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Gravestone Symbols

Gravestone Symbols – You see these symbols or icons on graves and ever wonder what they are? Here is a list of gravestone symbols and what they mean.

Gravestone Symbols

While on an outing with Heather of SimplySpokn, we visited Red Bird Baptist Church in Williamsburg, KY on September 8, 2017. At the cemetery, Heather showed me the Triangle Celtic Graves. I plan to do some research on these and share on this blog about them. But, this blog post is about gravestone symbols you see on gravestones and what they mean.

Plants

  • Daisy – Innocence
  • DogwoodResurrection
  • Easter Lily – Purity, Chastity, Resurrection
  • Fern – Humility, Sincerity
  • Fleur-de–lis – Passion and Love
  • Garland – Victory over Death
  • Ivy – Friendship, Eternal Life
  • Laurel – Evergreen, Memory of the Deceased
  • Lily of the Valley – Rebirth
  • Morning Glory – Beginning of Life
  • Myrtle Leaves – Underlying Love, Peace
  • Oak Leaves – Long Life, Strength, Endurance, Faith, Virtue
  • Palm Leaves – Success and Victory Over Death
  • Roses – Beauty, Victory, Triumph, Purity
  • Tulip – Love, Passion
  • Wreath – Victory Over Death

Animals

  • Ants – Christian Industry
  • Bats – The Underworld (Rare)
  • Bee – Resurrection
  • Bird – Souls, Eternal Life, Peace, Spirituality
  • Birds Flying – Flight back to God
  • Butterfly – Short Life
  • Cardinal – Passion for Life
  • Children – Death of the Innocence
  • Cobra – Death (Egyptian)
  • Cock (Rooster) – Vigilance
  • Deer – Faithful Thirsting for God
  • Dog – Loyalty and Inferior – Medieval (Modern Dog master was worth loving)
  • Dove – Resurrection
  • Fish – Christ, Peacefulness, Faith
  • Fox – Cruelty
  • Frog – Resurrection
  • Goat – Non-Christian
  • Horse – Courage, Generosity
  • Lion – Strength, Courage, Power, Fallen Hero
  • Lamb – Christ, Meekness, Innocence, Child’s Marker
  • Pelican – Generosity
  • Phoenix – Resurrection
  • Owl – Wisdom
  • Rabbit – Humility, Gentleness, Self Sacrifice
  • Ram – Sacrifice
  • Rooster – Awakening, Resurrection, Repentance, Vigilance
  • Sheep – Christian
  • Squirrel – Spiritual Striving
  • Swallow – Child or Motherhood

Body Parts

  • Arms Outstretched – Mercy
  • Bone – Death, Decay
  • Eye – All Knowing, All Seeing
  • Finger (Pointing to Heaven) – Sudden Death
  • Hands – Leaving
    • Praying Hands – Asking for Eternal Life
  • Heart – Soul, Love, Courage, Intelligence
  • Skeleton – Death
  • Skull – Death; sin

    • Skull (With Crossbones) – Mortality

Food

  • Corn – Rebirth
  • Grapes – Blood of Christ
  • Olives – Peace, Healing Faith
  • Pineapple – Hospitality
  • Wheat – Divine Harvest



Objects

  • Anchor – Hope, Eternal Life, Sailor
  • Angels – Pure, Spiritual, Messenger between God and man
  • Apple – Sin, Eve
  • Arch – Victory of Death, Passage to Heaven
  • Arch of Noah – Refuge, Salvation
  • Armor – Protection from Evil
  • Arrow – Martyrdom, Mortality
  • Baby’s Chair – Unfulfilled Lives of Children
  • Banner – Victory
  • Bed – At Rest
  • Bell – Religious Faith
  • Boat – Voyage to other side
  • Book – Ministers, Faith, Learning
  • Bridge – Linking between Earth and Heaven
  • Candlestick – Christ, Devotion
  • Candle (being snuffed) – Mortality
  • Candle (with Flame) – Life
  • Chain – Truth
  • Clasped Hands – Farewell
  • Column – Head of Household
  • Crescent Moon – Virgin
  • Egg – Regeneration
  • Hammer – Power of Creation
  • Harp – Praise to God
  • Keys – Spiritual Knowledge, Enter to Heaven
  • Knot – Marriage
  • Ladder – Passion
  • Lamp – Wisdom, Faithfulness
  • Lighthouse – Inspired Wisdom, Lighthouse Keeper
  • Moon – Death, Rebirth
  • Rings – Married Couple
  • Rocks – Everlasting Strength, Foundation
  • Rod or Staff – Comfort
  • Scales – Justice, Balance
  • Scroll – Scriptures
  • Ship -Seafarer
  • Shell – Baptism
  • Star – Divine Guidance
  • Sun – Soul Rising to Heaven
  • Tree – Life
  • Triangle – Holy Trinity
  • Torch – Liberty
  • Toys – Loss of a Child
  • Urn – Souls Immorality
  • Wheel – Circle of Life

