Headstone Icon Meanings

from the book...

Several icons are repeatedly used. Several, from the book "When the Journey Ends", are explained below.





A rose commemorates love, beauty, hope, and unfailing love. The different stages of a rose's bloom are indicative of the person's age at the time of death.


A scroll is a symbol of life and time. Both ends rolled up indicate a life that is unfolding like a scroll of uncertain length and the past and future hidden. The scroll can also suggest honor and commemoration.


The urn is a symbol of mourning. The body of the urn can be seen as a vessel of the soul. It is sometimes coupled with drapery which also represents mourning.


A wreath on a headstone can remind the viewer of victory or redemption. Sometimes many of these symbols can be seen combined on one headstone.

Grapes with Leaves

Grapes with leaves represent the Christian faith.


Because ivy stays green forever, it is said to symbolize immortality, eternal life and friendship.


Keys stand for spiritual knowledge or, if held in the hands of an angel or saint, the means to enter heaven.


Lambs usually mark the grave of a child. The lamb stands for innocence. Christians also associate it with the Lamb of God, meaning Jesus.


A lily represents innocence, purity, and resurrection. It is often associated with the Virgin Mary and resurrection and used on women's graves. The use of lilies at funerals symbolizes the restored innocence of the soul at death.

More descriptions are in the book "Where the Journey Ends." A fairly comprehensive list of gravesite symbols (with pictures) is here.     

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