26 August 2015

Finding Life in a Cemetery


While "working" a cemetery...digitizing headstones, uploading photo requests to Find-A-Grave. I find myself captivated by the life within the cemetery.  As David systematically digitizes headstones, I break off and begin photographing the beauty.

I explore the legends and spirituality behind the life I find in the cemetery.  Here are some of the photographs:

Bee Legend of the Appalachian Mountains

copyright, Slowmoto Graphics
In parts of the Appalachian mountains, there is a legend about bees surrounding a death in the family. Whenever someone dies, the family must whisper the information to the bees before the sunrise of the next day. The bees are the messengers of the gods and fly into the heavens and notify the Gods of the death.

If the family doesn't relay the information to the bees, the family living under the same roof of the deceased will perish.  In Ireland the folklore includes keeping the Gods informed of human events and inviting the bees to attend the funeral or turning the hives toward the path of the coffin's route. http://irishhedgerows.weebly.com

Tell the Bees

By Sarah Lindsay

Tell the bees. They require news of the house;
they must know, lest they sicken
from the gap between their ignorance and our grief.
Speak in a whisper. Tie a black swatch
to a stick and attach the stick to their hive.
From the fortress of casseroles and desserts
built in the kitchen these past few weeks
as though hunger were the enemy, remove
a slice of cake and lay it where they can
slowly draw it in, making a mournful sound.

copyright, Slowmoto Graphics

Butterfly Soul

In Ireland, there is a saying:  “Butterflies are souls of the dead waiting to pass through purgatory.” A butterfly begins its' life as a caterpillar then metamorphoses into a butterfly. The butterfly symbolizes resurrection and represents the soul leaving the body. https://mysendoff.com 

In Ancient Greek, the word butterfly is known as the psyche, which means soul.  The butterfly's soul is touched by divine love, but which, by reason of the mistakes made, must undergo some tribulations before having access to happy immortality. http://www.insects.org/

copyright, Slowmoto Graphics

Legend of the Butterfly

According to an American Indian Legend, if anyone desires a wish to come true they must first capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it.  Since a butterfly can make no sound, the butterfly cannot reveal the wish to anyone but the Great Spirit who hears and sees all.
In gratitude for giving the beautiful butterfly its freedom, the Great Spirit always grants the wish. So, according to legend, by making a wish and giving the butterfly its freedom, the wish will be taken
to the heavens and be granted."  http://www.swallowtailfarms.com

I read many poems about butterflies and the afterlife before finding this poem:


Do not stand by my grave and weep
For I am not there.

I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am diamonds that glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning hush
I am the swift uplifting rush of butterflies in joyous flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there.  I did not die.

Author Unknown

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