I am often asked where is the best place in a home to store the ashes of a deceased person or pet. My answer to this question may surprise you!
‘I just brought home the ashes of my very recently deceased cat of almost 20 years, whom I miss very much,’ writes Teresa from Canada. ‘I bought your book, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, some time ago and don’t recall anything in it about where to store pets’ ashes.’
This type of question appears quite often in my inbox. Sometimes it’s about the ashes of a deceased pet, and sometimes it’s the cremated remains of a beloved partner or family member. The ashes are not clutter, of course, but if they are kept indefinitely because of frozen grief, they can become so.
The energetic properties of cremated remains
Over the years I’ve had many opportunities to hand sense cremated remains stored in peoples‘ homes. Hand sensing is an advanced technique that I do at the beginning of a space clearing, clutter clearing or feng shui consultation to read the energies imprinted in walls and objects. It gives access to a much deeper level of information about a property and its occupants than can be seen with the naked eye. I’ve been doing this for over 35 years, and have developed it to the level of accuracy where reading imprints with my hands is as tangible for me as reading a book with my eyes.
I have always found that cremated remains are completely energetically inert. In other words, the process of cremation leaves no trace of the deceased person or pet at all. The physical body is reduced to dust, the etheric and astral components that once made up the living being disintegrate, and the spirit returns to the realms from which it came.
So on an energetic level, there is no reason at all to keep cremated remains. Nothing of the essence of a loved one remains attached to them.
However, if ashes are kept too long, stagnant energy can accumulate around them. And if the grieving process is not complete, both the ashes and the container they are kept in can become imprinted with layers of sadness, which in turn can prolong the grieving. It’s not a happy state of affairs.
So what’s the best thing to do?
In the case of a deceased person, it’s ideal if they have stipulated in their will the manner in which they want their body to be disposed of, and if cremation is their wish, what they want to have done with their ashes and how quickly they would like this to happen after their death. The person charged with this responsibility will then know exactly what to do and when it needs to be done by.
In the case of a pet or someone who has left no instructions, many people choose to scatter or bury the ashes in a place that would be meaningful to the pet or person in some way, such as a favorite place in nature.
Complete the grieving process
All too often the real issue is not about how to dispose of the ashes at all. It’s about how to complete the grieving process in order to feel ready and able to do so. It’s this that can lead to the ashes being stored in a home for months, years, or even decades. The key to moving through grief is to complete your relationship with the person or pet who has died. Letting go of their ashes follows on naturally from that.
I would not presume to offer a recipe for grief recovery in a short article such as this, but I can point you in the direction of an excellent book that is the best I have ever found on this topic. It’s called the Grief Recovery Handbook, and as the authors explain, it’s never too soon after the death of a loved one to address your grief. I’m sure that if the principles in this book were taught in schools, the world would be a very different place.
Where’s the best place to store ashes in a home?
If you ask ten different feng shui consultants this question you are likely to get ten different answers, according to which school of feng shui they have been trained in. But if you ask me, ashes don’t belong in the home at all.
Physical bodies are created from planetary substance and are designed to return to the planet after death. Keeping ashes in an urn or casket inside your home can temporarily delay this process, but there is no place you can put them that will enhance the energy of the space. In my view, they belong outside, either buried in the ground or scattered to the elements, so that the life cycle is complete.
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Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2014. Updated 2019.