Individuals in attendance become absorbed in the proceedings and the aura of it all. "We've seen people come to a burial in pain and leave with joy," says Mary Woodsen. "It can be transformative for people to lower their beloved dead into the grave themselves. It's so different than the conventional approach, where you walk away after a committal service and a mechanical lowering device does the committal instead."
Anyone who attends a natural burial may experience attitudinal remodeling. Witnessing the basal return of a body to earthly elements can prompt a mutation of one’s death perception… that, in this context, the end of life begets new beginnings. A green burial awakens the senses, causing people to take note of its logic while tapping into their internal reservoirs of feelings and spurring pervasive absorption that won’t be forgotten.
One woman documented her experience with these words: “I went to a burial at Greensprings in the winter, with snow on the ground. There was a horse there to pull the body on a sleigh. The horse had black and silver livery, and it was so cold you could see the breath from the horse. The person who had died was in a shroud—you could see the shape of her body and there was greenery on the body for simple, natural decoration. People participated in filling the grave. There were a lot of tears, and there was something about that environment that seemed to welcome their heartbreak; the earth welcomed the body. They weren't putting the body in a lead-lined box and keeping the body from the earth. It was raw, painful, and beautiful. I wonder if the stark simplicity of such burials allows us to more deeply take in what has happened — and thus provides for some measure of healing.” (Saoirse McClory, “Greensprings Completes a Natural Life, by Jayalalita for Green Leaf, GreenStar Natural Foods Market, originally published May 5, 2013)