How To Scatter Ashes In A Peaceful Way

How To Scatter Ashes In A Peaceful Way

Sep 16, 2022

Scattering ashes is a beautiful and popular way to say a final farewell to a loved one. You may be considering scattering ashes in a special place where you made memories with your loved one, casting ashes over water, trenching ashes in the woods, or a combination of any of these options. 

Many people have never scattered ashes before and are unsure about how to make it a respectful and meaningful experience. That’s why we’ve compiled a guide and video on how to scatter ashes to answer the most common questions about scattering ashes. 

How to Scatter Ashes - Quick Guide 

1. Scout the scattering location - Check for accessibility, atmosphere and legality of your location. 

2. Be prepared for the weight and appearance of human ashes - cremated human ashes are more like crushed stone than fireplace ash. 

3. Scatter ashes with wind at your back (or use biodegradable urn to contain). 

Keep scrolling for more detailed instructions on scattering human ashes. 

Check out our helpful video: How to Scatter Ashes

Choose your Scattering Method 

There are four popular methods for scattering ashes 

1. Scattering Ashes in a Special Place - Most Common

When people first think about scattering ashes, often what comes to mind is the tossing and dispersing of cremation ashes into the air. Scattering ashes often symbolizes the freeing or letting go of their loved one’s spirit. 

2. Casting Ashes over Water 

If your loved one's passion for the sea resonates with you, casting ashes from shore or sprinkling ashes over water is a beautiful option. Biodegradable urns are a beautiful way to gently release your ashes into the water. The biodegradable urn will be placed in the water, it will float for a couple minutes before it begins to sink and dissolve.

3. Trenching or burying Ashes 

A trench or hole is dug into the ground and the ashes are scattered inside. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the family covers the trench or hole. Trenching ceremonies are ideal for those who loved nature, enjoyed gardening or for the remaining loved ones who want a specific place to visit after the ceremony. 

4. Sprinkling Ashes in Multiple Locations 

If there are multiple meaningful locations, consider spreading ashes in any combination of the common ash scattering methods.

How To Scatter Ashes In A Peaceful Way 

1. Scout the Scattering Location before Your Ceremony

Scope out the preferred scattering location before other friends or family arrive and without the ashes in hand. Try to visit at a similar time of day. Look at the site while considering the following:

scattering ashes locations


- Is the physical terrain manageable for everyone who will attain? 

- Is there parking? 


- Do you feel the location is quiet and/or peaceful enough for your plans? 

- If you are reading a poem or sharing a memory, will attendees be able to hear you? 

- Would scattering at sunrise or sunset add meaning for you?


- Are there rules about scattering ashes in the place you have chosen? 

Some state and national parks, for example, have rules about where ashes can be scattered.  

Take your time to find the right place for this important scattering ceremony. 

2. Be prepared for the weight and appearance of human ashes. 

Cremated remains are coarser than most people anticipate. Because we call them”ashes” family members can be unprepared when opening the urn or container. Ashes are more like crushed stone than fireplace ash. A full urn or scattering container will be heavy. Be prepared to assist someone as needed. 

» MORE: Shop our Most Popular Scattering Tubes - the best way to scatter ashes in a contained and beautiful way.

3. Scatter ashes with wind at your back (or use biodegradable urn to contain). 

Before you open the urn, check the wind and make sure it is to your back or behind the urn. Be prepared just in case those involved in scattering get some ash on their hands or clothing. You might consider bringing a bottle of water and/or a small towel for clean up if needed. Stardust Memorials offers Scattering Tubes that are specifically designed to disperse ashes in a dignified and easy manner. Complete instructions are included with these scattering urns. 

Special Instructions for Water Burial and Scattering Ashes into Water

water burial

Take extra care with water burial due to movement and wind. If on a boat, ask the captain to point the bow into the wind and scatter off the back of the boat. The person scattering should keep a hand on the boat to stay steady in waves. You may opt for a biodegradable urn, like the Journey Series, that can be placed on top of the water. It will float briefly and then sink under the waves. The urn biodegrades -- releasing the ashes into the ocean or lake. Floating urns like the Journey Urn remove many worries of scattering ashes from boats and into water. 

» MORE: Shop our beautiful selection of Water Burial Urns - Water burial urns simplify the process of dispersing a loved one's ashes into water

Whether you scatter ashes directly in the water or use a floating urn, a beautiful touch that many families have added to the ceremony is to release fresh or dried flower petals on the water at the same time. The petals give a colorful and gentle focal point as they float away on the surface of the water.