We still have to deal especially with ashes as the product of cremation.
All cults of cremation have an idea in common, to assist the dead person on his way to the hereafter, that is, to assist in resurrection by freeing the soul through destruction of the mortal remains: the soul can thus float into the next world, into heaven.
The custom of simultaneously cremating his possessions, even his wife, with the dead person, is connected with this idea.
This concept is very clearly expressed in an Indian prayer, which the man conducting the funeral addresses to the dead person during cremation: Arabia, flies to Egypt after having lived for five hundred years, where it sets itself on fire after self-laceration, to give birth to itself out of its own ashes.
But the flight to Egypt is the flight to Heliopolis, where the old phoenix is buried as a god.
So the ashes and the pyramid are both symbols of the resurrection of the dead, although they belong to different cultural environments. [ . . . ]
Above the pyramid there are the death masks: in order to understand them, let us start from the notion of the mask. [ . . . ]
A special, and the most frequent, form of the mask is the death mask.
We have already talked about the Egyptian death mask.
It can be effective in resurrection only if it is portrait-like.
Death masks are still in use today: on tombstones, often in an artistic form—let me remind you of Italian cemeteries—they show a portrait of the deceased as true to life as possible, and so keep his memory alive for the bereaved.
Death masks are frequently used by primitive peoples in puberty rites, those dramatized representations of the process of puberty, of the death of the infantile personality, and the rising of the adult personality.[ . . . ] ~Carl Jung, Children’s Dream Seminar, Pages 155-156.