About Roses

Pierre de Ronsard

With its leaves so rich and heavy with elation and its crimson face made brighter with visions of divinity the shadow of a certain rose looks just like an angel eating light.” ― AberjhaniVisions of a Skylark Dressed in Black


Spring here in South Australia is half way through. As always, the weather is topsy turvy. In the space of one week we have experienced all seasons with temperatures soaring to the mid thirties, then plummeting to the low teens. Seasonal allergies are rampant. As are the virulent viruses. Our household has been hit very hard. My husband and I  are both at the tail end of a second nasty bout. Some of the kids and even our little fourlegged friend have been affected.

But with the sun shining, the soil warming, spring has burst into glorious splendour in our garden. Particularlly spectacular are the roses. They are full of buds and blooms. Some so top heavy we have had to prop them up. The ornamental mulberry tree that forms the canopy for the natural pergola is full of little green berries. Such a feast for the eyes. Not to mention the bees, butterflies and birds. There is a flurry of activity in the garden.

I have always loved roses. Did you know that even though the rose is renowned for its fragrance, the flower actually contains very little aromatic oil by weight. 60,000 roses are needed to distil a single ounce of oil. That’s about 60 roses PER DROP! No wonder pure rose oil is so expensive.  World famous aromatherapist, Valerie Ann Worwood writes: “To inhale rose is to inhale the love and kisses of the angels.” Rose essential oil vibrates at a rate of 320 megahertz of electrical energy. In comparison, essential oil from lavender (one of the next highest frequencies in flowers) vibrates at a rate of 118 megahertz, and a healthy human brain usually vibrates between 71 and 90 megahertz.

The rose of course is a universal symbol of love. Perhaps that’s because they are so heart-stoppingly beautiful.  I did a bit of a google search, as I am prone to do, researching the symbolism of the rose. Here’s the list – love, honour, faith, beauty, balance, passion, wisdom, intrigue, devotion, sensuality timelessness. That’s quite a list.

David Austin - Abraham Darby

However, it seems the symbolism goes even deeper than that. During the renaissance, artworks depicting eight petal roses were symbolic of rebirth and renewal. Alchemist textbooks and artworks use seven petal roses as symbols of inclusion, universal understanding and order. That may have some links to the Pythagorean numerology in which seven is iconic of perfection – in the unfolding of the universe and human understanding. Some traditions believe that the rose is a symbol of the human soul.

Freemasons use the symbology of three roses to represent the guiding principles of Love, Life and Light.  The Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, is often seen adorned with roses. The rose is also known as the carrier of secrets. The Roman term ‘sub rosa’ comes form the practice of hanging roses above meeting tables. It was a tacit understanding that anything said at this table, under the hanging roses, was to remain secret. When I was working we referred to this kind of meeting as being held ‘under the cone of silence’. I like the rose idea better!

The rose of course grows on a bush with thorns on it. Which lends itself to a whole other level of symbolism.  The beauty of the rose in contrast to the thorns which represent defense, physicality, loss, thoughtlessness. A balance of the two  is required. You could even stretch it to say that through the harsh lessons of the thorn, beauty grows.

The colour of the rose is also deeply significant.  Do you find yourself intuitively drawn to a particular colour? Perhaps next time you choose to gift a rose to someone, see what colour beckons you when you think of that person.

Yellow Rose: Joy, Wisdom, Protection, Mature love

just joey

White Rose: Purity, Sanctity, Secret admirer, Mysticism.

The Order of the White Rose of Finland is awarded by the President

to people in recognition of outstanding service to the fatherland.

White rose

Red Rose: Sacrifice, Immortal love, Health, Memorial, Passion.

The Returned Soldiers League of Australia released a fundraising red rose last year.

Rose 2

Pink Rose: First love, Innocence, Healing, Gratitude, Peace.

When my father died friends gifted us the Memory Rose. It is a beautiful soft pink.

rose 1

Purple Rose: Wonder, Awe, Change for the better


   These are two of the sites I used. Both have a wealth of information  if you want to read more   –

Whats-your-sign       Sacred Roses

©  Raili Tanska

14 Oct 2015 – all the photos are of roses growing in my garden


5 thoughts on “About Roses

  1. I love ALL Roses from white to the darkest red. It is my favourite flower. Some also smell divine. The old fashioned Austin roses are beautiful. Love the peony rose as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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