It was precisely burying people six feet under to feed the corpses to the worms that was the pagan tradition that the Christians absorbed when they came to European shores.
Jesus himself was not buried in earth but placed in a burial chamber, just like all the early Christians in for example Rome. The Christian tradition was to KEEP the bodies and later the skeletons for example as relics. Whereas the pagans, just like their brethren in Iran, considered dead bodies to be just dead bodies but certainly not people.
This explains why you will never find relics of Zarathushtra anywhere in any Zoroastrian temple. Otherwise you definitely would have. Again, this proves that Mazdayasna philosophy was an integrated part of Zoroastrian culture and lifestyle, not just some postmodern interpretation that we make up in a forum like this one.
People's habits are always the best way to trace their beliefs. As any decent anthropologist knows.
What is a traditional Scandinavian burial? Is it shallow? I don't believe burying a body (especially 6 foot under) introduces it to the food chain at all which is why Christians bury people.
There was a case of thread virus recently (Marburgs or Ebola, don't remember). It turned out the victim had been digging a latrine and dug up a body which had been buried for decades and promptly got a potential pandemic on the road!
--- In Ushta@yahoogroups.com, Alexander Bard
> Dear Clint
> I agree with you. For me a traditional Scandinavian earth burial - going
> back to pagan times and Indo-European traditions - would do just fine. But
> it is important that we also understand that this is not sufficient for many
> traditional Zoroastrians for whom earth, water and fire may not touch the
> corpse, this is how sacred they regard the earth and how low they hold a
> dead body (as its opposite to a human being and not a human entity on its
> own). In that case, earth burials will not do, so recycling has become the
> favored option (as it is among Tibetan Lamaists too, who also feed corpses
> to vultures). However, understanding and sympathizing with a tradition does
> not mean we have to follow it. Zarathushtra for one did not care. So for you
> and me as western converts to Zoroastrianism, we are likely to construct our
> own habits that go with our faith and we should all respect each other for
> these various choices we make.
> 2009/8/17 wagnerian1
> > Ushta Farida,
> > I guess it all depends on what you perceive as defiling. I can understand
> > if you have a thousand years of religious teachers believing that corpses
> > defile the land, how one might be adverse to burying the dead. But speaking
> > for myself, I would rather the worms and bugs have me and then I enrich the
> > ground right then and there, rather than the vultures having me, then poop
> > me out from hundreds of feet in the air to fall upon...whatever. I know I
> > wince at being driven around on the roof of a car in, say, Nevada at 115F
> > heat in the summer for three months until the next rain, or until someone
> > feels like washing me down a car wash drain!
> > However I would agree that modern methods of burial do defile the land,
> > with all their embalming fluids and shellacked caskets and polyester/rayon
> > etc. casket linings, and suits of clothes and other trash that we put in the
> > ground to make ourselves feel better. Just wrap me in soft cotton and lower
> > me into a hole. The good Earth will make me useful to her creatures in a
> > speedy and dignified way.
> > I do not agree with the ancient teachers and their descendants, that one
> > can defile the fire or the earth or what have you with burials, nail
> > clippings or stray hairs. Indeed, I understand the earth, fire and water to
> > be agents of purification, and that discerning Asha teaches us how each one
> > works to make clean that which might have been unpleasant and yucky, or just
> > plain unsafe, before. For instance, if there is no rubbing alcohol, put your
> > needle or knife or what have you into the fire to burn off bacteria and
> > viruses before opening sores or whatever. The only way I can see to pollute
> > a fire is to dump harsh chemicals into it that will make the air and the
> > ground around unsafe for living beings.
> > --Clint