Graveyard Symbolism Part 2

Yes, I know. The weeks have turned to months and you all have been patiently waiting for this part two. So without further delay I’ll jump right in and finish what I’ve started. Thank you for your patience! 🙂

Popular Symbols 


Like many symbols found on headstones, birds are closely linked with God. In this case they are thought to be the messengers of God, perhaps helping the spirit make its way to Him. Doves, as you may have guessed, also represent peace, while Pelicans (something I have never seen on a headstone to date) is thought to represent sacrifice.

Now when I looked up pelican and the whole sacrifice symbolism I found that it is believed that pelicans feed their young with their own blood hence the sacrifice. Who knew pelicans were so gruesome? I sure as hell didn’t. 


Grapes, likes pelicans, seem to be far more rare a sight in the graveyards I’ve visited. Or maybe I just miss them. Grapes represent the blood of Christ. Another bloody connection with pelicans. Go figure. I found this headstone just recently. Guess there’s still hope of me finding a pelican. 


Particularly when clasped, hands symbolize the connection between the living and the dead. It’s actually quite sweet. The handshake is a nod to one another that they will indeed meet again. I can honestly say that of all the symbols this is the one I’d be very happy to have on my headstone. Which until this very moment I had not realized. We learn things together on this blog. 🙂

Hands in prayer is another common symbol. But the coolest hand symbol I’ve stumbled across so far is “I Love You” in sign language. Not to be confused with the the hand position used when rocking out to Metal music. (Though how cool would that be on my grave?!)


Most often depicted upside down, the inverted torch (and flame) symbolizes life extinguished. The presence of the flame indicates that the soul lives on.

I tried to find an image of this from all my headstone photos but sadly I couldn’t come up with one.  

And there you have it. The completion of the most popular symbols found on headstones. We’re done, right? No more to say about graveyards?

Oh, hunny. No. There’s more. There’s always more. 

Each symbol has a deeper meaning. I’ve just grazed the surface. Take flowers for example. Not only is the type of flower important, but the stage at which the flower is shown also reveals a meaning. Flower buds for children, partial blooms for young adults, full blooms for a person in their prime and so on.

The imagery on headstones tell a story. All we need to do is take the time to decode the meaning and we cemetery enthusiasts LOVE decoding! 

In addition to these blog posts I’ve decided to proceed with my #1000Cemeteries video series on YouTube. Check out the first video of my latest ramble around the graveyard below. I hope you enjoy it enough to subscribe to my channel. 

Have something to share? Leave a comment below!

2 thoughts on “Graveyard Symbolism Part 2

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