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Tomb Descripts
Posted by: Joleen Aitchison (ID *****4383) Date: May 10, 2003 at 22:28:55
  of 411

The Symbols       
Anchor       Hope, seaman.
Angels       Rebirth, resurrection, protection, judgment, wisdom, mercy, Divine love.
Ankh       Eternal life, peace, truth.
Arch       Victory in death, being rejoined with partner in heaven.
Arrow       Mortality.
Beehive       Domestic virtues, education, faith, abundance in the Promised Land, piety.
Bell       Mourning.
Bird       Eternal life, winged soul, spirituality.
Book       The Divine word or one's accomplishments.
Broken or Draped column       Early death, grief.
Burning Flame       Life or resurrection.
Butterfly       Resurrection.
Caterpillar       Life, metamorphosis.
Celtic Cross       Faith and eternity.
Chain With Three Links       Trinity, faith, Odd Fellows.
Column       Noble life.
Conch Shell       Wisdom, reincarnation.
Cross       Faith, resurrection.
Crown       Glory of life after death.
Crown upon Skull       Triumph of death.
Cup or Chalice       The Sacrament.
Cypress       Hope.
Dolphin       Resurrection, salvation, bearer of souls across water to heaven.
Door       Entrance to heaven.
Dove       Love, purity, resurrection, the Holy Spirit.
Drapery or Pall       Mourning or mortality.
Eagle       Courage, faith, generosity, contemplation, military.
Eye       Humility.
Eye of Ra/Horus       Sun/Moon, Life/Death, protection against evil.
Female Figure       Sorrow, grief.
Finger Pointing Downward       Calling the earth to witness.
Finger Pointing Upward       Pathway to heaven, heavenly reward.
Fish       Faith, life, spiritual nourishment.
Flag       Military, patriotism.
Fleur de lys       Perfection, light, life, royalty.
Flower (general)       Life's frailty, immortality.
Flying Bird       Rebirth.
Frog       Worldly pleasure, sin.
Garland       Victory over death.
Grim Reaper       Inevitability of Death.
Gun       Military service.
Hair, Flowing       Penitence.
Hands Clasped       Farewell, hope of meeting in eternity.
Harp       Hope.
Heart, Pierced by Sword       Virgin Mary, Christ, repentance.
Heart, Flaming       Religious fervor.
Heart       Love, devotion, sorrow, joy, mortality.
Helmet       Military service, strength, protection.
Horseshoe       Protection against evil.
Hourglass       Swift passage of time, temperance.
IHS       Eternity (Christian symbol: "In His Service" or "In this sign conquer") Commonly used in Celtic crosses.
Isis       Rebirth, the Virgin Mary.
Ivy       Fidelity, attachment, undying affection, eternal life.
Lamb       Innocence (specially on a child's grave), Resurrection.
Laurel Leaves       Triumph.
Lily       Purity, sometimes chastity.
Lily of the Valley       Rebirth, Virgin Mary.
Lion       Courage, bravery, strength.
Lotus       Purity, resurrection, perfect beauty, spiritual revelation.
Masonic Compass and Set Square       Freemasons, uprightness, judgment.
Memento mori       Symbol of death and reminder of mortality.
Menorah       Divine wisdom.
Mistletoe       Immortality.
Moon       Death, rebirth, victory, sorrow of the crucifixion.
Mother and Child       Charity, love.
Myrtle       Undying love, peace.
Naked Figure       Truth, purity, innocence.
Oak       Strength of faith and virtue, endurance.
Obelisk       Rebirth, connection between earth and heaven.
Olive Branch       Peace, forgiveness, humanity.
Open Gates       Afterlife, the soul entering heaven.
Orb       Faith.
Owl       Wisdom, solitude, a warning of impending death.
Pall       Mortality, mourning.
Pansy       Remembrance, meditation.
Pick       Death, mortality.
Poppies       Eternal sleep.
Pyramid       Resurrection, eternal life, enlightenment, spiritual attainment.
Rainbow       Union, fulfillment of the promise of resurrection.
Ripened Fruit       Nourishment of the soul.
Rod or Staff       Comfort to the bereaved.
Rooster       Awakening, resurrection, courage, vigilance.
Rope Circle       Eternity.
Rose       Victory, pride, triumphant love, purity.
Scallop Shell       Birth, baptism, resurrection, life everlasting, pilgrimage of life.
Scarab       Resurrection, transcendence.
Scepter       Fortitude.
Scythe       Death, cutting life short, the final harvest.
Severed Branch       Mortality.
Shamrock       Irish descent, Holy Trinity.
Shattered Urn       Old age.
Sheaf of Wheat       Old age, fruitful life.
