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The Rose - Love, Healing, Symbolism and Alchemy

Author: Anja Heij

When someone gives you red roses you know what it means: Love. Some say it means love and respect, but most of the times it means love and desire.
The rose, this wondrous Lady of Flowers, is attributed to femininity. The red rose belongs with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and lust. The white rose symbolizes the pure, innocent and unselfish love of Mother Mary. It is whispered that the rose is a symbol for the garden of Eros, the female flower, her genitalia.

The rose is also a symbol of achievement, completion and perfection: after having met the long stems with the thorns you are rewarded with a flower of great beauty and mesmerizing fragrance. In esoteric terms: after having overcome the tests and difficulties of life you will find inner harmony, union and happiness. The purity of the rose equalizes the bliss of nothingness, paradise.

In alchemy the red rose is regarded as a masculine, active principle (Sulfur, expansion), where the white rose represents the feminine, receptive principle (Salt, contraction). The combination of white and red roses symbolizes unity (the alchemical Mercury).

Further symbolism can be derived from the number of petals (keep in mind that original roses had less petals than her cultivated sisters) and of course the colors of the flowers.
All roses signify love and their specific colors mean the following:




Red roses: love and passion.

White roses: purity, innocence, unconditional love.

Rose roses: friendship, gentleness, softness, thankfulness.

Yellow roses: joy and friendship.

Orange roses: enthusiasm and fascination.


Roses are applied in several nature cures for their healing properties.

In the Bach Flower Remedies the wild rose (Rosa canina) is used to cure apathy. Wild rose is prescribed for people who have given up, who have stopped trying to solve an unwanted situation in their life, who believe that it does not matter or that their fate can not be changed. These people have got stuck on one of the rose thorns on their life path. The remedy of the Wild rose will help them to become lively and enthusiastic again and to reach for the rose at the end of the journey.

As a herb rose buds are used in teas, sirups and jams to prevent or cure colds because they contain much vitamin C. Further the buds are a mild laxative.
Rose petals prepared as tea are helpful when you have a hangover (the ancient Romans new this already) or indigestion. The cooled down tea can be used as gargle in case of inflammation in the mouth and the throat.

Absolutely famous is the use of the essential oil of the rose.
Good quality rose oil is expensive since it takes large quantities of rose petals to extract rose oil.
As a flower attributed to Venus and Aphrodite rose oil is foremost used to solve women's complaints, like an irregular menstruation, copious menstruation, PMS, post natal depression, or a mild prolapsus of the uterus.
Rose oil helps when emotional difficulties are related to the female sexuality or fertility problems. It helps to soothe the depression of a broken relationship.

Rose-oil is a well known aphrodisiac; it is applied to help frigid women and impotent men, and it is said to help with the conception. It is an old custom to strew rose petals on the bed of a just married couple. The scent of rose-oil gives a sensation of purity and innocence; important since men often adore the virginal aspect of a woman. So: use it as perfume or put a drop or two on your pillow.

Medical astrology also places the skin under rulership of Venus and indeed rose-oil is renowned for skin care, especially for the dry and sensitive skin. Since essential oils have a strong impact on the mind and body I suggest you ask advice from a therapist before using it for medical ends.

Much cheaper than the essential oil of roses is rose-water, which is applied for its calming and antiseptic effect on the skin and the eyes. (Never apply pure rose-oil in the surroundings of the eyes, use rose-water.)

When it comes to love and relationships with yourself and others the rose indeed deserves a special place in our heart.

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