Mississippi Tombstone Symbols & their Meanings
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- Acorns - Power; Authority; Victory. Often seen on military graves.
- Alpha and Omega - The beginning and the end.
- Anchor - Hope; Steadfastness.
Anchor, Sextant, & Cross Staff - Could mean the person was a Mariner.
- Anchor with Crossed Canons - Confederate States Navy.
- Anchor with Chain or Rope - Emblem of the United States Navy.
- Anchors, Double with Shield - United States Coast Guard.
- Angels - Spirituality; Guardians of the tomb.
- Angel, Flying - Rebirth; Resurrection.
- Angel, Praying - Advocate asking God for mercy on behalf of the deceased.
Angel, Trumpeting - Rebirth; Resurrection.
- Arch - Victory in death; Door to Salvation.
- Arches, Double Stone - Being Rejoined in Heaven With Partner.
- Arrow(s) - Mortality; Death.
Axe, Knife, & Cleaver - Could mean the person was a Butcher.
- Awl, Knife, & Nippers - Could mean the person was a Shoemaker or Cobbler.
- Barber Bowl & Razor - Could mean the person was a Barber.
- Bee Flying with Gun - Seabees (US Navy)
- Beehive - Symbol of Mormonism; Masonic symbol of productivity.
- Bells & Doves - Marriage.
- Bellflower - Gratitude
- Bible - The Holy Bible is often found on the tombstones of Christians.
- Bird - Eternal Life.
Bird Flying - Ressurection.
- Books, Holy - Often found on the tombstones of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). Two books indicate the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Three books represent the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
- Books, with or without Apple - Could mean the person was a Teacher.
- Book, Open - Book of Life.
- Butterfly - Shortened life.
Candle (snuffed) - Loss of Life.
- Candle, Burning - Everlasting Life.
- Castle - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
- Chain, Broken Links of - Death of a Spouse.
- Chain, Three Links - Grand United Order of Oddfellows
- Chalice - Sacrement.
- Cherubs - Innocence.
- Chi Rho - The first two letters, X (chi) & P (rho) in the Greek word for Christ.
- Child, Sleeping - Grave of a young child; Not dead, just sleeping.
- Circle of Leaves - The Circle (Womens auxillary - Woodmen of the World)
- Clover, Four-Leaf - The 4H Club.
- Coffin - Mortality.
- Column, Broken - Decay / Loss of the Head of the Family
- Compass & Square - Masons.
- Corn, Stalk of - Could mean the person was a Farmer.
Coulter (hoe) - Could mean the person was a Farmer.
- Crescent - Muslum faith.
- Cross - General Symbol of Christianity. Represents the Ressurection to many Christian religions.
- Cross with Crown - In Mississippi it is usually a Christian symbol of sovereignty of the Lord.
- Cross with Flames - Symbol of the Methodist Religion.
- Cross with Jesus Christ - The Crucifixion; The Sacrifice of Christ.
- Cross, Bontonee - The Trinity.
- Cross, Celtic or Irish - Episcopalians call this the Celtic Cross, while Catholics call it the Irish Cross. Often used to denote the graves of Monks or Priests.
Cross, Crusader's - Symbol used by Europeans during the Holy War against the Muslims.
- Cross, Egyptian or Coptic - Used by the Gnostics and the Copts, it was devised from the ancient Egyptian symbol, ankh, which symbolizes life.
Cross, Greek - Most commonly known as the symbol adopted by the International Red Cross.
- Cross, Jerusalem - Adopted by the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This is another cross from the Crusades.
- Cross, Maltese w/ Firefighter Equipment. - Firefighters Emblem.
Cross, Orthodox, Patriarchal, or Eastern - The top cross bar represents the sign "Jesus Christ, King of the Jews", placed on Jesus' cross by the Romans.
- Cross, Presbyterian - Presbyterian Religion.
- Cross, Roman or Latin - Came about as a result of the Great Schism between Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism.
- Cross, Southern Cross of Honor - Usually found on the tombstones of Confederate Veterans.
Cross, St. Andrew's - According to legend, when St. Andrew was martyred he claimed he was not worthy to be hung on a cross shaped as Jesus' cross. He requested that this shape be used for his execution.
- Crossed Swords - High Ranking Military Person.
- Crown - The soul's achievement and the Glory of life after death.
- Crown with Cross - In Mississippi it is usually a Christian symbol of sovereignty of the Lord.
- Crown with Knight's Head, Crossed Swords, Moon & Stars - Order of DeMolay.
- Curtains / Drapes - Mourning; End of Life on Earth.
Daffodil / Narcissus - Rebirth and Ressurection.
- Dart w/ figure - Mortality.
- Deer - Outdoorsman; Hunter.
- Dog - A Master worthy of love; Dog lover; Hunter
- Dove - Innocence; Peace.
Dove, Ascending - Soul rising to heaven.
- Dove, Dead - Premature death.
- Dove, Decending - Decent from heaven to accompany soul to heaven.
- Dove, Dive Bombing with Twig - Holy Ghost.
- Dove, Flying - Ressurrection.
- Dragonfly - Immortality and regeneration.
- Eagle - U.S. Postal Service.
Eagle with Stars & Stripes - Eternal vigilance and liberty.
- Eagle and Shield on Fleur de lis - Boy Scouts of America
- Eagle Clutching Arrows with Shield - United States Army.
- Eagles, Double w/ pyramid & the number 32 - Emblem of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Masons (32nd Degree).
- Eye with Sunburst or Triagle - Masonic Symbol.
Firefighter Helmet & Double Axes crossed - Mississippi State Firefighters Association.
Flail - Could mean the person was a Farmer.
