Some of you know I have a fascination with cemetery trees. I see them as giants of beauty among so many symbols associated with demise. One particular tree with a historical significance is the Cyprus Tree. Here is a link to a wonderful article that explains this tree’s place in mourning rituals far better than I ever could. Enjoy!
I’m currently reading a book about Victorian era ideas about death and ghosts. Back then, people seemed more attuned to the supernatural. Death appeared in various forms, omens were more prevalent, and spiritual contact was a common occurrence.
These days, such happenings are thought to be absurd or fictional. Most people like to think we’ve evolved intellectually and technologically beyond the beliefs of a bygone age. However, I often wonder if we’re just too busy to notice such things? Perhaps, rather than prove those beliefs to be antiquated and wrong, we’ve simply separated ourselves from that connection to the supernatural realm? Maybe all the technology and overexposure to the modern world has broken the link between the living and the departed?
I think the link can be reestablished. I think there is more to this world than technology can show. I think the dead are still communicating with us. It’s just up to us to take notice.
I am intrigued by cemetery trees. The concept of life springing forth from a place of finality fosters a certain hope within my soul. To go to a place built upon death, and to see such beautiful testaments to the unstoppable force that is nature…that is nothing short of wondrous. Trees in the cemetery stand strong and solid, reminding us that life will, in fact, go on. It will always find a way. When I stand alone in a cemetery, I often close my eyes and listen to the breeze rustling the branches. I feel like, in some way, perhaps the deceased are speaking to me.
“It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but retire a little from sight and afterwards return again.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s rainy and gloomy here today. Most people would complain about this weather, but I love it. Rainy, gloomy days have always been my favorite. I love curling up with some hot tea and a good book while rain pelts the windows. As a child, I heard that rain in an open grave foretold misfortune. The Victorian era gave us a plethora of death superstitions. How many of these did you know about?
If the deceased has lived a good life, flowers would bloom on his grave; but if he has been evil, only weeds would grow.
If several deaths occur in the same family, tie a black ribbon to everything left alive that enters the house, even dogs and chickens. This will protect against deaths spreading further.
Never wear anything new to a funeral, especially shoes.
You should always cover your mouth while yawning so your spirit doesn’t leave you and the devil never enters your body.
It is bad luck to meet a funeral procession head on. If you see one approching, turn around. If this is unavoidable, hold on to a button until the funeral cortege passes.
Large drops of rain warn that there has just been a death.
Stop the clock in a death room or you will have bad luck.
To lock the door of your home after a funeral procession has left the house is bad luck.
If rain falls on a funeral procession, the deceased will go to heaven.
If you hear a clap of thunder following a burial it indicates that the soul of the departed has reached heaven.
If you hear 3 knocks and no one is there, it usually means someone close to you has died. The superstitious call this the 3 knocks of death.
If you leave something that belongs to you to the deceased, that means the person will come back to get you.
If a firefly/lightning bug gets into your house someone will soon die.
If you smell roses when none are around someone is going to die.
If you don’t hold your breath while going by a graveyard you will not be buried.
If you see yourself in a dream, your death will follow.
If you see an owl in the daytime, there will be a death.
If you dream about a birth, someone you know will die.
If it rains in an open grave then someone in the family will die within the year.
If a bird pecks on your window or crashes into one that there has been a death.
If a sparrow lands on a piano, someone in the home will die.
If a picture falls off the wall, there will be a death of someone you know.
If you spill salt, throw a pinch of the spilt salt over your shoulder to prevent death.Never speak ill of the dead because they will come back to haunt you or you will suffer misfortune.
Two deaths in the family means that a third is sure to follow.
The cry of a curlew or the hoot of an owl foretells a death.
A single snowdrop growing in the garden foretells a death.
Having only red and white flowers together in a vase (especially in hospital) means a death will soon follow.
Dropping an umbrella on the floor or opening one in the house means that there will be a murder in the house.
A diamond-shaped fold in clean linen portends death.
A dog howling at night when someone in the house is sick is a bad omen. It can be reversed by reaching under the bed and turning over a shoe.
“Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” – Sarah Williams
The moon was absolutely intriguing tonight. I hate that pictures never do a full moon any justice. I’ve always loved her far more than the sun. She’s a light in the dark, a companion on a quiet, starry night. Tell her your secrets, and they shall be forever kept.
Step outside tonight and take a minute to silently admire the moon in all her glory.
Cemeteries are often filled with floral offerings of love and remembrance. Have you ever wondered why it’s customary to leave flowers on a grave? Long before the practice of embalming became the norm, people would gather flowers around a corpse to mask the smell of decay. Since families typically displayed the deceased inside the home, an event known as a “wake” in Western culture, flowers made the process more bearable. Once the stench of deathly rot was no longer an issue, the act of flower-giving remained as a staple of the mourning process. Instead of hiding offending odors, the flowers took on a symbolism of respect, remembrance, and love.
We are quick to shower our love and respect upon the dead. Why are we not as giving when it involves those who are still among us? Perhaps if we gave kindness and compassion to the living just as we give flowers to the deceased, our society wouldn’t be such a terrible place. Lay a flower upon a grave, and a kind word or deed unto the world.
Some may find me odd or off-putting due to my affinity for cemeteries. While I am, and always have been, a lover of the macabre, my attachment to the graveyard developed from somewhere else entirely. Growing up, home was not always a peaceful place. Without going into dramatic detail, I will say that my childhood home was frequently filled with yelling, anger, and fear. The summer after fifth grade, we moved to a house that was just a block from a huge cemetery. I would often go there to find peace and solitude during turbulent times.
Inside the cemetery, I felt safe. I would sit and write poetry, or simply daydream about a better life. I would sometimes roam the rows of graves, reading names and dates; I wondered how these people met their demise. What stories would they tell me if they were able? What had their lives been like? The souls of the cemetery were never a threat. They didn’t yell, they didn’t lash out, they never made me feel small. Many times throughout my teens and early twenties, I would wander through cemeteries, seeking an escape from pain.
These days, I am in a much better place in my life. A healthier place. I have love, family, and an inner peace I never knew was attainable. However, I still love to walk through cemeteries. It still brings me an unmatchable calm. I enjoy the beauty of the intricate tombstones and the gorgeous trees. I admire the symbolic continuation of love for the deceased from visitors. In a time when we all seem so hurried and everything seems so loud and fast, the cemetery remains tranquil and still. The cemetery isn’t a frightful place; it is quite lovely if you take the time to appreciate it.
There’s something hauntingly beautiful about a snowy cemetery. A soft blanket of white gently decorating the graves. When the snow gets deep, the world becomes hushed and quiet…not unlike a tomb. Everything feels peaceful, rather than eerie. I think all souls, both living and deceased, can appreciate that.