The Eye of Providence

Cast a cold eye
On life, on death
Horseman, pass by
. W.B.Yeats

The eye represented on headstones is a gateway between this world and the next, and symbolizes the all-knowing God. The icon is a Freemasonry (Masonic) symbol.

Liverpool Cathedral. Source:
Liverpool Cathedral. Source:

The eye within the clouds is a very early Masonic symbol.


When the eye is enclosed within a triangle it represents the Holy Trinity, and when also surrounded by a circle it symbolizes the eternity of the Holy Trinity.

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Radiating rays of light surrounding the eye, or the eye placed within a sunburst symbolizes the holiness of the true God.

21st gravely speaking

The sunburst eye is a reminder to Masons that their actions and deeds are observed as referenced in the Proverbs. (Prov. 5:21) ‘the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He pondereth all his goings’; and in (Prov. 13:3) ‘the eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good’.



The carving below shows the All Seeing Eye of God, two hands clasped in farewell, and a chain with a broken link which symbolizes the death of a family member.


The all-seeing eye symbol is also associated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. The letters F, L and T within the chain links stand for Friendship, Love, and Truth.

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This gravestone belongs to a member of the Orange Order reflected in the unusual iconography containing several symbols including the Eye of Providence.

milton evergreen

The snake is a symbol of everlasting life, the arch is the passageway to Heaven, and the 5 pointed star represents the spirit rising to Heaven. The fraction beneath the arch is an emblem used by the Orange Order.

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