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Tag: taphophile

Historic Cemetery Symbols: What do Lilies Represent?

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: What does a Lily symbolize when it’s carved on a headstone? You’ve probably heard folks refer to someone as having a “lily white reputation,” right? Lilies are not only white, but they symbolize purity. That’s why being “lily white” means you are as clean and chaste as they come. In the context of a headstone, lilies may also refer to the soul’s return to a state of purity and innocence in the after life. Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism: I…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: The Acronym “HTWSSTKS” & Its Meaning

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: What does HTWSSTKS stand for on a headstone? When it comes to historic cemetery symbosl, acronyms are used as a form of shorthand. There’s only so much room on a headstone, after all. (Speaking of acronyms, in an earlier post, I explained the surprisingly upbeat meaning behind the rather dire-sounding acronym, FATAL.) HTWSSTKS is an acronym with connections to the Masonic Temple, specifically Royal Arch Masons. The letters stand for, “Hiram, Tyrian,¬†Widow’s Son, Sent to King Solomon.” Of course, now…

Cemetery Symbols: What do Half-Carved Stones Represent?

Cemetery Symbol: Why do these headstones look half-finished? No, the monument maker didn’t get fed up and quit halfway through the job. When you see a half-carved headstone such as these, it represents the transition from life into death. Additionally, half-carved stones convey the idea that while we may accomplish many things during our time on earth, we have even more to learn and do in the afterlife. So headstones like these symbolically remind us not to place too much importance on what we do or don’t achieve during our life because we still have much more “polishing” to do…

Cemetery Symbols: Epitaphs for the Living?

Inspired by a Microphone with Wings To me, visiting historic graveyards is like opening a dictionary or using a search engine. While I start out with a clear idea of the information I wish to find, I’m nearly always distracted by other things along the way: a unique monument, a strange name, or in this case, a microphone with wings.¬†Not to mention that I’ve never seen seen someone described as “debonair” on their headstone before! Here’s the full epitaph for “Todd” Harith Rahman Miles a.k.a. MC Pradah Black: “Devoted Christian rapper, writer, poet, musician, and producer. He was creative, outspoken,…

Cemetery Symbols: Headstones, Footstones & Misleading Names

Why do most headstones face east? Most people have heard the word “headstone” before. Generally speaking, headstones mark where the head of the deceased is situated. In most Christian cemeteries, the person is oriented so that the body faces east. According to this tradition, this means they will be facing the right direction when the sun comes up on Judgment Day. In a family plot, however, there is often one major headstone. While this monument may have the names of family members inscribed on it, it usually only has the family’s last name. So, you might see a large marker…

Cemetery Symbols: Who is the Virgin of Guadalupe?

Who is the Virgin of Guadalupe? Since the Virgin of Guadalupe is the patron saint of Mexico, depictions of her are common in areas with a large Hispanic population. The squiggly lines that surround her body represent rays of sunlight. I’m not Hispanic, but the Virgen of Guadalupe made a big impression on me as a little girl when my family visited Mexico City. You might even say that I’ve been a fan of her ever since! To learn more about her, check out this excellent post: Everything You Needed to Know about the Virgen de Guadalupe. Field Guide to…