Thursday, November 12, 2009

A few symbols used on gravestones

As you walk through the cemetery take the time to stop and look at the stones. The symbols on them signify many things.

Animals

bees - resurrection; risen Christ
birds - souls; flight of the soul back to God
descending dove - Holy Ghost
dove - peace; innocence; purity
fish - Christ
lamb - Christ the Redeemer; sacrifice; innocence

Figures

angel - messenger between God and man; guardian angel
hands - devotion; prayer

Objects

anchor - hope; life eternal; may signify seafaring profession
anvil - martyrdomarch - triumph over death; victory
Bible - resurrection through the scripture; wisdom
branch - severed mortality
Celtic Cross - circle on it symbolizes eternity
cross - salvation
drapery over anything - sorrow; mourning
crossed keys - St. Peter
portraits- photographs of the deceased
rock - steadfastness of Christ; stability
shell - pilgrimage; baptism of Christ; resurrection
skull - death; sin; with crossbones - mortality
setting sun - deathrising
sun - resurrection; life

Trees and Plants

bouquets - condolences; grief
buds - renewal of life
cedar - strong faith
flower - brevity of earthly existence; sorrow; broken, premature death
ivy - abiding memory; friendship
laurel - victory; triumph; glory
lilies - resurrection; purity
oak - supernatural power and strength; eternity
pineapple - hospitality
roses - condolence; sorrow; the brevity of earthly existence
sheaves of wheat - time; the divine harvest
tree - faith; life; the Tree of Life
tree trunk - premature death
willow - weeping; grief; earthly sorrow
wreath - victory in death; eternity

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