6 Types of Going Home Urns for a Loved One’s Ashes

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What’s a going home urn? Is it a temporary urn for ashes to come home in? Actually, it’s an urn that features birds as a decorative motif. Birds feature quite prominently on urns for ashes and headstones, because they can hold such rich symbolism.

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Birds in flight can represent a soul flying free from the human body. It’s an uplifting and hopeful visual metaphor that can bring comfort to grieving family members. Here, we learn more about the types of going home urns you can use.    

Tip: If you're looking for something very unique (think a game, a classic car, or instrument of choice), you can custom order an urn from a store like Foreverence. You submit a design idea or sketch, then the company designs and 3D prints your urn, so you get a 100% unique container.

Main Types of Going Home Urns

There are probably thousands of urns on the market that feature birds. But as you begin to look through them, you’ll notice some themes begin to emerge. Here we explore some of the different types of bird urns available. 

1. Eagle urn

Since 1872, the bald eagle has been considered a symbol of freedom and patriotism in the United States. To many people, eagles represent concepts like courage, strength, and freedom.

You can frequently find eagle iconography associated with the military. An urn featuring an eagle is perfect to hold the cremains of a member of the military, or someone who was deeply patriotic.        

2. Dove urn

In Christianity, doves often hold tremendous significance. They are a powerful symbol and can be a beautiful tribute to a deceased Christian. Doves are seen as a symbol of peace and hope. When used specifically on a headstone or an urn, a dove can symbolize that the deceased is now at peace.

Doves also are seen as a symbol for devoted love, because they mate for life. If you’re shopping for companion urns for a devoted couple, one featuring doves would be a perfectly personalized choice. 

3. Peacock urn

If you’re looking for a going home urn that has less overtly religious symbolism, a peacock urn is a great choice. Peacocks are considered a symbol of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. They often feature in early Byzantine and Romanesque church decor.

Peacocks can also symbolize immortality, which can signify that our deceased loved ones live on in our memories. Urns featuring peacock designs are often quite elegant and intricate. This makes them the perfect urn for a person who appreciated the finer things in life.

4. Raven urn

People often associate the sleek black plumage of these birds with death. The fact that they are carrion animals with a haunting croaky call doesn’t help their street cred. But in many cultures, particularly some indigenous ones, ravens are revered. In certain traditions, they are considered to have been integral in the creation of the planet. A raven urn can be a wonderful tribute to someone who was so essential to your life. 

5. Phoenix urn

The phoenix is a mythological bird that can regenerate itself. It catches on fire and disintegrates, but can be reborn from the ashes of its old form.

The phoenix myth largely originates as part of Greek mythology, but many other cultures have their own version. For example, the Egyptians worshipped an ancient deity called Bennu who resembled a large grey heron.

According to Egyptian legend, Bennu would live for five hundred years before dying. Then Bennu would be reborn in a new form and would build a funerary egg for its earlier form to be taken to the sun.

The Greek historian Herodotus recorded these stories, which may have influenced the later Greek myths of the phoenix. The phoenix myth also shows up in early Christian traditions. However, it’s unclear whether that symbolism came from Greek or Egyptian influence.

Many of us believe that death is not the end of a person. It is simply the beginning of a new cycle of life or plane of existence. A phoenix urn can signify your loved one rising from the ashes of their old life and being born anew.     

6. Flock of bird-shaped urns

While many people keep the cremains of a deceased loved one together, other families will divide them. This way many people can keep a small piece of their loved one with them.

If this is something your family has been interested in, considering getting several small urns each shaped like a bird. This flock of birds will scatter around, but in every case, they’ll still be going home.  

Where Can You Buy Going Home Urns?

If you think going home urns with a bird motif are something you’re interested in, there are many places where you can shop for them. Here are some of the places you can expect to find this style of urn.

Funeral homes

For many years now, most Americans have turned to funeral homes to help them manage the logistics of everything associated with death. A funeral director can help you set up an actual funeral or memorial service. But they can also help you select all the accessories you need to buy.

If your loved one was being buried, this would include things like a headstone and a casket. If your loved one is being cremated, you can also get an urn through a funeral home. They often have display models in stock, in addition to catalogs that you can order from. 

Funeral homes can generally get your chosen urn in stock pretty quickly from their suppliers. However, those urns may have a premium cost. Since they don’t manufacture the urns themselves, they have to mark up the price to make a profit. There also may be a more limited selection compared to our other options. 

Online retailers

Many of the companies that manufacturer the caskets and urns that funeral homes use also sell their products online. And in many cases, consumers can purchase them right through these companies’ websites.

There are many advantages to buying a going home urn this way. You can search across many websites, which gives you a much wider selection to choose from. This might help you find truly something truly special as a tribute to your loved one. Since you’re often buying directly from the manufacturer, the cost is often lower, too.

However, there are downsides to this. You can’t always ascertain the quality of something that you buy online, so you need to do a lot of research and read the reviews. There may be a long wait to get it in, especially if you get something customized. That may mean you have to keep ashes in a temporary urn until the final going home urn arrives. Finally, depending on what the urn is made of, shipping costs may be high enough to offset your earlier cost savings.    

Antique or secondhand stores

People sometimes decide to change their decor. That means transferring their loved one’s cremains into a new vessel that matches better. Other times, people might only use an urn temporarily until they can scatter the ashes. Then they end up with urns that are still in great condition and very usable.

Certain types of specialty secondhand stores and antique shops will sometimes carry urns. You might find a really special piece by browsing through them. Just take them home and test them first by putting in flour or another powdery substance to make sure the urn still seals tightly. 

Artists

Selecting a mass-produced funeral urn can feel impersonal, no matter how hard you try to  find something special for your loved one. Many independent artisans will hand make custom urns for you. Look online for people who specialize in urns and not just general ceramics or metal artists.

You want to make sure they can deliver something sturdy that will prevent the possibility of spills. You can also always buy a plain ceramic urn and hire an artist to paint it or otherwise transform it into a unique piece of art. 

Send Your Loved One Off in Style in a Going Home Urn   

When a loved one dies, there are so many considerations to take into play. Once you’ve figured out the bigger details, like how much a cremation urn costs, you can start really paying attention to the details. People can find it very healing to select an urn with symbolism. Going home urns are a popular choice because they can feel personal and intimate in a way that other designs might not. 

Depending on the style of urn or type of bird you choose, a cremation urn can hold a special and unique meaning in your heart.

If you're looking for more on different types of urns, read our guides on unique urns and urns for mom.

Another beautiful option for keeping a loved one's memory alive is a memorial diamond created from ashes. Some companies, like Eterneva, create lab-grown diamonds and allow you to pick from several cuts and colors for your gemstone.

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