On the 1745 gravestone of Rebecca Sanders at the King’s Chapel Cemetery in Boston, Massachusetts, a skeleton and Father Time circle around a candle, with the figure of death, the skeleton, ready to snuff out the flame. The symbolism is clear, the candle represents the spirit and the soul of the person. When the flame is snuffed out the smoke circles toward the sky, just as the spirit leaves the body when it dies and the soultakes flight toward Heaven.
Elton John’s song, “Candle in the Wind”, written to honor Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana, also uses this symbolism. A line of the song refers to their early deaths when he sings, “Your candle’s burned out long before your legend ever will.” The flame of each of their candles have been snuffed out, their souls taken flight but the memory of both of them are still with us.