The direction home

summer afternoon shadows in Woodbridge cemeteryI have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands
Psalm 119:176

If anyone is lost without a compass and  passing a churchyard or cemetery, the direction signs are to be found there. By tradition, Christians are buried with their heads in the west and feet facing east so the headstones also represent the resurrected soul, standing and looking towards Jerusalem and the coming of Christ on judgement day (Eschaton). Just like a sundial’s gnomon, the gravestone shadows tell the hour too – lengthening to the east must be about 3-4 pm, as indeed it was when I took this picture of Woodbridge cemetery in late summer. Thus in both time and direction, the departed point the way.


6 thoughts on “The direction home

  1. Yes, I knew this. I also knew that in some societies a criminal was buried in the opposite direction as an eternal punishment. Of course, this was a long time ago. I don’t know how long the practice existed, but there are cemeteries where the gravestones are facing the opposite direction for this reason.

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