For many years now, I have pondered over mankind’s historical fascination and obsession over a particular bloom – the Rose. How the flower has been a timeless symbol of beauty, romance and life’s transience has fascinated many.
The geometry, shape, color, smell and the very essence of this blossom have mystified men and women for millennia. It even seems that mother-nature, in awe of her own creation, captured this mystic beauty in the form of perfectly preserved fossils. Studies show that roses have existed on earth for nearly 35 million years.
From Cleopatra’s rose-petal-adorned boudoir to the famous Tudor Rose, this mystifying symbolic flower has captivated and influenced art, poetry, literature and even faith.
It is almost impossible to pinpoint the earliest history of roses. But we know they were cherished thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt. Rose petals and paintings of roses were found in many tombs like the tomb of the pharaoh Thutmose IV, who was a ruler of the 18th dynasty.
The Greek Creation Tale
In the West, the significance of the rose dates back to Greek mythology. It says, Chloris, the Goddess of flower, found the body of a nymph in the woods one day. She took her up and turned her into a flower – the rose.
Then she called Aphrodite and Dionysus, goddess and god of love and wine. Aphrodite blessed the flower with beauty divine and Dionysus poured nectar on her. Zephyrus blew the sky clear and Apollo, the Sun God shone on her and thus was created the 'Queen of Flowers.'
Symbolism and Connection with Love
Since Roman times to the present day, the rose has been the symbol of many things including Virgin Mary, romance, secrecy (to keep quiet Venus' affairs), purity, fertility, earthly passion, life, death, perfection, and resurrection.
It is the flower of Goddess Venus with the Blood of Adonis and Christ. Yes, the mystical rose is many things.
But perhaps more than anything, the rose has been the most iconic symbol of love – a figure of the beloved Lady – a personification which we find in the controversial 13th-century French epic poem – La Roman de la Rose.
The rose has stood as a symbol and object of affection, love, and seduction throughout history. Wealthy Romans to modern day lovers have all filled their beds with rose petals before making love. British historians suggest that French poets Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun used the rose to symbolize female sexuality and signify "the whole art of love."
More than a Flower
The rose is more than just a pretty flower in a glass vase. There's something quite captivating about its mesmerizing and stunning beauty. It brings with it history, symbolism, romance, love, tales of men, women, gods and goddesses and something a lot deeper that can't really be explained.
It’s almost as if the same rose tells a slightly different story to each one of us.
In my kitchen, I turn to glance at my preserved rose – a beauty, frozen still in time in a glass dome. I catch myself drifting somewhere in her magnificence, a sense of calm and tranquility sweeps over me. I feel love.