October 18, 2006
The all-seeing eye, also called the Eye of Providence or Eye of God, has origins dating back to the Eye of Horus in Egyptian mythology. It has been adopted as part of the Great Seal of the United States, which shows the all-seeing eye floating on top of a pyramid. This can be seen on the back of the one dollar bill. It is often associated with conspiracy theories involving UFOs, the Illuminati or Freemasonry. It is also featured in the 2004 Disney film, National Treaure, and in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy as the Eye of Sauron.
In cemeteries the all-seeing eye symbol is usually found associated with Freemasonry or the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, like the example here. The letters F, L and T inside the chain links stand for Friendship, Love, and Truth.
Photo: Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado
September 23, 2006
This photograph is of a Masonic Knights Templar symbol showing a cross within a crown inside a Maltese cross, which has the Latin phrase, “in hoc signo vinces.” The phrase means “in this sign you shall conquer” and was used by Constantine as a military motto in the early 4th Century. The phrase was also used by the original Knights Templar military order that was founded during the Crusades. The Freemasons began using Templar rituals and symbols in the late 1700s.
Knights Templar legends and myths are quite popular in movies and books such as The Da Vinci Code, Foucault’s Pendulum, National Treasure, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Some also see parallels between the Jedi Knights of Star Wars and the Knights Templar military order.
Photo: from the mausoleum of Dr. J.G. Locke, Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado
September 4, 2006
This double-headed eagle symbol is for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. The number 32 inside the triangle represents the 32nd degree of the Scottish Rite. The Latin motto, “Spes mea in Deo est,” means “My hope is in God.”
For more details see the Scottish Rite Freemasonry FAQ
Photo: Brunton family plot, Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado
August 24, 2006
The Order of the Eastern Star (OES) is a female companion organization to Freemasonry. Men who are Master Masons may also join. Their primary symbol in cemeteries is a five pointed star with a tip pointing down, representing the Star of Bethlehem. In the example at right the letters are FATAL, which stand for Fairest Among Ten-thousand, Altogether Lovely.
Photo: from the gravestone of Fred M. Moore (1878-1949) and Maria A. Moore (1879-1933), Littleton Cemetery, Littleton, Colorado
In the example below each symbol within the star is an emblem for the Biblical heroines Adah, Ruth, Esther, Martha and Electa, whose stories inspire character building lessons.
Photo: from the headstone of Hannah Meyer (1874-1930), Emanuel at Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado
August 19, 2006
The Knights Templar have origins in the Middle Ages as protectors of Christian pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. Many legends have grown up around this mysterious group, including a connection to the Holy Grail. In the late 18th Century the Freemasons adopted some Knights Templar rites and symbols (some believe there is a connection between the two groups). This explains why Knights Templar symbols found in cemeteries relate to the Freemasons. The symbol here shows a Maltese cross surrounding a cross inside a crown.
The gravestone below shows three Freemason related symbols, from left to right: Freemason, Knights Templar, Shriners.
Photos: Gravestone of Samuel A. Bonesteel (1842-1902), Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado
August 19, 2006
The most common symbol of the Freemasons (or Masons) is the one pictured below showing a compass and a square. The letter G stands for geometry or God.
Photograph from Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado