Skip to content

036. like a moth to a flame

Moths are perfect symbols for cemeteries… Just think about it. As a caterpillar wraps itself in a cocoon, it appears to be dead. But after metamorphosis takes place, it is reborn as a winged creature that is attracted to light. The life cycle of a moth is therefore a wonderful allegory for a loved one who passes away, is transformed & later reborn… heading to the light:

Moth, Recoleta Cemetery

In spite of the comforting imagery involved, there are few moths in Recoleta Cemetery. The most obvious is in the center of the entrance gate. Some sources say that it is a bee, not a moth. Even I used to believe that until I could resolve the obvious differences in body structure. Coupled with other moth images I’ve found inside (one example above), there’s no doubt in my mind that it is *not* a bee.

Moth, Recoleta Cemetery

Published inSymbols


  1. I have found your site very informative. I am writing a book on French cemeteries and am including a section on death symbols. I have only found two examples of moths, and one of a scarab-type beetle – excellent symbolism there. So far, no other insects are represented. My list of symbols promises to be quite long.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Penelope. There is a lot of info online about symbolism, & I try to investigate what’s true & what’s not. Good luck with your investigation!

  3. Kelly Ho Kelly Ho

    This is something I notice. Whenever someone pass away, a moth will appear. I encountered this almost every time someone pass away.

    • Hi Kelly – Maybe there is a deeper symbolism here. It would be interesting to find out if more people have had similar experiences.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *