Woodmen in the Cemetery

Woodmen of the World Gravestone at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA

Woodmen of the World Gravestone at Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, VA

After seeing the Chihuly exhibit, we made an unplanned side trip to Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery. (A Druid and a Witch go into a cemetery — there’s got to be a joke in there, somewhere.) Founded in 1849 on the banks of the James River, it’s full of history and that odd genre of sculpture that only appears in cemeteries. Every now and then, we’d come upon markers and tombstones in the shape of a tree trunk.

It turns out that those were placed to mark the graves of members of a fraternal organization known as the Woodmen of the World. The gravestones were originally one of the benefits of membership, although Wikipedia reports that, in 1920, the group abandoned that practice as it was too expensive. More photos can be seen here.

John Michael Greer has done some fascinating research into and writing about America’s fraternal organizations, which, he notes, were often practicing magic in broad daylight without imagining themselves the least bit Pagan. I wonder if he’s heard of Woodmen of the World, which seems to have survived, albeit more as an insurance agency than a provider of tombstones.

Info here on Druids in modern cemeteries.

Photo by the blogger; if you copy, please link back.

5 responses to “Woodmen in the Cemetery

  1. Fascinating … never heard of that organization! Love old cemeteries and gravestones!

  2. The markers are gorgeous! I never wanted any marker until I looked through these pictures. Just lovely, and perfect for a Druid. Thank youfor opening another window, Hecate.

  3. Reblogged this on The Darkness in the Light and commented:
    This is just so epic-ly beautiful, now the next time I go cemetery hunting I’m going to REALLY have to pay attention to some of the older sections and stone-work!

  4. Pardon a little blog-whoring.
    This site is the work of my partner’s father.

  5. Glad that others found these markers as lovely as I did. plunky, thanks; that’s a great site.

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