If you "suffer" from a love of cemeteries, there's a word to describe your condition: taphophilia. When a friend recently sent me a link to this great post, "6 Ways for Writers to Find Inspiration in a Graveyard," I was grateful. I love visiting cemeteries and graveyards and don't hesitate to admit it.
One of the most interesting things I've learned lately about gravestones, particularly those in Victorian times, is the symbolism that the stones featured. It's almost like a secret code. I appreciate how cool Victorians were in their interest in the deeper meaning of things. Flowers, for instance, had their own secret languages. So did color in dress...
But getting back to symbols on gravestones, here are some of the more popular symbols. Did you know that a broken column meant a life cut short? Or that a circle represented eternity while a broken flower indicated a sudden death? Ivy symbolized the memories of the deceased that would remain evergreen, while a bird in flight symbolized a spirit going toward heaven. One flying down meant being "with the Holy Spirit." In ancient Egyptian times, a serpent represented life and health. You can learn more about the symbols on gravestones on the BBC website or this blog, Cemetery Travels.
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