Shepherd's Crook       Charity.
Skeleton       Death, life's brevity.
Skull & Crossed Bones       Death, crucifixion.
Skull       Transitory nature of earthly life, penitence, mortality.
Sleeping Cherub       Innocence (usually on child's grave).
Smoke       Vanity, futility of seeking earthly glory.
Snail       Laziness, sin.
Snake, Encircled       Everlasting life in heaven. (Also called oroboros)
Spade       Mortality, Death.
Spider Web       Human frailty.
Star       Divine guidance.
Star of David       Unity, transformation.
Steps, 3 Tiered       Faith, Hope and Charity.
Sun Disc, Winged       Spirituality, everlasting life.
Sun Rising       Renewed life, resurrection.
Sun Setting       Death.
Sun Shining       Everlasting life.
Swallow       Motherhood, spirit of children, consolation.
Sword, Broken       Life cut short.
Sword, Inverted       Relinquishment of power, victory.
Sword, Sheathed       Temperance.
Sword       Military.
Swords, Crossed       Life lost in battle.
Tablets of the Decalogue       Containing the text from Exodus and Deuteronomy given to Moses on Mount Sinai as a symbol of the Old Covenant.
Tetragrammaton       Four Hebrew letters Y, H, W, H spelling the true name of God, reminder of God's omnipresence.
Thistle       Scottish descent, earthly sorrow, defiance.
Torch, Inverted       Life extinguished.
Torch       Immortality, purification, truth, wisdom.
Tree       Life, knowledge, the fall of man through sin, human fruition or frailty.
Tree Sprouting       Life everlasting.
Tree Stump       Life interrupted.
Tree Trunk       Brevity of life, number of broken branches can indicate deceased family members buried at that site.
Tree Trunk, Leaning       Short interrupted life, mourning.
Triangle       Holy Trinity.
Triqueta (3 interlocking circles or triangles)       Eternity, Trinity, popular motif on Celtic crosses.
Trumpet       Announcement of the resurrection or the soul's entrance into heaven.
Urn       Immortality, penitence, death of the body and its return to dust in the final resting-place.
Violet       Humility.
Weeping Willow       Mourning, grief, lamentation, sorrow.
Wheat       Body of Christ.
Wheel       Cycle of life, enlightenment, spiritual power.
Winged Face       Effigy of the deceased soul, the soul in flight.
Winged Hourglass       Fleetness of life, mortality.
Winged Skull       Flight of the soul from mortal man.
Wreath       Victory.
Wreath, of Roses       Heavenly joy and bliss.
Wreath on Skull       Victory of death over life.
Yin Yang Circle       Harmony, balance, birth and death
Tree Symbolism       
Apple Tree       Love ~~ Of slight build, lots of charm, appeal and attraction, pleasant aura, flirtatious, adventurous, sensitive, always in love, wants to love and be loved, faithful and tender partner, very generous, scientific talents, lives for today, a carefree philosopher with imagination.
Ash Tree       Ambition ~~ Uncommonly attractive, vivacious, impulsive, demanding, does not care for criticism, ambitious, intelligent, talented, likes to play with its fate, can be egotistical, very reliable and trustworthy, prudent lover, sometimes brains rule over heart, but takes partnership very seriously.
Beech Tree       Creative ~~ Has good taste, concerned about its materialistic belongings, good organization of life and career, economical, good leader, takes no unnecessary risks, reasonable, splendid lifetime companion, conscientious about keeping fit.
Birch Tree       Inspiration ~~ Vivacious, attractive, elegant, friendly, unpretentious, modest, does not like anything in excess, abhors the vulgar, loves life in nature and in calm. Not very passionate, full of imagination, little ambition, creates a calm and content atmosphere.
Cedar Tree       Confidence ~~ Of rare beauty, knows how to adapt, likes luxury, of good health, not in the least shy, tends to look down on others, self-confident, determined, impatient, wants to impress others, many talents, industrious, healthy optimism, waiting for one true love, able to make quick decisions.
Chestnut Tree       Honesty ~~ Of unusual beauty, does not want to impress, well-developed sense of justice, vivacious, interested, a born diplomat, but irritated and sensitive in company often due to a lack of self-confidence, sometimes acts superior, feels misunderstood, loves only once, has difficulty finding a partner.
Cypress Tree       Faithfulness ~~ Strong, muscular, adaptable, takes what life has to give, happy, content, optimistic, desires adequate money and acknowledgment, hates loneliness, passionate lover who cannot be satisfied, faithful, quick-tempered, unruly, pedantic and careless.
