America’s First National Pagan Burial Ground
Preserving Nature & Greening the End of Life
(608) 924-2216 * [email protected]
Circle Cemetery is located at Circle Sanctuary Nature Preserve, just north of Barneveld, Wisconsin, about 25 miles west of Madison near Blue Mound State Park. Founded in 1995, Circle Cemetery is the first National Pagan Burial Ground and one of the first exclusively "Green" or Conservation Cemeteries in the United States. Conservation cemeteries are as the name implies – cemeteries situated in preserved natural areas. They usually include places for cremains as well as sites for Green burials. Green burial is returning a non-embalmed body to the earth in a natural, biodegradable container.
Circle Cemetery is located in the heart of our 200-acre Nature preserve founded in 1983. In 1995, we dedicated the original part of our cemetery as a Green cemetery as well as a national cemetery for practitioners of the Wiccan religion, Paganism, Ecospirituality, and other forms of Nature religion. Since that time cremains of seventeen Pagans have been placed at the Cemetery, including those from Wisconsin, New York, Nevada, Utah, California, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and South Carolina.
In 2005, we began the process of expanding the existing cemetery area to twenty acres to make Green burials also possible. We hired a professional surveying company and had the expanded cemetery area surveyed and platted. We also began a sequence of meetings with the local township zoning and planning commission and other local officials, seeking their input, addressing their concerns and satisfying Wisconsin’s laws necessary to allow full (non-cremated) body burials at the cemetery.
In June 2006, we temporarily halted our work with local government for cemetery expansion in order to concentrate our efforts on the federal process to get the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to add the pentacle, symbol of the Wiccan religion, to its list of emblems of belief authorized for inclusion on veteran grave markers it issues. This effort finally met with success, and VA-issued grave markers with pentacles honoring deceased Wiccan/Pagan veterans are now in cemeteries across the USA, including in Circle Cemetery, which has seven.
In October 2009, we resumed the process of legally expanding our cemetery. We received zoning and plat approval from local government (township and county) in Spring, 2010, completing the final steps in the process on Wednesday, June 16, 2010.
Circle Cemetery is 20 acres in size, and includes woodlands, restored prairie, a ridgetop, our Stone Circle (begun in 1983), and several other ceremonial sites.
We are in need of funds for cemetery business planning, road improvement, GPS technology, grave site markers, publicity materials, and other needs. Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated, and are tax-deductible. We also welcome contributions of expertise. Thank you.
For more information and to make arrangements for cremains placement, body burials, and memorial markers, please contact:
Selena Fox, Circle Cemetery Director
Circle Cemetery, PO Box 9, Barneveld, WI 53507