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Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Rose

The picture above is taken of the first red rose to bloom in our garden.  I planted it about two years ago and it's name is Deep Secret.  For a long time I have inspired by the beauty of the rose.  A friend asked me a while ago to explain something of the symbolism of the rose to her but I found myself at a loss for words.  I'm going to attempt in this blog to explore the symbolism.

The rose stands as a symbol of beauty and perfection in my eyes.  In ancient times it was sacred to the goddesses Isis and Aphrodite and in Christian culture it is a marian symbol.  What is it about the rose?  There is a deepness to the petals and folds of the flower that perhaps encourages us to seek the divine and the spiritual.  The Romans used the term sub rosa to describe something which was to be kept secret after a meeting.

Recently I heard discussed the physics of beauty which I would love to learn more about but I have found this too online which sheds further light on the significance of the rose:

"In alchemical texts and art, a rose with seven petals is a symbol of inclusion, universal understanding and order. Presumably, because in Pythagorean numerology the number seven is iconic of the perfection in the specific unfolding the universe as well as human understanding."

A favourite quote of mine by Anais Nin is:

"The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

Anyone who is afraid to be themselves should read this quote.  Fear should not be given in to.  A criticism of the rose is that it only blossoms for a short while.  To this I would say that nothing lasts forever.

Of the rose Rumi wrote:

"In the driest whitest stretch of pain's infinite desert, I lost my sanity and found this rose."

Red roses mean romantic love.
Purple, coral and orange challenge red as the color for Valentine roses.
The specific purpose of purple roses is to signify that the giver has fallen in love with the recipient at first sight.
Meanwhile, coral signals desire.
And orange roses, along with apricot, connote enthusiasm.
The meaning of yellow roses is joy and friendship.
We express our gratitude and appreciation with pink roses.
Feelings of admiration and sympathy find words with roses that are light pink in color.
Peach is more ambiguous, as it can signify either sympathy or gratitude.
Their purity naturally enough lends to white roses the meaning of reverence and humility.

The other evening I was sitting outside and began watching a butterfly.  It fluttered around at great speed before it finally alit on a leaf briefly.  I was thinking it's no wonder they don't live long when they keep such a frantic pace.  The smell of the nearby rose was so fragrant I appreciated the wonder of being a perfume maker. 

Many songs and poems have been written about the rose.  Three recent songs that come to mind are "The Rose" written by Amanda McBroom, sung by Bette Midler (and Westlife) and "Kiss from a Rose" written by Seal and Trevor Horn.  While "Where the Wild Roses Grow" was a teriffic murder ballad from Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue.  I guess if you are going to write something about the rose it had better be good.

To conclude I feel that the rose has something special to say to us all, what that is I'm not sure.  It could contain the wisdom of the ages.  I know I want to listen to what it has to say and it is something I want to believe in.

Wild Roses


  1. lovely post orla,
    there is "something" about roses - it could be the smell but would a rose by any other name, smell as sweet?

  2. thanks Niamh, ah yes Romeo and Juliet, I'm sure it would, it would still have the same intrinsic value

  3. What about "Bright Blue Rose" by Jimmy McCarthy. Over to "You Tube". According to "sacred geometry" by Robert Lawlor when we smell a rose we are not responding to the chemical substances of its perfume but to the geometry of their molecular construction. Any chemical substance bonded together in the same geometry would smell just as sweet. (Page 5)

  4. yes i love that song too frank and jummy mccarthy is a great songwriter. I think her wrote wonder child also and mary black sings a lot of his songs. that's fascinating but I wish I understood it more!