although that is certainly not a requirement. At dusk, the deceased witch's family and very close friends congregate at where the rite will be held and gather around the deceased. They take the flowers that they have gathered and arrange it around the deceased. At this point, the Vale is mostly silent. Since the Old Religion is a largely personal religion, the Vale is, too. This is the time for family and close friends to pray or meditate, in their own way, to honor the deceased. Once the New Moon rises, the cremation of the body begins. This is not meant to be sad, but rather joyous; the deceased is one with nature once again, and that is cause for celebration. If a raven is sighted, it is considered a good omen; it means the deceased has completed his or her journey to become part of nature. (Although if a raven is not sighted, that is not a bad sign.) Someone not in the family or friends group will stay until the cremation is complete, while the family and friends usually return to their homes to have a large, celebratory dinner. In the morning, the family and close friends will rise and accompany the deceased's ashes to the family cemetery, where the deceased will be interred. At this time, each person will say "Quia Nunc Vale" (goodbye for now).
Components and tools
Typically, the deceased is covered with flowers that are arranged (and brought) by the deceased's family and close friends. The family also often buries the deceased with something that has their family crest on it as well as any magical personal item, so as to be certain the witch can practice magic even in death.
Customarily, only the family of the deceased and the very closest of friends attend the Vale. It is considered a very intimate event and as such, only the deceased's closest would be invited.
The Vale occurs on the first New Moon after the deceased's death; this is to signify that death is not the end, but rather the beginning. However, most of the rite takes place at dusk, and only the cremation happens once the moon rises.