Tarot Tombstone Tourist

My preferred deck when visiting local cemeteries. This deck gets very excited and decidedly chatty with the inhabitants of the graves that capture my interest.

Tombstone Tourism is a thing. If in doubt check this site promoting cemeteries to visit.

Tombstone tourist describes an individual who has a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries, epitaphs, gravestone rubbing, photography, art, and history of deaths.As an interest or hobby, taphophilia is accepted by normal society. Although some might consider it a strange and somewhat unusual hobby, it’s no different than an interest in WWII battles, superhero cosplay, or collecting teacups.

I have had a long standing interest in visiting cemeteries and have visited some intriguing ones in various countries. Taking a Tarot deck with me when I visit the fascinating historic cemeteries in my region is a newer thing. It provides me with the opportunity to bridge the void between the present and the past, the living and the dead.

Reasons to Visit Cemeteries

  1. A cemetery is one place you can go by yourself. No phones, no pets, no kids, or other distractions. This is a simple approach to the age-old problem of alone time. You can enjoy being outdoors, seeing beautiful greenery and flowers, along with some solitude and quiet.
  2. Each and every cemetery, from the clean modern ones to the worn-down and overgrown ones, can stir up powerful emotions.There’s nothing like being in an ancient graveyard on a windy October day, with leaves falling and crunching beneath your footsteps. And there’s nothing like walking through the perfectly manicured pathways of a hilltop cemetery, smelling the flowers and feeling the sun shining down, which makes the luscious green grass even more bright.It’s the perfect place to think, journal, meditate, observe the beauty of creation, pray, and reflect on life and death.
  3. Cemeteries are rich in history! Don’t believe me? Visit a cemetery. Find the oldest section and read the epitaphs. Some of them are very “telling” about the decedent. Some epitaphs are simple: Here lies George Smith. Nothing else is noted—no dates or pertinent information.Some are comical, if not a little off-color. Take Russell Larsen’s, for example: Two things I love most. Good horses and beautiful women. And when I die, I hope they tan this old hide of mine and make it into a ladies riding saddle, so I can rest in peace between the two things I love the most. Mary Dolencie’s epitaph has anger in it. May eternal damnation be upon those in Whaling Port, who without knowing me have maliciously vilified me. May the curse of God be upon them and theirs. By reading the dates on the headstones, you can tell when an epidemic hit the community. (This resonates more now, don’t you think?) You will see when children were hit by sickness. Epidemics have been around for as long as the world has been turning. The first recorded epidemic was in Babylon around 1200 BC.
  4. Perhaps you are an architecture buff. Cemeteries often have amazing and beautiful architecture. Take a look at the mausoleums, the grand arches, and the graceful angels. There are beautifully carved tombstones, stained glass windows, and wrought iron sculptures. You can learn so much about your community and its families by taking a stroll through the local cemetery. You can easily spot who had money to spend, and who was practical in their spending. You’ll notice the families that didn’t want to spend a lot or simply didn’t have the resources. Each cemetery tells a story that is uniquely their own. I have been to family cemeteries with just a few graves to cemeteries that have thousands of graves. I have seen everything from tiny mountainside cemeteries with wooden grave markers to the huge granite headstones that cost thousands of dollars in the larger cemeteries; they are all beautiful and impressive in their own ways.
  5. Cemeteries have always been a prime location to attune our thoughts to the realities of life and death. Many people feel a closer connection to God, to their departed loved ones, or to the spirits of the dead when visiting a cemetery. Take a Tarot or Oracle deck and get a message from the long departed.

Some Graveside Readings and History.

Decks That Enjoy Graveyard Reading

Earlier Cemetery Exploration