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Funerary Flora Symbols: Thistle

Funerary Flora Symbols: Thistle

IMG_6261 thistle gravestone

God says to Adam in Genesis 3:17:

Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and has eaten of the fruit of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Though shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.

This curse associates the thistle with earthly sorrow and is appropriate in funerary use.  Since the thistle is a thorny plant it is also connected with the crown of thorns and the Passion of Christ.

Excerpted from the book “Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography, by Douglas Keister

 

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