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.
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.
Anchors may signify a mariner, fisherman or a U.S. Navy burial. It is the Christian symbol for hope and steadfastness.
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.
A banner symbolizes victory, triumph, and rejoicing.
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.
The chalice is a symbol of Christian Faith. The Chalice may represent Charity on the “Faith, Hope, Charity” triumvirate.
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.
Clouds typically represent Heaven.
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.
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.
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
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.
Eternal life or eternal vigilance.
An open gates symbolize afterlife; the entrance to heaven.
Heavenly Music or Joy. The Harp is a symbol of hope–it may have a broken string. Symbol of Ireland.
Catholic symbol known as the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
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.
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.
Christian symbol for the Lord.
A shining sun represents Heavenly light. Also see “Winged Sun Disk.”
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.
Appears on many Egyptian tombs and temple entrances and commemorates the victory of light over darkness, and the life giving properties of the sun.