We demonstrate shrouding by gathering our friends to wrap Heaven & Earth co-director Tamsin in our bamboo sateen shroud. Whilst Tamsin is very much alive, please note some people may find these images confronting.
Step 1: We begin by laying the ties on the table, followed by the carrier. As per the diagram, the ties are placed just above the lower handles and just below the upper handles of the carrier, with the middle tie on either side of the middle handle. This is the most effective tie placement for maximum security when carrying and lowering.
Step 2: lay the shroud over the carrier, then the liner in the centre with the top of the rectangle in line with the seam between the shroud and hood, and the pointed end inside the hood.
Step 3: lay the person along the carrier with their head to the top of the hood.
Step 4: Raise one side of the shroud over the person and securely tuck it under them.
Step 5: Fold the fabric over the feet and legs, laying it out smoothly. The length of the fold over will depend on the height of the individual.
Step 6: Fold the final side over and tuck it securely under the person.
Step 7: Fold the hood down over the face.
Step 8: Tie the ties securely around the legs below the knees, around the torso and around the shoulders, ensuring the hood is neatly tucked in.
The shrouding is complete
The shrouded person can now be lifted using the jute handles.
Shrouding has been a sacred burial ritual for thousands of years and only became less common from the twentieth century. Consequently, some now find the visible shape of the body confronting. This can be mitigated either by seeking a funeral home that offers a ‘community coffin’ for funerals and transport, or by using a pall. A pall can be any sort of blanket, quilt or flag that drapes over the body. Unless the pall is made from biodegradable materials it will need to be removed when lowering.
The shroud and carrier used in conjunction meets the requirements for shrouded burial in Australia. Using lowering straps through the carrier handles (generally provided by the funeral home) the shroud can be gently lowered into the earth.