We have already looked at the symbol of fire with our post on fireplaces, and due to the flame of the candle, there is much overlap in the symbolism of candles and that of fire in general. Like all fires, a candle flame can symbolise the life force, or our eternal spirit. But candles have a very special role in our lives, so their symbolism is also quite unique.
To dream of a single candle shining in the dark can be a profound symbol of hope, of a single source of light amidst a world of darkness. Many candles in a dream can be a sign of celebration, as when we put candles on a birthday cake or light processional candles at special ceremonies. As candles burn down, they can also symbolise the passing of time, and the passing of our own lives.
We also light candles to remember and honour the departed, so lighting candles in a dream may symbolise the recognition and acknowledgment of an important lesson learned, the ending of a certain life stage in order to begin another, or the letting go of old beliefs that no longer serve us. Lighting a candle in dream may also be a symbol of thanking those who have gone before us, whether it be our ancestors, or others who’s wisdom has allowed us to grow and progress.
We use candles to focus our attention, for spells, meditation or reverie. In a dream a candle can symbolise self reflection, turning inwards and connecting with our divine natures.
Candles are so common in religious and even non-religious rituals as they help us to reinforce our belief that prayer, goodwill, meditation or intent can chase away the demons of the darkness, the things that frighten us, the darker aspects of our own natures, the seemingly unpredictable chances of life and even our mortality. Candles remind us that we can light the spark that ignites belief, insight and comfort. They also symbolise the light which cannot be extinguished, for it burns eternal – the eternal flame.
We can burn candles of different colours to symbolise specific things, such as white for clarity or spiritual purity, red for passion and energy, green for growth and financial focus, gold for success, achievement and even fame, and so on. For more details on the symbolism of colours, please visit the post on colours in dreams here.
Candles of course, as well as spirit, can be associated with love. We use the phrase “to hold a candle for someone” when we have an enduring love for them. In dreams, candles can symbolise love of another, self love as we heal deep internal wounds, or even holy love as we focus less on material things and seek meaning from deeper things in life.
Candles in dreams can symbolise our mortality and the life that can be “extinguished”, but they can also represent our eternal spiritual natures. Candles in dreams encourage us to have hope, to believe despite what dark shadows may crowd into our life. In their transience, candles remind us of the frailty of human existence, but also the incredible power of our connection with the divine to restore and heal.