The Butterfly

Nashville City Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville City Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee

Sacred

to the memory

of

NANCY MAYNOR

born 17th of Novbr

1788

departed this life

on the 28th of May

1836

This elaborate gravestone in the Nashville City Cemetery at Nashville, Tennessee, has a delicate butterfly on the face of the pedestal supporting the urn, just under the cartouche displaying the name, birth and death dates of the woman’s whose remains lay beneath the stone.

Like many symbols found in gravestone art, the butterfly has more than one meaning.  The butterfly emerging out of a chrysalis represents the flight of the soul from the body.  The metamorphosis of the butterfly, the change from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly, also represents the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Many ancient paintings of Jesus Christ show Him holding a butterfly.

The butterfly is also seen as a metaphor for change.  During the path through life the many twists and turns along the way help the soul morph into a more perfect being.

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2 Responses to The Butterfly

  1. Renet Bender says:

    This is my favorite so far. We all need to leave more on our gravestone besides the usual, Mother, wife, daughter, etc. You know something like ” She was a witch, but she was my witch!”

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