Legends of the Rose

As the world's favorite flower since the dawn of history, the rose has inspired countless myths and legends around the world.


I use it in my practice as it is a spiritual symbol of the tradition I teach. It is the western version of the eastern lotus, and represents many things, one of which is "the emergence of the individual soul, awakening into knowledge of its self and its connection with the Divine".


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Here are some other legends about the rose.


Ancient Hindu writings tell the story of the God Vishnu, protector of the world, and Brahma, creator of the world, arguing about which flower was the most beautiful. Vishnu bet his position as chief God on the rose's superiority while Brahma, who had never seen a rose sided with the lotus. When Brahma saw the rose he immediately agreed that the rose was supreme. And Vishnu's loyalty was well rewarded: from 108 large and 1,008 small rose petals the Goddess Lakshmi was created to be his wife.

The ancient Persians explained the appearance of red roses with a legend of a nightingale who loved the white rose. When Allah named the rose the "Queen Flowers", the impulsive bird flew down to embrace her and was pierced by her thorns. From the drops of the nightingale's blood, red roses grew.

Another ancient story tells how roses were thornless in the Garden of Eden. Only after Adam and Eve were expelled did their thorns appear.

In ancient times the rose was painted on the ceiling of the chamber where secret meetings were held to signify that nothing that was said in the room would leave the room.

The rose was created by Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, according to the ancient Greeks. White roses were said to have sprung from the sea foam which surrounded her as she rose up out of the sea. Another story tells of her lover Adonis, being wounded by a wild boar. From her tears mixed with his blood grew a superb fragrant, blood red rose.

The Romans also created many stories about roses. One of the loveliest tell how Flora, Goddess of Spring and Flowers, begged the other gods to help change a dead friend into the Queen of the Flowers. One god gave the breath of life , another bathed her in nectar, another fragrance, one gave her fruit and Flora herself contributed petals. The result, of course? The first rose.

For centuries, Christians scorned the rose because of its connection with their Roman enemies. But its miraculous beauty eventually won them over. The fourth century martyr, Saint Dorothy, is said to have been delivered roses from the garden of paradise by and angel in her prison cell. And the first rosary is said to have been made of actual flowers. Another Christian legend says that when the blood of the crucified Jesus dripped onto the moss at the foot of the cross, moss roses were created.

More rose information: Rose. Medieval legend asserts that the first roses appeared miraculously at Bethlehem as the result of the prayers of a "fayre Mayden" who had been falsely accused and sentenced to death by burning. As Sir John Mandeville tells the tale (Travels, ch. vi), after her prayer:

"Sche entered into the Fuyer, and anon was the Fuyr quenched and oute, and the Brondes that weren brennynge, becomen red Roseres; and the Brondes that weren not kyndled, becomen white Roseres, fulle of Roses. And these weren the first Roseres and Roses, both white and rede, that evere any Man saughe. And was this Mayden saved be the Grace of God . "

In Christian symbolism the Rose, as being emblematic of a paragon or one without peer, is peculiarly appropriatcd to the Virgin Mary, one of whose titles is "The Mystical Rose". It is also the attribute of St. Dorothea, who carries roses in a basket; of St. Casilda, St. Elizabeth of Portugal, and St. Rose of Viterbo, who carry roses in either their hands or caps; of St. Therese of Lisieux, who scatters red roses; and of St. Rosalie, St. Angelus, St. Rose of Lima, and St. Victoria, who wear crowns of roses.

The Rose is an emblem of England and in heraldry is used as the mark of cadency for a seventh son.

In the language of flowers, different roses have a different signification as:

The Burgundy Rose signifies simplicity and beauty. The China Rose, grace or beauty ever fresh. The Daily Rose, a smile. The Dog Rose, pleasure mixed with pain. A Faded Rose, beauty is fleeting. The Japan Rose, beauty your sole attraction. The Moss Rose, voluptuous love. The Musk Rose, capricious beauty. The Provence Rose, my heart is in flames. The White Rose Bud, too young to love. The White Rose full of buds, secrecy. A Wreath of Roses, beauty and virtue rewarded. The Yellow Rose, infidelity.

--Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable

Erika Ginnis offers Spiritual Counseling and Coaching, Psychic Reading, Healing , and Classes though her practice
"Inspiration is the Inbreath of Spirit"



Tacoma, Washington

Seattle, Washington