Mystic Magic: Graveyard Etiquette

Photo retrieved from http://www.mountolivetcemeteryinc.com/stories-in-stone-blog.

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Editor in Chief

     For the past two weeks, or just about, I have been in Texas for personal reasons. It reminds me a lot of Florida, with the weather and all, but dryer.

     While staying in Texas, my friends and I booked an AirBnB. Now, I have stayed in some certified haunted places, including a hotel, onboard a ship, and a renovated farmhouse in Stuart’s Draft that my mother insists is not haunted.

     Last week I talked about how definitely haunted Maine is, everywhere, but I did not expect to have the same opinion for Texas. For one, it is much sunnier here. There has not been a single cloudy day, and the temperature is in the 90’s, where Maine was rather overcast and cold in comparison. What Texas has that Maine does not, however, is a history of war.

     Not only was Texas a part of the Civil War, but there is a terrible history of battles over land with Mexico. I am not going to get into that, mostly because I am not a historian but I have a lot of opinions, so believe me when I say it leads to a lot of haunted land.

     One of the friends I am here with loves to tour cemeteries. I would probably find this very unsettling if I did not also like touring cemeteries. Where we are in Arlington has roughly five cemeteries nearby, two of which are open to the public. Walking through them, you can feel the weight of years crushing you down, but it is also oddly comforting.

     I do not know what it is about graveyards, but they do not make me feel sad. Of course, the few times I had no choice but to visit a graveyard were heartbreaking, especially as I grow up and my family ages with me. I have been to three funerals since starting college, but those are the only times I can think of where I was sad in a cemetery.

     The point of this opinion, however, is not that you should visit a cemetery, but rather what you should do if you choose to go. Graveyard etiquette is very important, and not following the rules, unknowingly or not, could mean that something follows you home.

     Rule 1: Greet the Guardians. They watch over the cemetery and keep what is there, there. Sometimes the Guardian is tied to the oldest grave in the graveyard, and sometimes it is tied to the entrance. You can choose either, but you should leave an offering wherever you choose. Offerings can include bread, lavender, mint, roses, bells, music, alcohol, or something as simple as tidying up around the entrance or grave.

     Rule 2: Always ask before taking anything. If you would not go to someone’s house and start taking their things, do not go to a graveyard and start pocketing anything that catches your eye. Leave more than you take, and remember to thank whoever you are taking from.

     Rule 3: Mind your manners. Silence your phones, be polite, do not yawn or whistle, remember that pointing is rude, and apologize if you step on anyone’s grave.

     Rule 4: Leave the way you came. Remember the entrance you took, and take the same one out.

     Rule 5: Give thanks before you leave. That Guardian that you greeted at the entrance? Thank them for doing their job before you go, because they are the ones to call back anything that is trying to follow you home.

     This spooky season, follow these rules and you will be fine in any graveyard you visit. Blessed be!

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