From little acorns

acorn finials on cemetery fence

It isn’t for purely aesthetic reasons that cold iron is used to adorn funeral plots.

Red as rust, blood has the taste and tang of hematite, the life force of earth. Scrolls of wrought iron circle family plots, and are forged into intricate gates and mausoleum entries. Folklore spins tales of iron crosses, and fleur-de-lis being planted at the north corner of sepulture gardens to fend off wandering immortals, while also safeguarding resting spirits.

In lieu of flowers, families encircle their ancestral graves with fences topped with pineapple finials. These symbols of hospitality, in reality, are meant to keep wraiths in, not beckon visitors to enter.

Oaks, growing throughout the garden, convey power and victory. Some boles embrace markers and crypts in their wooden bonds. Descendants don’t want to confess they pay homage to Mabon, the Child of Light and scion of the Earth Mother Goddess with their iron acorns decorating gates and stones. They honor these deities during the equinox, when day is evenly divided into light and dark, when spirits are more likely to wander from their earthly confines.

These ornaments are not simply for show. They are weapons of war, fighting off battalions of netherworld soldiers. They are hand grenades, and swords, shields and bastions of strength in the battle for our souls.

Inspiration Monday icon
Inspiration: In Lieu of Flowers
This week’s Studio30 Plus prompts are inspired by Linda, at In Somnis Veritas: “I close my eyes and I listen.” and/or “iron

13 thoughts on “From little acorns

  1. Fascinating! Wonder if Ye Olde Swimming Hole in my neighborhood used to be a cemetery? It’s surrounded by oak trees, and I’ve been bonked on the head several times this past week by little acorns looking to take root!


  2. I feel like I learn something new every time I read your stories. Thank you Tara. I’ve never given much thought to graveyards and cemeteries. Probably because it’s hard to look past missing my loved ones. But I love seeing it from this point-of-view.


  3. My favorite pieces are these, the ones where you teach me something while you entertain me. Your language is studied and then the story comes from within it…I imagine the way those acorns spring from the earth and then are captured in iron.

    What an amazing tale..and that last line? WOW!


  4. Creepy. You’ve given me much to look into, however – a bit of research, if you will, regarding the folktales and legends, beliefs and superstitions surrounding all of this.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. The historic cemeteries especially have so much symbolism in the way the graves and family plots are decorated. I did another post on how here in the south seashells are very significant. I love this kind of stuff!


    1. If you get a chance to visit an old cemetery, especially one where there are a several plots outlined with wrought iron fences, you’ll see many recurring motifs… pineapples, acorns, fleur de lis, and stylized decorations that resemble clubs on playing cards. There are many superstitions surrounding these images that involve the spirit world.


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