No flower is more admired and complex than the rose. The ‘queen of flowers’ has a lot to offer in terms of significance. It simultaneously represents heavenly beauty and earthly desire, timelessness and temporality, life and death, fruitfulness and chastity. Legend has it that the rose was thornless in paradise, but gained them after the fall of man.
In the West, the rose is comparable to the lotus in the East. Standing out among other flowers, it is treated as a symbol of the heart, the core of creation, and the cosmic cycle. At the same time, it is divine, romantic, and sensual love. “To pave one’s way with roses” means to remove all hurdles and make one’s journey easy and secure.
As an attribute of female gods, the rose signifies creativity, fertility, wholeness, beauty, grace, happiness, lust, and passion. It is also the essence of life and its mysterious ways. Combined with wine, the rose expresses sensuality and temptation.
Rosebuds are a symbol of purity. A wilted rose stands for the fleetingness of life, death, and grief. Rose thorns are pain, blood, and martyrdom while petals are the embodiments of indulgence.
As you can see, there are many reasons to opt for rose jewelry – not only for its beauty but also for its meaningfulness. Still in doubt? Let us tell you more about this beautiful flower and the great many interpretations it boasts.
Myths about Roses
One of the most ancient meanings of the rose is prudence and caution. According to Roman myths, Cupid stopped the rumors of Venus’s infidelity by bribing the god of silence with a rose. Thus, the rose acquired the significance of silence and secrecy. Everything that is said sub-rosa (literally ‘under the rose’) is not subject to disclosure. It was common to hang or paint roses in meeting rooms as a reminder of confidentiality and caution. Also, roses with five petals can be seen on confession chairs in churches.
Holidays celebrating the god of winemaking Dionysus had the rose as one of their attributes. Guests of these celebrations were wearing rose wreaths on their heads. There was a belief that the rose neutralized intoxication and helped resist garrulity.
Overall, the rose is one of the most common floral symbols across the pantheon of Greek and Roman gods. Given its ubiquity, its ambivalence and even contradictoriness shouldn’t come as surprise. On the one hand, it was the emblem of the Sun (Helios) and the dawn (Aurora). On the other hand, the rose became one of the attributes of the ancient Greek Hecate, the goddess of the moon, underworld, magic, and sorcery. The goddess is famous for her saying that roses are beauty, and beauty is the heart of all dreams and magic.
Symbol of Life and Death
According to Greco-Roman tradition, the rose represents triumphant love, joy, and desire. No wonder it is the emblem of the goddess of love Aphrodite (and her Roman counterpart Venus).
The rose is in the center of the love quadrangle between Aphrodite, her husband god Hephaestus, her lover Adonis, and the goddess Artemis, who is secretly in love with the beautiful young man. Once, when Adonis was hunting, a man disguised as a wild boar wounded the mortal youth. Aphrodite heard the moans of her lover and ran to him. Dashing through wood, she pricked her foot on the thorns of a white rose. Droplets of the goddess's blood turned the flower red. Unfortunately, the young man died in Aphrodite’s arms. The goddess couldn’t imagine her existence without her paramour, so she begged the goddess Persephone to release Adonis from the realm of the dead. Persephone did not resurrect Adonis but made concessions. Every six months, the lovers could be together, and then the young man had to return to Persephone. Thus, roses, especially red ones, became a symbol of love, passion, and rebirth.
At the same time, the white rose, whose thorns wounded Aphrodite, gained associations with death. A blossoming rose has a similar meaning – once its petals are on full display, its death is near. People started growing roses in the gardens adjacent to crypts and brought them to graves.
Overall, the meaning of life, death, and everything in between are closely intertwined in this symbol. Bringing flowers to honor the memory of the deceased, people hoped to meet their loved ones again; if not in this world, then in another. Thus, the rose took on such connotations as resurrection, eternal life, and eternal spring.
Rose and World Religions
In Christianity, the rose is a multifaceted symbol standing for such things as martyrdom and charity. Thanks to its beauty, perfection, and fragrance, it was revered as a flower of paradise. It is also the emblem of Saints Angela, Cecilia, Dorothea of Cappadocia, Elizabeth of Hungary, Rosalia, Rose of Lima, and Rose of Viterbo. On top of that, a golden rose is a representation of the Pope.
The red rose signifies mercy, martyrdom, and heavenly love. It grew after the blood of the crucified Christ had hit the ground. Thus, the blood-red rose and its thorns turned into the symbol of the Passion of the Lord. The thorns of the rose are the sins that originate from the fall. Its opposite, the rose without thorns, or the white Mystical Rose, is the Mother of God.
In Egypt, the rose was a companion of Isis, the patroness of females. The beautiful flower stood for pure love and liberation from the carnal. In the mysteries of Isis, festival processions in honor of the goddess, roses took a prominent place. In the novel Metamorphoses by the Roman author Apuleius, a man called Lucius once found himself in the body of a donkey. He prayed to the goddess of the moon and Isis appeared before his eye. She told Lucious to head to the festival and eat a rose off a garland. The man obeyed and restored his human form.
In Islam, the rose symbolizes the blood of the prophet, as well as his two sons, Hasan and Hussein. Contrary to other cultures, the Arabic world perceives the rose as a symbol of male beauty.
