Holy Smoke: “Celebrating Life.” Really?

Last week I heard a story about a company called Holy SmokeInstead of keeping your loved one’s ashes in an urn or a small box…Holy Smoke would be honored to take the ashes of your family member, pack them into some ammunition, and then let you “create a tribute to outdoorsperson like no other.”

Yes. It’s legit. It’s a real company. There are people who really do this. And that image on the top right of this post…yes. Someone’s remains firing out of the barrel of a gun. Here are some quotes from Holy Smoke’s website:

“We offer a way to honor your deceased loved one by giving or sharing with him or her one more round of clay targets, one last bird hunt, or one last stalk hunt.”

“A third and equally important need was for the end result to be ecologically friendly and sound. There is a much smaller ecological footprint caused by our service.”

“Now you can have the peace of mind that you can continue to protect your home and family even after you are gone.”

Now, I’m not a hunter, don’t own any guns, and can’t imagine owning a gun. Perhaps this is just so far from my life experience that I can’t see how it might be something that would honor him or her. But…anyone else think this is just a little bit crazy? As I was talking to Sarah, she mentioned the way that this could be used in some pretty horrible ways. Can you imagine someone gets killed by a gang member…and then using a service like this to go out and retaliate by killing someone with the dead person’s ashes?

I don’t know – it just seems wrong to me. Anyone else with me? Or anyone think this is a good idea?


  1. Lauren says

    My grandpa was a very avid hunter, but I still cannot imagine “honoring” him in this way. Although, I must admit to it being better than what I first thought when I started reading your post (cigars)

  2. ejs says

    I wonder, while this seems crazy to you, would you be so quick to judge if you heard of some Native American tribe honoring their loved one’s by dipping their arrow heads or spear tips into the ashes of a dead loved one to commemorate them, before sending their spirit back into the wild by sending an arrow toward a bear or deer during a hunt? I have no idea if such a custom exists, but I often happen across individuals who love to appreciate and even defend the rituals, rites, and customs of more foreign cultures, all in the name or understanding a culture in its proper context (similar to one of the title of one of your blog entries if I’m not mistaken), but then go ahead and begin picking apart a particular subculture (more often than not a southern or midwestern one) because it is culturally acceptable to do so. I believe in every way we ought to understand cultures in their proper context before we begin criticizing a behavior within that culture, and think that courtesy should be extended to all cultures, especially subcultures which are in the minority. Full disclosure, I’m not southerm, mid-western, or a gun-owner, and will probably never be any of those things. I just grow weary of the double-standard I witness in conversations around culture.

Leave a Reply