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Historic Cemetery Symbols: What do Pine Needles & Pine Cones Represent? #cemetery #symbols #history

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Historic Cemetery Symbol of the Week

This week’s Historic Cemetery Symbol: Pine Needles and Pine Cones. While I often notice a variety of evergreens planted in the country graveyards I visit here in Texas, pine needle and pine cones are symbols I don’t see engraved on headstones as often as other trees – such as the oak tree, for instance.

Pine cones on a historic cemetery grave marker. (photo by Tui Snider)
Pine cones on a historic cemetery grave marker. (photo by Tui Snider)

Pine trees: Immortality

While it’s true that many coffins have been made from pine, from what I’ve read, this has more to do with practicality than anything symbolic. Where pine trees are widely available, they were often used to make coffins with in years past.
Like other evergreens such as holly, ivy, and yew, pine trees are associated with immortality. Rather than lose their leaves each fall, pine trees stay green all year long, and in this way they symbolize the eternal nature of the soul. As for the pine cone, like corn, it is considered a fertility symbol because it holds the seeds of the plant.

Pine Cones: Fertility

Since pine cones can be a fertility symbol, pay attention to how many pine cones are engraved on the headstone. This may actually be a clue telling you how many offspring a couple had. Remember that article I posted a few weeks about the meaning of left and right?

Pay Attention to Left & Right:

So, with that in mind, if you came across a headstone for a married couple that has 2 pine cones engraved on the left and 3 engraved on the right, it could possibly mean that they had 2 daughters and 3 sons.
As for the pine cones in the photo I shared on today’s post, they were perfectly centered in the middle of a headstone for a man and wife. What does it mean, exactly? I don’t know for sure. In this case, I tend to think the 3 pine cones are a symbol for the holy trinity. But, it could also mean they had 3 children.
That’s part of the fun of learning graveyard symbols; rather than tell you the whole story, they often point you in the direction you need to go to learn more through your own research!

Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism:

I am currently writing a field guide to historic cemetery symbolism. Each week, I share a small snippet from my upcoming book. It’s my goal to create a handy-dandy pocket guide for taphophiles, genealogists, ghost hunters, and anyone else interested in the historic graveyard symbols that have become forgotten over the years.

Which symbols are you curious about?

Let me know in the comments if there is a certain symbol that you are curious about. Also, if you would like to know when the cemetery symbolism guide is available for purchase, scroll down and sign up for my newsletter! I look forward to hearing from you!

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide:

Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below:

Want to read more like this?

To read about more weird, offbeat, and overlooked places, check out my best-selling travel guide:
UNEXPECTED TEXAS: Your Guide to Offbeat & Overlooked History, Day Trips & Fun Things to do near Dallas & Fort Worth

For ghost hunting hot spots, check out my best-selling travel guide to haunted places:
PARANORMAL TEXAS: Your Travel Guide to Haunted Places near Dallas & Fort Worth

For a strange-but-true tale of Texas history, check out this bizarre piece of West Texas history:
The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber



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Tui Snider

Tui Snider is an author, speaker, and photographer who specializes in quirky, haunted, and downright bizarre destinations. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction – but then, I moved to Texas!” Snider's writing and photography have been featured in a variety of publications, including Coast to Coast AM, FOX Travel News, LifeHack, Langdon Review, the City of Plano, Wild Woman Waking, Shades of Angels and more. Snider’s award-winning books include Paranormal Texas, The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber, and Unexpected Texas. Snider has several more books in progress, including a Field Guide to Cemetery Symbols and a book about the Great Texas Airship Mystery of 1897. Tui has worn a lot of hats in her life – literally – and is especially fond of berets. She enjoys connecting with writers and readers all over the globe through social media, her newsletter and her website:
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