According to the philosophy of Yin Yang, rose petals, merging with each other and forming a bud, are a symbol of universal harmony and the unity of all living things. The Chinese believe that the rose denotes success and getting the most out of life, even if it involves great risk. At the same time, the flower has associations with prosperity, youth, and beauty.
Hindus believed that thousands of rose petals gave life to the beautiful Lakshmi, the wife of the great Vishnu. The mighty Vikings associated the rose with the god Loki. Roses, as it were, grow where he laughs, causing the arrival of spring. The Japanese endow the flower with such qualities as pride and power. Judaism (Kabbalah) explains the origin of the rose as the inflorescence of the Tree of Life. The center of the flower is the Sun, while its petals are the infinite but harmonious diversity of nature.
Colors of the Rose
We admire the petals of a rose, not only for their shape but also their color. Speaking of which, you should know the particular meanings of rose colors if you’re wishing to choose the flower as your talisman.
A golden rose means perfection.
A yellow rose is wisdom, joy, and friendship.
A red rose symbolizes desire, passion, joy, sensual beauty, and completeness.
A white rose is a ‘flower of light’, a symbol of innocence, virginity, chastity, purity, spiritual revelation, and charm.
Red and white roses joined together symbolize the union of opposites. They are a contrast between life and death, beauty and decay, fire and water, pleasure and suffering...
A pink rose represents gratitude and peace.
Wonder, awe, and change for the better are the meanings of purple or lavender roses.
A blue rose represents the unattainable and impossible.
A black rose is sorrow, loss, grief, and death.
Meaning Depending on the Shapes and Contexts of Rose
A rose can be depicted in multiple ways, and every such way adds a new layer of significance.
It is not uncommon to see a rose alongside a skull. These two images combined are a reminder of the fragility and transience of existence. Everything that blooms will fade, and everything that lives will die. This symbol tells us that we should cherish the moments of joy and passion before they turn into memories and regrets.
Aside from that, the skull and the rose are a statement of defiance and rebellion. Even in the face of mortality and decay, we can still find beauty and meaning. We can still express our feelings and desires, even if they are doomed or forbidden. We can still challenge the norms and conventions, even if they are oppressive or unjust.
Finally, this symbol is a reflection of mystery and complexity. It indicates that there is more to reality than what meets the eye. There are hidden layers and dimensions, beyond the surface and the senses. There are secrets and mysteries waiting to be revealed.
A rose with a gun translates as passion and jealousy. A person who chooses this symbol for their jewelry wants to emphasize the importance of such concepts as devotion and loyalty. They seem to inform others that they will not tolerate betrayal. At the same time, a gun complemented with a rose is a symbol of pacifism. Finally, this image may stand for the desire to enjoy life and get the most out of it. Death is inevitable, so why deprive yourself of pleasures?
A rose engraved on the hilt of a dagger, or braided around it, symbolizes passion. If the flower sprouts through barbed wire, it becomes a sign of tragic love, which brings only pain and suffering.
The four-petal rose represents the fourfold division of the cosmos, the five-petal rose denotes the microcosm, and the six-petal rose is an emblem of the macrocosm.
More Than a Flower
Did you know that the word ‘rose’ means not only a flower? If you don’t want to be predictable, choose a rose as part of the wind rose. This is a graphic scheme with a double cross in the middle symbolizing the four cardinal points along with intermediate directions. The wind rose simultaneously means the circle, the center, the cross, the rays of the solar wheel, and the wheel of fortune.
Gothic architecture gave us such a thing as a rose window. Round stained-glass windows embellished the facades of the transepts as well as the main entrances of the cathedrals. In total, cathedrals had three roses. One of the roses, the black northern one, has never been lit by the sun. Another, the white southern rose, sparkles in the rays of the midday sun. The last, one, the red rose, basks in the dawn. Placed above the entrance to the cathedral, it was called Rota, i.e. a wheel.
Rose (the flower) denotes the divine beauty and harmony of the universe, and the rose window was supposed to bear out this representation. All in all, it depicts the eternal spinning of the God-centered Universe. Each part of the stain-glass is an infinite number of worlds unfolding from one center and creating a perfect circle. Disparate elements of the world are gathered into one whole, where there is nothing unworthy or secondary.
Occult and Mystical Symbolism of the Rose
In alchemy, the rose is wisdom and mystery, the action of fire, and also the emblem of synthesis. Assenting to the Christian religion, it represented the rebirth of the spiritual after the death of the corruptible. The rose garden became a place of mystical marriage and unity of opposites.
The rose is a well-known symbol of the Rosicrucian order. The emblem of the cult is a cross of roses or a wooden cross with a rose in the center. While the cross conveys the meaning of a world full of suffering and sacrifice, the rose appears as the divine light of the universe. The rose in the center of a cross is a point of unity where the four elements meet. It is none other than the heart of Jesus Christ. A number of rose petals worn by Rosicrucian followers symbolized the stages of initiation in the order.
According to Freemason doctrine, the three roses of Saint John represent light, love, and life.
Looking for Rose Jewelry?
By giving someone rose jewelry, you can express your admiration for the recipient. Give a rose-adorned necklace, and it will carry a wish for endless beauty. Rose-shaped earrings or a ring are perfect for young ladies since the flower symbolizes purity and innocence. Choose rose and skull motifs, and praise their unconventional and multi-faceted nature. All of these, and many other pieces of jewelry, are available at Bikerringshop.