Religious symbolism is the most common symbolism found in cemeteries all over the world. From the beautiful angels and the baby cherubs to the more obscure symbols such as the Winged Sun Disk and Key.

Alpha and Omega, Chi Rho, IHS

Alpha and Omega

The Alpha and the Omega are the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet – they represent the beginning and the end; the totality.

Anchor with Clouds and Rope


Anchors may signify a mariner, fisherman or a U.S. Navy burial. It is the Christian symbol for hope and steadfastness.

Anchor with Clouds and Rope


Also known as crus dissimulata, it is actually a disguised cross used by early Christians to hide their religion so they would not be persecuted.



Angels engraved on tombstones mean spirituality; they guard the tomb and are thought to be messengers between God and man. Angel Photo Gallery.

Wheat Sheaf

A banner symbolizes victory, triumph, and rejoicing.

Hand with Book, Holy Bible


A Holy Bible is often found on Christian stones. A Bible and the Book of Mormon may be found on Mormon stones. Books also symbolize knowledge; education.

Chalice, Sun, Banner, Book


The chalice is a symbol of Christian Faith. The Chalice may represent Charity on the “Faith, Hope, Charity” triumvirate.

LeBlanc Cherubs


Cherubs or Baby Angels are most commonly found on the graves of children. Also see Angels.

The LeBlanc cherubs at left are in the Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile, Alabama.

Cloud, Cross, Sun, Rays


Clouds typically represent Heaven.

Crook or Crosier, Mitre, Cross

Crook (Crosier)

Crosiers or Shephard’s Crooks are often associated with Odd Fellows. If carried by or before an abbot, bishop, or archbishop as a symbol of office.

Ecclesiastes 12.6-7, Pitcher, Urn

Ecclesiastes 12.6-7

Depiction of Ecclesiastes 12.6-7 includes a wheel with a broken cord, a broken pitcher, a shattered bowl and water representing the well or spring.

Four Evangelists with Winged Ox


The four Evangelists who wrote the gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are generally represented by an angel, winged ox, winged lion and an eagle. Matthew: Winged Man, Mark: Winged Lion, Luke: Winged Ox, John: Eagle

Cross, Anchor, Heart - Faith, Hope, Charity

Faith, Hope, Charity (Cross, Anchor and Heart)

A triumvirate of Biblical virtues: Faith, Hope, and Charity. The cross is Faith, the anchor Hope, and the heart is Charity.

Draped Flaming Urn


Eternal life or eternal vigilance.

Gate, Hand, Finger down, Flower Bouquet


An open gates symbolize afterlife; the entrance to heaven.

Harp or Lyre, Swag

Harp or Lyre

Heavenly Music or Joy. The Harp is a symbol of hope–it may have a broken string. Symbol of Ireland.

Heart with Flame and Sword

Heart with Sword

Catholic symbol known as the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Crook or Crosier, Mitre, Key, Cross


Symbolizes the key to unlock the gates of heaven (St. Peter), or a learned person or a symbol of knowledge of the scriptures.



A symbol of Immortality of the Spirit; illuminates the word of God.



The Menorah, a seven-branched candelabra, is a symbol of divine wisdom and may be found on Jewish headstones. It also symbolizes a “righteous” woman.

Crook or Crosier, Mitre, Key


The liturgical headdress and part of the insignia of a Christian bishop. In the Western church it is a tall pointed hat with peaks in front and back, worn at all solemn functions.



Watch tower; the look-out. Mizpah is Hebrew for “watchtower.” As mentioned in the biblical story of Jacob and Laban, making a pile of stones marked an agreement between two people, with God as their watching witness.



Rebirth, connect between Heaven & Earth. An upright four-sided pillar, gradually tapering as it rises and cut off at the top in the form of a pyramid.

Cemetery Symbolism Flower Basket, Ferns, Rocks, Calla Lilies


Christian symbol for the Lord.

Sun, Compass, Square, Mason


A shining sun represents Heavenly light. Also see “Winged Sun Disk.”

Tent, Sun, Crook, Clasped Hands, IOOF, Chain links


Societies associate tents with a place to summon the powers of God. A symbol used by the Masons as well as a Native American’s home.



Denoting sin, sorrow and hardship, the thorn is one of the most ancient symbols in the world; together with the ROSE, it represents pain and pleasure, and the thorn is an emblem of Christ’s passion, as with the crown of thorns.



Praise of God, Judgement day.

Winged Sun Disk, Cobra, Snake

Winged Sun Disk

Appears on many Egyptian tombs and temple entrances and commemorates the victory of light over darkness, and the life giving properties of the sun.