The cross might have been the very first symbol man used. A line and another line crossing it – a saltire (the Scottish flag to this day); like a cross to mark a spot or to draw attention to something. The cross must have been the first stage of written communication man has developed.
A beautiful thought wandering over a graveyard: the cross – first sign and last.
Crosses come in various materials on graveyards: stone, wood, iron. The meaning remains the same, whatever the material.
Although early Christians probably used the sign of a fish to signify their faith in the beginning, the cross has become the symbol proper for Christianity . Both are not to be separated anymore.
But there are different kinds of crosses.
The so-called cross pattée on the left of the two headstones, is better known as the Maltese cross of the Templers, the Iron cross of the German Empire (Eisernes Kreuz) or in fact the Bolnisi cross, a Georgian cross form that dates back to the 5th century.
The new Coptic cross is mostly used in the Orthodox church. Many Copts sport it tattooed on their right arm. Two bold lines intersecting at a right angle form the main body of the Coptic cross. At each end three points depict trinity, the altogether twelve points represent the twelve apostles.
The budded cross is also known as the Apostle’s cross. Each arm ends with three buds of circular shape representing trinity. This kind of cross might be an interpretation of early Celtic crosses used by druids, the circular or round shape there representing the three basic spheres of human existence: earth, sky and sea.
The Celtic Cross is very common on Scottish graveyards. Very often a Celtic High Cross marks a grave or event of importance. A very distinct cross, found in Ireland and Scotland but hardly anywhere else, with the exception of America, where they are often used as single monuments.
The Celtic Cross was in Scotland long before Christianity. A sign of pagan belief, later adopted into the new Christianity brought by St. Columba from Ireland to Scotland in the 6th century.
Some believe the circle surrounding the cross is a sign of eternity, a sun metaphor. Others see a pagan moon. Some believe the nimbus represents female fertility. Women played a much stronger part in the Celtic tradition than they ever have in Christian or Muslim forms of belief.
Whatever the round part of the Celtic Cross represents, as a whole the Celtic Cross is a mighty symbol of life, often richly decorated with interlaced lines, knots and flowers. Designs which have made it on many skins all over the world. Celtic crosses are a common in jewellery and tattoos. Neo-Pagans have adopted the design in a more fluent, more wavelike form.
The traditional Celtic Crosses stands alone, facing sun and moon, symbolising life and continuity while light and darkness touch the graves in eternal alteration.