Military Symbols

  • Bugles – Resurrection, Military
  • Cannon – Artillery Unit
  • Cross Swords – Officers of High Rank who Died in Battle
  • Eagle – Long Military Service, Courage, Faith, Generosity
  • Flag – Liberty, Loyalty
  • Muskets – Military profession, huntsman
  • Stars and Stripes – Eternal Vigilance and Liberty
  • Swords – Military Service
  • Trumpets – Victory, Resurrection

Religious

  • Bamboo – Devotion, Truthfulness  (Japanese)
    • Bamboo (7 Knots) – Seven degrees of initiation and invocation (Buddhism)
  • Bible – Belief in Christ
  • Chariot – Taking Soul to Heaven
  • Cherub – Graves of Children
  • Cross – Salvation
    • Botonee Cross – Trinity
    • Calvary Cross – Faith, Hope, Love, Charity (Latin)
    • Celtic Cross – Eternity
    • Eastern Cross – Upper the inscription over the head of Jesus. The lower the footrest of the crucified Jesus. (Orthodox)
    • Fleuree Cross/Gothic Cross – Adult
    • Greek Cross – Christian Faith
    • Ionic Cross – Everlasting Salvation, Love & Glory
    • Latin Cross – God’s Mark
  • Crown – Souls Achievement
  • Holy Books (Paired) – The Bible and the Book of Mormons (Mormon LDS)
  • Holy Books (Three)Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine & Covenants (Mormon LDS)
  • Masonic Compass and Set-square – God as the architect and builder of the universe (Freemason)
  • Menorah or seven-branched candlestick – Divine presence of God (Jewish)
  • Ohm, Om, Aum – Unborn, non-dualistic, omnipresent, impersonal Absolute (Hindu)
  • Pentagram – Magicians, Sorcerers, Wicca, 5 Wounds Suffered by Christ
  • Pitcher – Washing of Hands of High Priest (Jewish – Levites)
  • Pyramid – Eternity
  • Rosary – Constant Prayer for Loved One (Catholic)
  • Two Tablets – The Ten Commandments, God’s laws

Shapes

  • Circle – Eternal Life
  • Square – Earth
  • Star – Life of Christ, Wounds of Christ
    • Star of David – Divine Protect (Judaism)
  • Triangle – Faith, Hope & Love; Trinity
  • Yin-Yang Circle – Harmony, Balance

Do you know of any more?

If you know of any more I can add to this list, please feel free to share that in the comments.

Gravestone Symbols sign at the Red Bird Baptist Church cemetery in Williamsburg, KY #GravestoneSymbols

Gravestone Symbols sign at the Red Bird Baptist Church cemetery in Williamsburg, KY #GravestoneSymbols

Most of this list came from this sign from Red Bird Baptist Church. Others came from people letting me know of others. Plus, some from researching other symbols.

Other Sources:

| Gravestone Symbols | Tent Graves | Cleaning Old Gravestones |

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About

My name is Steve Patterson and I am saved through the blood of Jesus Christ. I have been blogging at Courageous Christian Father since 2012, however, I have been blogging since around 2004. At church I help with the youth, van ministry, ushering or wherever else needed. Currently, I am working on my bachelors of theology. I am a father of an adult child. I work as a graphic designer. I also love listening to nothing but Christian Music. I am an Eagle Scout class of 1994. Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle.

Comments

  1. that is truly interesting. Would be nice to put the choice of the symbol and it’s meaning on the funeral folder so it could speak to all who may not know.

    1. I agree more places need common signs like that

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