Tag Archives: ouroboros

Hourglass Symbolism

The hourglass is a classic symbol that measures time until the sand runs out. This is a perfect allegory for life and death.

The hourglass is often seen on gravestones in conjunction with a skull and crossed bones which is symbolic of crucifixion, death, and mortality.

Winged hourglasses signify the resurrection of the dead. It can also be indicative of ‘tempus fugit’ meaning time flies.


A reclining hour glass does not allow the sand to pass indicating that time stopped prematurely. It is therefore symbolic of the death of a young person.


The headstones below contain a winged hourglass, and the image of a snake eating its tail (called ouroboros) representing everlasting life.

In this last instance the hourglass symbol is an integral part of the membership badge of the American Institute of Industrial Engineers.



Sss! Snake Symbolism

The only snakes you should hope to meet in a cemetery is the symbolic snake, representing sin and Satan, hence the fall of Man.


This serpent sits on the grave of a member of the Order of FreeMasons.

The ancient image of a snake eating its tail is called ouroboros, a constant re-creation of itself. Thought to cheat death and gain vigor by shedding their skins they were also recognized as a symbol of everlasting life.

snake tail

 An intertwined snake forming an infinite number 8 also represents eternity.


A snake wrapped around a cross is a Masonic symbol, representing Christ’s crucifixion.

snake cross

A snake on the rod of Asclepius (the Greek God of Medicine) represents a person who was in the medical profession.