Flame - Immortality of the Spirit; The Resurrection.
- Fleur-de-Lis - Faith, wisdom and valor; The Trinity, passion and love.
Fruit - Eternal Plenty; Fruit of Life.
- Garland - Saintliness; Glory; Victory in Death.
- Gates - Pearly Gates; Entrance to Heaven.
- Grapes / Grapevine - Blood of Christ; Sacrament.
Grim Reaper - Personification of death.
- Hammer, Anvil, & Crown - Could mean the person was a Blacksmith.
- Hammer & Square - Could mean the person was a Carpenter.
- Hand, Pointing Up - Pathway to Heaven.
- Hands with Rosery Beads - Symbol of the Catholic Religion.
Hands, Blessing - Blessing those remaining behind.
- Hands, Clasped - Farewell.
- Hands, Holding - Unity of Marriage.
- Hands, Praying - Asking God for Eternal Life.
- Hands reaching for the Lord's Hand - Faith that the Lord will help us to Heaven & Eternal Life.
- Harp - Praising God.
- Heart - Love; Affection of the living for the dead.
Heart, Sacred - Commonly found in Catholic Cemeteries. Representative of the suffering of Christ for our sins.
- Hearts, Two interlocked - Marriage.
- Heart and Rose in Cupped Hands - Organ Donor.
Horns - The Resurrection.
- Horse and Rider superimposed on Globe. - United Methodist Clergy
- Hourglass - Time has expired; Brievity of Life.
- "I" made with railroad tie - Employee of Illinois Central Gulf Railroad.
- Ivy - Immortality; Friendship.
- Lamb - Innocence. Usually marks a child's grave.
- Lamp - Immortality of the Spirit; The Resurrection.
- Laurel - Worldly accomplishment; Heroism
Light - Immortality of the Spirit; The Resurrection.
- Lily - Flower of a Virgin; Purity & Innocence.
Lion - Courage. The Lion's eternal watch guards the tomb.
- Loom, Shuttle, & Stretcher - Could mean the person was a Weaver.
- Medal, Ribbon with Heart & likeness of George Washington. - Purple Heart, a U.S. Military medal given to soldiers wounded in action.
- Medal, Ribbon with 5-Pointed Star. - The Bronze Star, a U.S. Military medal awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service.
- Menorah - An Emblem of Judaism.
- Militia Soldier w/ Rifle & 5 Stars - Army National Guard.
- Mississippi Map with Eagle, Shield, & Stars - Mississippi Highway Patrol.
- Morning Glory - Beginning of Life.
- Mortar and Pestle - Pharmacists (sometimes Doctor).
- Navy Seal - United States Navy.
- Oak Leaves - Power; Authority; Victory. Often seen on military graves.
- Palm Branch - Victory; Rejoicing.
- Pine Tree, Cones, Branch, and/or needles - Immortality.
- Poppy - Eternal Sleep.
Rake & Spade - Could mean the person was a Gardener.
- Ring - Marriage.
Ring, Broken - A Family Circle has been severed.
- Rings, Interlocked - Marriage.
Rod - Comfort for the Bereaved.
- Rooster - Awakening; Resurrection.
- Rose, Fully opened - Death in the prime of life.
- Rosebud - Death early in life.
- Rosemary - Remembrance.
Scales - Could mean the person was a Merchant.
- Scimitar & 5-pointed Star - Emblem of the Shriners.
- Scimitar with Rose & Crescent - Daughters of the Nile.
Scythe - Harvest of death.
- Sissors, Brush, Razor, &/or Comb - Person was probably a Barber / Hairdresser / Beautician.
- Skull or Skull & Crossbones - Death.
Spade or Spade crossed with Shovel - Death.
- Spinning Wheel - Heroines of Jericho (Masonic).
- Spinning Wheel over Distaff filled with Flax - Daughters of the American Revolution.
Staff - Comfort for the Bereaved.
- Staff of Aesculapius w/ wings & the letter "V" superimposed (Caduceus) - Veterinarian.
- Staff of Asklepios with wings & double snakes (Caduceus) - Medical Doctor.
- Staff of Asklepios with wings, double snakes & the letter "D" (Caduceus) - Doctor of Dentistry.
- Star - The Order of the Eastern Star (Masonic).
- Star - The Light of the Spirit overpowers death.
- Star of David - International Symbol of Judaism.
- Star, 5-Pointed with Wreath & "US" in Center - American Legion Emblem.
- Sun - Light and warmth; Renewed life and life everlasting.
- Sunrise / Sunset - The Ressurection; Life Ending.
- Thistles - Remembrance.
- Tourch - Immortality of the Spirit; The Resurrection.
- Tree - Life.
Tree, Sprouting - Everlasting Life.
- Tree Stump - Life Cut Short.
- Tree Trunk - Brevity of Life; Member of Woodmen of the World.
- Triangle with 3 joined "T's" - Royal Arch Mason.
Trumpeters - Harbingers of the Resurrection.
- Urn - Immortality.
Urn with Flame - Undying Remembrence.
- Wedge & Level - Could mean the person was a Mason by trade.
- Weeping Willow - Perpetual Mourning; Grief.
- Wheat Sheaves or Strands - Divine Harvest.
- Wreath - Saintliness; Glory; Victory in Death.
- Wings with Crest - U.S. Air Force Pilot.
- Wings with Parachute & Star - U.S. Army Airbourne.
- Wings with Propeller - U.S. Army Air Corps.
- Wings with Star and Wreath - U.S. Army Master Aviator.
- Wings, Pilot's, with "L" in Center - WW II U.S. Military Liaison Pilot.
- Wreath - Saintliness; Glory; Victory in Death.