The Darkest, Most Foreboding Symbols Of Death

These symbols of death will remind you to cherish every moment you spend living.

Death is unavoidable. It is going to become a reality for each and every one of us. Instead of running from the fact, you should embrace it. You should learn as much as you can about the process of demise and decay.

These are some of the most well-known symbols of death that you might come across before your breaths run out:


Death Symbols
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Skulls are one of the most popular symbols of death because they depict what every single human will look like once their hearts have stopped beating and their bodies have decayed. Unlike the rest of the body, which look like shards of stone once the flesh has been devoured by maggots, faces are still recognizable.

Skull & Crossbones

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A skull and crossbones might appear on a tombstone in order to mark a person’s grave. However, the symbol can also mark ‘poison’ in order to warn people to stay away unless they want to turn into an empty skull and bones themselves.

The Grim Reaper

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The Grim Reaper has a skeletal appearance in order to symbolize the decay of earthly flesh. He wears a black cloak because the color is associated with funerals and mourning.

The Banshee

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Banshees are meant to forewarn men and women about their time of death. She will either appear as a young woman, a stately matron, or a raddled old Hag. She commonly wears a gray cloak and moans as her way of announcing someone is about to suffer their end of days.


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The Angel Of Death, sometimes called Azrael or Sariel or Mairya, is a personification of death. He is responsible for transporting the souls of the deceased after they meet their death.

A Sickle

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The Grim Reaper is commonly depicted holding a scythe because he harvests human souls the same way a farmer harvests his crops. It is the weapon he uses in order to bring death upon many.


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Gravestones mark the place of burial. It allows mourners to know exactly where their loved ones are situated. It is also a small way for the deceased to live on after death because their names and date of birth are available for anyone to see.

The Christian Cross

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Jesus died on the cross for our sins. For that reason, death is strongly associated with the cross when it comes to the Catholic Church.


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Candles represent the light in the next world. They also represent Christ as the guiding light toward salvation. They are a symbol of death — but they are also a symbol of hope.

Clocks, Hourglasses, Sundials (The Passage Of Time)

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Clocks, hourglasses, and sundials represents the passage of time. It is a reminder that our days our numbered. The clock never stops ticking for the mortal.

White, Black, Purple, Or Gray

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White represents death, mourning, funerals, sadness, purity, and age. Black represents mystery and evil. Purple represents sorrow and mourning. Gray represents the elderly.


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Vultures are death eaters. They feast upon corpses. They stay alive by eating from the dead. Even though they are a dark symbol, they can also represent cleansing, renewal, and transformation.

Ram Head

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Ram heads are associated with death because Baphomet is included on the official insignia of the Church of Satan. This Sabbatic Goat is linked to the occult and all things evil. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Daniella Urdinlaiz

Illustrator, designer, and all-around creative rover for Thought Catalog