Memento Mori - “Remember you must die.” These symbols of mortality include skulls, crossbones, coffins, hourglasses, spades, winged figures, etc and are found in abundance in cemeteries. Many folks like to spin stories of pirates, plagues or Knights Templar but the simple reality is that the vast majority of these symbols simply serve as reminders of our own mortality. They are often discussed in depressed tones, but might I suggest a change in the narrative
Marcus Aurelius, (a man I love to quote!) said “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.” Or to quote Andy Dufresne from one of my all time favorite movies (Shawshank Redemption), “I guess it comes down to a simple choice really. Get busy living or get busy dying.” Much like breaking my foot has reminded me how much I want to (and will!) do in life, I choose to view Memento Mori as a call to life while it’s here, not a somber reminder of death.
I enjoy cemetery wanders, and feel they deserve a prominent place in the lives of the living for many reasons. Here’s one of my favorite stones I have photographed, from the cemetery at Nigg Old Church in Tain. It’s a gorgeous example of Memento Mori. And there’s a Pictish cross slab inside the church as well.