Elm Tree       Noble ~~ Pleasant shape, tasteful clothes, modest demands, tends to not forgive mistakes, cheerful, likes to lead but not to obey, honest and faithful partner, tends to a know-it-all attitude and making decisions for others, noble-minded, generous, good sense of humor, practical.
Fig Tree       Sensible ~~ Very strong, a bit self-willed, independent, does not allow contradiction o arguments, loves life, family, children and animals, a bit of a butterfly, good sense of humor, likes idleness and laziness, practical talent, intelligent.
Fir Tree       Mystery ~~ Extraordinary taste, dignity, cultivated airs, loves anything beautiful, moody, stubborn, tends to egoism but care for those close, modest, very ambitious, talented, industrious, many lovers, many friends, many foes, very reliable.
Hazelnut Tree       Extraordinary ~~ Charming, undermining, very understanding, knows how to make an impression, active fighter for social cause, popular, moody and capricious lover, honest and tolerant partner, precise sense of judgment.
Hornbeam Tree       Good Taste ~~ Cool beauty; cares for his/her looks and condition; good taste; tends to egoism; makes life as comfortable as possible; leads reasonable, disciplined life; looks for kindness, an emotional partner and acknowledgment; dreams of unusual lovers; is seldom happy with his/her feelings; mistrusts most people; is never sure of his/her decisions; very conscientious.
Lime Tree       Doubt ~~ Accepts what life dishes out in a composed way, hates fighting, stress and labor, tends to laziness and idleness, soft and relenting, makes sacrifices for friends, many talents but not tenacious enough to make them blossom, often wailing and complaining, very jealous, loyal.
Maple Tree       Independent ~~ No ordinary person, full of imagination and originality, shy and reserved, ambitious, proud, self-respecting, hungers for new experiences, sometimes nervous, many complexes, good memory, learns easily, complicated love life wants to impress.
Oak Tree       Robust ~~ Courageous, strong, unrelenting, independent, sensible, does not love change, keeps his/her feet on the ground, person of action.
Olive Tree       Wisdom ~~ Loves sun, warmth and kind feelings, reasonable, balanced, avoids aggression and violence, tolerant, cheerful, calm, well-developed sense of justice, sensitive, empathic, free of jealousy, loves to read and the company of sophisticated people.
Pine Tree       Decisive ~~ Loves agreeable company, very robust, knows how to make life comfortable, very active, natural, good companion, but seldom friendly, falls easily in love but passion burns out quickly, gives up easily, will experience many disappointments until the ideal is found, trustworthy, practical.
Poplar Tree       Uncertainty ~~ Looks very decorative, no self-confidence, only courageous if necessary, needs goodwill and pleasant surroundings, very choosy, often lonely, great animosity, artistic nature, good organizer, tends to philosophize, reliable in any situation, takes partnership seriously.
Rowan Tree       Sensitivity ~~ Full of charm, cheerful, gifted without egoism, likes to draw attention, loves life, motion, unrest and even complications, is both dependent and independent, good taste, artistic, passionate, emotional, good company, does not forgive.
Walnut Tree       Passion ~~ Unrelenting, strange and full of contrasts, often egotistical, aggressive, noble, broad horizons, unexpected reactions, spontaneous, unlimited ambition, no flexibility, difficult and uncommon partner, not always liked but often admired, ingenious strategist, very jealous and passionate, uncompromising.
Weeping Willow       Melancholy ~~ Beautiful, but full of melancholy, attractive, very empathic, loves anything beautiful and tasteful, loves to travel, dreamer, restless, capricious, honest, can be influenced, but is not easy to live with, demanding, good intuition, suffers in love but sometimes finds an anchoring partner.
Plinth       "Main Entry: plinth Pronunciation: 'plin th Function: noun Etymology: Latin plinthus, from Greek plinthos Date: 1601 1 a : the lowest member of a base : SUBBASE b : a block upon which the moldings of an architrave or trim are stopped at the bottom
2 : a usually square block serving as a base; broadly : any of various bases or lower parts -- see BASE illustration
3 : A block or slab upon which a column, pedestal, or statue is based; also the bottom course of stones supporting a wall.

Angels -        Angels mean spirituality and they guard the tomb.
Bible -        A single Holy Bible is often found on Christian stones.
Holy Books (2) -        on Mormon headstones indicates the Bible and the Book of Mormon
Holy Books (3) -        on Mormon Headstones, these indicate The Scripture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine & Covenants.
Chalice -        Usually used to represent the Sacraments.
Crescent -        the deceased was probably a Muslim.
Crown -        The soul's achievement and the Glory of life after death.
Cross -        the Cross is an emblem of faith. There are many different types of crosses and each may mean something different. For a good explanation of the various types of crosses, see, a part of The City of the Silent.
