QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Is it “okay” to keep the ashes of those who have passed in the home — both humans and pets? If so, where? If not, what do you suggest we do with them?

Some of you may or may not know that the same day I opened Happiness U, back in September 2013, I retired from officiating memorial services. I have more than a dozen years of experience helping people with the transition of losing loved ones. I’d like to answer your questions from my experience as a minister and from the feng shui perspective.


First of all, no “right” or “wrong” way exists to deal with the ashes of a loved one. What matters most is the deceased’s wishes. If the deceased has not made his or her wishes known, then what is right for you is most important.

Burying or scattering the ashes

If you want to bury or scatter, it is usually accompanied by a ceremony. Some ceremonies may be elaborate, and others may be simple. When the time is right, it can feel good to let go of this final contact with your loved one, as it indicates acceptance and completion.

You can scatter the ashes in your loved one’s favorite spot — a park, beach, golf course, hiking trail, garden, etc. — or you can even plant a rose or tree in the garden, and bury the ashes there, with or without the urn.

Keeping ashes at home Some think keeping the ashes at home is improper, others feel it’s the only way to keep their loved one nearby, and sometimes, ashes remain at home because of indecision or unresolved feelings.


In feng shui, keeping ashes of a loved one is a “no-no,” based on the fact that it can be considered “dead” and “negative” energy. Everyone is different in how death is processed.

As for location, if you want to follow feng shui placement, the “helpful people” area, located at the far right, front corner of your home (as you stand at your front door facing inwards), is the best place. You might even want to place a framed photo of your loved one with the urn.

Most importantly, check in with yourself and make sure that you feel 100 percent good about your choices when dealing with the remains.


Do you have a question for Alice? If so, send it to alice@ Alice Inoue owns Happiness U, a lifestyle studio located at SALT Kakaako where anyone can find positive inspiration and high-level guidance to minimize stress and optimize modern day life! Visit