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A walk through a cemetery is a walk through history. Stones tell us hopes, dreams, relationships and tragedies. Sometimes those messages are spelled out and, at other times, those notes from loved ones are found in symbols carved on the stone.

Here are the meanings found on some of the stones in Avery County.

  • Clasped Hands are generally a symbol of matrimony, or, a heavenly welcome or earthly farewell.
  • Lambs are one of the most frequently used symbols of Christ. They are used on markers for men and women of all ages in Avery County.
  • A Star or Crown often symbolizes immortality, righteousness, and victory. The star can mean divine guidance, such as the star that guided the Magi to Bethlehem.
  • The Cross is the most potent symbol of the Christian faith. It is where Christ died, but not where He remains.
  • An Open Book or Bible usually signifies that a person relied upon the Holy Bible to guide him or her through life, or that a person's name is in the Book of Life.
  • Doves usually mean purity and peace.
  • Hearts typically represent heartfelt emotions, like love, courage, sorrow, or joy.
  • Tree stumps often mark the final resting place of a member of the Woodmen of the World, originally a fraternal organization and now a life insurance company.
  • The Harp represents a source of divine music.
  • Gates, in Christian symbolism, represent the passage from this life to the eternal life.
  • Praying Hands often symbolize devotion to God.
  • Hands pointing up usually indicate that the soul has risen to heaven.
  • Weeping willows (Mt. Zion) suggest grief and sorrow.

This article originally ran on averyjournal.com.