Heart (Sacred) -        Usually found in Catholic cemeteries, this heart refers to the suffering of Christ for our sins.
Menorah -        An emblem of Judaism
Star of David or Mogen David        Recognized as the international symbol of Judaism.
Arrow -        Mortality
Broken Column -.        This image represents the decay. It usually represents the loss of the Family head
Candle being Snuffed -        Loss of life.
Coffin -        mortality.
Figure with Dart -        Mortality
Grim Reaper -        Death personified.
Hourglass -        Time has run out.
Scythe -        An instrument of the harvest, death cuts us down.
Trade and Occupation:        (emblems that MIGHT indicate a person's occupation in life)
Barber        Bowl (for bleeding) & Razor.
Butcher -        an axe, steel knife and cleaver.
Farmer: -        Coulter (type of hoe), flail (threshing implement), swingletree (rod for beating flax), stalk of corn.
Gardener -        Rake & Spade.
Mason -        Wedge & Level
Mariner: - .       Anchor, Sextant & Cross Staff
Merchant -        Scales, some type of sign.
Minister -        Bible
Shoemaker -        Leather cutter's Knife, Nippers, Sole cutter & Awl
Smith -        Crown, Hammer & Anvil
Teacher -        Open Book.
Weaver -        Loom, Shuttle & Stretchers.
Wright -        (a worker skilled in the manufacture especially of wooden objects --usually used in combination <shipwright> <wheelwright> - Compasses
Angel, Flying or Trumpeting -        Rebirth; Resurrection.
Bird or Bird Flying -        Eternal life, Resurrection.
Cross: -        The Cross means resurrection to many Christians.
Dove, Flying -        Resurrection.
Flame, Light, Lamp or Torch: -        Immortality of the Spirit, Resurrection.
Garland or Wreath -        Symbol of saintliness and glory, Victory in death.
Horns --        The Resurrection
Ivy -        Immortality
Rooster-        Awakening; Resurrection.
Star -        Death could not overpower the Light of the Spirit which still shines in the darkness.
Sun -        A symbol of light and warmth, renewed life and life everlasting.
Trumpeters --        Harbingers of the Resurrection
Urn -        Immortality (The storing of the vital organs was of extreme importance to the ancient Egyptians who believed that life would be restored through the vital organs placed in the urn).
Birds -        Eternal life or resurrection.
Butterfly -        Short-life.
Dog -        Implies a good master worthy of love.
Dove -        Seen in both Christian and Jewish cemeteries, the dove means innocence and/ or peace.
Lamb -        Usually marks the grave of a child and means Innocence.
Lion -        The Lion's eternal watch guards the tomb and stands for Courage.
Rooster -        Awakening; Resurrection.
Fruits --        Eternal plenty as in the fruit of life.
Full-Blown Rose -        The deceased died in the prime of life
Ivy -       stands for friendship and also immortality.
Laurel --        A symbol of worldly accomplishment and heroism.
Lily -        The virgins' flower and also the symbol of innocence and purity.
Morning Glory -        Signifies the beginning of Life
Oak., Oak Leaves and Acorn - .       Oak leaves on tombs can stand for power, authority or victory. Often seen on Military tombs
Palm Branch -        Signifies Victory and Rejoicing
Poppy -        Eternal Sleep.
Roses -        signify completion and the brevity of earthly existence.
Rosemary -       Rosemary is for remembrance. Thistles can also stand for remembrance.
Thistle -        Deceased was of Scottish descent.
Tree or Trees       
A Tree stands for life.       
A Tree Sprouting        stands for life everlasting.
Tree Trunk        stands for the brevity of life.
Stones        shaped liked Tree Stumps usually signify that the deceased was a member of The Woodmen of the World
Weeping Willow Tree -        Perpetual Mourning; Grief.
Wheat Strands or Sheaves -        The divine harvest.
Broken Ring --        The family circle has been severed.
Cherub -        Cherubs are angelic and signify innocence.
Crossed Swords - .       Military person of high rank
Hands        in cemeteries are usually in one of the following four positions; clasping, praying, pointing, and blessing.
Hand, Pointing Up -        Pathway to heaven.
Hands, Clasped -        Farewells or the bond of marriage
Hands, Praying -        Asking God for Eternal life.
Hands, Blessing -        Blessing of those left behind.
Harp -        Praise to the God.
Heart -        Love. Stylized hearts stand for the affection of the living for the dead. Two joined hearts on a stone mark a marriage,
Rod or Staff -        Comfort for the bereaved.
Stars and Stripes Around Eagle --        Eternal vigilance and liberty. Often seen on military markers.
Urn with Flame -       Undying remembrance

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