Many years ago my husband and I volunteered to care for an abandoned country cemetery not far from our home. We like cemeteries mainly for their history, but also for the love people have left there. He and I were both born and raised in Chicago where old cemeteries are these amazing monument parks dedicated to love.
On the National Register of Historic Places, Chicago’s Rosehill cemetery is one of the most impressive of all the Victorian Cemeteries around the city. As a hub of trade and commerce, Chicago had more than its share of well-heeled Victorian industrialists and financiers. That being the case, many well-known Chicagoans are buried at Rosehill amid small-trunked oak trees. Off topic but interesting, those trees were stunted by the sandy nutrient-poor soil but are actually hundreds of years old. Many of Rosehill’s beautiful monuments are famous for their eccentricity. Some people say the place is haunted. 🙂 This site gives a small view.
So… back to our cemetery stewardship. Basically, that job consisted of mowing and trimming. The small forgotten plots don’t have the resources for their care as larger cemeteries do. Vandalism and neglect take their toll. If you’re interested, your local historical society can get you involved. Here’s a site devoted to grave preservation: http://saveagrave.net/
One day, we discovered a headstone that had fallen forward to be covered over by time and soil, a headstone that hadn’t been inventoried before. When we stood it upright, we discovered a beautiful poem and a carving of a woman’s hand in the act of pouring water from a pitcher. I saw the symbolism there, but no ready resources existed at the time to tell me what it meant.
Have you ever walked a cemetery and wondered about that stone lamb or concrete tree stump? What’s with the sculptured hands, beehives, weeping willows, and burning torches?
Burial symbology has been around for about as long as there have been burials. A recent discovery of a 12,000 year old female shaman’s grave suggests she had a greater connection to the afterlife. It’s also hard to miss the focus on the afterlife in the archaeological remains of Ancient Egypt. Comparatively speaking, our western cemeteries don’t look a smidge as interesting. But…were you to look closer…you’d discover cemeteries are filled with all manner of symbols. Those images mentioned above all have deeper meanings. Learn how to read them and you’ll see life stories in microcosm. The following links will help you read the small stories that head stones, crypts, and monuments tell. Fascinating stuff. Tuck some of these into your novels. 😀
I once created gifts for my two children based on these symbols — kits for taking rubbings off old headstones. The companion book, one in each kit, took me a little more than two months to compile, and in it all the symbols, themes, and iconography associated with death that I could find. It was a fun project.
How to: Thin quilter’s muslin works better than paper. So does Pellon interfacing. Blue painter’s tape won’t damage the stone. Melt some crayons and pour in a paper cup to harden to get yourself a nice large crayon hockey puck to work with. Rub gently, the image will eventually darken. Be extra careful not to get wax on the stone. Clean up after yourself.
It’s Wednesday and time for Hump Day happenings around the web.
Hump Day Hook
Books Hooks NEW!
Horny Hump Day
First Kiss Wednesday
Here’s one for today:
Weequashing (noun first seen 1888-1902)
spearing of fish or eels by torchlight from canoes
Today we have author Desiree Holt’s interview.
All through January the RB4U authors are doing interviews. The thoughtful questions are a great way to get to know us. Commenting that day gives you a chance to win a collectable t-shirt. Come see!
Right now the COLD SNOW, HOT ROMANCE CONTEST is on! Three winners will each receive a $25 gift card for Amazon/Barnes & Noble, and split the other prizes randomly picked from prize list. Be sure to check all our pages for news about authors and their books, publishers and their books, and industry representatives. http://www.romancebooks4us.com/
First Kiss Wednesday ~ share your best 300 word kiss today!
Several promotional opportunities for romance authors can be found on my Exquisite Quills group blogs. Meet the founding authors and our guests.
Exquisite Quills Yahoo Group
First Kiss Wednesday ~ share your best 300 word kiss.
Set the Scene in Six~ share your backdrop or lead-up on Sundays.
The Genesis of a Book ~ share the spark that ignited your novel
Author Interviews ~ We’re booking late spring now.
Coming soon ~ Tempt Us Tuesday
Today’s author: Cassandra Carr
A new place for your old stars to shine 😀
Love Waits in Unexpected Places – Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories
Sample my love stories for free!