Soon the delphinium rises tall, listening to the robin in the pear tree,
Silken pansies nestled near the ground hear the flutter of lady bugs flying free,
Wildflowers dancing in gorgeous chaos, love the sound of rain best of all,
But, Her Majesty the Rose opens her fabulous blooms only at the Goddess’ call.
— © 2008, The Herban Goddess
As we have seen, for thousands of years, the rose has been a powerful symbol of myth and magic in many cultures. It symbolizes love, ecstasy, beauty and song.
We have records from Roman-era Egypt that describe how roses were used for divination, as well as love spells in which rose oil was burned in a lamp to attract lovers to one another.
Although the early Christians at first shunned the rose because of its ties to the excesses of Pagan Roman culture, just as they shunned all worldly delights, the power of the rose prevailed. It became associated with the blood of their martyrs, and the five petals of the wild rose symbolized the five wounds of the Christ. Roses also later came to be sacred symbols of the Virgin Mary.
As one rose aficionado, “Gypsy Scholar” writes, “The rose-flower’s commonality today–used as an expression of sentimental love on greeting cards–hides a long, ancient history as a profound esoteric symbol of the highest aspirations of the human quest. Among literary flowers, like the narcissus, hyacinth, and fleur-de-lis, it reigns supreme. In fact, the poet Dante, in his masterwork, The Divine Comedy, made the white rose the very mandala of the Christian heaven.”
Roses were the “queen of the flowers” of the original paradise, the Pagan Fields of Elysium. They were later transplanted into the Christian Garden of Eden and the Paradise of the blessed.
Roses were routinely used for protection against evil sorcery, and to thwart ill-intentions. Coptic texts use roses extensively in descriptions of their rituals. A text in the National Library of Turin notes their use against the power of evil, including a series of protective spells to be used by a person who wishes to call upon the powers of the divine realm against malevolent forces. “Draw four angels …” it explains, “while you are wearing a wreath of roses….” Another text recommends that a person inflicted by a demon should have a prayer uttered over a flask of rose water, which is then to be poured over the victim.
Of course, during medieval times, the rose took on enormous significance, and was used as a symbol of esoteric, secret orders and covert agendas throughout Europe. So please stay tuned!